Native Activism From the Town to South Dakota

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Marty Aranaydo and Tytianna Harris as part of the NDN Collective's direct action in Rapid City, South Dakota.

This past Independence Day, Oakland's Marty Aranaydo found himself a long way from the town.

Marty had joined up with the NDN Collective to scale a 100-foot grain silo in Rapid City, South Dakota. Atop it, the group unfurled a massive inverted American flag with the words, "LANDBACK" across it.

The direct action called for more than the transfer of territory back to indigenous tribes, on the bottom corner of the flag they also wrote "1505," to represent the growing number of indigenous children's unmarked graves found at native boarding schools throughout the US and Canada.   

A flag made by the NDN Collective atop a grain silo in Rapid City.

While Marty is a well-known DJ and aerosol writer, he isn't new to this kind of work. His family was involved in the original occupation of Alcatraz, direct action for social change is in his blood.

“What’s good for Indigenous people is good for all humanity," says Aranaydo.

In that vein, Marty has always been about loving and supporting his people. The first story I wrote on Marty was back in the spring of 2019, when I rolled up to his NVR OVR shop and found him sweeping the streets of the Tenderloin, one of the most dog poop-laden areas of San Francisco. We talked about how he was building his business on care for community and how his latest Zine aimed to connect neighbors.

This week on the Rightnowish podcast, we revisit that conversation and we check in with Marty to hear about the latest actions.

Rightnowish is an arts and culture podcast produced at KQED. Listen to it wherever you get your podcasts or click the play button at the top of this page and subscribe to the show on NPR One, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.