An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activist:
Thank you for your courage. Thank you for making an attempt to improve the situation in what is now called the United States. Thank you for your commitment to peace and non-violence. Thank you for the sacrifices you are making. Thank you.
There’s just one thing. I am not one of the 99 percent that you refer to. And, that saddens me. Please don’t misunderstand me. I would like to be one of the 99 percent… but you’ve chosen to exclude me. Perhaps it was unintentional, but, I’ve been excluded by you. In fact, there are millions of us indigenous people who have been excluded from the Occupy Wall Street protest. Please know that I suspect that it was an unintentional exclusion on your part. That is why I’m writing to you. I believe that you can make this right. (I hope you’re still smiling.)
It seems that ever since we indigenous people have discovered Europeans and invited them to visit with us here on our land, we’ve had to endure countless ‘-isms’ and religions and programs and social engineering that would “fix” us. Protestantism, Socialism, Communism, American Democracy, Christianity, Boarding Schools, Residential Schools,… well, you get the idea. And, it seems that these so-called enlightened strategies were nearly always enacted and implemented and pushed upon us without our consent. And, I’ll assume that you’re aware of how it turned out for us. Yes. Terribly.
Which brings me back to your mostly-inspiring Occupy Wall Street activities. On September 22nd, with great excitement, I eagerly read your “one demand” statement. Hoping and believing that you enlightened folks fighting for justice and equality and an end to imperialism, etc., etc., would make mention of the fact that the very land upon which you are protesting does not belong to you – that you are guests upon that stolen indigenous land. I had hoped mention would be made of the indigenous nation whose land that is. I had hoped that you would address the centuries-long history that we indigenous peoples of this continent have endured being subject to the countless ‘-isms’ of do-gooders claiming to be building a “more just society,” a “better world,” a “land of freedom” on top of our indigenous societies, on our indigenous lands, while destroying and/or ignoring our ways of life. I had hoped that you would acknowledge that, since you are settlers on indigenous land, you need and want our indigenous consent to your building anything on our land – never mind an entire society. See where I’m going with this? I hope you’re still smiling. We’re still friends, so don’t sweat it. I believe your hearts are in the right place. I know that this whole genocide and colonization thing causes all of us lots of confusion sometimes. It just seems to me that you’re unknowingly doing the same thing to us that all the colonizers before you have done: you want to do stuff on our land without asking our permission.
But, fear not my friends. We indigenous people have a sense of humor. So, I thought I might make a few friendly suggestions which may help to “fix” the pro-colonialism position in which you now (hopefully, unintentionally) find yourselves. (Please note my use of the word “fix” in the previous sentence. That’s an attempt at a joke. You can refer to the third paragraph if you’d like an explanation.)
By the way, I’m just one indigenous person. I represent no one except myself. I’m acting alone in writing this letter. Perhaps none of my own Nishnaabe people will support me in having written this. Perhaps some will. I respect their opinions either way. I love my Nishnaabe people always. I am simply trying to do something good – same as all of you at the Occupy Wall Street protest in what is now called New York.
So, here goes. (You’re still smiling, right?)
1) Acknowledge that the United States of America is a colonial country, a country of settlers, built upon the land of indigenous nations; and/or…
2) Demand immediate freedom for indigenous political prisoner Leonard Peltier; and/or…
3) Demand that the colonial government of the United States of America honor all treaties signed with all indigenous nations whose lands are now collectively referred to as the “United States of America”; and/or…
4) Make some kind of mention that you are indeed aware that you are settlers and that you are not intending to repeat the mistakes of all of the settler do-gooders that have come before you. In other words, that you are willing to obtain the consent of indigenous people before you do anything on indigenous land.
I hope you find this list useful. I eagerly await your response, my friends.
Miigwech! ( ~”Thank you!” )
Occupy Wall Street: The Game of Colonialism and Further Nationalism to be Decolonized From the “Left”:
By Jessica Yee
The “OCCUPY WALL STREET” slogan has gone viral and international now. From the protests on the streets of WALL STREET in the name of “ending capitalism” – organizers, protestors, and activists have been encouraged to “occupy” different places that symbolize greed and power. There’s just one problem: THE UNITED STATES IS ALREADY BEING OCCUPIED. THIS IS INDIGENOUS LAND. And it’s been occupied for quite some time now.
I also need to mention that New York City is Haudenosaunee territory and home to many other First Nations. Waiting to see if that’s been mentioned anywhere.
