Being Indigenous in the 21st Century

Social psychologists, sociologists, and educational researchers have, over the past 30 years, made it plain that Indigenous peoples have remained either stuck in the past or invisible in the eye of the general public. There are, of course, some exceptions, most notably in caricatures and the iconography of sports teams’ mascots. Or in the presence of the casino Indian.This panels seeks to offer a basic overview of the unique status of American Indian and Alaska Native peoples, pointing to the special status of Indigenous peoples as both racialized and political beings. The political status is rooted in the U.S. Constitution and the relationships between tribal nations and federal and state legislators. This status, however, has created challenges tied to invisibility and neglect. Indigenous peoples are the poorest, least healthy, and most imprisoned peoples—per capita—of any other racialized groups. This is important, but it is not the only story; nor should it be.The panel will turn its focus to consider the possibilities in tribal communities, nations, and peoples. It will seek to answer the following questions: What is unique about Indigenous communities, nations, and peoples? Where have these communities, nations, and peoples been neglected? Where are there places and possibilities in these communities, nations, and peoples? And, what role does higher education and technology play in help create the conditions for these communities, nations, and peoples to thrive into the 21st Century?