Long talks in the woods
Imagining futures from an anti colonial framework:
An Indigenist perspective
By Krista Flute
Edited by Nadia Mahi, Susan DeLisle & Mohamed Abdou
Settler Insights and consultations by Jenny Davis Lanciault
Before I start, and in light that it needs saying, Black Lives Matter, in light of Indigenous History Month and Pride month, I’m going to open with the following statement.
This speech is spoken in the belief that all Black Lives Matter. Old Black lives and young Black lives matter. Incarcerated Black lives and unsheltered Black lives matter. A-Neurotypical Black lives matter. Addicted Black lives matter. Disabled Black lives matter. Trans Black lives matter. Trans Black lives who are responsible for the freedom of white queers, a freedom you still fight for. Your lives matter.
This speech stands for a radical practice of Land Back! For an end to all that contributes to missing and murdered Indigenous People’s. Indigenous peoples of all our (once) normalized genders, roles and sexualities. An end to missing and murdered Two Spirit lives, responsible for the language white queer folks can reconnect and re identify themselves with, yet we still fight for as they managed to colonize and place our multiplicities into new binaries. You might be missing, but you are not invisible to us, we love you. .
This speech is spoken locally and globally for the world's Indigenous and colonized peoples, that borders on our lands are illegal, people are NOT illegal. That an end to occupation and non Indigenous governance and land systems must occur; from Turtle Island to Palestine. Your freedom is our freedom!
This speech is spoken for an end to the system that enables it all, and in fact is what this is about.
Han, Krista emáciyapi ye
Malákota na wamásicu.
Oyáte mitáwa kiŋ Húŋkpapa na Cajun ewícakiyapi.
Iŋyáŋ Woslál Haŋ oyáŋke hemátahaŋ.
Homáksicala k'uŋ héhaŋ wamánu na Akanadakwig/Katarokwi makóce el amái. Waŋná Algonquin oyáte makóce el watí. Maudawaskarini otúŋwahe ta el watí.
I am Krista, I’m Lakota and Cajun from Standing Rock, displaced to the land colonially known as Kingston, on the lands of the Huron-Wendat, Algonquin, Mississauga and Mohawks, as an infant survivor of the 60’s scoop. I now live in the town colonially known as Bancroft. In the lands of the Algonquin.
I’m going to talk today about imagining futures from an anti colonial framework. This is directed at both settlers and the world's colonized peoples. Portions are directed specifically at settlers, but are equally important for the rest of us, we must see our own assimilation. This is a topic that is personal to me as I live with the impacts of colonialism daily. I have survived many atrocities under it and have been fighting back since I was in my teens and left my “adoptive home”. I’m not alone in this. I’m one of millions in the Americas, and one of billions of world Indigenous folks surviving multiple traumas and or dying under colonialism globally.
We live in a settler colonial state by force of:
or as setter occupation.
Each an aspect of colonialism’s population base.
What is colonialism? It is the policy or practice of occupation of another land and people (as resources) for economic control. Colonialism is the basis of the economy today, wiping out, outlawing or devaluing other versions of economy beyond its production based market economy.
That is what Canada is by definition, practice history and ideology. If we hope for a future without oppression, it must be anti colonial and decolonial.
So what do I mean by anti colonial and decolonial. While some like to claim there are many definitions of decolonization, there is only one accurate definition. The root of de is undo. Decolonial is to undo colonialism. All of it. Its systems, structures, institutions, states and absolutely its view of life as a resource to control. Europe’s recreation of Rome, and now perhaps it’s fall, is due to europe's micro elite maintaining aspects of Roman civilization, and viewing them as ideals not just in the wake of it’s fall but for centuries after.
To be anti colonial is to oppose colonialism. But for as long as Indigenous people have been fighting colonialism across the globe and generations, the colonial state has co opted decolonization to mean various forms of neocolonialism - a re colonization sanctioned by an ethnic micro elite, or what my people call hang around the fort. They uphold white supremacy and fulfill token and puppet roles1. In all this anti colonial can become a support of state suggested neo colonial policies and agendas to the unaware “ally”. Canada is deep in this process but as a settler colonial state.
Canada isn’t unique or exceptional in this. It’s not new and the path it lays out is clear. Failing Indigenous neo colonial Nations are held financially hostage to the IMF and their colonizers, locking them in the market economy which colonized them, resulting in coercion or war by colonial states across the globe to still exploit their land and people via resource extraction.