Not that I’m surprised that this was a misstep in organizing against Wall Street or really any organizing that happens when the “left” decides that it’s going to “take back America for the people” (which people?!). This is part of a much larger issue, and in fact there is so much nationalistic, patriotic language of imperialism wrapped up in these types of campaigns that it’s no wonder people can’t see the erasure of existence of the First Peoples of THIS territory that happens when we get all high and mighty with the pro-America agendas, and forget our OWN complicity and accountability to the way things are today – not just the corporations and the state.
Let me be clear. I’m not against ending capitalism and I’m not against people organizing to hold big corporations accountable for the extreme damage they are causing. Yes, we need to end globalization. What I am saying is that I have all kinds of problems when to get to “ending capitalism” we step on other people’s rights – and in this case erode Indigenous rights – to make the point. I’m not saying people did it intentionally but that doesn’t even matter – good intentions are not enough and good intentions obviously can have adverse affects. This is such a played out old record too, walking on other people’s backs to get to a mystical land of equity. Is it really just and equitable when specific people continue to be oppressed to get there? And it doesn’t have to be done! We don’t need more occupation – we need decolonization and it’s everyone’s responsibility to participate in that because COLONIALISM AFFECTS EVERYONE. EVERYONE! Colonialism also leads to capitalism, globalization, and industrialization. How can we truly end capitalism without ending colonialism? How does doing things in the name of “America” which was created by the imposition of hierarchies of class, race, ability, gender, and sexuality help that?
I can’t get on board with the nationalism of an “American” (or now “Canadian!”) revolution – I just can’t. There has been too much genocide and violence for the United States and Canada to be founded and to continue to exist as nation states. I think John Paul Montano, Anishnaabe writer captured it quite well in his “Open Letter to Occupy Wall Street Activists”:
I hope you would make mention of the fact that the very land upon which you are protesting does not belong to you – that you are guests upon that stolen indigenous land. I had hoped mention would be made of the indigenous nation whose land that is. I had hoped that you would address the centuries-long history that we indigenous peoples of this continent have endured being subject to the countless ‘-isms’ of do-gooders claiming to be building a “more just society,” a “better world,” a “land of freedom” on top of our indigenous societies, on our indigenous lands, while destroying and/or ignoring our ways of life. I had hoped that you would acknowledge that, since you are settlers on indigenous land, you need and want our indigenous consent to your building anything on our land – never mind an entire society.
I will leave you with this new art piece from Erin Konsmo (also pictured above), our fabulous intern at The Native Youth Sexual Health Network she created on “OCCUPY: THE GAME OF COLONIALISM”. Hopefully you get the picture now.
From People of Color Occupy Wall Street:
Julian Padilla of Brooklyn, NY made this flyer with input from Coya White-Hat Artichoker and Jessica Yee. While we #occupywallstreet, we must not forget the long and ruthless history of occupation.
“colonization continues to this day, with indigenous communities across the globe still under attack. to dismantle corporate greed and imagine a different world we must make connections between the histories of colonialism, genocide, capitalism, human trafficking, globalization, racism, imperialism, ecocide, patriarchy and so much more. we are the 99%”
download and share the flyer here.
If one looks closely, they may see the Colonial Mind at work in all who would claim possession of any lands. To describe oneself as ‘indigenous’ while labeling others ‘occupiers’ is itself separative and divisive. Though many of us seem to be from other planets, most likely we are all born of this Earth. The cultures who lived here prior to the European arrival had also emigrated and occupied these lands, and many committed terrible acts against others in the quest for dominance. (Colonialism is not a “white man’s disease,” it is a human condition). The best of them did not perceive ownership, but rather integrated themselves, as a part of the ever-changing environment. To say, “My ancestors lived here, so this is mine [or ours]” is itself a colonialist mentality, born of anger and entitlement. It is understandable, given the tragic history of suffering and forced sacrifice. But is this anger and sense of entitlement not the Colonialists defining characteristic? If we fail to unite in dismantling the Colonial Mind residing in each of us, how can we possibly Unite in allowing something better to grow in its place? We must remain accutely aware of the means by which we define ourselves, lest we become the very thing we criticize.
I am afraid you severely misinterpret other people’s mindsets, from what I understand of your writing. If you have not already, I highly suggest that you begin reading some work by native scholars, because you write like someone who thirsts for knowledge and thinks hard. However, from my perspective, you have not yet thought this through thoroughly.
