The Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) condemns the murders of African Americans Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, which are part of a long pattern of reprehensible violence. We stand in solidarity with the African American community and with protesters of all races who express their righteous anger and demand of justice across the United States. We are outraged at the unconscionable violation of human rights that these murders constitute, and the blatant show of open white supremacy that they reflect. As Indigenous scholars who study social dynamics, we acknowledge that the civil unrest that has followed the murders is a result not only of outrage generated by the authorities’ blatant flaunting of legality and justice processes following the crimes, but also simmering rage over the ongoing structural inequality, injustice, and racism in the country currently called the United States.
Indigenous Peoples know this story. We have lived it. We have survived genocidal violence and, alongside our African American relatives, continue to experience the violent and structural oppression at the hands of a settler capitalist state founded on twin pillars of Native dispossession and Black enslavement. Our communities have been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which also laid bare blatant and endemic inequalities of all kinds imposed on our peoples.
With the rest of the country, we watch as police repression escalates and the country slides alarmingly toward an openly authoritarian state. We call for an immediate end to violent repression and authoritarian tactics. We call for the voices of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color and the poor to be heard, and meaningful dialogue established. We ask our elders to pray for courageous leadership to guide us toward a future free of racism, capitalist exploitation and structural oppression.
As leaders of a professional association of Indigenous Peoples and their allies, we express our love and kinship with all oppressed people in what is currently called the United States, and we call for immediate systemic change with unity, justice and dignity.