On December 19, 2016, Huffpo published an article titled “26 Of The Most Important Articles By People Of Color In 2016”. Unfortunately, in a year full of exciting events in Indian Country, including the historical #NoDAPL protest, the list failed to include a single Native American writer. [NOTE: The list has now been updated to “30 of the Most Important…” and now includes one Native writer.] I want to do my small part to remedy that oversight, so in light of Native voices being overlooked and continually erased in mainstream media, I present my own list of top 12 favorite (and sometimes important) articles by Native/First Nations/Indigenous Writers* in 2016. Enjoy!
In no particular order:
- On the Shameful and Skewed ‘Redskins’ Poll by Jacqueline Keeler
Keeler deftly unpacks the troubling demographics, shoddy journalism, and real-world impact of the now infamous WaPo poll that suggested Natives are A-OK with the slur-tastic football team.
- “Magic in North America”: The Harry Potter franchise veers too close to home by Adrienne Keene
Taking on the queen of children’s literature and her formidable online army of trolls, Keene questions the Native American representation in Rowling’s newest series.
- Indigenous languages recognize gender states not even named in English by Angela Sterritt
First Nations and Native American communities had a wider range of gender and sexuality before first contact with Europeans. Sterritt highlight how these modern-sounding but very traditional ways can move us forward today.
- Photos: Indigenous Comic Con 2016 Brings Indigenerds to Albuquerque by Jason Asenap
Bring on the Indigenerds! Asenap snaps some great shots from the first ever Indigenous ComicCon, and a Navajo Rey from Star Wars steals my heart.
- Indians for Trump Speak in Termination Tongue by Alex Jacobs
Jacobs holds nothing back as he takes at look at past Republican resource extraction policy and the “sellouts” and “fort Indians” Trump has gathered around him.
- Indigenous Biology by Ruth Hopkins
On the relationship between Indigenous science, ceremony and spirituality.
- Moana and Resistence Spectating by Richard Wolfgramm
A Tongan critic examines the pros and cons, the highs and lows, and the messy capitalism that happens when Disney takes on Polynesian culture.
- Journey to Starbucks: A White Way of Knowledge by Terese Marie Mailhot
Using her sharp wit, Mailhot flips the tables on ethnology in a way that will have you looking at that flat white in a whole new light.
- At Standing Rock, No One Goes Hungry: The Kitchen That Serves Traditional Lakota Food and Values by Michael Running Wolf
A peak into the amazing kitchen at Standing Rock that’s serving up traditional Lakota food and lifeways.
- AN OPEN LETTER TO THAT LADY WHO HAS ALL THE ANSWERS TO #NODAPL by Renee Nejo [This was the article later added to the HuffPo list, which definitely deserves mention.]
So you know all those stereotypes about Natives that you’ve heard? That we don’t pay taxes or get to go to school for free. Let Nejo set you straight.
- No Peace for Our Time: Trump Is Coming For Indian Country’s Land and Resources by Gyasi Ross
Ross raises the alarm. Much is at stake for Indian Country under a Trump administration, including our very sovereignty. If we don’t fight back, there may be nothing left to fight for.
- Apocalypse Logic by Elissa Washuta
One woman’s lyrical and often moving meditation on the history of her family, her own trauma and what it is to be Native American today.
And a bonus 13, which includes me. So while it is true that it is one of my favorites, and arguably important, I think it might be cheating to include it in my top 12. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it.
13. “WATER IS LIFE”: A ROUNDTABLE ABOUT COASTS AND RIVERS AFFECTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE by Rebecca Roanhorse, Ishki Ricard and (non-Native contributors Kate Elliot and Joyce Chng).
Four speculative fiction writers talk about the role of climate change in their lives and in the art they make.
*There were also some great articles written by non-Natives on Native issues, like the very insightful Fake Cowboys and Real Indians by Timothy Egan, but I’m only focused on Native Writers in my list.