1. The very statement “we are all born of this Earth” may sound beautiful, but it erases history. It ignores the fact that genocide has happened by one amorphous non-homogenous group of people to other peoples, many times, in many ways, all over the world. What we are referring to is the very specific plans of the pilgrims, founding fathers, and westward-bound settlers, to eliminate the people who lived on these lands before them. Via rape, torture, mass killing, killing buffalo by the millions and burning corn fields. Etc.
2. For many indigenous peoples, including myself (though raised in a Western culture) I work hard to understand how “land ownership” is a very culturally-specific understanding. To say something is “indigenous land” may not mean what you think it means. Consider that you understanding of ownership and titlement of land is not what this writer is referring to. Indigenous land, for me, means land on which indigenous peoples had a relationship with before white people came and violently removed them, enacting new laws and rules that governed humans relationship to the land. It does not mean THIS IS MINE NOT YOURS. It means recognize the past wrongs, and let’s try to move forward together. The way in which you interpret this writer’s viewpoint as hostile is, in my reading, a reflection of your own hostility more than that which the author may hold.
3. The Bearing Straight “you-were-immigrants-too” argument is extreme, bitter, deceiving, and diminishes people’s and their ancestors’ lived experiences. I beg you not to use it. Additionally, I recommend you do some more research on the land-disputes that existed among “warring” tribes. War meant something very different than what you understand, and you should not colonize the past with your understanding of words as they exist today.
Please review your understanding of the situations at hand, and be humble in your position.
Though I would agree on the basis premises of your comment, shad, we have no way of knowing whether or not “many committed terrible acts against others in the quest for dominance.” This may or may not have occurred, but it’s equally as plausible that they, as you put it, “did not perceive ownership, but rather integrated themselves, as a part of the ever-changing environment”, isn’t it? Regardless, I think that is besides the point. Understanding the difference between colonizer and indigenous isn’t a matter or notions of ownership of land or entitlement due to being there from the beginning of time or history or something, but rather, simply rests upon long-standing, continued inhabitance of a land base, to the point that your culture emerges from it. Clearly there have been non-“white” empires and civilizations, but that is beside the point. Colonialism is colonialism is colonialism, regardless of who the current dominant power may be. It was colonialism when the Roman empire did it to my “white” (though that racial construct hadn’t been created yet, but that’s how they’d be looked at today) Celtic ancestors, and even they had come from somewhere else hundreds or thousands of years before, without notions of land ownership.
Greatest 2 comments i have ever seen in ny life & i couldn’t have said it any better, Shad & Recovering, while acknowledging both sides of the colonial mindset.
If you know anything about the cycle of Abuse, You will know that some abused persons become abusers themselves.
To acknowledge & understand this in these terms, As an indigenous woman, i do recognize the colonialization of both celtic (white) & spanish colonizers whom came to then bring colonialisation to North America.
For both groups who recognise this crucial point as well, My Question is where do we as the human race as a whole, Go from here?
I will say that, for me, once I accepted the fact that I was putting myself on a pedestal by thinking that I deserved something more – anything, really – I knew in my heart it was not others that I needed to change, but myself and the world I was creating inside my mind. I’m not sure how this can work on a scale so vast as “the human race.” As we look back through the cycles, however, more of us seem to be awakening to this realization. When we find compassion for that which we are most wanting to judge, an acceptance arises of ourselves and our interconnectedness. This is indeed a lot to ask of the abused, but it is how we stop the cycle. We are coming back together, just maybe not as quickly as we might like. I greatly appreciate your reply.
Cante Tenza (Strong Heart Warrior Society) is in Asheville, NC right now. We have provided a permit letter to the Occupy Asheville movement from League of Indian Nations North America and the International Parliament of Safety in Peace based in Vienna Italy which uses Native sovereignty, international human rights law, and US treaty law to declare imminent domain over land for occupation for both natives and non-natives in protest. We are in process of reaching out to our friends in Cherokee regarding this effort.
We are also working through the cultural issues around stated principals of “non-violence” vs traditional defense of land, cultural sites, ceremony, elders, and children against ongoing colonial enforcement.
We are working through this process here, but hope the lessons gathered within a (to date) mostly white liberal Occupy movement can be shared elsewhere to empower anti-racist and decolonized action that can allow these well intentioned movements to respect, acknowledge, learn from, and be inspired by existing Native movements for justice, sovereignty and defense of Mother Earth. We understand these conversations are also happening in other locations. If you wish to contact us – email email@example.com or call 605-407-1714 (Duane Martin Sr.) or 828-230-1404 (Naomi Archer).
