UIC will provide ongoing policy and legislative updates on topics pertaining to Urban Indigenous health on this site in the following ways:
UIC will monitor legislation and policy regarding local, state, and federal health care initiatives to ensure that Urban Indigenous communities are included in planning efforts to increase health care access and reduce health disparities of marginalized groups.
The UIC team periodically reviews legislation and court cases pertaining to Indigenous rights and sovereignty.
We summarize and critically analyze the information at hand and its implications, and provide these breakdowns in plain language rather than the legal language that can make these policies and cases so inaccessible for our impacted communities. You can read these policy briefs here.
Our team has provided this brief glossary of terms that are important to understand as you learn more about these issues.
Our policy tracker breakes down each policy according to certain characteristics. What does each column in the policy tracker tell me?
An unprecedented compilation of all state-wide or national legislation relating to MMIWGT2S in the United States
The following map visualizes the key datapoints represented through our policy tracker.
The following chart is an unprecedented compilation of all state-wide or national legislation relating to MMIWGT2S in the United States. Included in this tracker are all policies introduced or passed since 2020, and the UIC team has included various columns breaking down each policy according to certain characteristics, outlined below. The policy tracker will be updated a few times each year.
Working alongside the spirits of our Indigenous siblings that we have lost and are looking for on this physical plane takes immense resilience, strength, and physical and emotional labor. If you are a non-Indigenous person who has the capacity, the best way for you to support this cause is either through a one-time or recurring financial gift that will uplift our staff and our work. We appreciate your contribution toward paying the necessary reparations needed for our community.
The policies and issues discussed on this site use language that sits at an intersection between legal jargon and Indigenous-related terms that can have complicated historical backgrounds. Our team has provided this brief glossary of terms that are important to understand as you learn more about these issues. This glossary is always growing, and we welcome input if you feel there is a term we often use without enough explanation!
The term “Indian” did not exist prior to Indigenous peoples’ first contact with colonizers. Rather, it is a word that was and is currently used by colonizers incorrectly to describe Indigenous folks on this continent. It is a word that was created not by us, but about us, as we are diverse peoples from various cultures and backgrounds. Today, “Indian” has significant political meaning in United States law as does Federal “Indian” Policy, as Indigenous folks who are members of federally recognized tribes have a unique political identity in their relationship to the U.S. due to treaties between the U.S. and tribes. For example, having “Indian” status affects an individual’s access to healthcare, scholarship opportunities, and more. Many Indigenous people choose not to use the word “Indian,” while others have chosen to reclaim it (as was seen in the American Indian Movement (AIM)) or use the term “NDN”. It is never appropriate for a non-Indigenous person to use the word “Indian” unless referring to a proper noun, such as the Indian Health Service or the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
In U.S. law, “Indian Country” generally refers to lands “in which tribal sovereignty applies and state power is limited.” A more thorough definition of “Indian Country” can be found here. However, at UIC, we attest that all land on this continent is occupied Indigenous land and should, therefore, be considered “Indian Country.”
The Urban Indigenous Collective uses “Indigenous” to encompass American Indian/Alaska Native peoples, Over the course of this work, we use the word Indigenous, a term that does not center current arbitrary geo-political lines, to describe American Indian, Canadian First Nations, Native American, and Alaskan Native populations. We use this term inclusive of all self-identifying Indigenous individuals from around the world, no matter whether they are outside of colonial federal classifications.
The acronym MMIWG stands for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; the acronym exists because Indigenous women and girls go missing and are murdered at disproportionate rates compared to other racial groups in the United States. There are other versions of this acronym that include different Indigenous relatives such as MMIP AND MMIWT2S. MMIP stands for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People and is not specific to gender, and thereby includes all Indigenous people. MMIWGT2S stands for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Trans, and Two-Spirit Folks; this acronym is inclusive to the queer relatives in Indigenous communities.
Two-Spirit is a term that refers to an Indigenous person who embodies both male and female characteristics. This could be applied to sexuality and/or gender expression. Two-Spirit is an umbrella term for queer Indigenous people, and may mean something distinct for each two-spirit person.
Get in touch with us to provide skills, connect with resources, or be in conversation: MMIP@URBANINDIGENOUSCOLLECTIVE.ORG
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In honor of Giving Tuesday we are calling on community and allies to help support us in giving back to Urban Natives, through our programming and community center, and MMIP Taskforce work.