Seeding Sovereignty is non-partisan and does not endorse candidates.
SHIFT is Seeding Sovereignty’s political engagement program launched to empower the political voice of Indigenous Peoples in order to impact all forms of government and legislation in the US and beyond. This project was developed out of the need to create long term change by decolonizing the American colonial-capitalist political system. SHIFT’s mission is motivated by the ceaseless assault on Indigenous communities, disproportionately coveted by the extraction industry and poisoned by insatiable greed for oil, gas, coal, uranium, timber, dams, Big-Ag, CAFOs and more. Along with violence to the earth comes danger to our people--we and our cultures are in crisis with the highest rates of poverty, illness, youth suicide, missing and murdered people in this country.
Our Mother Earth is also in crisis and Indigenous people have long recognized this. For hundreds of years we have fought at the frontlines of environmental threats that are now leading us to climate catastrophe. We have long spoken of the repercussions of colonial-capitalism, the need for a regenerative economy, land stewardship for the generations to come, and the important role of women. Enter the Green New Deal. This paradigm shifting movement is where we can plant our experience, grow our diverse networks and build a collective vision for a thriving future for everyone. At this time our world needs the tangible example of Indigenous stewardship of our planet to change the world’s ecological and socio-economic trajectory and turn the tide on the climate crisis, poverty, and ongoing systemic inequities. David Suzuki says it, Noam Chomsky says it, the Drawdown team says it— but most importantly, our ancestors lived it and our own tribal experts say it.
An important trend we recognize is the dispersal of our people from rural reservations to tightly knit urban centers, particularly the youth. SHIFT will not only cover issues that resonate with Indigenous youth on the rez but in urban centers as well which will provide an opportunity to encourage political engagement. The States of Change project projects that by 2024, millennials will comprise 45% of eligible voters and we plan on empowering youth on the rez and in cities to organize, throw down and vote. An important component of this project is to look to our elders for advice and direction. This is a multi-generational effort to SHIFT “business as usual” with Indigenous sovereignty and knowledge and decolonize both people and the planet.
We are 20 months out from the next US Presidential election. SHIFT is on the ground in Iowa, where all eyes will be focused as the state hosts the country’s first caucus. 2020 political candidates are already making the rounds and Iowa-based SHIFT Director Christine Nobiss, Plains Cree-Saulteaux of the George Gordon First Nation, is interviewing presidential candidates, speaking at events , writing articles, and organizing to achieve local and national SHIFT goals including:
Empowering the Indigenous role in the Green New Deal to raise the voice and leadership of Indigenous, Black, Immigrant, LGBTQ, Women, Youth, Latinos and Refugees.
Discussing tribal sovereignty and respect for treaties to SHIFT the political landscape beyond the tokenization of our tribal nations and to end the notion of domestic dependent nations.
Catalyzing Indigenous political engagement by discussing and publicizing issues affecting Indian Country on all our media platforms.
Galvanizing Indigenous voter registration and turnout for a population that is historically disenfranchised by supporting the work of voter advocacy groups and grassroots actions.
Shining light on the historic election of two Indigenous congresswomen and the many other people of color that are making great legislative change.
Education and grassroots organizing, direct actions, art builds, youth leadership development, candidate convenings, and cultural events with the goal to diversify the political movement.
Questions for candidates
We have five questions we are sending to all POTUS candidates and asking them in person when given the opportunity.
1. Do you have a Native American Policy in place?
2. Given the statistics in Indian country for missing and murdered people, sexual assault, youth suicide, substance abuse, etc, do you think Indian country is in crisis and if so, do you think it should be treated as such?
3. Are there aspects of the Green New Deal which need strengthening, and do you see anything missing?
4. In Iowa we have lost much biodiversity to corporate agriculture and currently have 15,000 CAFOs, which is growing. Do you see Big Ag as a driver of climate change?
5. What distinguishes you from other candidates on issues facing Native communities?
To contact Christine Nobiss, SHIFT Director, email email@example.com