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Ok, what’s really irritating me right now is this bullshit:
THE POSTER AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS ARTICLE!
Now, I’m excited this takes the North American settler states and their ongoing colonization one serious step further into the mainstream mind. But if you fuck up the google search required to find out that New York is Lenape traditional territory and Algonquin traditional territory is on the Ottawa River watershed in Eastern Canada, five hundred kilometers north, you’re doing an incredible disservice to the indigenous nation that is fighting against so many odds for survival.
So I email the artist because I feel it’s important if this viral shit’s going to bring the poster around the world, to be factually accurate, for the Lenape’s sake. Having done indigenous solidarity activist work (with Algonquins, incidentally) the most important thing to keep in mind is that you must take leadership from the community members, but there is no solidarity going on here, it’s just some Shepard Fairey wannabe with a rasterized photo of Sitting Bull and when I emailed him he told me that, the Lenape are the “elders” of the Algonquins. Clear he hasn’t spoken to members of either nation. I wouldn’t care except this misinformation could catch on like wildfire. So, hey, how the fuck do I get this before it becomes a chant on Wall Street and inadvertently, ignorantly, well-meaningly, further erases the Lenape First Nation?
Thanks for posting the great OWS poster art! I posted it on my page.
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I participated in and witnessed the action in sympathy with Occupy Wall Street that took place today in Cesar Chavez Park beside Phoenix, AZ’s city hall.
Someone carrying about twenty of these posters (illustrated here, “Decolonize Wall Street” above a black and red image of an indigenous man), and took one eagerly, and immediately embraced its intention, what it asks of us: to return Wall Street to its original occupants.
This is a tough, and morally righteous stance. I am adescendent of many English colonists of the 17th century, and some Irish and Scottish immigrants who arrived in the 19th century. We all owe much to the peoples who originally occupied the lands we have overtaken. Overtaken is just what’s occurred to nearly all of us. “Overtaken” has been the action of the Wall Street community, and the wealthiest 1% of this country. Let the 99% embrace the indigenous people as it holds close to those who have lost their jobs, houses, investments, and voice in the halls of government. Let the 99% march shoulder-to-shoulder with those who have stripped the wealth from this country to enrich corporations (investors in them) instead of this country’s people — people who’ll be just as shunted off their lands as indigenous people have been, if we don’t all raise our voices against the greed of the few.
Miigwech, JohnPaul Montano and unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com for your wisdom, and miigwech for the cool poster. I’ll continue to display it prominently and proudly.
I am of the belief that rather than “the land ” belonging to one race of people, it rather actually belongs to none of us, yet all of us. The land actually belonged to no “person” even further back, so what right do we have to claim it now? None. The land claims us, but the land is not racist, generic, religious, or labeled. The land is free, unbiased , real, and not for claim. It should be equally shared among all races because we are all natives of the earth, no matter which land mass you live on now. You also have to remember that every country was, at one point in time, and still is, connected. I think that it is important to remember that it is not property of anyone, yet home to everyone.
Please be aware, the Occupy Movements are conscious of Indigenous People’s rights and the grimes committed against them. The General Assembly at Occupy Boston, for example, declared Columbus day to be Indigenous People’s Day:
The following resolution was passed by the Occupy Boston General Assembly on October 8, 2011:
RESOLUTION: Memorandum of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples
WHEREAS, those participating in “Occupy Boston” acknowledge that the United States of America is a colonial country, and that we are guests upon stolen indigenous land that has already been occupied for centuries, Boston being the ancestral land of the Massachusett people; and
WHEREAS, members of the First Nations have continued to resist the violent oppression and exploitation of the colonizers since they first arrived on this continent, and as a result have a great amount of experience that could strengthen this movement; and
WHEREAS, after centuries of disregard for the welfare of future generations, and the consistent disrespect and exploitation of the Earth, we find ourselves on a polluted and disturbed planet, lacking the wisdom to live sustainably at peace with the community of Life; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That we seek the involvement of the First Nations in the rebuilding of a new society on their ancestral land; and
As a signal to the national “Occupy” movement and to members of First Nations who have felt excluded by the colonialist language used to name this movement, it shall be declared that “Occupy Boston” aspires to “Decolonize Boston” with the guidance and participation of First Nations Peoples; and
Extending an open hand of humility and friendship, we hereby invite members of the First Nations to join us in this popular uprising now taking place across this continent. We wish to further the process of healing and reconciliation and implore Indigenous Peoples to share their wisdom and guidance, as they see fit, so as to help us restore true freedom and democracy and initiate a new era of peace and cooperation that will work for everyone, including the Earth and the original inhabitants of this land; and
We hereby declare that Columbus Day should be referred to as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”
… while my heart is with the Indigenous Peoples of N. America in this matter; my mind says, ALL Beings (including Human Beings) are Indigenous Beings in the Earth… our stomachs, our lungs & our hearts “don’t care” if we are fighting “for justice”, “for truth”, “for power”, or “for profit”… we are still…. “endlessly fighting”… & we are ALL putting our ideology ahead of “Life” itself. Our first duty, is to act as guardians & caregivers to the life “within us”… if we can’t even do that… than “not one” of our ideologies will “work”… in the greater body of Our Mother.
