White Fear of Savage Reprisal in the Course of Decolonization

“The kind of unapologetically eurocentric, settlerist, first worldist rubbish demonstrated by the bulk of the north amerikan “left” sadly rules the day. We who see ourselves as part of the Indigenous Liberation/Independence Movement have to come to grips with this unfortunate truth. It also must be noted that most of the people who would claim leadership of our Movement also profoundly miss this. If we sit and wait for even the most “woke” sectors of the settler population to “come to their senses” and “see the real enemy” we’re frankly going to be waiting here for another 500 years. I can’t wait that long? Can you?”

Koupe tèt, boule kay
(Chop heads, burn down houses)
Ayisyen revolutionary slogan

After a bit of back and forth with myself on whether or not it was worth it to respond to an article by Ross Wolfe (1), in which a bumbling, offhanded academic attempt is made to paint my  article Decolonization is not a Metaphor: The Basics of a Genuine Anti-Colonial Position as the height of absurdity, i have decided to take the proverbial plunge and jot down a few thoughts. Perhaps against my better judgement, i decided to do this because the article by Wolfe, for all of its demonstrable euro-chauvinist flaws, does provide us with a nice teachable moment—indeed its euro-chauvinism is precisely why it is a useful pedagogical tool.

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On the Concept of Indigenous Assent: A Rejoinder

“We will never surrender. We will stand tirelessly in defense of our Peoples, our Lands, and our Sacred Earth Mother, and for all of our relations. If they want what they they need to feed their living-dead society, they will have to come and take it. We are Earth’s Army. We will be ready, and We will be waiting.”

Following the posting of my quite well received article Decolonization is Not a Metaphor: The Basics of a Genuine Anti-Colonial Positionwhich was shared by anarchist communists, maoists, anarcha-feminists and many others i would not normally expect to see digging into the kind  of material i produce—there were a slew of not even sort of surprising, much less interesting, responses from certain sectors of the north amerikan settler left.

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Stolen people on stolen land: decolonizing while Black

Stolenpeoplestolenland - Hari Ziyad (2016)

Stolenpeoplestolenland – Hari Ziyad (2016)

By Adele Thomas, RaceBaitr

Settler privilege, as I’ve understood it broadly, is having specific rights, advantages or immunities granted or available only to a particular group of people (settlers), while the Indigenous groups are excluded from those benefits.  But when you are neither the colonizer nor the Indigenous group, where do you fit in? More specifically, can African Americans claim access to this privilege?

Often, I find myself feeling the guilt of anti-Indigeneity and Native erasure, contemplating my role in systems oppressive of Indigenous people alongside colonizers who are also charged with African genocide. Taken or sold into bondage and used to develop a global economy, most Africans did not arrive in this country by choice but instead for the purposes of chattel slavery, and while it may be arguing semantics, if Black people cannot claim economic, educational, financial, or cultural privilege, what exactly defines our privilege on stolen land?

Click here to read more…

Strangers in Their Own Land: Lineages of the Conquest of Aztlán

“Anti-Xicano sentiment, just like anti-Onkwehón:we and anti-Afrikan sentiment, is central to the development and continued cohesion of the euro-amerikan settler nation. It is true that since the success of the Civil Rights Movement and the u.s. defeat in Việt Nam there has been and increasing trend towards the integration of the internal colonies within the body politic of the amerikan empire—most clearly seen in the election of the country’s first Afrikan president, Barack Obama. However in general the relationship between the united states and its non-euro-amerikan populations remains one of internal colonialism. Understanding this relationship and its origins will allow us to genuinely begin to combat these political trends and to build towards our future goals of land, independence and socialism.”

The following article is a slightly modified version of a paper i had previously written during my Ph.D studies. 

Introduction: War on the Border

Today many euro-amerikan citizens of the united states on both sides of the political spectrum are growing increasingly concerned about high rates of migration from México and other Latin Amerikan states south of the Kótsoi River (Rio Grande/Río Bravo del Norte). This phenomena is perhaps seen most spectacularly within the current juncture by the mass swell of support by “everyday” settlers for the white supremacist, borderline-fascist candidacy of Donald Trump for the amerikan presidency. These concerns for settlers generally, but not universally, centre on the presence of migrant workers who the colonial media, state and general public have heaped labels such terms as irregular and illegal upon. These migrants are often painted as a threat of varying degrees to the amerikan way of life, despite…

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Decolonization is Not a Metaphor: The Basics of a Genuine Anti-Colonial Position

“A genuine anti-colonial politic in north amerika must abandon the idea that settlers have an inherent right to a piece of this continent.”

The purpose of this short article is to put to the pen a number of thoughts that have been working themselves out in my head recently about the default eurocentrism of the north amerikan left and the necessity for a genuinely anti-colonial positionality. I have been attempting to working out these ideas for myself regarding just what exactly such a position would look like. 

