Category Archives: Indigenous Sovereignty

Got Land? Thank an Indian

Karuk Ancestral Territory

Settler Colonialism and the White Settler in the Karuk Ancestral Territory

By Laura Hurwitz, Humboldt Journal of Social Relations (Issue #36, 2014) [PDF]

Abstract

From the time of European invasion of what now constitutes the United States, the settler colonial system has aimed to exterminate Indigenous Peoples and replace them with settlers on the land. While settler colonialism benefi ts the settler at the cost of the Indigenous, all life on Earth suffers from the continuation of this system. This research examines how white settlers living in the Karuk Ancestral Territory, located in Humboldt County, California, understand our role in the settler colonial system. The goal of this study is to begin a collective pursuit of a white settler ethic of accountability, which is a difficult task even in preliminary stages, as it requires the admission of being a beneficiary of and acco mplice to the vicious system of settler colonialism. This could bring about the loss of an already fragile identity and an insecure settler future. Yet settler society has a responsibility to face our role in the settler colonial system.

Introduction

This article is written from the perspective of a white settler. For nearly two decades, I have lived in the Karuk Ancestral Territory, situated on the Klamath River in Humboldt County, California. Many of the people currently living in this place, both Indigenous and settler alike, are interested in living a sustainable lifestyle and surviving amongst the environmental, social, political, and economic uncertainty of the times. Here some bridges have been built between Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents and a somewhat cordial coexistence exists; nevertheless, tensions do stem from a settler colonial system that benefits one group of people at the expense of another. The acute awareness among members of the Karuk tribe of displacement from their ancestral territory can be read on the T-shirt of one Karuk elder: “Got Land ? Thank an Indian!”

I came to live in the Karuk Ancestral Territory in search of a better life, one that was not destructive to, but rather more connected with land and life. I did not realize I was moving to a place where Indigenous Peoples had remained in their aboriginal territory and retained connection to their traditional way of life, in spite of European invasion. Neither had I considered that the neighborhood in which I grew up was also occupied Indigenous land. In fact, growing up, I largely thought a bout Native Americans as a “thing” of the past. I learned in school, on television, in movies, through the media, and from accepted social discourse that the original people of North America no longer existed. As a child, I had a thick cardboard book that depicted a ball, a book, and an “Indian” together on the “things” page . My indoctrination to view Indigenous Peoples as less than human began quite early. This is no accident, but rather part of the justification of the settler colonial system.

In the first section of this paper, I carry out a review of existing literature regarding settler colonialism, the settler, white privilege, and white supremacism. Next I discuss the methods used to conduct this research. Thirdly, I unpack white settler identity and how settlers comprehend their position within the settler colonial system, which manifests itself as a complicit settler subject in the Karuk Ancestral Territory. In the concluding segment, I outline some unsettling ideas and situate the white settler in the complicated conundrum within movements for decolonization.

This research seeks to find a starting place from which to collectively pursue a white settler ethic of accountability—a difficult task, even in preliminary stages, as it requires the admission of being a beneficiary of and an accomplice to the vicious system of settler colonialism, and could bring about the loss of an already fragile identity and an insecure settler future. Settler society has a responsibility to acknowledge our role in the settler colonial system.

Click here to read the full article [PDF]…

Big Day For The Struggle Against Ongoing Colonialism

Originally posted on Profane Existence:

by Comrade Black

Today has been a big day for those interested in or involved in Indigenous resistance and anti-colonial struggle. It is also a good reminder of how much work remains to be done.

In an interesting symbolic gesture, the city council of Vancouver voted to formally acknowledge that the land which the city is built on is stolen Indigenous lands that remain unceded. This means that no settlement or land treaties were ever made for the territories; and that the city council is now recognizing the Indigenous people have never given up their sovereignty to the land which Vancouver now occupies. In many respects while this move is only a symbolic gesture, many consider it an important first step down the road to ending colonialism. Yet the mayor of the city went out of his way to make it clear the gesture was entirely symbolic and “wouldn’t effect…

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Confronting Our Colonialism

This video was presented on the unceded territory of the Secwepemc Nation, at the Thompson Rivers University Undergrad Research Conference on March 28, 2014. This video was created for an assignment for an Anthropology class called “Canadian Status/Treaty Indian Reserve Communities.”

