Friday, November 24, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Association on American Indian Affairs

November is Native American Heritage Month and today is Native American Heritage Day. A perfect time to learn about the Association on American Indian Affairs.

Headquartered in Clarksville, Maryland, the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) was founded in 1922 “to change the destructive path of federal policy from assimilation, termination and allotment, to sovereignty, self-determination and self-sufficiency.” Their mission today is “to lead the grassroots fight to protect Native Cultural Sovereignty.” 

The work of AAIA centers around their goals to “protect sovereignty, preserve culture, educate youth and build capacity.” The Cultural Sovereignty programs include work around repatriation of Indigenous land, burial belongings and cultural objects back to the original Native Nations. AAIA also provides technical assistance and training on how to use the law to protect sacred places

The Next Generation Program includes investigations into wrongful adoption practices; justice reform to address the disparate treatment of Native youth; and awarding college scholarships to students and grants to summer camps. In 2023 over 300 youth from 30 Tribes, Nations and communities attended summer camps that provided experiences to connect them with their cultures.

The final programs of AAIA focus on Becoming an Ally. There are resources on how we can all help to end the violence that disproportionally affects Indigenous Peoples and advocate to change racist mascots.

If you’d like to learn more, you can attend an AAIA event, or tune in to Red Hoop Talk, a streaming Native news and talk show. If you’re ready to support AAIA’s efforts to protect Native Cultural Sovereignty there are many ways to do so. Make a donation, join the association, and show your support on social media. Like the AAIA Facebook page, follow them on Instagram @associndianaffairs and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

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