Hayti – a historical novel

A historical novel set in the Caribbean during the sixteenth century

By Kurtis Sunday

During the Spanish Civil War a German anarchist and historian serving with the International Brigade discovered an account of how a Florentine nun led a mission to Hayti, Spain’s first American colony, two decades after its ‘discovery’ by Christopher Columbus. But she also had a secret assignment – to find out if the passage through to Asia depicted on a world map published by the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller actually existed. During her investigations, she meets up with Fray Hugo de Montenegro, a Dominican monk who has been there for several years and has been collecting accounts of Spanish atrocities; and she comes into contact with Taíno freedom fighters and their allies, escaped African slaves who had been imported to work on the new sugar plantations, as well as to the attention of the brutal colonial authorities. The narrative unfolds against the background of the horrors of the Spanish Conquest of the Americas, the destruction of its original peoples, the commencement of the Atlantic slave trade and the beginnings of globalisation with the foundation of the Spanish Empire. But is it a factual account or the first work fiction written in the Americas?

Before the coming of Christopher Columbus to Haiti in 1492 the country could, without danger of sounding too romantic, be described as a relative paradise … Within a generation … the islands were a graveyard … This is one of the greatest tragedies in the history of humanity. Kurtis Sunday is steeped in his knowledge of it … Hayti is an impressive achievement … David Thorpe, GOODREADS

Free ebook versions (epub, mobi for Kindle, PDF, non-commercial Creative Commons licence) now available via Unglue.itThe Internet Archive.

Ebook also available at: Cambria Books

Print edition available from:
Cambria Books
Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Amazon DE

Print edition ISBN: 978-0-9957601-4-1
Electronic edition ISBN: 978-0-9957601-5-8


From Colonial Rescue to Cultural Genocide

By Pegi Eyers

When our Ancestors arrived on the shores of Turtle Island, they brought their cultural beliefs and social mores with them. They were looking for a “fresh start,” but instead of taking their cues from the indigenous civilizations already thriving in the “new world” they replicated the familiar lifeways of home. Honoring natural law and living in balance with Earth Community had been outdated concepts for centuries, in the European lands from which they sprang. During the era of launching nation-states in the Americas, all over the world People of the Earth were still respecting nature and finding the sacred in wild places. Yet our Ancestors were part of a social organization based on hierarchy and control, and they went on to repeat the colonial pattern.

As we fast forward to the present, in my work as a social justice activist I am often asked if things could have been different in the beginning, in our “first contact” interactions with First Nations. But I honestly don’t think we can just imagine a kinder, more benevolent Settler Society into being! Driven by notions to fulfill some great “Manifest Destiny” on “Terra Nullius” (lands proclaimed empty by religious decree), the mad scrabble to build Empire and grab the “goodies” like land, resources, title and prestige were the priorities of the day. Our Ancestors were busy re-creating themselves into something grand, and other than trading partners and wilderness guides, First Nations had no place in that rosy picture.

And yet, as the settlement of what was to become “Canada” progressed, miracles were happening. As a Scottish family with a newborn baby wound their way through southern Ontario in 1832 by coach and Durham boat, their craft capsized in the waters known today as “The Narrows” at Lake Couchiching. The tiny baby was my third great-grandmother Eliza Emily Bailey, and she was rescued from the channel and brought safely to shore by a kind member of the Chippewa (Ojibway) Nation. As part of an immigrant wave that engulfed a pristine wilderness, the flourishing of my Ancestors has given me the haunting legacy of her miraculous rescue, and my deep roots in the Ontario landscape. Seven generations later, I am astonished at how Eliza’s story transcends ordinary ethnoautobiography, and am overcome by a set of questions tangled up with destiny, kindness, reciprocity, retribution, ancestral memory and structural inequality.

