Submitted by Tori McGeshik
Last year, tribal and Native communities showed up to the election polls in record numbers and proved to the rest of the country something we already knew -- that there is power in our voices. The Indigenous Futures Survey (IFS) is an opportunity to raise our voices once again, and to share our experiences, issues, and priorities that are important to our families and communities and how we will strengthen the sovereign role of our tribal governments. IFS is the first and largest multi-year Native-led research project in Indian Country. The first survey in 2020, had participation from over 6,400 Native peoples, representing 401 tribes and from all 50 states with a diverse and representative sample across age, gender, and geography. The findings of the first survey helped to drive the demand for policy change and shaped the work of programs that serve our communities. The survey reported critical data on the direct impact of COVID-19on Native communities and showed that Native people are politically active and engaged in the democratic process in a variety of ways. However, many feel as though the voices of our community are not being heard and that our individual and community needs and priorities are not being addressed. Some key findings include: ● Despite that 27% have experienced barriers to voting and 95% distrust the federal government, Indigenous peoples are incredibly politically engaged with 77% participation in the last election (local, state, and/or federal). ● Top priorities were access to quality healthcare, violence against Native women, children, and LGBTQ+ individuals, improving mental health, caring for Tribal elders, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19on Native communities, and climate change. ● 51% of participants with COVID-19 symptoms and/or diagnosis could not access testing, while 11% reported that someone in their family or immediate circle passed away due to COVID-19.
On December 15, Native Organizers Alliance in partnership with IllumiNative and Research for Indigenous Social Action and Equity (RISE) launched IFS 2.0 with a goal of increasing participation from tribal communities like yours. As you know, Native people must be advocates for our own needs and priorities, and IFS is the next step in amplifying our collective voice and reclaiming our power.
We invite the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians to make your voices heard by taking the survey. By becoming partners in the distribution of this unique and greatly needed survey, you’ll also be considered a Survey Partner, and your tribe will have access to the data collected on your territory or in your community.
Participants are asked to complete the survey by January31, 2022.