Canada’s solution as a settler state is an internal version officially called modern treaties and self determination . My people call them the extermination tables. We will be held even further financially dependent on the state and its resource extraction economy. Things haven’t changed in the past 600, or 150 years. Colonialism has progressed.
The new process is to turn First Nations into municipalities dependent on the same thing as every other municipality; taxes, private property, businesses etc. This would mean that if these communities and or members can’t afford to maintain their property via the colonial economy, it will be lost to the bank where it can be sold to settlers or corporations. A micro version of the fate of decolonizing Haiti, Africa and Asia. This next step needs one more thing, which it has. It wipes out rights and title making section 35 of the constitution (Indigenous rights, title and consent) irrelevant. That’s the end, effectively achieving Duncan Scott’s goal of no more (legal) Indian problem. This is legally, the last generation here if this finishes. Treatied and sold into extinction. Everytime you hear support for reconciliation, you are hearing support for the state's co-opted neo colonialism whether you’re aware of it or not. Honestly, reconciliation feels like an abusive partner handing you flowers while blocking you from walking out the door, then beating you again that same night.
Importantly, colonialism is a taking of freedom and responsibility for our lives. As the world’s colonized people’s, we need to take back that freedom and responsibility for our lives, undo colonialism. The direction and undoing of colonialism, in the lands we stand on, decolonization, is the work of Indigenous people. It has to be. We are of this land, we know this land's ways or laws. We hold the structures and systems.
Anti colonialism, opposing colonialism would be a variety of things which support Indigenous decolonization and are done by all, actively attacking colonialism and living in opposition to it to erode its foundations. Colonialism is a toxic relationship. As the toxic partner, settlers must begin to unpack and stop these toxic ways if they are to ask colonized peoples to have a healthy relationship. The same goes for this land. We don’t have a right to be in relationships with other beings, we have a responsibility to do so. We left the kin relationships of Earth’s beings. We don’t get to demand it back, nor do we get to demand our newly required patriarchal notions of what that relationship is. We have to come back behaving as beings who are not toxic. Settlers, having instituted and upheld the structures which forced this behaviour, most certainly need to adopt: radically new, foreign to them, behaviours. To come in sync with what is considered an appropriate relationship here. And we have to earn our way into intimacy with other beings in our ecosystems.
As we know resource extraction doesn’t just decimate and harm human populations but all populations of beings. We come to the point where the beings we are harming the most is the very Earth on which we live and the waters that make up 60% of our own existence. Many learned the Lakota term “Mni Wiconi” or “Water Is Life” during Standing Rock. Mni Wiconi is a term invented for settlers. Mni is my people’s word for water. The root of Mni is M - my ni- life. We literally call water “my life” (already). Wiconi translates to an all inclusive “our life”. So when we say Mni Wiconi we are explaining to you an understanding of water, relationships with water: I would like a drink of my life. Wash your hands with my life. They are poisoning my life.
Living colonially is destroying our life.
We can’t just rewind to an imagined settler purity of pioneer days. Those were bloody and destroyed this land as much as it does today. Whole landscapes were cleared! Mass extraction occurred non stop. Mass extinction of human and non human beings. Your ancestors were shocked at the abundance we had and then destroyed it. Abundance they refused to understand we helped in. Pioneer lifestyles are not in relationship to this land. The climate might be similar, the soil might support it. But this land is not the same. This land will never support a european lifestyle without oppression - needing to take from beyond our ecosystem. That’s a relationship that belongs nowhere. It’s a civilization level lifestyle only and that’s always been hierarchical and therefore oppressive.
The entire thing is a purposeful package, including the ecological destruction causing climate crisis. The ecological destruction causes dependency on what remains; its market or production based economy. This makes dependency a guaranteed profit. We are forced into the least effective means of survival as it creates the most profit (dependency). When the plains were cleared of buffalo (and many humans) we were forced to participate, to clear and sell land. It’s not advancement or abundance. Man made starvation, homelessness, human trafficking, addiction, pandemics, these are issues of civilization. They are created by civilization. That ineffective means of survival increases the destruction of ecosystems to continue its part of the system - participation and dependency on it. That climate crisis (ineffective means of survival and mass production) impacts the colonized - is racial -as it is based on white supremacy, and it is by design, as it’s built into the structure of colonialism. Everything occurs elsewhere so the impacts do also. This is what we call environmental racism and why climate action is ineffective if not of a anti racism - anti oppression- anti colonial - decolonial orientation.
