(Native Lives Matter, Photo Courtesy of Tumblr)
In all the hustle and bustle of the riots and the political campaign, there’s people we have forgotten, the Native Americans. Because I am part Cherokee and Lumbee Indian, Native lives matter to me. I sympathize with Black Lives Matter, side and I sympathize with All Lives Matter, yet I can’t help but notice that people don’t even bother to sit back and think about this forgotten heritage.
There are HBCU colleges for African Americans, which is a fantastic institution should be more. There are currently 32 accredited Tribal colleges and Universities (TCU), which are located mainly in Mid and Southwest. According to the United States Census Bureau (USCB), there is an “American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month,” which takes place in November. This month celebrates my heritage and what’s funny is, I didn’t even know about it because It’s not as highly celebrated as the other history months. That’s probably because until 1990, November wasn’t recognized as Native American Heritage month.
Did you know that Native Americans and Alaska Natives collectively make up only about 2 percent of the US population? This is due to them having died from famine, wars, displacement, etc. If they have been noticed it was only because they had something the government wanted. The white population alone is 77.1 percent. There is a 75 percent difference between whites in the US and Native Americans. Even African Americans have a higher percent population than the Native Americans at 13.3 percent.
The difference in education is significant as well. The white population alone who have attained a Bachelor’s degree is 32.8 percent. In the Native American population, only 18.5 percent that have attained at least a Bachelors Degree. This is a 14.3 percent difference. This also can be compared to African Americans and the percentage they have for attaining a Bachelor’s degree at, 22.5 percent. There is a 4 percent difference of African Americans who have attained their bachelors and Native Americans who have attained theirs. That’s not as high as whites but it is still higher.
They live differently than we do. They were forced by the government to live on small government appointed reservations. There are 326 federally recognized Native American reservations. Within these reservations there are 566 recognized Indian Tribes. All of this proves they have been forgotten. It’s like the little thought you have sometimes in the back of your mind that makes you ask yourself, “Am I forgetting something.” The thought briefly flashes across our minds before we forget and move on. That’s how we remember the Native Americans, in brief passing. We don’t really think about them. The reason behind saying all this is that they have had it pretty rough since the first settlers stepped foot on this land, it has only gone downhill since and no one has done anything about it.
We should all remember to remember these native people. They are people as well. I hope as a society we can help the Lumbee tribe and other tribes get full recognition from the government. The next time you hear “all lives matter,” or “black lives matter,” in the back of your mind remember, “Native Lives matter.”
(This article was written by Lauren Smith)