I’m not sure how I got here but in looking up error 406 not authorized on the OWS site I somehow troped here.
I wonder how fate takes a person somewhere, sometimes? I can by no means take up your plight I am the descendent of an immigrant. However I have as a non native citizen posted on the OWS site that the native people of this country need to have the right to their lands and a fair political representation. What is done is done and I am sorry for that. I am humbled because I have no right to even try and understand this.
If you dig around in the archives, Jeffrey, before all this OWS stuff started, you will find numerous articles written for and often by settlers and the descendents of immigrants. You may find some useful insight therein. For starters I’d recommend Understanding Colonizer Status, which wasn’t written by a settler, but rather by an indigenous woman.
this land is my land, this land is…not your land. you know, im sure the native people would have been delighted to share this land with new strangers. in which we did. we would have loved to learn of the new pale faces and their traditions. which we did. and gotten to know the way they do things, swapped recipes and medicines. in which im sure, we did. because we are curious beings. no problems there. we could all get along. but this isnt what happened. although we were willing to welcome our new friends, all we did was sign away our existence. we were FORCED to live in a way in which we didnt want to live. we were told our way was wrong. we were moved, taken and stolen away from our homes, away from our environment. not all natives lived in teepees. tribes were all different according to where we lived. our traditions were taken from us. we cant even practice our ways today legally without some white person or government official having a problem with it or some hippie stealing our ceremonies and accidentally killing people because they dont know how to conduct our ceremonies properly. did you know this? did you know that companies are still illegally dumping waste on these litter boxes of land you put us on? contaminating our water and making our children sick? did you know that our people our still trying to be killed off and a lot of native leaders are wrongfully put in prison for crimes they didnt commit because they spoke against government rule? did you know that we are seen as barbaric or crazy because we have spiritual connection with the mother earth that you now contaminate with your plastic? everything we were was taken. and we dont like it. no, i dont want your new cars. i dont want your money. i dont want to have to work my butt off for pennys to feed my family. i dont need your education. i dont want to learn how to brown nose to my boss. i dont want to buy a big house to show off to my friends. i dont want fancy clothes. i can even do without a cell phone or this computer im typing on. i dont need these things. but you brought them.you told me i needed them. my point is, we are now stuck in this society NEEDING these things to live. otherwise, be out in the street with no money and no home. and where do we go if we’re homeless? to jail. because where we choose to sleep is owned by someone or the city or a business and we are not allowed to be on someone elses property.we have to own property to live on it. we need money to rent a home. we need a car to get to our jobs. we need your education or else we die. we HAVE to live your way right now… and all i think we natives are trying to say is: go home. leave us the way you found us. let us hunt again. take your alcohol with you. take your drugs. take your court systems. take your guns. the natives can take care of their selves in their own way like we were born to do. and before you came here. we tried it your way and its not working. not at all…
Thank you for your straightforwardness. As someone who takes this very seriously, my question to you has to do with me and others like me. that is, those of mixed heritage. as i wrote elsewhere:
let me know your thoughts. more of my own can be found here.
