Something Else: A survey to share your thoughts

(Photo courtesy of IllumiNative, File)

Vincent Schilling

The Native community backlash to CNN’s elections graphic is humorous, clever and sometimes volatile

Vincent Schilling
Indian Country Today

Are you something else? Or else something? You say your great-grandmother was a full-blood something else? Your “something else” animal is an eagle? Do you speak “something else”? Do you have any special “something else” traditional dance moves?

Such has been the climate on Native social media for the past week after CNN posted a graphic showing election results on Nov. 4. Among the tabulations were White voters at 65 percent, Latino at 13 percent, Black at 12 percent, Asian at 3 percent, and 6 percent “something else.”

(Related: 'Something else' may make all the difference this election)

Several Native organizations and high-profile Native personalities on social media responded. The network later told APTN News that its exit poll results included a poor choice of words, and in no way did it intend to “minimize the importance of Indigenous communities and the Native American vote.”

As the National Congress of American Indians has noted, lack of data often renders Native people invisible to media and governmental agencies, thus relegating us to an “Asterisk Nation” rather than a data point.

A new ‘Something Else’ survey

Crystal Echo Hawk, Pawnee, executive director of the national Native-led nonprofit IllumiNative, has been reaching out to Indian Country for its views on the “something else” incident and the erasure of Native people in the media.

In partnership with the Native Organizers Alliance, Center for Native American Youth, the University of Michigan and UC Berkeley, Echo Hawk says, “we’re launching the Something Else Survey of Native voters to challenge our erasure in voting data and demonstrate the strength and influence of our diverse peoples and Nations.”

Echo Hawk says the survey takes only a few minutes. It is available here: https://tinyurl.com/SomethingElseSurvey 

Indian Country’s response to #SomethingElse

Meanwhile, Indian Country on social media is still rolling with the trend. Some have even come out with merchandise around the idea of "Something else and proud." A few highlights:

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Vincent Schilling, Akwesasne Mohawk, is associate editor at Indian Country Today. He enjoys creating media, technology, computers, comics, and movies. He is a film critic and writes the #NativeNerd column. Twitter @VinceSchilling. TikTok @VinceSchilling. Email: vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com.

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