We live in a time where there are multimedia companies and publishing platforms dedicated to people of color span across all corners of the internet. They continue to expand their global reach and influence by broadcasting content via web, video, social, live events and more.
However, there’s one group of beautiful people who don’t feel well-represented or receive enough coverage of their heritage, successes and struggles.
Afro-Native American is a group that many have yet to fully understand. Thousands of people in the United States identify as Afro-Native American or Black-Native American, having both indigenous and African American lineages. Many are able to recognize (even enroll with) their tribe, and others are not able to.
According to The Grio, while most African-Americans would likely say they have Indian blood flowing in their veins, DNA testing suggests that fewer than 10 percent of black people are of Native American ancestry. To be exact, five percent of black Americans have at least 12.5 percent Native American ancestry (meaning, at least one great-grandparent). In contrast, 58 percent of black Americans have at least 12.5 percent white ancestry.
Indian Country, or the indigenous groups of the U.S. and Canada, is a diverse, multidimensional and multifaceted community of people. Just like other people of color publishing platforms, whose content are geared toward their respective target audiences, Indian Country has their own, too; from thriving startups like Native Max Magazine and Native News Online, to industry vets like Indian Country Today.
Many Afro-Native Americans are highly involved with their tribes and cultures. A lot of Afro-Native Americans are even employed by their tribes and work inside their tribal governments at various levels. There are Native and black entrepreneurs and athletes who give back to their communities constantly. But despite the work they’ve done, they don’t feel like their stories matter.
Upon hearing about this, multimedia publisher Native Max Magazine teamed up with activist, speaker, published writer, community organizer and performer YoNasDa Lonewolf (Oglala Lakota/African American) and Native Education Advocate and Doctoral Student Tomasina Chupco (Seminole/African American) to launch Native Max Afro-Native, an online community and space for positive stories dedicated to black and Native Americans. Native Max Magazine is devoted to inspiring and entertaining readers while celebrating their indigenous cultures and stories through positive storytelling. Through their platforms and content, Native Max Magazine wants to bring their readers the positive and inspiring side of Indian Country.
Lonewolf and Chupco are highly involved within the black Native communities and feel that the new series is important to Indian Country. “As an enrolled Oglala Lakota tribal member and being half black as well, I thought it was important for people like me to be recognized,” says Lonewolf. She continues, “I am so happy that Native Max Magazine collaborated with myself and Tomasina on embracing Native and black mixed people.” Chupco agrees. “I take pride in being a member of the Seminole tribe. I am so excited to be working with Native Max Magazine alongside with my sister Yonasda Lonewolf. The black and Native series has given us the chance to tell our story through our own narrative and I’m loving every bit of it.”
“It has been brought to our attention that many of our supportive readers who identify as Afro-Native or black Native don’t feel like their stories are heard,” said Native Max in a press release. “True to our mission, we decided to launch a space on nativemax.com dedicated to the Black and Native narrative called Native Max Afro-Native. To our readers and supporters who proudly represent a mixture of indigenous North American and African heritages: the floor is yours.”
So far, Native Max Magazine has already featured four stories on their website and plans to publish more stories for the rest of July and August. The type of content featured include stories, personal essays, poems and profiles of Afro-Native American people throughout Indian Country.
The series has already gained positive feedback from readers. “Will have to read! Both my daughters are Nez Perce/Black decent” said one Instagram follower. “I resonate with her on many levels,” said another. “I’m so excited about this! Thank you for sharing stories of an experience we don’t hear from often! Big deal for a young Afro-Native like me!” said one young woman via an Instagram message.
For more information about Native Max Afro-Native, visit nativemaxmagazine.com or to be featured, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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