First of all, I wonder about the obvious, or would my family line even exist had Eliza perished in the waters of Lake Couchiching? And who was her rescuer exactly, and was he thanked profusely for his kindness? The story may be dramatic but it is far from unique, as countless narratives describe how the “first contact” Settler Society were welcomed, integrated, and dependent upon First Nations everywhere, who freely gave us gifts of food, land, medicine, and our very lives. The trail is cold, but their original generosity and kindness is deeply woven into the heritage fabric of our families and communities. Even the structure of Canada owes a great collective debt to the first peaceful treaty agreements between native and non-native leaders, and to the partnership model of indigenous diplomacy that contributed to our first constitutions and laws.

Canada’s first constitutional document, the 1763 Royal Proclamation, was ratified at the Treaty of Niagara in 1764 between the British and 2000 leaders from the First Nations surrounding the Great Lakes – the Nipissing, Anishnaabe, Algonquin, Odawa, Huron and Haudenosaunee. At this event, the British accepted a nation-to-nation relationship rooted in a policy of non-interference, and codified by the symbols of covenant chains and wampum belts in sacred ceremony, all parties agreed to benefit equally from the bounty of the land. The ongoing legitimacy of Canada, and our Canadian identity, stems from these original constitutional relationships between the Settler Society and First Nations. Rooted in the philosophy and practice of non-interference, peaceful co-existence and respect, the founding agreements make us all treaty people, and the legacy of indigenous diplomacy, law and peacemaking benefit all Canadians. The ensuing years of oppression, de facto apartheid, archaic legislation such as the Indian Act, and Euro-domination over Canada’s First Nations does not detract from the foundational status of the treaties.

Unfortunately, tolerance for cultural diversity or peaceful co-existence was never the policy of the Settler Society, and the ongoing agenda of Empire has given us permission to deny, forget about, or gloss over these early contributions to our well-being by First Nations. Like so many others in Canada, my family owes our lives to First Nations, but what have we done to return the favor? In stark contrast to the success of Eliza Emily Bailey and her descendants, what has been the experience of the Ojibway people since 1832? Beginning with genocide and the theft of their lands, the Settler Society has gone on to enact racism, oppression, assimilation, relocation and residential schools on First Nations. And to top it off, our Canadian society was founded with values of white supremacy. How can we reconcile the kindness our Ancestors experienced with the commonly-held stereotypes of “savage” and “primitive?” From our vantage point today, looking back at history we can see how racism and genocide were normalized, and imbedded into Empire-building. For if a human being is labelled “sub-human” who will feel remorse at their removal or passing?

So thorough were the policies of racism, that growing up in our secure and happy world in Ontario, we were completely oblivious to the First Nations all around us. Until quite recently, very few people wondered why preeminent First Nations folks were living like second-class citizens, or took the time to recognize the beauty and diversity of societies that had thrived in the area for millennia. In my own case, integrating the new information about Eliza Emily Bailey into my life came with a major shift from the personal to the political. I had been drawn to learning about First Nations culture and history for many years, and at the exact moment that I discovered the story of her miraculous rescue, I was already involved in social justice activism and solidarity with indigenous people. Connecting directly with an Ancestor is not an easy thing to do, but was I responding to Eliza’s directive on some deep level, to give back to the First Nations who had given so much to me? Today, my focus on First Nations solidarity work has increased far beyond what I would ever have imagined.

Right now, and in the interest of being a good Ancestor to the next generation, I have come to the conclusion that my purpose is to engage with the truth, challenge the racism found in whitestream society, and to create much-needed space for healing and reconciliation. The struggle for all descendants of the original Settler Society must be to shift from unconsciousness, denial and guilt about our colonial legacy, to the righteous anger of critical thinking, reflection and social justice activism. And as we come to an authentic recognition of our shared history with First Nations and explore the myths and misconceptions we have about each other, we can become empowered to use our new-found awareness to build solidarity, and as a catalyst for change. There is much we can do to eliminate institutional racism and contribute as allies to the anti-oppression, human rights and land claims struggles of our First Nations neighbours.

Even today, indigenous people are subject to genocide and assimilation, and are at the frontlines of the places affected most by ecocide and pollution. Can we even imagine what is must be like, to survive an apocalypse (i.e. the collapse of one’s society) only to face another holocaust in today’s potential for climate disaster and massive change? The hope for social justice and a new sustainable society will be built on egalitarian values that embrace all forms of difference – all colours, all ethnicities and all religions. Right now, learning intercultural competency skills, respecting indigenous cultures and lifeways, attending anti-racist trainings, and understanding white privilege are all key to this process.