What’s occurring is remarkably unoriginal really. It’s not even remarkable in european terms. Just this version is. Civilizational forces invade tribal and Nation based people, destroy the land, force them to farm or labour. If you decide to pretend you choose it, then you’ll be compensated.
In the fight to have the most, states pick on smaller states with the help of other empires and bodies of the invaded. I think that’s enough reason to justify why another framework of how we envision our futures is necessary. An anti colonial framework.
So how do we come together in anti colonial and decolonial frameworks? Well first we need to recognize we aren’t together. Descendants of enslaved peoples, those forced to migrate by the impacts of colonialism (namely genocide), Indigenous folks. Each are involved. So where are we? Look at your friends lists on social media. The similarities between urban and rural settler friendships and circles are remarkably similar actually. So, how many Black, Brown and Indigenous folks from colonized Nations are on your list? Aka World Indigenous folks. (Here’s the similarity) How many are your actual friends? Now look at their friends lists? If they’re friends lists look ethnically like yours, they probably won’t ever tell you you’re racist. They’ve learned not to. If you wonder why, consider the reactions of you or your friends when told you have said, done, or expressed something that is racist. Consider your reaction when you hear someone tell one of your friends this, who do you defend?. They’ve also learned not to tell you the realities of world Indigenous people, especially in your own beloved canada. Again due to the invalidation of their reactions on the bases of your disbelief or justification. We call this erasure. In alot of cases people of color have chosen to be active participants in colonialism. That happens. We’ve all been through generations of assimilation policies. We need you to learn and we need to talk about the traumatic and reoccurring issues of racism while you listen and act. Our lives are depending on it. It’s time to silence racism, not those who name it.
Learn, by choosing to read and listen to marginalized people speak on these issues so you can recognize racism and how it functions and what it is, how colonialism functions and what it is. All these are necessary steps in being safe enough to have healthy relationships with marginalized people. Safe spaces, safe relationships require addressing racism and oppression so we aren’t exposed to it, harming our mental well being. Actively anti colonial, actively anti racist means telling your Aunt when she’s racist. Demanding it as a quality in your life. Some folks find that a horrendous request. “I can’t cut out racists from my life!”
Why not? Too many? Imagine if someone told you their friend was a really good person despite being in the KKK? Doesn’t sound quite acceptable does it? It is the same. Just to be clear, I’m not saying go hunting for racialized friends. That’s just creepy. Nor am I saying cut out someone the moment they show their racism, you all have it. Rather, be safe individuals and safe community. Educate your skin folk. But do cut out the ones who refuse to learn. We, marginalized folks need you to listen when the racism in animal rights or environmentalism is pointed out. Speak up against ableism and racism of anti vax campaigns. Denounce the white supremacy behind most conspiracy theories related to health and population. We need you to see the racist fear behind food security, financial security, property security and the security of white womanhood. When someone says their racism is just a joke, remember what it feels like to be pointed and laughed at. Imagine if it was posted in social media as a meme that mocks your existence, then speak and act. You must act cuz we aren’t actually talking about being laughed at. We’re talking about lifelong violence and possible murder, Safe spaces.
Now we can’t just sit around and wait for a change in social or local demographics for an ideal anti colonial conversation. We can’t live in a bubble. Self sustainablity is rare in nature. Life is all about being inter-sustainable. Anti colonial and decolonial actions need to become intertwined in our inter sustainable webs. We need to bring each other together.
Ultimately however racism, white supremacy, oppression are built into the daily functioning of colonialism. So long as the colonial state stands, so does every necessary aspect of its existence. Voting and rights are irrelevant. Laws, ultimately uphold states, Politicians uphold states. Colonial politicians (regardless of ethnicity) uphold colonial states. That’s their job. We like to think they're idiots, but they have one job, they understand it and are currently accomplishing it. It’s time we start understanding it too!
So now we want to envision anti colonial / decolonial frameworks, living in ways that will allow for healthy relationships, together for our futures as one small part of our ecosystems. We look after each other. We work together where we are all at. We see our survival as intertwined with the equality of survival of all in our communities and ecosystems. With our neighbours. What needs can we try fulfilling together in healthy ways.
