Jul 17, 2016 - ‘It’s Up to Us’ Caravan to the Democratic National Convention
From July 17th-24th, people from across Turtle Island will be participating in a Nation-wide caravan to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Last Real Indians editor Matt Remle, recently connected with Joey Montoya (Lipan Apache) founder of Urban Native Era to discuss his participation in the caravan, its goals and how Native issues will be highlighted.
Tell us about the ‘Up to Us’ caravan to the Democratic National Convention?
The Up To Us caravan is about us letting our elected officials know that we will not stand idle any longer. We felt that our votes did not matter and our voices were not being heard throughout the Primary Elections.
But as recent situations beyond the elections have unraveled, we realized that this caravan all the way to the Democratic National Convention was about much more than voter suppression. The Up To Us caravan is about coming together across all issues, uniting in this movement for meaningful change.
We are gathering in Philly to show that through solidarity and unity, there is nothing we cannot collectively achieve. We are tired of the repeated narratives told to us by those in power that only perpetuate our oppression and produce no real advancements and betterments for our communities. Many participating have their own ideas as to how these advancements and betterments can take place and/or continue through the Up To Us caravan. As a Native man, this caravan to me is about gathering nations. No matter what nation you are from or what issue you face, we are in this together and we will show up to ensure that the government, mainstream media, and all systemic powers understand that regardless of the corrupt nature our system is attempting to preserve, we will be Idle No More.
How did you get involved with the caravan?
Towards the end of June a group of more than 20 Bay area Native American college students met with Bernie Sanders Surrogates Rosario Dawson, Kendrick Sampson, and Shailene Woodley who were on a #BernieBusTour stopping in San Jose, California. The open dialogue provided a space for Native students to express our thoughts, questions, and concerns about current issues within higher education and in the communities we live in. Since then we have kept close contact with Shailene, Rosario, and Kendrick. Once the coordination for the caravan began, I was notified and was immediately on board with it.
What message are you hoping to bring to the DNC?
There needs to be positive and meaningful change in our systems of government and within all that fall under that umbrella. So many marginalized communities, specifically indigenous communities, are being negatively affected by and fighting against fracking, land issues, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, police brutality, and so much beyond that. The urgency is stronger than ever for people facing these issues to come together and continue to fight for our rights as Indigenous people and as people of the world.
How will issues impacting Native communities/tribes be represented in the caravan?
As we make our way to the DNC, we will be stopping in certain cities gathering indigenous and local communities. Bringing these groups together and discussing what they and we are facing. Again, it is about uniting the nations and bringing all our issues to the forefront. Along the way, Urban Native Era, will be documenting these stories and sharing them to the greater public.
How can people get involved?
People can get involved going by joining us on the caravan, donating through our gofundme, or helping us if we stop at a city near them. For more info and to contact us go to www.UpToUs.net
LA TO PHILADELPHIA:
July 17: DRIVE LOS ANGELES TO FLAGSTAFF, AZ
July 18: DRIVE FLAGSTAFF, AZ TO SANTA FE, NM
July 19: DRIVE SANTA FE, NM TO BOULDER, CO
July 20: DRIVE BOULDER, CO TO LINCOLN, NE
July 21: DRIVE LINCOLN, NE TO FERGUSON, MO
July 22: DRIVE FERGUSON, MO TO COLUMBUS, OH
July 23: DRIVE COLUMBUS, OH TO PHILADELPHIA, PA
PORTLAND TO PHILADELPHIA:
July 17: DRIVE PORTLAND TO BOISE, ID
July 18: DRIVE BOISE, ID TO BOZEMAN, MT
July 19: DRIVE BOZEMAN, MT TO RAPID CITY, SD
July 20: DRIVE RAPID CITY, SD TO MINNEAPOLIS, MN
July 21: DRIVE MINNEAPOLIS, MN TO CHICAGO, IL
July 22: DRIVE CHICAGO, IL TO PITTSBURGH, PA
July 23: DRIVE PITTSBURGH, PA TO PHILADELPHIA, PA
*Joey will be participating in the LA to Philadelphia route
Joey Montoya is Lipan Apache from Texas, but was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. He started his own company called Urban Native Era which focuses on reclaiming who we are as Indigenous people of the 21st century by showing and bringing awareness not only on our culture, but issues that our Indigenous people are still facing today. He attends San Jose State University where he founded N.A.S.O. (Native American Student Organization). Throughout his time at SJSU he was able to discover his passion for art and is studying graphic design and advertising. He now lives in San Jose, CA where he continues to bring awareness to the great greater community.