As I hold the story of Eliza’s rescue deep in my cellular memory, my eternal gratitude for her rescuer is rooted in the no-time and no-place of the spirit world. And in the end, the interface of my own family with the Ojibway people leads me to believe that as we shake free of our colonial past, it is essential that we all become protectors of Turtle Island, to stop the destruction and plunder of what has become our ancestral lands as well. Yet how well do we truly know this place? Our Ancestors tried to recreate their homelands here, but at the heart and deep in the roots, these lands are not Europe, but something “other.” Perhaps as the years pass and we continue to experience privilege as part of the Settler Society, it may be a good idea to finally become intimate with the land. Not as a backdrop to our daily round, or as landscapes to enjoy, or sites for managed spaces like gardens, but as lands of the greatest beauty, that have their own right to life, that hold all the elements we need to thrive, sites of unimaginable destructive power, that are wild and unknowable, that have their own purpose and trajectory, that are held sacred, and that are beloved by countless diverse groups of indigenous peoples.

Can we also, before it is too late, dedicate ourselves to that love? By virtue of our rootedness in our communities, our buried Ancestors, and our mutual regard for the land, for better or worse both native and non-native people now share Canada, and it may not be too late to establish the peaceful co-existence that the colonial powers denied us all.

Pegi Eyers is the author of the award-winning book Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community. She lives in the countryside on the outskirts of Nogojiwanong in Mississauga Anishnaabe territory (Peterborough, Ontario), on a hilltop with views reaching for miles in all directions. www.stonecirclepress.com

Cracks in the Wall of Capitalism: The Zapatistas and the Struggle to Decolonize Science

Zapatista women taking notes at ConCiencias. Photo credit: David Meek
Zapatista women taking notes at ConCiencias. Photo credit: David Meek

By , Toward Freedom

Below images of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, and a many-headed hydra consuming humanity, sit two groups. To the right, facing a stage, are approximately 200 delegates of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), seated as a homogenous block. Wearing black ski masks, they furiously take notes. To the left, 300 scientists and observers from throughout the world are seated.

With a tiny pink ribbon pinned to her mask, Julía, a Zapatista delegate from Oventic, Chiapas, takes the microphone: “The rivers are drying up. We know that the people before had a way of planting their crops, but now it doesn’t rain like it’s expected to. Now, there are epidemics that weren’t common before, like cancer and diabetes…”

Julía is unequivocal about the linkages between science and capitalism in perpetuating this crisis. “Medicines just create dependence on the pharmaceutical industry,” she tells us. But Julía is also clear that science can function as a tool of resistance, if reimagined from the grassroots: “Brother and sister scientists, we ask you, according to your studies: why does all this happen? And who is responsible? We have come to hear you and bring this knowledge to the peoples, to our peoples.”

Over four days, from December 27th-30th 2017, the second iteration of ConCiencias, a conference creating dialogue between the Zapatista’s and leading left-wing scientists from throughout the world, took place at CIDECI—Universidad de la Tierra, located on the outskirts of San Cristobal de Las Casas—a city in Chiapas which has long been associated with the Zapatista’s struggle. Although it might seem tangential, the struggle to decolonize knowledge is part and parcel of the Zapatista’s broader project of resisting indigenous genocide, neoliberal capitalism, and political repression.

Click here to read the full article from Toward Freedom

Women’s Liberation Delegation to Chiapas

“Revolutionary struggles cannot achieve collective liberation for all people without addressing patriarchy, nor can women’s freedom be disentangled from racial, economic, & social justice.” -Victoria Law

By Corine Fairbanks, American Indian Movement Southeastern Ohio

The Zapatista women will host the First International Gathering of Politics, Art, Sport, and Culture for Women in Struggle in Chiapas, Mexico from March 7-11, 2018. A delegation of women from all walks of life, racial, social-economic, and cultural backgrounds strongly feel that we could learn much from our Zapatista sisters. Their indigenous perspectives and willingness to decolonize and reshape the political landscape into something that works for all people speaks to us as we look at the challenges we face in the US and Canada.