We might first look at food, firewood (a portion of shelter) and likely find that by necessity education has to be included. We start talking about what we can each contribute in these areas to these tasks of living. And this is where we make a change. We collectively ask, how do we alter this plan to bring it outside colonial structures. We look for barriers we have not seen or heard. We check our racism and assimilation into viewing this civilization as holding the only viable (supreme) options. Where are we collecting our new ideas and information from? Is our learning on these matters replicating white supremacy? Is our learning primarily Eurocentric? Are our sources for education primarily eurocentric? If we wish to create anti colonial alternatives we have to look outside colonialism for the understanding and learning to do so. The politicians green new deal is still steeped in colonialism2. The settler farmers green resistance is steeped in colonialism too.
We reorient to a thought process based on relationships to life. Look at how we grow food. First we clear land of all present plant, animal and insect life. Then we choose what foods will live there for the purpose of providing us, and only us humans (well those worthy enough to pay for the privilege of food). If other beings feed on it we call them pests instead of relatives. Yes, we grow animal feed under colonialism - for the animals who serve under our control. Indigenous systems work alongside other food cultivators growing food in areas they belong. Yes, some Indigenous Nations here did do low levels of farming but this farming was communal and equivalent to family gardens in size per person in the community. This is very different from settler farming, I’d call it communal gardening. Further south is an ecosystem and culture that provides differently and can’t be compared to here. In the past some Indigenous Nations in some parts of mid North America did farm in greater capacity (the mound builders), but we have known history of how that harmed life3 - déjà vu for us.
In Indigenous systems we are part of a whole life system and not just a humanist system. We aid other beings in propagating the foods we all eat. Wild rice feeds soils, fowl, fish and mammals. All of which work together to keep the water clean. Yet settlers cleared wild rice for swimming and fishing. Many, especially cottagers, still oppose it. Wild rice was the backbone of many water ecosystems in canada and the US. From my people in the Dakota’s to the lands of the Algonquin who hold this plant being in high esteem as it brought them and others back to living with the land's laws3.
Let’s look at wild rice. If more people plant and harvest wild rice we have more wild rice. Everyone from humans to fish and birds has more wild rice. More folks would get canoes to plant and harvest the wild rice and (hopefully) we would be able to involve more folks with them (we’ll need these folks to process anyways). We also become a growing force insistent on wild rice and wild rice harvesting. We would also stop buying commercial rice, and we would reduce our buying of commercial fish too by increasing the availability of wild fish by increasing food and habitat for fish via wild rice.. Producing commercial “wild” rice takes one person and machines. It’s expensive, produces little, doesn’t fully reseed (ineffective). The colonial method is a job that eats up all of a person's time, and requires others to purchase the product, and therefore serves in upholding and creating colonial jobs too. It hoards knowledge of the process forcing dependency on the colonial system. Traditional wild rice harvesting is a process that takes a whole community. Those harvesting, those processing, those physically incapable of directly participating to harvesting and processing are still able to participate such as keeping an eye on the children and preparing food. The traditional harvest involves everyone, brings everyone into relationships, gives everyone responsibilities and purpose to fulfill. It passes knowledge to the entire community generation by generation. Suddenly we can share in feeding many more relatives and in many more ways. The circle is much greater than this of course from canoe building to storage, cooking and more5.
Now suddenly you have many more relatives to feed, not just the humans in your community. While the immediate trade offs are not obvious, in the long run, a whole and inclusive system requires less labour and less destruction. Short term, it’s a lot of work and something to transition to. But, each step must purposefully be anti colonial, anti oppressive and decolonial because it reconnects us with land in a way beyond our dependency on state and capitalism. If that’s not our first goal, it won’t be our end result. Asking, answering and meeting these questions is how to transform our ideas into actions to make sure they are anti colonial, decolonial, anti racist, anti oppressive.
It’s not always as easy as it seems. An Indigenous friend of mine recently told me of an idea some settlers brought to her. They’d organize queer anarchist settlers to start hunting to provide traditional meat to Indigenous families. This idea is fully neo colonial and not anti colonial. It re-instates dependency from the white elite to white leftists as leftovers. Who will take on Indigenous ways they have access too (and we lack), on our behalf. They are doing it for us so that they can justify they’re self indigenization with Indigenous “support” via dependency. They did not receive my friend’s support of this idea. There’s more to traditional meat than just hunting6.