Read more…

Mel Bazil on “Anarchy, Indigenous Sovereignty, and Decolonization”

http://unistotencamp.com/Via The Final Straw

Streaming at AshevilleFM through June 15nd, 2014, then podcasting later at radio4all.net and airing on KOWA-LPFM in Olympia, WA, KWTF in Bodega Bay, CA, KXCF in Marshall, CA, and WCRS-LP Columbus Community Radio 98.3 and 102.1 FM

This week’s episode features a workshop by Mel Bazil, an indigenous Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en organizer, sovereigntist, and anarchist of the Unist’ot’en Action Camp. For folks in the listening audience, Unist’ot’en is located on unceded native lands in so-called British Colombia, Canada. More about the Unist’ot’en Action Camp can be found at unistotencamp.com

This audio is from an almost hour and a half presentation that Mel gave on Saturday the 24th of May at the Montreal Anarchist Bookfaire, entitled “Anarchy, Indigenous Sovereignty, and Decolonization.” Many thanks to CKUT Radio in Montreal for sharing this content with the Final Straw. More info on CKUT can be found at www.ckut.ca

This week we’ll be presenting the first of two parts of Mel’s presentation, the second will be aired in coming weeks and linked together on the Final Straw website soon.

Firstly though, an announcement about the health of longterm political prisoner, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson. The following text was found at rashidmod.com, where one can seek further updates on the situation.

For anyone in the Durham area of North Carolina, there is a call-out on June 13th for a Noise Demo at the jail. More info can be found at here.

For more info on the prisoner hunger strike at Polk CI in Butner, NC, including their demands, click here.

The playlist for this episode is here.

Indigenous Peoples: Language Revitalization & Gender Identity

More posts tagged From Kwe Today: fierce indigenous feminism

At the core of European legal thought is sustaining binaries such as the colonizer v. the colonized, the conqueror v. the conquered, the civilized v. the savage, or the male v. the female. During her lecture on systemic violence at Concordia University, Andrea Smith explains how colonialism legitimized gender violence through the installation of patriarchy, a male system of domination over females (Smith, 2011). Smith (2011) states:

Of course, patriarchy is built on a gender binary system. You can’t have patriarchy unless you have two genders, one that dominates another gender. So consequently, in many Native communities that were not built on a gender binary system, those who did not fit that system were often targeted for destruction as well (at approximately 2:05).

Patriarchy in Native communities was essential to create a hierarchy “so that colonial domination would seem natural” (Smith, 2011, 2:13). Many North American Indigenous communities were matriarchal, which is in direct opposition to patriarchy and colonialism (Smith, 1999). The ways in which patriarchy furthered the expansion of colonialism occurred through sexual violence, the forced removal of children from their homes to residential schools, and the annihilation of Indigenous languages and cultures (McGeough, 2008). For Indigenous peoples, the loss of language translates to a loss of connection to their culture and other systems of being.

In Medicine Bundle of Contradictions, an essay authored by Lous Esme Cruz (2011), the limitations of the English language are examined in relation to Indigenous identities and gender identities. Cruz (2011) writes, “English is a very limited language that doesn’t give very many options for explaining gender expression and roles” (p. 54). Frantz Fanon (2004) in his work entitled Wretched of the Earth defines colonialism as the “entire conquest of land and people” (p. 14). Indigenous peoples were colonized through the loss of their land and languages and through—the less often talked about—the loss of important gender roles within their culture. Cruz states further, “gender is not a culture, it is a role within culture” (p. 55). Sometimes erased from this discussion of colonialism and loss of culture for Indigenous peoples is the loss of gender roles that exists outside the Western gender binary, male/female. For this paper, I will explore the connection between loss of language and colonialism and how the loss of language impacts gender identities in Indigenous populations. This paper will contribute to the larger discussion of gender identity, how both Western concepts and the English language is restrictive for gender roles and expressions, and the importance of language revitalization for Indigenous peoples.

Click here to read the entire article on Kwe Today

The Indigenous fight against colonial veganism

photo by natgeocreative.comBy Krystalline Kraus, Rabble.ca

There is even a ToolKit to support those rabblers who wish to pick up tools for the so called, “good fight.” You know, the fight between the grain eaters and the meat eaters.

But what is this fight really all about? The right to choose what to eat? The right to dictate that choice to others?

The epic battle between the Grain Eaters and the Meat Eaters

As with everything else, culture and context must be taken into account when dealing with Indigenous communities, no matter how important you think your cause is. And while I’ve met my share of gentle vegans who are willing to listen, there are also these eager crusaders of animal rights that seem to sweep across the land to belittle and humiliate someone who choose to eat meat.