Here is an updated notice that the women of the Zapatista Movement put out.

The desire to go to this gathering and to form this delegation came after much discussion regarding women’s liberation and women voices after the January 20th, 2018 Cincinnati Women’s March. The national theme and platform for Women’s Marches across the United States was “Hear Our Vote”. Many of us were disappointed with this because we felt that it marginalized women that could not vote, or chose not to participate in voting. In response, Black Lives Matter Cincinnati (not affiliated with National BLM) organized an open forum discussion about how to effectively fight for women’s liberation. The dialogue about women’s liberation, was to be approached from several different angles, ideas, and points of view, and addressing the problems of believing that voting is the greatest and most important power as oppressed and exploited people.

There were many subjects touched on, and not everyone in the audience was comfortable with it, yet the forum was a huge success with almost 300 people in attendance, many of whom were standing. Featured panelists included were from Black Lives Matter Cincinnati, American Indian Movement of Southeastern Ohio, Concerned Citizens for Justice, Cincinnati Revolutionary Students, and Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Metro Cincinnati. Video footage of this panel can be found at Black Lives Matter Cincinnati Facebook group page; The final thoughts concluded that there needs to be more discussion on Women’s liberation, community empowerment, and teaching our young and old people to learn how to organize around these issues.

Then in the first part of January, a few of us within the radical justice community in Cincinnati, saw a call out for the Women’s gathering by the Zapatista Women. Knowing what we know about the Zapatista Army, women play an equal role in leading armed resistance and use the “Revolutionary Law of Women”. This document gives an overview of the combination of social and political struggles that the Zapatista women identified as needing to change. Some of these factors included; Poverty, Rape, Domestic Violence, Access to Health care, Medicine and Treatment, Alcoholism, issues of sovereignty over bodies and land, and to be treated fairly and with equal political voice at home, in the community, and in the Zapatista Army.

The women I spoke with about going to this gathering in Chiapas, agreed that our work in our own communities largely encompasses the same issues with that of the Zapatista women. An Anishinaabe Elder that lives in a rural area of Canada commented that these are the same issues she deals with in working with Residential Boarding School survivors. A Dineh young woman living in Los Angeles, working as a Social Worker for Los Angeles County, said the same thing. As the delegation started quickly forming, it became obvious that in order to continue discussion on women’s liberation, we had to also go to this gathering to get some more “tools” and bring them back to share with our communities to analyze and have critical discussion.

This delegation is led by Native women. We are fundraising for 12 women to attend this gathering in March, Some Native, some not. Some of the Elders and Native women identify with “Indigenous feminism”, some do not. Some of the non-Native women identify as feminists. Yet all of us are working in our communities to better it; to keep our air clean, our waters protected, our lands from being raped by fuel extractions, and collaborating with various grassroots radical and revolutionary organizations on rural and urban landscapes with all of this and with social justice issues too. As activists and organizers, we are women, and we too are fighting to destroy patriarchal systems and structures- even within our own movements and within our Nations/Tribal structures. We believe that what we can learn from the experiences of the Zapatista women can be applied to our everyday struggles and within the current movements in our communities. In addition, we will be having fundraisers with a table set up to encourage attendees to write messages that they want us to take and share with the Zapatista people. We are not just limiting it to fundraising events to gather these messages, but also, we have made this request and offer on social media.

“We women attending the gathering would like to bring our Zapatista Relatives offerings from our homes. If you have any words of solidarity you would like us to share with our Zapatista sisters, please let us know. Upon our return, we hope to have community meetings and discussions to share what we have learned & our Zapatista Relatives responses to your messages as a way to provide a connection to them through us. “

If you are reading this before March 7th, and would like us to include your message, please send me an email at corine68@yahoo.com to be included in our presentation in Chiapas.

