Change the Offensive Name -- Sign Petition Here!

Indian Voices
January 27, 2023

There’s a sub-committee in Congress overseeing all Native issues, which used to be called the Subcommittee for Indian and Insular Affairs.

Since “Indian” is a colonizer word and “insular” means uncivilized, ignorant, and narrow-minded, Natives advocated for a name change.

Our ally in Congress Rep. Raúl Grijalva played an important role in updating the name to the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States. This reflects what we want to be called and more accurately describes our relationship to this land and the U.S. Congress. We are Indigenous to this country. We are sovereign nations.

However, MAGA Republicans in Congress have changed the name back to the Subcommittee for Indian and Insular Affairs. This is a shameful act and an insult to Native communities, which attempts to diminish our inherent and legal standing as nations once again -- as if Indigenous communities are not a part of the U.S. They need to call us by what we want to be called, not the terms that colonizers used.

Please sign the petition to Congress: Change the insulting and offensive name of the Subcommittee for Indian and Insular Affairs back to the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States.


We plan to deliver petition signatures to Rep. Raúl Grijalva to have his back in changing the name of this important subcommittee back to “Indigenous Peoples of the United States.”

We plan to deliver the petitions to the MAGA leadership, Rep. Harriet Hageman, of the sub-committee to let them know we are a political force that is ready to press for changes for the good of our communities.

The subcommittee covers management of Native lands, the relationship between the federal government and Native communities and Tribes, sovereignty, and other matters relating to Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Native Alaskans.

With a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, there’s a new chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, which includes the subcommittee in question. The new chair is Rep. Bruce Westerman, who has fought to expand pipelines like the Keystone XL pipeline, and who wants to expand fossil fuel development, harmful resource extraction and mining projects on sacred lands and waters.

This puts him at odds with Native communities across the country, who want to limit fossil fuel production and mining on Tribal lands, and who are fighting to co-manage federal lands and waters in order to protect Mother Earth and our communities.

We want MORE consultation with and consent from Tribes before allowing environmentally devastating projects, and Rep. Westerman wants to get rid of such limits. He has fought for changes to permitting laws that would directly attack our sovereign right to co-manage land, water and air in accordance with our traditional ecological knowledge and values.

Unfortunately, he just named Rep. Harriet Hageman as the chair on the Subcommittee. She ran against a Native activist to represent Wyoming, and she is a lifelong supporter of the fossil fuel industry.

We’ve fought to protect our lands and waters from pipelines and other harmful fossil fuel and resource extraction projects, as well as harmful mining projects. But Rep. Hagerman is against limiting or blocking these projects. For years she has also fought against protections for forests that are vital to our ecosystems.

We need to defend our values to make sure Congress supports -- rather than harms -- Native communities. That starts with ensuring that Congress takes our lead on how we want to be referred to, and calling us by what we want to be called, not by what colonizers called us.

Please sign now to demand Congress change the insulting name of the Subcommittee for Indian and Insular Affairs back to the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States.

We’re up against a lot in this new Congress, and we’re going to keep paying attention to this subcommittee’s work.

Hawwih (thank you),

Judith Le Blanc (Caddo)
Executive Director