Lessons are taught through hunting, trapping or herding and then consuming meat which include learning to never let anything go to waste, that is an insult to the animal spirit: use all the different parts that the animal has to offer regarding leather, wool, sinew and items for decoration with.

Also remember the Indigenous custom of honouring the animal killed with prayers and tobacco or reindeer antler as offering — or bear in the spring. The Bear Hunt is one of the most important ceremonies we Saami have.

Click here to read the full article on Rabble.ca

A Settler’s Guide to Understanding the First Nations Education Act

Originally posted on Bones for War:

You may not be aware of this, but there is a important and heated debate going on among Indigenous communities right now. The issue at hand is a federal bill designed, ostensibly, to return control of First Nations education to the First Nations themselves.

But there’s a larger issue at play—one that those of us who are non-Indigenous would do well to pay attention to. The debate is a uniquely colonial one, the kind that is provoked when one nation refuses to give up control over what is rightfully the jurisdiction of another nation (or in this case, 633 nations). It’s impossible to understand the debate around the First Nation Education Act without an understanding of Indigenous people’s inherent and treaty rights.

What do inherent rights have to do with it?

Inherent rights are the fundamental and existing rights of Indigenous peoples, based on their original and long-standing occupation of…

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Free Zapatista textbooks now available in English!

by , Intercontinental Cry

Put on your thinking caps because two of four Zapatista textbooks from last year’s widely popular escuelita (little school) have been translated to English.

For those who are not yet familiar, the Zapatista Escuelita (Zapatista little school), brought 1630 students from around the world to learn what it really means to be Zapatista. Contrary to what some might believe, there’s a lot more to the Zapatista than “smashing the state” or looking good doing it!

You can download the first two books, entitled, Autonomous Government I by clicking the corresponding linkd below. The remaining links will be posted here as they become available.

Autonomous Government I

Download now

Autonomous Government I

Autonomous Government II

Download now

Autonomous Gov II

Textbooks to follow

Participation of Women in Autonomous Government

(available no later than May 8th)

Participation of Women

Autonomous Resistance

(available no later than June 8th)

Autonomous Resistance

A Colonized Ally Meets a Decolonized Ally: This is What They Learn

From Lynn Gehl:

1. A colonized ally stands in the front.  A decolonized ally stands behind.

2. A colonized ally stands behind an oppressive patriarchy.  A decolonized ally stands behind women and children.

3. A colonized ally makes assumptions about the process.  A decolonized ally values there may be principles in the process they are not aware of.

4. A colonized ally wants knowledge now!  A decolonized ally values their own relationship to the knowledge.

5. A colonized ally finds an Indigenous token.  A decolonized ally is more objective in the process.

6. A colonized ally equates their money and hard work on the land as meaning land ownership.  A decolonized ally knows that land ownership is more about social hierarchy and privilege.

7. A colonized ally projects guilt.  A decolonized ally knows it is their work to do.

8. A colonized ally projects emotions.  A decolonized ally knows Indigenous people have too much to deal with already.

9. A colonized ally has no respect for Indigenous intellectuals.  A decolonized ally knows Indigenous people have their own intellectuals.

10. A colonized ally has no idea they need to decolonize.  A decolonized ally understands they have to continually decolonize.

11. A colonized ally has no idea of the concomitant realities of Indigenous oppression.  A decolonized ally understands the many, layered, and intersectional oppressions Indigenous people live under.

12. A colonized ally speaks for Indigenous people.  A decolonized ally listens.

13. A colonized ally takes on work an Indigenous person can do and is doing. A decolonized ally takes on other work that needs to be done.

14. A colonized ally makes things worse.  A decolonized ally understands.

15. A colonized ally says, “It is time to get over it.”  A decolonized ally realizes one’s relationship to the harm is subjective.

16. A colonized ally appropriates another nation’s Indigenous knowledge.  A decolonized ally does the hard work to uncover their own Indigenous knowledge.

17. A colonized ally will loath this truth offered.  A decolonized ally will recognize the hard work telling this truth is.

Additional ally resources are available here and on Unsettling America here.


Picture Lynn Gehl is an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe from the Ottawa River Valley.  She has a section 15 Charter challenge regarding the continued sex discrimination in The Indian Act, and is an outspoken critic of the Ontario Algonquin land claims and self-government process. She recently published a book entitled Anishinaabeg Stories: Featuring Petroglyphs, Petrographs, and Wampum Belts, and her second book, The Truth that Wampum Tells: My Debwewin of the Algonquin Land Claims Process, will be published in March 2014.  You can reach her at lynngehl@gmail.com and see more of her work at www.lynngehl.com.