This conference is fast approaching and we are making a call out for help. We have fundraisers planned throughout the month of February to meet our goal of $8,000 for travel expenses. Please invest in our communities. Invest in us. Our Delegation is small but our women are from various areas of the US and Canada: represented:

American Indian Movement
Big Mountain Dineh Nation
Black Lives Matter Cincinnati
Biindigen Healing & Arts
Idle No More Canada
Idle No More Detroit
Women of All Red Nations (WARN)
Water Protectors North/South Dakota

Any dollar amount that you can spare to help us reach this goal would be appreciated. Any effort to spread this message far and wide is greatly appreciated. Here is a link to our go fund me request.

Perhaps this endeavor of getting 12 women to Chiapas for this gathering is a bit ambitious. Perhaps the main purpose is to also role model to other communities that it takes a spark from an idea, and collectively working together, we can make it happen. Either way, we were not going to be intimidated by costs or pessimism to achieve this goal. Our Native Elders have taken this to ceremony and prayer and we feel that the women that are meant to go on this trip, will go. We believe that the 2 most important components to this mission is to first show solidarity because our Struggles are similar. Secondly, to bring back what we learn from our Zapatista Sisters, and share with our families and communities.

As diverse as this delegation is, we all agree that when women are free, communities are empowered, and everyone is free.


Yours in Solidarity

Corine Fairbanks, Oglala Lakota
American Indian Movement Southeastern Ohio

Decolonization And Indigenization Will Not Create The Change We Need

An unsettling piece from Indigenous Motherhood:

“Decolonization and indigenization are words used to benefit the colonizer and settler culture in order for them to look good in the eyes of those who are trying to create positive change in communities.

But truthfully, colonial systems can never be decolonized or indigenized. And indigenous systems do not need to be decolonized or indigenized.”

indigenous motherhood

We cannot decolonize or indigenize canada or colonial systems.

And it is a lie to believe that we can decolonize and indigenize ourselves as indigenous peoples and our ways of living.

Yet, this belief is so instilled within society and indigenous nations that we have made it our mission to decolonize and indigenize everything possible. It’s like that Oprah Winfrey meme. You know the one. But instead of telling people that they get a car she is saying “you get decolonized!” “you get decolonized!” And “you get decolonized!”

And the people go wild.

Yes, decolonization and indigenization were words coined by indigenous peoples as a form of resistance and reclamation. However, the colonizer has heavily co-opted these terms and made it their own. And the more that I think about these terms, the more I realize that these terms should not even exist in our vernaculars, for they are false…

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Settler colonialism and white settler responsibility in the Karuk, Konomihu, Shasta, and New River Shasta Homelands: a white unsettling manifesto

By Laura S. Hurwitz, from the Digital Commons @ Humboldt State University

Contributing to recent research into settler colonialism, this paper takes an on the ground look at how this system manifests today. This research turns its lens on the white settler, unmasks settler myths of innocence and contributes to an understanding of how whiteness and white supremacism shape settler colonialism in what is now called the United Sates. This is a placed based study, focusing on the Klamath and Salmon Rivers. Consequences and complexities of the “back to the land” movement are looked at, and the question of “back-to-whose-land?” is asked? A convivial research approach, which is a back and forth interplay of analysis and action, has been utilized for this project. Also examined are efforts by settlers to engage with unsettling, both as individuals and through a collective settler effort at organizing, under the name “Unsettling Klamath River.” Unsettling can be described as the work of white settlers within the broader movement to decolonize, that is led by Indigenous People. Some false narratives have begun to shift and yet, this population of white settlers remains largely in a state of paralysis due to; a fragile settler identity, a reliance on a false entitlement and a debilitating fear of what will happen if truth-telling occurs. Building upon lessons learned, this paper concludes by offering ways that white settlers can begin to chip away at oppressive structures and move forward out of a state of complicity into a sense of responsibility, that is long overdue.

Click here to read more…

Decolonizing the Garden

Varieties of Mexican maize. Oaxaca, Mexico

Varieties of Mexican maize. Oaxaca, Mexico

Via Nomad Seed Project

Wild plants have made up most of the focus of this blog. But what about “domesticated” plants, such as the annuals we grow in our gardens?

