Editor’s Note: This interview with Waziyatwin was recorded by Healing the Earth on September 26, 2007. While the links on their website seem to be dead, we dug up the interviews on Rabble.ca. We are republishing it here, more than four years later, because it remains relevant and powerful. Enjoy.
Waziyatawin is Wahpetunwan Dakota from the Pezihutazizi Otunwe in southwestern Minnesota. She is the author of Remember This!: Dakota Decolonization and the Eli Taylor Narratives, In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors: The Dakota Commemorative Marches of the 21st Century, co-editor of Indigenizing the Academy: Transforming Scholarship and Empowering Communities, and is the co-editor of For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook.
In this interview she talks at length about colonization and decolonization – the physical and mental aspects of decolonization work for both indigenous and non-indigenous communities, how to recognize that there is another way to live that is radically outside of institutions like federal, state, and provincial governments, how to break through our identification with the colonizer, and so on. She also talks of appropriate ways people who are not indigenous to Turtle Island can work not only in solidarity with indigenous people, but in active decolonization in our own communities as well.
A decolonized world can be very difficult to imagine, given that the physical reality is so very different now than it was before colonization. For example, most habitat for wild animals is poisoned or clearcut, leaving us very little ability to live free of the capitalist system. We have been forced into dependence on the very system that is killing us and the planet, and it is the escape from and destruction of this conundrum that Waziyatawin explores in this interview.
Part II: What Does Decolonization Look Like?
For more excellent interviews from Healing the Earth, click here…