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Reclaiming Native Truth
Reclaiming Native Truth

The Reclaiming Native Truth (RNT) Project, was an unprecedented two-year, $3.3 million public opinion research and strategy setting initiative from 2016-2018 that was co-designed and co-led by IllumiNative founder Crystal Echo Hawk and Echo Hawk Consulting. Its findings, released in July 2018, resulted in comprehensive data and learning about the challenges and opportunities that Native Americans face in educating Americans and changing public perceptions.

RNT research findings indicate that the invisibility of and toxic misconceptions about Native peoples create very serious biases among diverse demographics and institutions, including the Courts, Congress, philanthropy and other sectors. Invisibility, perpetuated in pop culture, media and K-12 education, is one of the biggest drivers behind this endemic bias.

Some of the top research findings include:
  • Invisibility is the modern form of bias against Native Americans
  • The majority of Americans know little to nothing about Native Americans
  • Many Americans are not clear how many Native peoples still exist
  • Invisibility is one of the biggest barriers Native peoples face in advocating for tribal sovereignty, equity & social justice
  • Many Americans are informed by stereotypes and myths that all Native Americans receive federal government benefits and are enriching themselves off of tribal gaming.
  • Many of the judges and law clerks interviewed admitted to knowing little about tribal sovereignty and Federal Indian Law.
  • Findings show how invisibility, erasure, stereotypes and false narratives underlie the stories being told right now about Native people in the 21st century.
However, the research also illuminated pathways forward…
  • 78% of Americans are interested in learning more about Native cultures and that strong majorities support Native positions on most issues;
  • 72% of Americans support significant changes to K-12 curricula to ensure accurate Native history and culture is taught in schools; and
  • 78% of Americans polled support increased representation and inclusion of Native Americans in entertainment.
The significance of the RNT findings can’t be understated.

Indian Country has a huge opportunity with this arsenal of data to disrupt and change the negative narratives and invisibility of Native peoples in ways that can lead to policy and cultural shifts across society.

IllumiNative is taking RNT to the next level by catalyzing its research into action.



To learn more about the findings from the Reclaiming Native Truth Project, please download the research findings, message guides and narrative change strategy action plan below.