How can we treat them that they behave more like wild plants – vigorous, resilient, low-maintenance, and more fecund and feral – yet which continue to supply our needs for flavor, nutrition, and ease of access?

The answers, I believe, are found inside the genome of the seed where genetic diversity is found. I will explore the concept behind landrace gardening, which provides for many real-world examples of genetic diversity in action.

The Seeds of Genetic Diversity

The seed has found itself at the forefront of politics lately. With corporate threats to food security and seed integrity like Monsanto and ADM looming large, the voices of the seed-savers have become powerful leaders helping to create a future of food security. A down-to-earth, humble pursuit at root, seed-saving is the cornerstone of food sovereignty but largely a lost art these days. The seed-savers have thus been positioned as more than just the saviors of seed but as the saviors of land-based culture in general.

While the actions of the seed-savers are commendable, this is not a post about seed-saving, though seed-saving is a part of it. My focus here is rather on genetic diversity: one big issue, which can be broken down in many ways.

I aim to show not only how we lost genetic diversity, but how we can regain it. I call it “decolonizing the garden,” because on the right hand it resists the corporate-based objectifying commodity-driven economy, and on the left hand it unspins some of the unquestioned premises and methods guiding the way we’re used to gardening.

Click here to read more…

Are White People Indigenous?

By Pegi Eyers, Stone Circle Press

The colonial history of the places we call home, and current political realities shape how we use the language of “nativization” and “re-indigenization” to describe our process of re-bonding with the land.  This blog addresses the current (and unresolved) controversy on the use of these terms, and describes the boundaries that are in place to ensure that as Settler-Allies we continue to support the First Nations of Turtle Island in their ongoing cultural and spiritual recoveries.

To talk about the ambiguities we encounter in our re-indigenization process as white folks, let’s start off by asking – who is indigenous?  And how do we define indigeneity?   

Click here to read more…

(Originally published 10/7/2016)

Settler Colonialism and the Struggle for Abolition

This episode of Rustbelt Abolition Radio grapples with the relation between incarceration and settler colonialism. Kelly Lytle Hernández, abolitionist writer and professor of History and African American studies at the University of California-Los Angeles, discusses her latest book, City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles.

Hernández reveals the underlying logic of elimination and conquest that is foundational to our settler colonial society by interrogating the construction of the settler-carceral state over two centuries. In this historical analysis, Hernández draws from what she calls “The Rebel Archive,” a constellation of historical materials that emerged from struggles against conquest and elimination.

As resistance against conquest continues, how can abolitionists take seriously the reality of envisioning another world on occupied land?

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For transcript, click here.


Decolonization and National Liberation: From Turtle Island to Ireland

“[D]ecolonization, in its fullest expression, is a future beyond capitalism and beyond the liberal nation-state. Decolonization is a future-oriented project that requires imagining, building, and fighting for forms of nationhood and self-determination not premised on the relations of exploitation, dispossession, elimination, and extraction that define liberal nationalisms and capitalist, imperial, and colonial formations. Decolonization requires forms of nationhood and self-determination based on relationality of a different kind…”

IMG_3497.jpeg A mural of Native freedom fighter and political prisoner, Leonard Peltier, appears alongside several murals of imprisoned revolutionaries from Palestine, Ireland, Turtle Island, and other liberation struggles. The murals feature prominently in the blocks-long Falls Road murals that line this major thoroughfare in West Belfast. During my three days in Belfast, almost every male advocate for Irish liberation I met–regardless of his generation in the struggle–had spent considerable time in prison for his political activity. State repression of Irish self-determination, and the targeted criminalization of Republicans and anti-imperialists more broadly, is an everyday reality in Northern Ireland. There is thus a profound public consciousness about the issue of political prisoners and widespread support for campaigns to free political prisoners like Peltier elsewhere. Credit: Seamus McHenry

This talk was delivered at the Royal Geographical Society’s International Conference in London, England, August 28, 2017

by Melanie Yazzie

Good evening. I want to…

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