NDN-Created Internet: How to Stay Connected this Native American Heritage Month

Ada Claire

Indian Country began as a legal term of art: A series of fixed jurisdictional spaces codified by U.S. Code. Locked to Tribes, or more specifically Tribal Governments (not their people), it was never intended to grow, but it was subject to much diminishment. Today, we take ownership of Indian Country through our subreddit site, /r/IndianCountry.

The site began out of a need for an online space for discussion and gathering by and for Natives to share our collective and diverse experiences of indigeneity. We have accumulated a huge online resource database of information that is interesting and useful and have hosted two successful independent productions, our podcast The Digital Powwow and our indigenous language challenge known as #realNDNtalk. We have expanded ourselves beyond Reddit (though it is our main platform) with active Facebook (Indian Country - “Many Nations, One Community”) and Twitter (@r_IndianCountry) pages.

This publication does so as the foremost Native American media outlet, expanding our media market share. The 78 percent decisive majority of Native Americans living off-reservation expands the borders of Indian Country through our very presence. In a deeper historical sense, all of the Americas were and are Indian Country. Yet, despite the lions’ share of our numbers being outside of “core” communities, “Urban” Indian Country can feel like a lonely place, disconnected from distant trust lands. Sometimes it feels like school, jobs, and cars scattered us to the winds; technological creature comforts deafen our ears and blind our eyes to each other; and feeding our families and ourselves demands sacrificing our time and cultural identities.

Today, we have a choice: We can let all this destroy us OR we can use the opportunities presented by our newfound mobility, technology, and collective awareness to reconnect with ourselves, our traditions, our languages, and each other.

Last year, Ryan Red Corn of the 1491's hosted a wildly successful AMA and urged Native people to “Take up as much space as you can on the Internet. [It’s] just like an Indian Land run.” If you’re reading this, you’re already online and have one foot in this new frontier; I encourage you to take another and expand our borders. Facebook is limited by who you know, Twitter is limited by who knows you, but Reddit is only limited by what you know. We should do our level best to take them all.

If you want to expand the Native American social media market share and take Indian Country, as a community, with you wherever you go on a mobile device, visit us at /r/IndianCountry: The most active (and soon to be largest) Native American community on Reddit; the 8th most popular website in the U.S., ranked 27th globally.

We currently host the 2nd Annual Native American Heritage Month on Reddit. Our community of thousands intends to reach communities of millions. Remember: This is your platform.

After this month, we intend to be the Reddit front of #NoDAPL, in addition to the other immediate issues faced by our communities. More than offering an outlet, we prefer to offer and work on solutions; channels for good will and good faith, paths for self-improvement and community empowerment.

For this month of November, we're here to remind our sizable corner of the Internet about the people of this place who were here first; the people of this place who are still here. Our space, our voices, our terms, and it starts with you.

Our programming is as follows (and is growing):

AMA Schedule

November 13 at 1 p.m. CST: Joy Harjo, Mvskoke poet, musician, and author

November 16 at 2 p.m. CST: Brandon Lee Stevens, Oneida Councilman

November 23 at 2:30 p.m. EST: Kerry Hawk Lessard, Community Activist and Applied Medical Anthropologist

November 27 at noon CST: Tonia Jo Hall, Comedian

November 30 at 8 p.m. CST: Gabe Galanda, Indigenous Lawyer

Community Discussions

November 13 to November 19: Federal Indian Policy (Author: /u/Opechan)

November 20 to November 26: Thanksgiving (Author: /u/anthropology_nerd)

November 27 to November 30: Decolonizing (Author: Roundtable)

Thank you,
The /r/IndianCountry Mod Team (/u/Opechan, /u/snorecalypse, /u/La_Diabla, /u/Snapshot52, /u/ladyeesti, /u/Pulelehua, /u/Zugwat, /u/thefloorisbaklava, & /u/--Paul--)

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