HISPANIC NETWORK MAGAZINE www.hnmagazine.com
NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE
n Friday, April 23, 2021, former Pennsylvania GOP Senator Rick Santorum gave a speech to a young audience during the Standing Up For Faith and Freedom Conference on Americas story from his perspective, including statements about Native and Indigenous American culture that further promoted the disregard of their history. We [Judeo-Christian Europeans] came here and created a blank slate, he said. We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here. I mean, yes we have Native Americans, but candidly there isnt much Native American culture in American culture, Santorum said. These remarks, which are at best factually inaccurate and are at worst, racist and genocidal, were immediately decried by many Indigenous groups, including, but not limited to, the National Congress of American Indians and the American Indian College Fund.
American Indian College Fund Urges Education About Native Peoples
An Interview with Cheryl Crazy Bull
Hispanic Network Magazine took the time to interview Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, on where her organization stands with regard to these remarks. Hispanic Network Magazine: The historical erasure of this country's Native and Indigenous American cultures is a found- ing tenet of America's original sin: racism. Rick Santorum's comments are a part of that legacy. What can media and enter- tainment outlets do to be more educated and, therefore, more solicitous in the future regarding coverage and portrayals of Native and Indigenous culture, history and people? Cheryl Crazy Bull: Media : Fair coverage of Indigenous people occurs when producers, editors and journalists make a deliberate effort to understand both the historical and contemporary experiences of Indigenous people and to make the connections among issues of concern to their constituencies and Native peoples knowledge, experiences and intentions. There is a robust but largely underutilized Native media network that includes journalists, producers, etc., including the Native American Journalists Association. The expansion of information sharing into digital media has made it even more critical for media outlets to promote accurate coverage. The American Indian College Fund joins other Native organizations in calling for media to designate Indigenous desks/teams and ensure on-air Indigenous representation, including commentators and reporters. Entertainment : It is widely recognized that much of what is perceived as Indigenous, American Indian or Alaskan Native comes from the images that people see in film, television and popular literature. Just as with the media, there are groups that advocate for accurate portrayals of Native people and that promote the inclusion of Indigenous executive and management teams, writers, playwrights, actors and directors in entertainment. The Institute of American Indian Arts, a tribal college located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, promotes inclusive representation, traditional and contemporary fine arts, Native literature, Native film and partnerships with the entertainment industry, including Walt Disney. HNM: What part could mass reeducation efforts in school cur- riculums about the true history of and depth of the role Native and Indigenous peoples had in the founding and formation of the United States play in changing how future generations deal with these issues? CCB: Ive worked in Indian education for nearly 40 years. During that time, Indigenous communities have worked diligently on their own and with allies to create culture and language inclusion; historical and contemporary curriculum; and to ensure there are both more Native teachers and teachers who are knowledgeable about how to teach Native knowledge. It is broadly agreed in the Indigenous community and among
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