We’re building a movement where all Americans hear contemporary Native voices, stories and issues and are empowered with accurate Native history, knowledge of the contributions of Native peoples, and information about modern injustices committed against Native peoples. We’re re-educating Americans about Native people- for too long, many Americans have been given little to no knowledge of Native history or have been taught inaccurate information. This lack of knowledge has contributed to the invisibility of Native Americans in mainstream culture. Invisibility creates a void that is filled with toxic and negative stereotypes have been perpetuated and institutionalized by K-12, pop culture, media and other sectors. These harmful stereotypes have been used to justify racist campaigns and slurs, build pipelines on sacred lands, and pass policies that negatively impact our sovereignty and our communities.
To push for the systematic change we need, now and for the future, we need to build a movement of many movements to change the story about Native Americans. We must move hearts and minds, and change the way people and institutions think about, and engage with, Native peoples. By changing the story, we will positively impact our youth, communities, tribal nations, fight racism, and support long-term policy changes.
Everyone has a role in Be IllumiNative. We need Natives and non-Native allies to join this movement and push for local and national change. The Be IllumiNative campaign is a call to action and a catalyst for allies to engage in advocacy-whether through individual actions, through community engagement and organizing, or advocating in your community, state, or to national representatives.
Be IllumiNative is a challenge to our allies to use their platforms and their voices to uplift examples of Native excellence and work to end erasure and invisibility of Native people. Our advocates, allies, leaders, students, and communities are a critical to uplifting authentic, accurate, and contemporary stories of Native communities.
Every month, we’ll release a new project that is part of the campaign.
Follow us for updates!
sundance film festival
Native Voices Rising: Conversation with Bird Runningwater, Sundance Institute, Crystal Echo Hawk, Illuminative, Heather Rae, actress Julia Jones, and filmmakers Danis Goulet and Sky Hopinka. Sponsored by The MacArthur Foundation, Nia Tero Foundation & Pop Culture Collaborative.
WORLD PREMIER: Indigenous Filmmakers Lounge at Sundance
With an eye on social impact and changemakers in the entertainment industry, Native voices are rising at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival!
From Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) to Sterlin Harjo (Reservation Dogs, Mekko, 1491s), Native creatives are emerging and raising the profile of the exemplary talent in the Indigenous community – a grossly under represented population in the industry.
During the Indigenous Filmmakers Lounge WORLD PREMIER at 2020 Sundance, the co-hosted Lounge by IllumiNative and Gateway Entertainment, will feature two days of panels, roundtables, and screenings cultivated by Native artists, filmmakers, actors, and industry leaders.
The co-hosts worked closely with Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program who have a long history of championing, nurturing, and elevating Indigenous creators like Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), Sydney Freeland (Drunktown’s Finest) and pivotal films such as Smoke Signals and the recent The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open from Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, recipient of the prestigious Merata Mita Fellowship.
RISE with Gregg deal
To illuminate the hope and opportunity 2020 holds, IllumiNative partnered with Native artist Gregg Deal to create RISE.
RISE is an expression of resurgence and a call to action for the new year. This art embodies and speaks to the power of all of us – Native and non-Native – to rise above hate and division and create a future that affirms our collective humanity.
native american heritage month
During Native American Heritage Month, we’re highlighting the work of Native comedian Joey Clift (Cowlitz Indian Tribe)! His award winning animated short, “Telling People You’re Native American When You’re Not Native Is A lot Like Telling a Bear You’re a Bear When You’re Not a Bear” uses humor to highlight conversations many Native people are forced to have. During the month of November, we’ll continue to highlight stories of Native people today. Be sure to check back as we celebrate Native communities!
On November 7, 2019, NDN Collective in collaboration with IllumiNative wrote an Op-Ed published in Indian Country Today titled: “Trump’s effort to rebrand Native American Heritage Month does not and will not deter Indigenous movements”.
In response to the most recent act of erasure by the Trump Administration to name November as “National American History and Founders Month”, @Illuminative and @ndncollective are launching a month long campaign to lift up #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth and to resist this effort by #45 to diminish this celebration that honors Native Peoples in the past, present and future.
Native American History is American History and Native Peoples are an essential part of the historical and cultural fabric that makes up this nation. Native and Indigenous communities are leading the climate justice movement and are protecting land, water, and air for all people, native and non-native. As such, it is imperative that we build a future and country that is grounded in truth, solidarity, justice and equity.
Join us in sending a firm message that we can not be erased!
Show your support for Native American Heritage Month by downloading, posing with, and posting the #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth “Native American History is American History” images and tell your story!
Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day fights the invisibility that impacts Natives communities— it is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate Native peoples, our resiliency and our future, in the present. With funding from Voices for Healthy Kids, an initiative of the American Heart Association, IllumiNative developed a toolkit for allies and advocates that draws on the lessons and research we have about our experiences and what we have learned from Native advocates who are on the frontlines fighting for change. In this toolkit, you will find case studies, key questions and answers, messages, a comprehensive how-to-guides on advocating to your representative and building a coalition, and more. While this toolkit is not exhaustive, it can serve as a foundation to support advocates and allies in their work.
Native American voices and perspectives are often missing when discussing issues that impact Native land. To fight this invisibility of Native peoples, Paramount Network and Yellowstone partnered with IllumiNative to share the story of the Fort Belknap Indian Community’s fight against the pipeline that threatens their land, water, and culture. The tribe, along with the Native American Right’s Fund (NARF), have filed to stop the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. Join Gil Birmingham from Yellowstone, as he meets and learns from the tribal leaders and changemakers who are fighting for more than their tribe- they are fighting for all of us.