#DeleteFacebook? Not in Indian CountryThe social network has done more for bolstering the modern Indigenous rights agenda than perhaps any other platform of our time.
By Jenni Monet
yesmagazine.org In the last 48 hours, I’ve seen several people turn to one social network, Twitter, to vent their frustrations about another one: Facebook. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which data from over 50 million Facebook profiles were secretly mined for voter insights, it sparked what some have called a #DeleteFacebook movement. But not in Indian Country. Deleting Facebook would be like pulling the plug at the party, rendering total darkness and, what’s more, deafening silence (where there’s already plenty of that). And it’s not just Indian Country that would feel the extreme disconnect in a Facebook-less scenario. The entire Indigenous world would reel from its absence. To be sure, the social network has done more for bolstering the modern Indigenous rights agenda than perhaps any other platform of our time. My ancestors, during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, performed what my colleague Mark Trahant describes as one of the earliest demonstrations of social media: a foot race of sorts. Delivering coded messages literally delivered in strands of yucca rope tied in knots, runners crossed the desert alerting other tribal communities of the coming of brutal Spanish colonizers. Each knot effectively communicated to a coalition of Pueblo defenders. They organized and carried out a successful army defeat. Today, tribal communities rally around the same cause: to protect Indigenous life and land. Facebook is the yucca rope.
His day was just getting started as mine was winding down. A young Indigenous mango farmer living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh — easily one of the most militarized regions of all of Southeast Asia — Chakma had called me using Facebook, of course, his only means of digital communication. Our messaging was carried over from all that we still had left to say after we both hung up. It was the first time we had communicated since we last saw each other on the banks of his jungle village in Hajachara, 2014. #DeleteFacebook? Not. Even. Close. Jenni Monet wrote this article for her personal blog. Jenni is an award-winning journalist and tribal member of the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico. She’s also executive producer and host of the podcast Still Here. This article originally appeared on YES! Magazine. It is published under a Creative Commons license.