What is land back?

Honor Indigenous Peoples' Day By Joining The Land Back Movement


The Land Back Movement is gaining momentum in the progressive community, and it’s led to many difficult conversations. Many are still grappling to understand the goals of the movement. Some are fearful of what it means, others simply curious.

In celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Brand New Congress reached out and asked me to share my perspective as a citizen of the Choctaw Nation. I am thrilled to do so. It’s important to note that my voice is only one of many, and it is incumbent on all who support Indigenous rights to listen to our collective experiences.

The Red Land Back flag flies in a smokey blue sky

Land Back has no singular meaning.

It is about sovereignty. It’s about revitalizing our traditional foods, languages, and cultures. It’s about the federal government honoring the Treaties they signed with our ancestors – Treaties with obligations that exist in perpetuity. It’s about restoring our People’s health through our traditional medicines and practices.

As an Indigenous person and public health activist working to address the health disparities impacting American Indians and Alaska Natives I review the statistics and wonder where we would be today had millions of acres of lands not been stolen from the first inhabitants of this nation.

#LandBack is about recognizing that the United States was built on stolen land by stolen labor. Land Back is teaching our children the true history of this country. Land Back is changing team mascots and removing statues.


  • Life expectancy: 5.5 years less than all races combined in the U.S.
  • Diabetes: one in six American Indian and Alaska Native adults, more than double the rate of the general U.S. population.
  • Obesity: American Indian and Alaska Natives adults are 50% more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic whites.

As an urban Indian (someone who lives away from Tribal lands), Land Back would mean access to necessary resources regardless of proximity to Tribal lands. It would mean my father, who relies solely on our Tribe for his healthcare wouldn’t have to drive over 12 hours multiple times a year to get the care that was promised to our ancestors.

Land Back isn’t just about the physical space, it is about the spiritual, emotional, and mental connection Native people have to it. It is about recognizing that the earth does not belong to us, but we belong to the earth. Land Back represents the generations that lived before us and future generations to come.

Land Back is about recognizing that the United States was built on stolen land by stolen labor. Land Back is teaching our children the true history of this country. Land Back is changing team mascots and removing statues.

It is about dignity, equity, and justice.

Jamie Ishcomer-Aazami is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a public health and indigenous rights activist. Her husband Shervin Aazami is running for Congress to represent California’s 30th district and is a member of the Brand New Congress slate.

Brand New Congress proudly supports the Land Back movement and commits to centering the voices and experiences of Tribal communities in developing this policy.

BNC is also working to elect bold progressive candidates like Jamie’s husband, Shervin Aazami, who will stand up for the rights of indigenous people in Congress.

Shervin has worked to advocate for Tribal communities struggling with water access, pollution, and food insecurity. While serving as the Director of Congressional Relations for the National Indian Health Board, he helped prepare Tribal leaders to give Congressional testimony, developed talking points, and issued briefs to assist their advocacy.

You can help us fight for the dignity of Indigenous people by supporting Shervin’s campaign to represent CA-30 in Congress. Will you split a contribution between Shervin’s campaign and BNC today?

As we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day today, Brand New Congress calls on all progressive allies to join us in support of the Land Back movement.

If you would like to learn more about the Land Back movement, we encourage you to check out this very thoughtful discussion hosted by Living On Earth, a weekly environmental news and information program distributed by PRX and based in Boston, MA. You can also watch this informative video by YouTuber Saint Andrewism.