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Adapting the Indian in the Child: The Settler Colonial Politics of Adopting Native American Children

Decolonization

by Joshua Whitehead

In June of 2015, Manitoba became the first province to apologize to survivors of Canada’s Sixties Scoop. For those unfamiliar, the Sixties Scoop refers to the removal of Indigenous children from their families, “scooping” them up, and placing them into foster homes with non-Indigenous families and/or residential/day schools. I also deploy the term Sixties Scoop with an awareness of its expansive and evolutionary nature, in that it branches beyond the sixties and moves well into the eighties; moreover, its remnants can be seen in Canada’s contemporary Child and Family Services (CFS). In light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Manitoba’s apology was a first step towards reconciling with survivors. As the child of a Sixties Scoop survivor, I am interested in how adoption functions within the larger framework of North American settler colonial practices[1]. While there is quite a bit of research on the…

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Poems for Palestine

Decolonize Palestine: End the Violence, End the War, End the Occupation. Solidarity from Turtle Island. #GazaUnderAttack

Decolonize Palestine: End the Violence, End the War, End the Occupation.

By Anne Champion

The Tent of Nations is an educational and ecological farm run by Christian Palestinian brothers in the mountains of Palestine.  They run a peace project that invites people from around the world to interact.  Despite the land being awarded to the family by the Supreme Court, they are not allowed to build and must live in caves.  The caves are painted in bright colors by Palestinian children who paint over their own shadows. Their guest tents have demolition orders on them, as they are considered a form of building, and their trees are routinely destroyed by the Israeli Defense Forces. 10,000 trees were destroyed and buried a few days before I arrived.

THE TENT OF NATIONS

If they won’t let us build,
we’ll live in caves
and if our children are merely
shadows, our children
will paint over their shadows
in vibrant primary colors
on the stoic rocks underground.
If our children die, they’ll frolic
on these rocks, embossed
on the earth, bound only to freedom.
If they say the land isn’t ours,
we’ll keep going to court.  If they cut
down 10,000 olive trees in a day
and bury them in a mass grave
like bodies, then we’ll mourn
like bodies. If trees take patience
and nurture, then peace takes
patience and nurture, and if we keep
holding out our hands?
If you block the road to us
with your tanks, the internationals
will climb the mountain to plant
and break bread, to trace
the children’s silhouettes, to gaze
over all of Palestine, to remember.

———

Military raids happen approximately once a week in Bi’lin.  This village has been targeted because its use of creative, nonviolent resistance has endured and captured the attention of people from all over the world.  American presidents, celebrities, and other world leaders have visited, and a documentary about the village, *Five Broken Cameras, *garnered critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination.  Raids are a common tactic of occupation, as it produces anxiety and inhibits sleep, thus giving Palestinians difficulty in everything from routine chores and schoolwork to demonstration planning and participation.

RAIDS
Bil’in, West Bank

Once a week, the soldiers rouse us,
alarm clock of rifle butts on midnight doors.
We pull the children from their beds.
They point their guns at our heads,
but there’s nothing like the bullet
of panic as they aim
at the children’s hearts.
Iyad’s daughter’s first raid
was at one week old. Now she’s six
and she’s learned to raise her arms,
half dreaming still, marching
like an automaton towards the moon.
She always looks at the sky,
never meets a soldier in the eye
as they tear apart her room,
her beads scattering on the floor
like the bullets shot into the night
air.  Someone falls down, someone’s
been hit.  A rubber bullet lodged in a throat
on the side of the road. I watch
the smoke hover above his head
before he slumps over; in seconds,
his neck blooms and pushes aside his face.
The men prop him up, the women call
to the soldiers for an ambulance.
The teenage soldiers high five each other
before calling for help.  And then
the tear gas canisters hiss
and the air strangles with its serpent snare.
Someone wraps a keffiyah
over my face and pulls me inside,
and I can’t see a thing. Even when my vision
returns, I can’t see anything anymore.

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Decolonizing the Black Bear Ranch Hippie Commune

bbr-finalBy Dina Gilio-Whitaker, Indian Country Today Media Network

The social revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s was a time of positive change for American Indian people and America in general. Indians got self-determination as official federal Indian policy, ethnic minorities gained a greater degree of civil rights, and the United States got out of the Vietnam War. On the negative side, hippies flocked to Indian reservations searching for Indian wisdom, in the process committing a form of theft Indian people now refer to as cultural appropriation.

During those turbulent times the hippies literally ran for the hills in their attempts to escape a spiritually bankrupt social system and set up communes, inspired to a great degree by what they perceived to be American Indian lifestyles and values. Many of them, such as Black Bear Ranch in Northern California, still survive today.

In 2006 a documentary was made about BBR.

The communes were well-intentioned enough, fueled as they were by a desire to transcend systems of greed, social inequality, and environmental degradation the hippies had inherited from their ancestors.

