Honor Native Land Tax FAQs
What is the Honor Native Land Tax and who is behind it?
-The Honor Native Land Tax (HNLT) is a way to redistribute resources from settlers to Indigenous-led organizations committed to dismantling white supremacy, settler colonialism, and capitalism.
-The HNLT is a way to divest from settler colonialism and invest in Indigenous land, liberation, and futures by providing ongoing, unconditional financial support to Indigenous organizations.
-The HNLT is an opportunity for settlers to get more political and historical education about the land we live on.
-The HNLT is a way to move towards integrity in our relationships with the Indigenous people whose land we are currently occupying.
-The HNLT is a project of ABQ SURJ, a group of white-settlers organizing for racial justice primarily in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
What do we mean by settler colonialism and settlers? What if my family did not personally participate in the initial colonization of the so-called United States that occurred hundreds of years ago?
- Settler colonialism is the ongoing process of non-Native settlers occupying Native land, demanding their world views, morals, and economies be followed, while attempting to erase, assimilate, and replace the original inhabitants (
- Settlers are non-Indigenous peoples who have come to the so-called United States and live on land stolen from Native communities. All settlers, regardless of when they arrived, benefit from the stolen land and stolen labor that the United States is built on.
Why should I give to the Honor Native Land Tax?
- Over centuries, settlers have stolen and used Native space, infrastructure, and technologies (e.g. Indigenous land, their roads, irrigation systems, cultivation methods, and medicines) to create and accumulate wealth. To this day, that wealth remains in settler families. At the same time, settler-colonialism and capitalism have worked together to displace the negative consequences of development onto Native bodies and lands.
- For instance, economic development offers settlers – long-time and short-time residents alike – job opportunities and upward mobility. For Native peoples, progress in border towns like Albuquerque translates into environmental degradation on reservation land, rising costs of living in the city, and an increased call for police presence to defend gentrified neighborhoods. Settler colonial development requires violent exclusion.
- Regardless of political alignment, all settlers pay taxes that go to fund law enforcement agencies that commit violence against Native bodies
(“Native Americans are 3.1 times more likely to be killed by police than white Americans”). Police routinely terrorize unsheltered Native peoples in the interest of settler safety. Caught between police violence and the negative consequences of development, it becomes that much harder for Natives as a class of people to opt in and benefit from settler progress.
- These problems reflect structural violence that cannot be solved at the individual level. The Honor Native Land Tax acknowledges this complicated reality of occupation as it facilitates a coordinated redistribution of material benefits gained through colonization.
What organizations does the Honor Native Land Tax support and why did you choose these organizations instead of supporting tribes?
nineteen Pueblos, three Apache tribes (the
Fort Sill Apache Tribe, the
Jicarilla Apache Nation and the
Mescalero Apache Tribe), and the Navajo Nation in New Mexico are certainly underfunded. However, we decided that the most direct and profound way to support grassroots organizing for Native liberation would be to support organizations whose work benefits multiple tribes and Pueblos and who share our politics.
-We specifically wanted to build with revolutionary, grassroots, Native-led orgs that hold feminist, queer, and trans/2-spirit inclusive politics. With this criteria in mind, we asked The Red Nation (
TRN) and Pueblo Action Alliance (
PAA) to be our accountability partners. This means that we have an organizational relationship with them built on trust and ongoing accountability through action.
-All contributions are split evenly between TRN and PAA.
Who is Red Nation? Who is Pueblo Action Alliance?
- The Red Nation (TRN) is a coalition of Native and non-Native activists and organizers fighting for Native liberation from capitalism and colonialism. TRN uses the tactics of direct action, advocacy,
- Pueblo Action Alliance PAA)is a Native-led group that fights for environmental justice by centering the social impacts of environmental racism on Indigneous communities. Their main projects include the campaign to
Protect Greater Chaco, the
Indigenous Impact Community Care Initiative, and their
popular education work.
Why do you call it a tax? How would this fundraising effort work?
- We call the Honor Native Land Tax (HNLT) a tax to distinguish it from charity, and instead to situate it as part of our social responsibility. Typically, taxes work to pay for agreed-upon social and community needs. Currently, most of our tax dollars go to support militaristic violence on Turtle Island (center part of which we call the “United States”) and abroad. The HNLT is a tax that meets community needs by investing in Indigenous liberation. Even though we call it a tax, there is no legal obligation.
If you’re calling it a tax, why is the local / state government not administering it? Will you push to make the HNLT into law?
- It would be great if our colonial government took concrete steps to honor Indigenous Sovereignty! Pushing them to do so could be a worthy goal. Right now, our focus is to make the Honor Native Land Tax (HNLT) a successful long-term fund for radical Indigenous organizing and direct action. In order to do that, we’re putting our energy towards grassroots fundraising. If you have ideas for how to expand and deepen HNLT’s reach, through a legislative push or otherwise, let us know! We’d love to chat with you!