it almost sounds like your trying to “pick your battle:. im sure lots of people can trace and link their ancestry somewhere. the point is, how were you raised? what do you believe and what were you taught? as for myself, i grew up on the reservation. my family was a part of the relocation act of the 50s. my gramma (whom i knew and lived with) struggled in boarding school. my father was murdered and labeled “just another dead indian”. he was a police chief. not some hoodlum drunk. we natives went through things like this and worse (and these are only a few examples from my struggles). and im not saying that no other race or person hasnt gone through something like this. but we natives are still in our own homeland. we havent left. we were just moved around. im a full blood native, but from mixed tribes (mainly part of the colorado river tribes). but because this tends to happen we become a part of other families, we are taught take after our fathers clan (not all tribes do this. this is just how my tribe does it). this is what i think mixed races are like. you cant be all of them. and im not saying just “pick one”. but go with what you know and understand and most importantly, with what you believe. because you must go with who you are. to me it sounds silly to have to divide yourself in the way you are speaking of. this is just my opinion.
thank you once again! and yes, of course it’s silly. that was rather my point. it’s unrealistic for many of us to return to our ancestral homelands. my own thoughts and feelings are expressed in the article i linked to on my previous comment, but in short, i think forming an intimate relationship with the land base i was born in and that has raised me is an appropriate setting for the organic re-emergence of a place-based and earth-based liveway that isn’t destructive to other living things, human and non-human alike. i do not feel sufficiently connected to my ancestral homelands, and the 30 years that have been this life, and the body connected to it, don’t have the same connections to the jungles and Guatemala, the highlands of Colombia, or the forests of Europe as with the mountains, forests, and deserts of the Southwest, where i was born and raised, continue to live, and obtain much of my food from. I literally am this land, and i have no greater connection with any place on this Earth. If i am to forge a balanced and sustainable lifeway on this Earth, this is where I will have to do it. I will stand against my culture’s system of ownership over land and life. I will fight for this land, live for this land, and die for this land. And in the end, if those who were here before still do not want me to live amongst them, perhaps i will have no choice other than to be uprooted once again, and placed in a new land, unknown to me, with the hopes that future generations will be able to forge the connections with the Earth there that i was unable to maintain here.
While I am of mixed race, I didn’t have a choice, nor did I have a choice to be born where I was born. Therefore, I should not be blamed for the choices of my ancestors. I do not claim one place to be from, not one country owns me, nor I a country. I am uniquely free in my own heart because I am just me. I don’t need a clan, or ethnicity to tell me who I am. Nor am I racist towards any. It is in my own heart and mind that arises. I choose not one political view because I think they all make people ill. Instead, I choose just freedom. Knowing that I am free to make my life at my own will, instead of what any government tells me I have to live by, well it’s freedom within itself. They can rave about laws and legislatures all they want, but in the end…they are all just empty words, with no meanings, because they were all backed by nothing meaningful in the first place. The real meaning of your life should not be defined by what anyone else says, but what you hear your heart tell you.
well, this is where the issue lies. we get it. we understand what you are saying. and you, jennifer, dont need a clan because you didnt grow up knowing and living this. we are NOT just going by what someone else tells us. (propaganda, you mean?) that freedom talk is all the “democracy” in you. of course you believe in this freedom. its what you grew up in.. but it almost sounds like youre saying the things we are taught is not the way we should live. what?? To me, that way of thinking is ignorant. we must go by what we feel in our hearts? uh, yes. how do you think our hearts grow to become who we are? spiritually? or just cuz? *shrugs* its how we were raised. its how i was raised. Its not wrong. and youre not wrong for feeling and believing this.