But what they also inherited was a sense of settler entitlement to land based on that very system of capitalist greed they were trying to overcome. Most of them hadn’t thought twice that the lands they were buying were stolen from the very people they were trying to emulate; they were just looking for good deals. But what they did in the process was repeat the patterns of settler colonialism they were simultaneously condemning. (For more on the topic of hippie communes and Indians see the book “Hippies, Indians, and the Fight for Red Power” by Sherry L. Smith).

Black Bear Ranch was founded ironically on the slogan “free land for a free people,” apparently oblivious to the fact that the land was stolen in the first place. Some of the Black Bear Ranch people are beginning to see themselves as complicit with settler colonialism in their idealist visions.

Recently an open letter was written to the BBR members and “family” from a coalition of former BBR residents pointing out the ways the commune is founded on these contradictions. The letter raises the question, “can it be ‘free land’ if it is stolen land?”

Written by non-Natives calling themselves “Unsettling Klamath River,” the letter skillfully employs the language of settler colonialism:

“[We] are an open community collective of settlers, many us former Black Bear residents, living on the Klamath and Salmon Rivers working to understand and respond to the ‘elephant in the room’: the continued occupation of Karuk, Hoopa, Yurok, Konomihu, Shasta, and Shasta New River Homelands. While we understand that the values of settler society are the problem and not necessarily settler people themselves, we recognize that we have a responsibility to face our position as beneficiaries of settler colonialism (even though we have not intended to benefit in this way).”

Click here to read the full article at ICTMN…

Click here to read the full Open Letter to Black Bear Ranch Commune…

Seeking Settler Re-landing

“The Earth” (Zemliia) Painting by Bohdan Pevny, 1963, dedicated to the memory of the 1933 famine in Ukraine.

Illustration: “The Earth” (Zemliia)
Painting by Bohdan Pevny, 1963, dedicated to the memory of the 1933 famine in Ukraine.

By Pegi Eyers, Unsettling America

We as Settlers have abandoned the land.  We have successfully walled ourselves off.  The wind is something that howls outside, the rain bangs on the roof, the snow is an inconvenience that needs to be shovelled away.  The scents of spring blossom outside our sealed windows as we walk throughout our days on floors that were once magnificent forests.  We complain about the weather, and the so-called “perfect” sunny days are just a backdrop to activities that further our appearance, our ego, our need for acquisition, and the diligent daily machinations of capitalism we enact to perpetuate the goals of Empire.  And even though we have insulted Mother Earth in every way possible, she still nurtures us by providing the green growing things that end up in our tomb-like refrigerators, plastic packages, non-recyclable bottles and sealed cans.

And away out on the land, nothing human is moving, because nothing human is there. We as Settlers manage the land and leave the alterations and artifacts of our passing, but we have no interest in actually placing our frail and delicate bodies in natural spaces. From a bird’s eye view, houses sit like lifeless monoliths on the denuded landscape, with the occasional tiny human scurrying from car-pod to dwelling and back again. The creatures of the air have these ravaged territories to themselves – as does every animal, reptile and insect fully embodying their indigenous knowledge through all the vagaries of atmosphere, light, scent, burrow, and ground beneath their feet.  Blocked in by grids of roads traversed by death-dealing machines – the real life, the true life of Turtle Island keeps thriving to the best of its ability and authentic to its song.

Yet not all Settlers are oblivious to the call of the wild and the potential for indigenous knowledge.  Across all demographics and beyond all expectations contemporary movements1 are flourishing  that share “decolonization” hesitantly with Turtle Island First Nations activists and scholars, who maintain ownership of the term.2 However, if the most important activity of decolonization is rejection, a refusal to participate in Empire any longer, we must unsettle our core beliefs as we transcend the legacy of colonial identity, replace external authority with community, stop scarring the land, and begin to live as earth-centered peoples once again. Along with a self-guided critique of Settler-Colonialism in all of its misguided and toxic glory, we must confront the interloper and examine our status on the land.  How do we re-inhabit these places called “Canada” or “USA,” the ground of our being? Mother Earth is counting on us to get it right.

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(White) Settler Futurity with Bloody Hands on Stolen Land

unsettling.as.existence

Memory is short when it comes to your futurity [1]. Imagination is productive when it comes to your futurity, to your innocence.

Given who I am, I will only speak of white settlers. This is not to contribute to the erasure, but many discussions about non-whites folks on Turtle Island exist by (and for) POC & WOC. Check out Rita Dhamoon [2], for example.

White Settler Futurity  [1] is the most important future that is catered to, in the world, and on Turtle Island. It is the everyday upholding of the privileges created from colonialism and continued occupation that white settlers/occupiers [3] nervously “enjoy”. It is the comfort of knowing that you are stable today and that you will be tomorrow. And so will your kids be. It is the comfort of knowing that environmental pollution will probably not affect your community right now, it is knowing that your…

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