How do we think about our food in respectful ways. I bet those who garden view their relationship with food to be respectful. I bet vegetarians also do. And yet settler food cultures strongly view consumption as disrespectful. It’s little wonder why, respect and consumption are incompatible in a production / consumption based civilization. Settler food cultures don’t eat animals they respect / humanize > family dogs, cute seals. Vegetarianism / Veganism see animal lives (or having deaths) as too similar to ours, so out of respect, animal consumption is off the menu. Settler society at large shows a complete disregard for plant life beyond consumption as food as medicine and shelter. Respect is understanding plant life and death, truly engaging in acts that give thanks and show respect through the ways we relate to plants life’s cycles. There’s a lot to know. I’m no expert. There are some things I know well but much more I’m learning. We need to accept that we have much to learn in order to relearn a new way of understanding so we form new ways of behaving. We have to accept we need to keep getting better at it. Like we must accept the inherent racism we experience and see life through. We must understand we don’t actually respect plant life within consumption based lifestyles. This is evident by the fact that most settlers believe they are not taking a life when consuming plants7. We need to build relational full life cycle lifestyles.
I’ve not decolonized successfully before. Cuz uh, here I am. It’s pretty rare. An example to look to would be the Zapatistas but their land provides very differently. The Wet’suwet’en are working on it. It’s too early to tell but they are moving towards decolonization as best as they can figure one step at a time. I do know the ways of this land are based on different understandings than what we’ve all experienced in our lives. And that’s important. Understanding impacts outcome. And in this situation we need to understand civilization, colonialism, white supremacy and the healthy relationships we wish to live in. That’s a tall order and will likely take many attempts and redirections.
The state (via various levels), corporations, NGO’s, all manage our lives and needs. Services that they agree to provide are paid for in taxes (and market economy - resource extraction - production). Under colonialism needs are delivered rather than met. When we talk about providing as a community in relationships with our ecosystems, in opposition to colonialism, outside of colonialism, we are talking about disengagement. Colonialism depends on engagement. Market economies, production & destruction depends on engagement. White supremacy depends on engagement (or at least, complicity, which is largely how we engage in general). We must understand this if we are to understand this is a conversation about active disengagement, an active detangling of all the ways the roots of colonialism, oppression, civilization has entangled itself into every aspect of our lives, whether we see it or not.
Priscilla Ybarra in “Writing the Good Life, Mexican American Literature and the Environment” draws on Mignolo and describes decolonial disengagement: “In short decoloniality is a practice of disengaging and dethinking from western epistemology7” (or theory). “Accordingly, we can trace the idea back to the Bandung Conference of 1955 where twenty-nine Nations from Africa and Asia - Nations that had recently taken a stand against colonization- met in Indonesia to reject the options of both capitalism and communism, as well as to resist the imposition of choosing sides”.8
Unfortunately the nations who termed the word decolonial at this conference, suggested disengagement and rejected being forced into western civilization’s two main forms, were forced to choose one of these two options and have been paying that price to western civilization and their colonizers ever since.
We must understand disengagement isn’t an allowed option.
Choose it anyways.
Opposing colonial systems to undermine them at their weak point - engagement /disengagement. The purpose being to help erode the colonial systems and structures, while building alternative options because the colonial system is destructive and kills in an oppressive trajectory,. So let’s look at some key points of oppression in the systems we want to disengage from. Do they meet all of this? Have our priorities whitewashed our disengagement?
Earlier I suggested food, firewood (as part of shelter) and education / learning as starting points. I choose those based on where this talk is located in Hastings Highlands. Food is first to the minds of most. Food is distributed in oppressive forms that have been colonized. Hungry people go to jail for stealing food. Firewood is used by many in the area and was used traditionally. It’s an oppressive cost for many people, especially in today’s home styles. (They are so not efficient). Furthermore it’s a resource seen as largely belonging to the state, who reaps live wood. Education is open to all but economics and race impact multiple aspects of “success” under this system which will determine life worthiness later on.
While on the surface these fit the bill. I would suggest that this top three list is Eurocentric. Health and security are systems settlers tend to worry will disappear without the state. Whereas for World Indigenous people these are the systems we are most frequently harmed by. Furthermore, I would suggest that without health and community concern and care (in replace of state security) impoverished, multigenerational blended and split families, and likewise impoverished and alone, as many racialized families and people are; the ability to participate in community, disengaging from colonial food, wood and education would be insurmountable for many. And more than likely news of it won’t reach most of the lowest socioeconomic, especially racialized class without intent: this has to start with us and our needs.