and to Recovering, i meant even bringing up a thought like your bringing up is silly. who are you trying to convince? youre talking to native people like we dont already know this. natives were brought up more connected spiritually and with more philosophical thinking than you know, my friend. i think a majority of the natives understand this dilemma ya’ll are in, but you all dont really seem to understand what we are trying to say. when i said in my original post “go home. leave us the way you found us.” i didnt literally mean to go home to europe or wherever you are supposed to be from. how in the world are you expected to take all your building and skyscrapers and education away? we are simply saying is, ya’ll forgot. ya’ll are fighting and “occupying wall street” because you forgot you were already occupying this entire land from the natives. we are being ignored and forgotten. like i said, we are still battling EVERYDAY. you just dont hear about it. you dont know about. but its true. im not just speaking to speak and complain about something. i dont know if any of yall will ever really understand what its like…unless i move into your home with my family and tell you that everything you know and believe is wrong. and then we let generations pass and yet your family still feels this connection in a good way to the way you used to live years ago. how we use to drink from the waters in the rivers and catch fish. and how we built our homes and how our people were strong and tall. now we live on commodity food, because we cant hunt and need money to buy a permit. and we have to buy our water. what kind of barbaric people do we have here that can claim the water and then sell it to people because the water now needs to be filtered because of all the toxins put in it? this is how we feel. actually, i cant speak for all natives, but i know this is how i feel. i hear the stories of how we lived. i hear our traditional songs and dance our traditional dance. and it makes me cry. it makes me cry to feel all the hardships we had to endure and continue to endure. to feel this connection and yet we cant get connected. like our eagle feathers. we now have to fill out papers to get them. we have to have permits. permits! finding an eagle feather or being given one is considered a blessing.(and we dont “Worship” the eagle or the bear or anything like that) it means a lot to a young warrior to receive one. its not the same when you have to ORDER one. but its illegal to have them without filling out the proper paper work and on top of that, your tribe must be federally recognized. do you realize how many tribes ARENT federally recognized because they dont meet GOVERNMENT standards? so a majoirty of Natives arent ever RECOGNIZED as natives because the government doesnt say they should be. so who are they? just AMERICANS?? i dont know who can ever understand a thing like this. but what means so much to you and the way you live means just as much to me and the way i live. know what i mean? you cant tell me to get over it and that you now have a home here and thats that (cuz thats what im hearing). but if there was any morality in your beliefs that continuing to suppress our people even to this day wouldnt seem fair. it doesnt work that way. like Oakland, CA. with all the protests and violence thats going on there right now, the Ohlone people were just pushed aside and forgotten. The bay area BELONGS TO THE OHLONE PEOPLE and their land was taken. so what should we do? just forget it all and embrace our “new” way of life? forget out traditional ways and hug a hippie? if thats what youre expecting us to do, well….im not gonna say im sorry. because i dont see that happening anytime soon. i cant speak for all races or for humanity on how badly we treat each other. i can only speak for my people and what we continue to fight for…if youre gonna respond. i suggest reading this over again before you do…i dont like repeating myself…
“i meant even bringing up a thought like your bringing up is silly”
that’s what i meant too. it was a rhetorical devise. i only brought it up because it *is* so silly.
“who are you trying to convince?”
well, i am speaking mostly to those of us who are settlers in this land, and those of us who came from elsewhere. my question for us is: where do we go from here? and why? how do we re-create earth-based life ways? How can we be accountable to both the past and the future? How can we be true and genuine? These are the questions i ask of myself, and those like me. I try to convince no one, because i have no answers, only questions and ideas.
“when i said in my original post ‘go home. leave us the way you found us.’ i didnt literally mean to go home to europe or wherever you are supposed to be from. how in the world are you expected to take all your building and skyscrapers and education away?”
although that statement only applies to half of me, perhaps less, the point is well-taken. i apologize for taking your original statement so literally. thank you for clarifying.
“ya’ll are fighting and “occupying wall street” because you forgot you were already occupying this entire land from the natives.”
indeed many, if not most, did. but i do not feel this statement speaks for me. my entire life has been an acknowledgment that this is stolen land and that this system of government is illegitimate upon its foundation.
i can only affirm and stand beside everything else you said. i am with you. i am just trying to find my place within it. as a child of the earth and of indigenous earth-based tribal cultures colonized both recently and long ago…
I by no means grew up or was raised in freedom. As i grew up, I was taught how to believe in the lies I was being told by the adults teaching me those lies. I was taught I had to go to church, I had to go to school, I had to work, I HAD to. I was also told that’s just the way it was. Well, upon getting older, I realized that many of the things I was “raised” to believe or think, were based upon lies. It wasn’t until I made My own mind up to believe what I believe that I became free. So, no, I wasn’t taught to think the way I think, I just do. And, by no means does that have anything to do with a political party whatsoever. I am the way I am now, because I taught myself to be that way.
Exactly. You learned and were taught the way you believe by how you were raised…remember i said I didn’t like repeating myself? I don’t think what you were told to believe were “based upon lies”. How do you know they were lies? Why is it that you think because what you believe is contrary to what others believe is based on a lie? Just from your posts, you are what you are desperately trying to prove your not, but I don’t have time to explain it to you. Just think about it if it bothers you so much. Good luck.
well thank you. if we did have to forcibly move everyone out of here back to where they came from, we’d probably keep people like you. lol 🙂
The land is God’s or it is nobody’s. Every human society except the first one, marched in and took it over from somebody else. Now it has been shown that the pierced mastodon bone discovered here in Washington proves there were people here BEFORE the Clovis people 12,000 years ago, meaning that even the Clovis people pushed out, co-opted, or waged war on, or otherwise took over the land from a previous people. That’s the problem with this kind of argument.
