Category Archives: colonialism

Beyond Columbus Day: Changing the Name Is Just the First Step

Rene Roman Nose addresses the crowd during a celebration marking Indigenous Peoples' Day at the Daybreak Star Cultural Center on October 13, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Earlier that afternoon, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed a resolution designating the second Monday in October to be Indigenous Peoples' Day. (David Ryder / Getty Images)

Rene Roman Nose addresses the crowd during a celebration marking Indigenous Peoples’ Day at the Daybreak Star Cultural Center on October 13, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Earlier that afternoon, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed a resolution designating the second Monday in October to be Indigenous Peoples’ Day. (David Ryder / Getty Images)

By Jacqueline KeelerTruthout

On Wednesday, October 3, the Cincinnati city council joined a growing trend when it voted to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. It is now one of more than 70 cities across the country to do so. The first was Berkeley, California, which adopted Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 1992, in recognition of the 500–year anniversary of the European arrival in the Western Hemisphere and the ensuing devastation to Indigenous nations already here in what became known as the Americas.

Other cities that have made the change include Los Angeles, Seattle and Phoenix, as well as states like Minnesota, South Dakota and Alaska, which have significant Native American and Alaskan Native populations. In 2017, the island country of Trinidad and Tobago made the change after a statue of Columbus was splattered in blood-colored paint. A grassroots group called the Cross Rhodes Freedom Project posted an explanation for the vandalism on Facebook at the time, explaining that the painting was soaked in red to protest the celebration of the “Genocidal Genovese Sailor” who “decimated the first peoples of the Americas, destroyed their way of life, then turned around and denied their humanity.”

There are rumors of more cities, including Dallas, Texas, following suit by today. More than 90 different entities (including cities, counties, colleges, universities, states and one country) have changed from honoring Columbus to honoring Indigenous people — at least in name — since 1990.

“I think history tells us that Christopher Columbus was not a good representation of the kind of people we’d want to value and appreciate,” said Chris Seelbach, a Cincinnati councilman, when explaining his vote. He also tweeted, “We can’t re-write history, but we can acknowledge the millions of people who didn’t need to be ‘discovered.’”

Click here to read the full article…

Jacqueline Keeler is a Diné/Ihanktonwan Dakota writer. Her book The Edge of Morning: Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears is available from Torrey House Press and the forthcoming Standing Rock to the Bundy Standoff: Occupation, Native Sovereignty, and the Fight for Sacred Landscapes will be released next year.

Indigenous peoples and the politics of water

Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, & Society
Vol 7 No 1 (2018): Indigenous Peoples and the Politics of Water

Introduction by Melanie Yazzie and Cutcha Risling Baldy

In recent history, we have seen water assume a distinct and prominent role in Indigenous political formations. Indigenous peoples around the world are increasingly forced to formulate innovative and powerful responses to the contamination, exploitation, and theft of water, even as our efforts are silenced or dismissed by genocidal schemes reproduced through legal, corporate, state, and academic means. The articles in this issue offer multiple perspectives on these pressing issues. They contend that struggles over water figure centrally in concerns about self-determination, sovereignty, nationhood, autonomy, resistance, survival, and futurity. Together, they offer us a language to challenge and resist the violence enacted through and against water, as well as a way to envision and build alternative futures where water is protected and liberated from enclosures imposed by settler colonialism, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy.

Click here to read more…

Articles

 

Decolonization : A Modern Approach

By Kiksuya Khola, The Fifth Column

Three Steps to Decolonization

1.  Recognition

More than 5.1 million people in the US identify as fully or partially Native American or Alaska Native, according to the US Census Bureau. Up to 2.5 million identify as fully indigenous Native American or Alaska Native. Of that total, more than half do not live on reservations. Recognize that while today the majority of Americans are feasting that the majority of natives are starving or dying from alcoholism and depression, many of them are homeless, unemployed and alone. The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs estimates that “per capita income in Indigenous areas is about half that of the US average, and the poverty rate is around three times higher”.

The fact is that Natives are poor not because they failed at civilization, and misunderstanding the ways in which Native bodies are made poor and are criminalized makes it impossible to understand the structure of settler colonialism as a precondition for that poverty.

