We are continuing to see some much needed diversification in who gets spotlighted in Wellness spaces and we are seeing more communities being highlighted that reflect the diversity of our country. But the work is far from over. Beyond the spotlight, we must continue as companies and as a society to push critical issues of protection, safety, and compensation of indigenous communities, many of which are responsible for originating the practices that fall within the current definition of wellness. Organizations such as Native American Rights Fund and The Indigenous Reciprocity of the Americas are just two of the many efforts supporting this important cause and on this and every day, we call on our community to join us in making it a priority.
For this Indigenous People Day, we wanted to spotlight and introduce you to some of our fave Indigenous healers and wellness people to follow as well as an important organization that is doing key work for Native rights.
In alphabetical order:
Where to Find Them: (Follow Their Link for more!)
Alcatraz Canoe Journey
This Instagram account tracks the journey of canoes, each representing a different Indigenous community from the West Coast that circled Alcatraz Island. The aim of the project was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 occupation by Native American activists, and reframe the island to a vision of sovereignty, rights and freedom, instead of a penitentiary.
Adrienne Keene and Matika Wilbur
All My Relations podcast, hosted by Adrienne Keene and Matika Wilbur, examines topics such as Native fashion, queer Indigenous identities and decolonizing sex. For a preview of their topics their Instagram captions provides you with a wealth of information about blood quantum, the importance of Indigenous language and more.
Adrienne Keene is also the go-to academic and blogger behind the website nativeappropriations.com, which has been thoughtfully explaining why major movie studios, fast fashion chains and fashion designers have erased, or tarnished the image of Indigenous people in inauthentic representations.
Allen Salway, the 21-year-old Dine, Oglala Lakota from the Navajo Nation posts a lot of his tweets (a notable thread about what life was like on his reservation without running water, electricity or even an address). Other posts include a raffle campaign with @digdeepwater to provide clean running water and electricity to Indigenous families.
Autumn Peltier is a 14-year-old chief water commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation. She’s understood how important water is since she was 8-years-old, advocating for clean drinking water for Indigenous people in Canada.
This Los Angeles-based designer utilizes her Native American ancestry to revolutionize style with a contemporary twist. Her brand, B.Yellowtail, tells a story that is true to the Native American community.
Lawrence is a member of the Suquamish Tribe and supported the “Mni Wiconi” movement led by the Standing Rock Sioux. She is also a musician and dedicates her artistry and energy to address POC racial injustice, police brutality, mass-incarceration, gentrification, misrepresentation of Native Americans in education/mainstream United States media, climate injustice, and more. She also attended the 2018 Oscars alongside Shailene Woodley as part of the Time’s Up initiative.
Featuring videos of speeches she’s delivered on why the “sexy Indian maiden” is a bad look, posts about the meaning of shawls and why corn is important, Corinne Rice’s Instagram is full of wisdom and honesty about her personal life. Rice, who travels to other tribal communities to educate them on how to fight human trafficking, is an Oglala and Mohawk woman.
Come for the comedy, stay for the issues. Dallas Goldtooth, a member of the comedy troupe The 1491’s, does double-duty as an organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network. His account is a mix of information, like the Carbon Pricing Popular Education Toolkit and videos of protests in Ecuador, Photoshops and memes.
Representative Deb Haaland
Deb Haaland is one of two Native American women elected to Congress. As the representative for New Mexico’s First District, she advocates for other women, women of color and other Native women, to run for office.
Hawane Rios is on the frontlines at Mauna Kea, protecting the sacred Hawaiian mountain that is slated for the construction of a Thirty-Meter Telescope. Rios’ feed is filled with chants and dances performed at marches, and the unity of the Mauna Kea protectors, including Rios’ activist mother Pua Case, celebrities like Jason Momoa, Nicole Scherzinger, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The future looks bright if the next generation of activists have the spirit of Kinsale Hueston. The 19-year-old Diné poet from the Navajo Nation is a Yale student whose regular campus life is juxtaposed with pics from her appearance in the Time’s Optimist Issue and selfies with Ava Duvernay. In other posts, she’s participating in the National Student Walkout Against Gun Violence, and in others, she’s marching against pipelines.
Maka Monture’s feed is full of beautiful portraits accompanied by her poetry. Combined, the writings and photos serve to highlight Indigenous rights, spotlight Native fashion, and social justice movements. It’s also a beautiful album of Indigenous love between Monture and her husband, who came together from Alaska and New Zealand, respectively.
Jordan Marie Daniel
The striking images of Jordan Marie Daniel running in marathons with a red hand painted across her mouth is to increase awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and two-spirit people, the epidemic that plagues North and South America. The handprint represents the silenced voices taken from Indigenous communities from violence and racism. In her captions, she often lists the names of the Missing and Murdered people she’s running for.
Many of @NDNCollective‘s more recent posts feature people ranging from former Olympian Billy Mills to actor Mark Ruffalo holding up cards that say ‘Native American History is American History.’ The initiative launched between NDN Collective and IllumiNATIVE aims to increase Indigenous people’s visibility and recognition. Dedicated to building Indigenous power, there’s also posts about fundraisers for Mauna Kea protectors, and facts, including one that states Native and Indigenous peoples make up less than five percent of the world’s population, yet protect 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity.