That being said, indigenous people have rights, they should be respected as well as their nations recognized by the US Govt, and the 99% should greet them with open arms, invite them to the GA, let them form their own working groups and organize marches or teach-ins etc just like we allow the people of color groups or the anti-cop groups. Or they can organize separately and the two groups can show mutual respect and solidarity with one another. Either way is workable.
So I am all for it, I just think there’s real problems with any one group of people trying to claim original ownership of the land. We didn’t create the land. God, or the Existence, or nature, or whatever you want to call the creative force of existence created it. We are just incredibly lucky to be able to live on it. I think all people, from every culture need to to start thinking in terms of the land being a precious gift that comes with great responsibilities, not just something to fight over because you want to own it.
. Including natives into not “thinking in terms of the land being a precious gift that comes with great responsibilities” just lets me know that youre a fine example of the many people that don’t get what we mean and what we stand for. thanks for sharing.
I have been an administrator for an Occupy site on facebook. I have been posting considerable links to Native sites and posts from native people since the site was established. I like the unsettle idea
for this is an occupied land. I had not thought of gaining the permission of our local tribal government. That involves several tribes in this area but I will start on that Monday. It was VERY remiss of me not to think of this. I have subscribed to this site and hope to gain more info on how others feel on this issue. Especially native people. This is an issue that we all need to point out to those who are promoting the Occupy issues. Thanks for all of your thoughts regarding an occupied nation. It has been occupied for many generations now and many have lost their way. It is good to be reminded how important the land is to her people.
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One question: How does anyone or culture have the right to say they own the land, water or air or anything living for that matter?
i think that’s precisely the point.
indigenous conceptions of belonging to place have little to nothing in common with Western legalistic notions of land ownership, which is tied into the Western legal and nation-state system. Indigenous nations around the world, by contrast, simply have territory, which is the land base upon which they live, and their territories often overlap with those of other indigenous nations. The indigenous conception of nations has little to do with geopolitical boundaries and more to do with people and culture (thus non-humans are also Nations unto themselves).
decolonization and recognizing that this is all “Indian land” is not to say that the indigenous seek legalistic ownership over their ancestral homelands, but rather, that as a colonized people who preexisted “European” colonization and settlement of this land, they have primary empowerment regarding that land (particularly because the opposing claim to empowerment regarding the land had to establish that by expropriation and force of genocide). while many may articulate it in a modern, Westernized legalistic sense, the true aim of many if not most is the abolition of the very system of land ownership, and indeed, ownership of other living beings. we are seeking to overturn the very foundations of civilization, so that we, and all of the earth, may live.
“Acknowledge that the United States of America is a colonial country, a country of settlers, built upon the land of indigenous nations” YES!
Man cannot own earth, so how is this your land?
I have invited, but am judged on appearance.
Nobody has asked me to speak for them, but everybody wants to put words into my mouth, pretending that I speak for somebody that I never met.
I have also had comments deleted.
I use the same name on yahoo, youtube, and spliffbook, so feel free.
No one is saying the land is owned by the indigenous in the Western legalistic sense of private property ownership rights, but rather, with the indigenous understanding that the land cannot belong to us, but rather, we belong to the land, we cannot accept colonial title and claim of ownership, and must respect the territorial primacy of those who inhabited this land when it was colonized by force, regardless of whether those inhabitants can be said to be the “original” inhabitants or not. The point is that a culture came in by force, committed genocide, colonized the land, and imposed their own systems of government and land ownership upon the people of this continent (or rather, those that survived).
I do not hate you.
You hate me.
That was fun.
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I think this is an important conversation and I’m glad it is happening. I am with an “Occupy” group in a small town and we have been discussing dropping this term. My concern though is that if we use a different name people won’t know that we are a part of this larger movement. It seems that if a name change occurs it needs to come first from NYC, or some of the other larger cities. It would be a monumental task, since the name has already become so ingrained, I’m not sure the name can be completely removed at this point. So I wonder, how important is changing the name, shouldn’t actions speak louder than words? If those in the movement continued to educate themselves on native issues and support native movements is that enough? I think there are many people in this movement that have their hearts in the right place and are very open to being allies with the native community. We want to do the right thing to make this world a better place for all, so thank you for adding to the conversation.
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