You can’t heal from something that continually inflicts wounds upon you. The trauma is continually being inflicted, and must be recognized by the masses. There are only six mental health professionals on the entire reservation of Pine Ridge, which has a population of 16,000 to 40,000 tribal members based on varying government and tribal estimate. This has had a huge impact on the mental health of the youth (ages 12-24), who have been committing suicide in alarmingly and increasingly high rates. More than 80 percent of residents suffer from alcoholism. A quarter of children are born with fetal alcohol syndrome or similar conditions. Life expectancy – 48 years for men, 52 for women – is the second-lowest in the western hemisphere, behind only the Caribbean country Haiti. The tuberculosis and diabetes rates are eight times the national averages, while the cervical cancer rate is five times more than the US average. Colonial thought is literally killing our peoples. To be Lakota in this world is a challenge because they want to maintain their own culture, but they’re being told their culture is not successful. The system is overwhelmed. No matter which reservation you go to, that’s what you’ll find. Take time to publicly recognize this struggle and show your solidarity in a meaningful way through mutual aid and direct action. Show your support of the indigenous peoples by going to these places (with permission) and doing what you can to improve lives.

2. Restoration

Uplift and uphold native speakers and their culture, do not tone police or speak over a native voice on topics of their beliefs, cultures etc… You as an ally should help prioritize the issues that native people bring to light. Make it a regular thing to converse and discuss the topics and issues native people deal with daily. Don’t speak of us as if we are gone, speak of us as we truly are: strong, proud, fearless, independent, and everlasting. Buy land and donate it to a local tribe, help fundraise for native communities, bring teachers of trades and technology to give us the tools for communal growth and empowerment in a modern world so quick to forget and throw us away. We need the tools and support to come back from the decades of oppression and genocide. We need hope, help us obtain that once again. As previously stated, mental health professionals and training of them is sorely lacking on reservations. Changing the availability and access to these professionals will do a whole world of good for the residents.

Stop supporting colonial systems. Do not vote in federal elections.  When you support colonial systems you are legitimizing this erasure and oppression. You are literally becoming the actors of our genocide. When you vote for any candidate you are saying “yes, you can rule me” but also saying “I give you the power to rule those who have not voted.” There is no such thing as choosing between the lesser of two evils, all state actors are evil. The state has to be destroyed by whatever means possible for decolonization to come into effect, so that means you must take dramatic steps to delegitimize it and that includes not participating in the process that gives it ‘consent to rule.’

3. Reparation

The idea of reparations is very open to what you can define it as specifically. The recognized definition is “the making of amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged.” In this sense we are talking about the final step of Decolonisation and how we can achieve and build steps for that to happen. We have to change education on every level to restore the true history of this land. We do this by beginning with our children, that means you have to take time out of your day to teach your children these same lessons you yourself are learning. We need to raise the future generation to know only decolonial thought and to question and refute everything they are taught is a colonial narrative. Teach your children the real history of Amerikka. Amerikkan history didn’t start in the 1600s and we shouldn’t teach that anywhere. We have to change the idea that the white man is the norm on the continent, and holds the only accurate representation of history, and by doing so we will begin to reverse the narrative of white supremacist history. We achieve this by placing natives in positions where they can actively change whole communities through democratic procedures supported by allies, and by placing indigenous figureheads, chiefs, braves, wise men, and scholars into our common curriculum of learning. Why is it we must be forced to learn of the white mans Head Men but never the great indigenous leaders who saved their people from annihilation? We allow natives to become token speakers of future ideologies and paths of progress by not taking up space, and by elevating their platforms and messages high above the white man’s. We remove all images and documents of authority that represent or dictate the oppression they face including sports figures, statues of orchestrators of our genocide, and pretty much everywhere else the white man’s image is held in higher regard than the original inhabitants of the lands. We must renegotiate treaties where the colonials are the ones who get told where they can live and what resources they can use. This is so important because without restricting those, without decolonial praxis from the resources, they will use and abuse and destroy them as history has always shown. We pay through all of our labors the native communities back until this land is theirs again and the normal narrative is that of the decolonial one.

Be the change you want to see, stop sitting on your hands and acting like you cant make a change, there is a way we can all decolonize our thought and it’s here presented to you from the labors of the indigenous peoples. Look at all this labor put out simply to make the world a better place. Through the actions of the few we can change the hearts and minds of many, through the actions of many we can begin to reverse the history of erasure and genocide and ensure to our indigenous hosts that we have their backs and we will never relent in our fight against colonial thoughts and practices.

Decolonizing Studies in Education

Available to read for free, in its entirety, until October 21!