Including health as well as community care and concern in food, wood and education/learning can become seamless but it requires relationships. Until privilege understands the anxiety of going to a doctor or the hospital because it will all be blamed on your blood pressure, diabetes, weight or “are you sure you don’t use drugs”. Until privilege understands calling the cops on an abusive partner means the other partner loses the kids, that a mental health call is a full cop take down, and possible murder, disengagement from colonialism isn’t occurring with intent and won’t be the end result.
We need relationships to know how to care for each other. We need to see that a single parent doesn’t want the food you enjoyed growing dropped off, rather they want the ability to choose to be involved. Without a relationship all these needs will require requests that need to be granted. Within a relationship we hear and understand needs and abilities and meet them. We want to meet them and we want to be involved.
Part of having good relationships is the need to realize that what’s been promoted as good in the eyes of settlers under colonialism has been the exact opposite experience for colonized people and that is by design. This is white supremacy, that by design you will have a visceral reaction when people of colour say they’ve never met a good cop, never personally had a kind teacher or always felt dehumanized by nurses. These are your heroes. These are our school to prison pipeline and death by neglect. And currently that’s in clear view under both covid and the horrific upswing in police violence and how they’ve worked together .
What is the fallout of disengagement? Well, as we’ve been seeing, it’s two fold. Increased instability of systems dependent on engagement - like the market economy. A push to reinforce engagement from the bottom up. Say this community disengages 35% from food, heat, education, health and security. Will the school remain open? Will it still make sense for the well being of your community for it to remain open? What sanctions will be suggested to keep it open by those attached to colonial institutions. How accessible are the alternatives we’ve developed? Are we willing to defend disengagement - defend anti colonialism and decolonization. We must become willing to prepare to defend a complete end to oppression because vulnerable families are more likely to be sanctioned, targeted and punished. This isn’t speculation, the colonial system has forced us, as colonized peoples to engage. When american police stations, the house of the institution created as slave catchers, are burned in response to ongoing police murders of Black Folks over 150 years later; That is an act of forceful disengagement (from 1 system within a whole). The response from the state and those who believe in the system has three offers:
The fascist violent response to forcefully maintain the oppressive norms of white supremacy.
The neoliberal bowed knees to assure the settler masses nothing will truly change if they just take a silent moment.
The neocolonial appeal to meet part way but most certainly maintain the white supremacist state. This is the response to defund the police but rebuild a suitable replacement with Leaders of colour aka Fanon’s ethnic micro elite.
If you believe colonial leaders can create a better security system this time, I remind you that emancipation given from the settler state brought us this current prison and police system globally. This has to go all the way folks, and yet we lack the alternatives or much of an analysis of how frequently one oppressed people repeats the downfalls of each one before us.
It will hurt feelings. It will end jobs. To end oppression is to take away privilege. It is absolutely a sacrifice. If I say go and put post it notes on everything you have that comes from white supremacy we’d see headlines on post it notes disappearing off shelves, because folks would need so many. Are you willing to sacrifice to end white supremacy, to end any privilege you have over others? Will you let your business burn as your price to end oppression?
Colonial states function as corporations, Canada in fact started as one, the HBC. The market economy is the measure of the colonial states existence. Everything extracted, produced, traded, is done on the backbone of white supremacy. Dominance enshrined by Roman Catholic law in the Doctrine of Discovery which still stands today and has built euro western civilization. While many like to think we are far removed, most enlightenment thinkers believed in the doctrine of discovery and are responsible for much of the spine of euro western “leftest” understanding. The history of decolonizing people of Africa, Asia and Latin America is that even the civilizational leftists will exile, imprison or execute those who practice radical disengagement and decolonization. Hear this as early rumblings when micro elite token leaders call for victims to be peaceful. We need to to create alternatives with an intent purposeful enough to defend, from a learning outside of colonialism. And we will need to face sacrifice in creation, maintenance, defense and settler ego9.