Nikki Sanchez is dedicated to decolonizing communities and creating media and representation for Indigenous creatives. Her grid is dedicated to the beauty of sisterhood and the land, and her words speak to the ugliness she witnessed by counter-protestors of Greta Thunberg and the murder of her best friend‘s younger sister.
Project 562 from photographer Matika Wilbur is worthy of a follow to see positive representations of Native Americans in their modern lives. She aims to photograph people from over 562 Indigenous nations. You can see Native communities joining together in canoe journeys in Washington, meet a junior at Dartmouth College, Doctor Henrietta Mann from the Cheyenne Tribe, and Miss Two Spirit International.
Oliverius is a photographer and fitness influencer, sharing his tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while simultaneously demonstrating his #NativePride.
A Two-Spirit Ojibwe photographer, printmaker, and performance artist, Young’s work demonstrates how art is a tool for identity, activism, and education.
She’s a television co-host, ambassador for Canada Goose and Manitobah Mukluks, a dancer, choreographer and an activist. Sarain Fox’s feed features her travels across the world, from Greenland and Australia and beyond, where she advocates for the Earth, Indigenous knowledge, and representation.
Sara Sandoval has tirelessly been helping asylum seeking families in Tijuana, peacefully protesting at Mauna Kea, and bringing supplies to Standing Rock. Whether she’s on the frontlines or at events in support of protectors, Instagram is just one of her platforms to bring awareness to sacred places like Mauna Kea and helping migrant families.
Sarah Eagle Heart
Advocating for the importance of representation of Indigenous people in film and TV, Sarah Eagle Heart is a Lakota Emmy-award winning social justice storyteller. Formerly a board member with the Women’s March, she has a foot in Hollywood and one in Indigenous knowledge.
Representative Sharice Davids
Representative Sharice Davids is the first openly LGBTQ member of Congress for Kansas, and one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress. Follow the Wisconsin’s Ho-Chunk Nation member’s Instagram account to see the work she’s doing, from homelessness to climate change.
Morning Star Gali
Indigenous organizer Morning Star Gali speaks on panels about Native Heritage Month and ending the incarceration of girls and women, and she post selfies from the California State Capital and marches for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. From the Ajumawi band of Pit River Tribe, Gali serves as project director of the Restoring Justice for Indigenous Peoples organization.
Winder is a musician, songwriter and spoken word artist who uses her platform to promote self-love and indigenous visibility.
Tara Houska was listed as a Change Maker by National Geographic, alongside Oprah Winfrey and the co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter, Alicia Garza. Her grid hops from a demonstration in Minneapolis to a protest against the pipeline in Alberta’s tar sands. As she writes: “Storytelling moves hearts and minds. I thought about who is telling the story of climate, and the critical missteps of sporadically including and romanticizing indigenous wisdom.” Follow her for Ojibwe storytelling and wisdom.
Daniels is the founder of IndGenius, a social enterprise that aims to support Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander youth with their secondary and tertiary education, providing academic tutors to advance their success. She is also an Indigenous Outreach Coordinator in order to increase Indigenous representation in STEM fields.
Collins is a photographer who uses his O’odham teachings to share “positive, cutting edge, stylized images of Indigenous people, cultures, and communities.” He is also co-founder and board member for the Native Wellness Institute, which he and his colleagues use to Indigenize fitness and diet to grow the wellness movement in a way that is holistic and culturally appropriate.
Photographer, filmmaker and poet Tomas Karmelo Amaya posts breathtaking portraits of Indigenous representation: jingle dress dancers, fourth year medical students, actors, and activists. In addition, he writes about mental health and wellness. In a post, he describes his work as “visual medicine,” which could also be applied to his social media output.
YoNasDa Lonewolf is an Oglala Lakota and African-American national community organizer and star of BET’s Copwatch America, which is about fighting police brutality. She posts pics from the Soul Train Awards dressed in Indigenous designers, frequently highlights climate strikes and sustainability, and brought a group from Ferguson to her home reservation of Pine Ridge.
Winona LaDuke focuses on sustainable development. She is a farmer and Indigenous rights activist. She leads a hemp revolution via her hemp and heritage farm, where she believes that hemp can do anything petroleum can do.
CHECK OUT THIS ORGANIZATION!
NARF — Native American Rights Fund
Since 1970, NARF has provided legal assistance to Native American tribes and individuals who otherwise would not have access to it. During their history, they have asserted and defended the rights of Native Americans in critical areas such tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, natural resource protection, and Indian education.
In 2020, NARF played an integral role in securing and protecting the voting rights of Native Americans, ensuring that every vote was counted and that voting restrictions designed to discriminate against underrepresented groups were struck down. It was one of twelve non-profits to issue a statement regardin attempts to discredit the election process and provided guidance to the Supreme Court regarding the appropriate counting of persons, including Native Americans, in the US Census.
This is important, difficult work, and we are grateful that the NARF is doing it.
We’ve comitted to a monthly recurring donation to NARF and part of our ongoing commitment to educate, honor, and preserve the culture, traditions, and practices of Native Americans.