Why do you call money given to the Honor Native Land Tax a “contribution” and not a “donation.”
- While one might donate to nonprofits and charities, one contributes to their community. This distinction reflects the nature of the Honor Native Land Tax – not an endowment, but a relationship. That said, we are a fiscally sponsored project and so it is a tax deductible donation according to the IRS.
Are there already similar Honor Taxes elsewhere? Is this a model that works?
- Yes! HNLT is inspired by and modeled after
The Shuumi Land Tax,
The Manna-hatta Fund, and
Real Rent Duwamish.
- Like the Shuumi Land Tax, we recommend a tax amount based on the contributor’s relationship with stolen land in so-called New Mexico. For example, ABQ SURJ recommends a different contribution rate for low-income renters than high-income homeowners.
What if I don’t have much income/wealth or am not class privileged?
- Honor Native Land Tax is a cross-class project that allows anybody to contribute financially to the tax on a sliding scale basis. People who aren’t able to give financially can give in the form of energy, labor, and skills. If this is you, email us at ABQSURJ@gmail.com.
I donated to the COVID-19 relief fundraising effort. How is that different from the HNLT?
- The COVID-19 relief fund is a rapid response effort to meet immediate needs in the face of the pandemic. The fundraising effort directed people to six radical Indigenous, African, and Migrant-led organizations who continue to do COVID-19 related work in the face of the pandemic.
- The Honor Native Land Tax is a long-term project organizing toward revolutionary change. All contributions to the Honor Native Land Tax are given unconditionally to Pueblo Action Alliance and The Red Nation.
- For more on those two organizations and why we chose them see FAQ:
“What organizations does the Honor Native Land Tax support and why did you choose these organizations instead of supporting tribes?” and
“Who is Red Nation? Who is Pueblo Action Alliance?”
Why is a monthly contribution the best way to be a part of the Honor Native Land Tax?
-Ongoing, consistent contributions help our partners, Pueblo Action Alliance and The Red Nation, to plan more clearly and easily. Our goal is to offer no-strings attached resources so that both groups can maintain their focus on Indigenous liberation, and monthly contributions provide the consistency that they need to do that work.
-Monthly contributions are a way of showing our commitment to the long-haul work of organizing for Indigenous futures, land, air, and water. This project is connected to a vision of shifting the extractive history of settler colonialism toward a generative future. As monthly contributions grow, our commitment to that vision and all of the work it entails can deepen.
How does Albuquerque SURJ/Honor Native Land Tax make decisions?
We have a core team that makes decisions for ABQ SURJ that practices consensus-based decision making. This means that for all major decisions we make we want the majority of the group to be in support of the decision. We move slowly to allow time for reflections, constructive feedback, outright rejections, and amendments. As part of this process, we share written proposals well before we meet to allow time for thoughtful reflection. We only move forward after a series of conversations that take into account any feedback.
Where can I contribute and where does my contribution go?
You can make your contribution electronically (link here) or you can send a check to our fiscal sponsor, Southwest Organizing Project: 211 10th St. SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102 with "Honor Native Land Tax" in the memo line. After our merchant processing fee and our SWOP fiscal sponsorship fee of 7%, 100% of contributions are split evenly between Pueblo Action Alliance and The Red Nation. That means that no contributions go to ABQ SURJ.
I want to change the amount I contribute, how do I do that?
If you want to change the amount you contribute, click the link in your email receipt to cancel your contribution (to find this email easily, in the search bar of your email search: “Receipt - Honor Native Land Tax”). Once you’ve canceled your original contribution, sign up (again!) to contribute at your desired amount. If you have any questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is my contribution tax deductible (to the IRS)?
Yes, ABQ SURJ is working with a 501c3 organization, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) so your contribution is tax deductible.
How did you come up with the calculator?
-Our process was guided by our goals that the calculator be:
*Easy to use,
*A representation of our values,
*An effective tool for political education around class and capitalism,
*And supportive to us in achieving our fundraising goals.
-At first we thought the “tax” should be based on an individual’s income but we realized that class is much more complicated than just your paycheck . With income-only calculations or flat tax rates, poor people end up subsidizing rich people (want to learn more about this?
Watch this video!). We sought to create a calculator that would consider overlooked factors that make up our class experience. We also took into account the specificity of wealth inequality in New Mexico.
-We worked with people across the class spectrum to come up with our initial giving levels. As it works now, the calculator is a tool to encourage a meaningful monthly contribution that can challenge one’s entitlement to money made on stolen land. We’re trying it out to see how it works, and you can tell us what you think
here! We are open to changing it as we learn more because we intend the calculator to be an evolving document and not “the truth” about how much you should give. In this respect, the calculator reflects our value to resist perfectionism and
white supremacy culture.