ALLEN Salway

Who is Allen Salway?

Growing up on the Navajo Nation lands in eastern New Mexico, Allen Salway was raised without running water or electricity in his home. His family drove two hours twice a week to haul gallons of clean water to their home so they had clean drinking and bathing water. They had to use gas lamps and flashlights to light their home. They didn’t have paved roads or access to 911 services during emergencies. Their home didn’t have an official address as a home on tribal land.

Salway is a 22 year old college student, writer, and activist, and part of the Diné, Oglala Lakota, and Tohono O'odham tribes. His experience growing up has influenced him in everything he does and his culture is a vital part of his identity that he represents in his work. As a college student he is pursuing a degree in American Indian Studies hoping to continue his education studying Tribal Law in the future. 

More immediately, these issues of Native peoples' rights and access to water in particular permeate Salway’s social media brand, @lilnativeboy on both Twitter and Instagram. His substantial platform of now more than 160k followers across both Twitter and Instagram were started after a thread of tweets he made about his experience growing up went viral. He continues to speak about these topics to amplify the voices of Indigenous people and the issues they face. Salway has become a pivotal organizer in Indigenous activism.

Salway is more than just another trending social media influencer, though; he facilitates real education and change through his work. As a writer, he has had articles published on sites like Teen Vogue and Paper Magazine. He has also been featured in numerous articles on sites such as the Washington Post, Huffington Post, New York Times, Paper Magazine, MTV News, Distractify, Revelist, and more. Salway also participated in a conference on sustainability called Study Hall in 2019. 

Beyond his social media efforts and writing, Salway is personally active in many events directly contributing to support these efforts. His biggest role is as an ambassador for DigDeep and their Navajo Water Project helping to bring water and electricity to Navajo families. He collaborated with DigDeep on a raffle campaign for Indigenous People’s Day in 2019 that raised over $100,000, enough to provide twenty-two families water and electricity in their homes for the first time. He also held an event for #GivingTuesday which raised the funds to provide 63 families running water. 

Salway pursues this work with vigor because he knows it is important and he wants to be a role model for his community. He spends much of his time developing resources to educate others by providing articles and writing on the topics himself about his own experience. He focuses on amplifying the issues of other native communities and supporting them despite being a struggling college student with his own burdens as well. On his social media pages you can often see him deflecting the heavy subject matter through his use of memes and topical comedy to discuss the issues that are so important to him. This levity is important to prevent himself and supporters from being discouraged while still always raising awareness. 

You can follow Salway @lilnativeboy on both Twitter and Instagram, or seek out more information about DigDeep and the Navajo Water Project.

Want to learn more about Allan Salway's work? Click here to learn more.

Allen Salway and DigDeep Water

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