Call for DC to create an Office of American Indian Affairs this Native American Heritage Month
We as an Indigenous community - Nawat, Maya, Lenca, Kakawira, and Afro-Descendants - organized as the National Association of Indigenous Salvadorans (ANIS), call for the D.C. Council and D.C. Mayor Bowser to create an Office of Native American Affairs to better serve D.C.’s American Indian residents. For time immemorial, Washington D.C. has been home for American Indians, beginning over 24 thousand years ago with the stewardship of the Piscataway and Nacotchtank people - ancestors of the contemporary Piscataway Conoy people; and thousands of other American Indian people have settled in the area, or traveled to the area to conduct official business for their Tribes and Nations.
Following the Salvadoran Civil War, thousands of Salvadorans (most of American Indian ancestry) have moved to Washington, D.C. in search of a place to call home. The National Association of Indigenous Salvadorans (ANIS) have been organizing on these lands since 1990, and is one of the signers of the Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People of the Western Hemisphere, co-authored by the Piscataway Indian Nation, which states:
“Our vision for the future of Indigenous Peoples of the Western Hemisphere is one where seven generations from now we will still be here, healthy in body and spirit, fulfilling our original instructions by caretaking this Hemisphere of Mother Earth, living in our own lands in peace and harmony with all parts of Creation and all our relatives, with traditional extended families, with our cultural, spiritual, political, and economic traditions exercised to the fullest. We are working toward a world where respect, integrity, and equality without batteries becomes the norms of the relationships between all of the two legged and all parts of Creation.”
During the beginning of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the government of Washington, D.C. failed to record information about D.C.’s American Indian population specifically, instead designating us as “Other”. Additionally, throughout history, refugee American Indian communities such as the various Maya communities, the various Andean communities, and the Indigenous Salvadoran communities, have been enumerated as “Hispanic” or “Latino” and labeled “illegals” by politicians and private citizens. Our identities and our rights have been denied to us.
With the creation of an Office of American Indian Affairs, the disenfranchised American Indian communities in Washington, D.C. can begin to regain some of our Indigenous Rights that have been affirmed by the United Nations in the Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People, and affirmed by the government of the United States in 2010.
Please sign this petition to show your support of the creation of an Office of American Indian Affairs.
Happy Native American Heritage Month!
The National Association of Indigenous Salvadorans (ANIS)