“Remember that you are all people and that all people are you.”
― Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States
We watched in horror as the last breath of a son, a brother, a father and a friend, George Floyd, was stolen by a member of a community that is paid to protect and serve. To our Black brothers and sisters, we see you, we hear you, our hearts break with you, and we feel your pain.
We honor the life of Mr. Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, Bothem Jean. Atatiana Jefferson, Jonathan Ferrell, Renisha McBride, Stephon Clark, Jordan Edwards, Jordan Davis, Aiyana Jones, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Sean Bell, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Corey Jones, John Crawford, Terrence Crutcher, Keith Scott, Clifford Glover, Claude Reese, Randolph Evans, Yvonne Smallwood, Amadou Diallo, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, and all your other sons and daughters who have experienced disproportionate rates of violence and have been murdered because of the color of their skin. We say their names.
As Native citizens, advocates, and leaders of Native organizations we are all too familiar with acts of violence perpetrated against a people because of the color of their skin. This country, founded on stolen lands and built by enslaved people, has a long history of failing Indigenous people and people of color. From first contact, Indigenous people were violated and continue to be violated through the Indian Removal Act, the Trail of Tears, ethnic cleansing and genocide, and legislative acts limiting a Tribe’s ability to protect their people. We acknowledge the journey of our African American brothers and sisters beginning first on the shores of Jamestown in 1619, and continuing on today with a criminal justice system that is prejudicial and unforgiving. We share health disparities, economic
disparities, and are disproportionately victims of crimes as a result of these generations of institutional racism.
We will continue to amplify your voice and raise our collective voices to speak out against racism that has plagued our nations since contact. We stand in solidarity with you as we too seek to bring down the pillars of oppression that have allowed black and brown communities to be violated, discriminated against, harmed, and murdered. We commit to hold safe space for you to speak your truths. We will continue to offer prayers and medicine for peace and healing. Black lives matter!
The Alliance of Tribal Coalitions to End Violence is a nonprofit organization established in 2013 by and for tribal coalition directors. The Alliance works to advance tribal sovereignty and the safety of American Indian and Alaska Native women by providing support to tribal coalitions and tribal communities in their efforts to address equal justice for survivors of violence. To learn more about the work of the tribal coalitions and the Alliance, find us at www.atcev.org .