“Colonization & Decolonization” by Zig-Zag translated into German!

decol zigzag germanIn response to Unsettling America’s call for translations, our comp@s at the Translation Collective have translated “Colonization & Decolonization” by Zig-Zag into German!

(The original English version is also available from our accomplices at Quiver Distro: read PDF | booklet PDF)

Kolonisierung und Dekolonisierung

von Zig-Zag

dekolonisierung – PDF

Ein Handbuch für indigene Befreiung im 21. Jahrhundert

Zum Gebrauch dieses Handbuchs

Dieses Handbuch ist in vier Teile gegliedert. Der erste Teil definiert Kolonialismus, seine Methoden und Geschichte bis heute (z.B. Invasion und Besetzung des Irak durch die USA). Der zweite Teil beschreibt im Detail die Effekte des Kolonialismus auf indigene Völker, einschließlich der soziologischen und individuellen Auswirkungen. Der dritte Teil untersucht das Konzept der Dekolonisierung, der vierte Teil diskutiert die Dekolonisierung in Nordamerika. Es wird erkennbar, dass die Befreiung der indigenen Völker in Nordamerika eng verbunden ist mit einem globalen Prozess des Widerstands und des Überlebens. Dieses Handbuch ist sowohl für den Selbstunterricht als auch für die Verwendung im Unterricht gedacht. Die [im Anhang] folgenden Stundenpläne können in der Schule genutzt oder angepasst werden.

“Wissen macht eine Person unfähig Sklave zu sein” – Frederick Douglas

Einleitung

“Befreiung ist die Aufgabe, die uns durch unsere Eroberung und Kolonisierung aufgezwungen wurde.” – Chinweizu, The West and the Rest of Us, Seite 33

Kolonialismus: Die Praxis, andere Länder und Territorien zum Zweck der Besiedlung und/oder der Ausbeutung von Ressourcen zu überfallen.

Wenn eine Invasionsmacht auf eine indigene Bevölkerung trifft, die eine Territorium bereits besetzt hält, wird Kolonialismus zum gewalttätigen Konflikt zwischen zwei feindlichen und entgegengesetzten Lebensweisen, von denen die eine der anderen ihren Willen aufzuzwingen sucht. Dies ist eine Standarddefinition des Krieges. Kolonisierung kann als Krieg um Territorium verstanden werden, der alle Mittel der Kriegsführung einbezieht: militärische, politische, ökonomische, psychologische, diplomatische, kulturelle, etc.

Cecil Rhodes, der britische Kolonialoffizier, nach dem Rhodesien benannt wurde (heute Zimbabwe), formulierte die Motive und Ziele des europäischen Kolonialismus im 19. Jahrhundert:

“Wir müssen neues Land auftun, wo wir auf einfache Weise an Rohstoffe kommen und zugleich die billige Sklavenarbeit ausbeuten können, die durch die Ureinwohner der Kolonien verfügbar ist. Die Kolonien würden ebenfalls einen Schuttplatz für die in unseren Fabriken produzierte überschüssige Ware bieten.”

Aufgrund seiner Geschichte und Kultur ist der europäische Kolonialismus durch Praktiken des Genozids gekennzeichnet, inklusive Vernichtungskriege, Massaker an Nicht-KombattantInnen, biologische Kriegsführung, Politik der verbrannten Erde (Zerstörung von Nahrung und Unterkunft). Andere Gräueltaten sind etwa die Folter von Gefangenen, Vergewaltigung und Versklavung der indigenen Bevölkerungen. Diese Taten wurden von einer rassistischen und patriarchalen Ideologie (z.B. Christentum und weißer Überlegenheitsglaube) angetrieben, von Gier und einem psychopathischen Verlangen zu töten, anderen Gewalt und Leid zuzufügen.

Psychopath n. Eine Person mit einer antisozialen Persönlichkeitsstörung, die sich in aggressivem, perversem, kriminellem oder amoralischem Verhalten ohne Mitgefühl oder Reue ausdrückt.” – American Heritage Dictionary, Seite 1415

Stufen des Kolonialismus

Methoden und Geschichte der Kolonisierung sind aufgrund vieler verschiedener Variablen (Geographie, Bevölkerungsdichte, Ressourcen, etc.) in jedem Fall einzigartig. Dennoch gibt es ein leicht erkennbares gemeinsames Muster. In den Amerikas, Afrika und Asien bestand die Kolonisierung im Allgemeinen aus vier Stufen: Aufklärung, Invasion, Besatzung und Assimilation.

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