There is another part of what we must disengage from. The part mentioned in every other aspect. The reason marginalized folks are forced to engage; money, wealth, the market economy, individual numerical measures of what we’re allowed; hierarchy. By disengaging from white supremacy, we are disengaging from measures of worth. [An Indigenist whose recently past and whose name I won’t read out loud till next year] Aaragon in “Locating an Indigenous Anarchism” reminded us “We will need to clear it of the fuel that would end up repeating the problems we are currently having”10. We can’t keep hierarchical measures of worth and not repeat a horror like today’s ongoing white supremacy. We can not fight for inclusion in the amerikkkan dream! Anti colonial disengagement in support of decolonization must be complete in order to wipe out the monsters of the past. Disengaging affects the bank accounts of money makers, as we stop giving them money, disengage from the obvious market economy of food etc. - But they will adjust. It’s what they do. We have to understand how it works. If we still trade money, or a replacement of it, including barter, we are still engaging in their system of capital. Living for all our relations is about trading needs seamlessly from where it is to where it’s needed. We gift it. This is how we came to be called Indian givers, by doing this. So colonialism devalued this concept of gifting.
By disengaging not just from the money makers but from their system; market economy, measures of hierarchy, supremacy, we devalue it. We devalue a system based on hierarchical value. We devalue white supremacy - if we do it in anti colonial / decolonial understandings, actions, defense and intent.
If we were to radically shift our understanding of health, abundance, relationships, life; we shift our understanding of privilege. We might come to understand the burden white privilege and survival under it requires. A lot of folks are awaking to the need for a new normal. Others are pushing for an increased force of engagement (from others) to maintain their individual normal. There has been riots for and against white supremacy. Let’s not just pause or rewind or with complicity allow a push forward. Let’s rebirth, which does necessitate first a death, a death of colonialism, western civilization and understanding11. Rebirth a world free of colonialism and its atrocities. Rebirth new thought processes, learning and understandings. Create systems and structures that overcome disadvantages, are free of oppression, bringing us into whole relationships. Gifting the continuation of life over and over. We might get to see a decolonization real enough that the colonized and the settler taste freedom and true responsibility with life on a reborn Turtle Island.
I’m incorporating Shaun’s idea of homework but I’ll call them challenges,
I’d like folks to learn about the ties between classism and racism. Go find it on your own and share with each other, don’t harass racialized friends.
Get to know the folks in your community who don’t (or rarely) come to events, outside your friend circles. Get to know those you’ve othered and those invisible to you. This is a challenge right now but the best time to figure it out. Check your judgements with challenge 1
Poor folks mostly know other poor folks, we can’t just ask a friend for a ride cuz the one friend with a car is the only one in that whole circle with a car. Maynooth doesn’t have garbage and recycling pickup, so poor folks who struggle to pay dump fees, financially positioned to eat more processed, packaged foods, don’t even have a way to get to the dump in the first place. I challenge folks to build relationships that will solve this problem without funding, without the state, social workers or rules to “receive help” .
Start with the problems that least impact you.
Footnotes / Understandings
Fanon “Black Skin, White Masks” / Coulthard “Red Skin, White Masks (books)
Mohamed Abdou “Transcontinental Decolonization is the Answer, Not Movements”
Lakota History of PteSanWin, Algonquin history of wild rice, Midewin history of mound builders, and past civilizations, Lakota history of past creations.*
Algonquin, Dakota, Anishnawbe post contact history of the disappearance of wild rice.*
Algonquin wild rice knowledge.*
Indigenous hunters globally.*
Lakota, Algonquin understandings of how domestication wasn’t respect but dominance, a taking of freedom. A rethinking of thanks and consumption.*
Priscilla Ybarra “Writing the Good Life, Mexican American Literature and the Environment” (book).
Mohamed Jean Veneuse “Anarca-Islam”
Aaragon “Locating an Indigenous Anarchism” http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/aragorn-locating-an-indigenous-anarchism
Russel Means “for america to live, europe must die”. https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/russell-means-for-america-to-live-europe-must-die
*culture isn’t “of the Internet, books, institutions”. It is “of the land”. But our understandings (I don’t give teachings) can be.
suggested reading list
Zig “Indigenous Anarchy - the need for a rejection of the colonizers civilization”
Gord Hill: “brief history of capitalism” comic PDF
T.H.U.G. “Why Civilization”
Abdou “Transcontinental Decolonization is the Answer, Not Movements” condensed version. Link (early June).
Patel & Moore “The History of the World in Seven Cheap Things” (book)
Indigenous Action “Voting Is Not Harm Reduction”
K’é Infoshop Collective
Resistance to State-Sanctioned Violence, Reclamation of Anti-Colonial Knowledges & Liberation for All”