Indigenous and decolonizing perspectives on education have long persisted alongside colonial models of education, yet too often have been subsumed within the fields of multiculturalism, critical race theory, and progressive education. Timely and compelling, Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education features research, theory, and dynamic foundational readings for educators and educational researchers who are looking for possibilities beyond the limits of liberal democratic schooling. Featuring original chapters by authors at the forefront of theorizing,practice, research, and activism, this volume helps define and imagine the exciting interstices between Indigenous and decolonizing studies and education. Each chapter forwards Indigenous principles—such as Land as literacy and water is life—that are grounded in place-specific efforts of creating Indigenous universities and schools, community organizing and social movements, trans and Two Spirit practices, refusals of state policies, and land-based and water-based pedagogies.

Linda Tuhiwai Smith is a Professor of Māori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.

Eve Tuck is Associate Professor of Critical Race and Indigenous Studies, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and Canada Research Chair of Indigenous Methodologies with Youth and Communities, University of Toronto.

K. Wayne Yang is the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, San Diego.

Click here to read more…

‘The Only Way to Save the Land is to Give It Back’: A Critique of Settler Conservationism

By Majerle Lister, The Red Nation

The narrative that conservationism is an ally of Indigenous people and Indigenous land serves the opportunistic purpose of unifying Indigenous people and pro-conservationist to fight for the land. At the center of the US conservation movement is Theodore Roosevelt, a notable racist and violent imperialist. Any act or criticism against conservation is painted as an insult to the president — or the innocence of a settler nation. Settler conservation, however, has provided great victories for Indigenous people in the form of protecting sacred lands from capitalist development, such as, most recently, the protection of Bears Ears National Monument. Settler conservation plays a dual role, it keeps land away from Indigenous control while conserving land for the settler public. Narratives like this usually flow from one person to another without evaluating the reality from which it was created, all the while ignoring the historical dispossession of Indigenous lands.

Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, the twenty-sixth president of the US, is the soul of settler conservationism. Roosevelt, a “big stick” imperialist, supported the US military invasion of Cuba in 1898, the violent annexation of the Philippines in 1900, the blockade of Panama and annexation of the Panama Canal in 1903. His bloody foreign policy matched his Indian policy. As part of his famous conservation policies, Roosevelt worked to transfer 230 million acres of Indigenous land to public lands. Besides calling Indigenous people “squalid savages,” he firmly believed that the land belonged to the “white race” through conquest and superiority, a staple of imperialism by violently increasing the land mass of the invading settler nation. Roosevelt also defended the Dawes Act of 1887, which opened 90 million acres of Indigenous land for white settlement. He praised the Act because it “pulverized” the tribal land mass and encouraged private ownership and the dissolution of collective tribal lands.

The history of the US conservation movement is a history settler colonialism.

Settler colonialism operates on certain myths so that it can reproduce itself. One of those myths is that Indigenous people of the U.S. were unproductive with the land therefore white settlers were entitled to the land. There are two main points in this myth, the capitalistic characteristic of productivity and the notion of white supremacy. When settlers came over, they deemed the land unproductive despite the complex use of the land by Indigenous people. Following this, they believed they were entitled to the land because they thought themselves superior to manage land and labor. This white supremacy ideology initiated the Indigenous genocide, Indigenous land dispossession, and the enslavement of the African people. Settler land management operates on this notion that indigenous people cannot management their lands themselves despite the romanticism of the “ecological” Indian. If Indigenous people cannot manage the land, who should be in charge? The discussion of control of stolen land shifts to a discussion of the public vs the private.

Indigenous people are quick to recognize the land grabs by the Federal government, or any other government, as the continuation of colonial land accumulation. Yet on the other end, conservationists see it as consolidating lands for the public. The conservationists rally around the term “Public lands” harkening to the spirit of Wood Guthrie’s, “This Land is Your Land.” This shifts the narrative away from Indigenous land claims and dispossession towards a discussion of the public good. Indigenous lands become the public’s land and “the public” — which excludes the original owners of the land — should be the ones who manage and control the land. Examples demonstrating the shift away from Indigenous land control are seen by corporations and non-profits, such as Sierra Club and Patagonia.

Click here to read the full article from The Red Nation

The Red Nation is dedicated to the liberation of Native peoples from capitalism and colonialism. They center Native political agendas and struggles through direct action, advocacy, mobilization, and education. Click here to read more.

Return Fire on Colonisation

A glossary entry to accompany the U.K. green anarchist zine Return Fire, Volume 3 (PDF)

Imagine existing under occupation. Imagine life after the invasion of your home; the boots on the street, the suppression of differential ways of being, the erasure of potentials. Imagine you, the next generation, the one after, as compelled to abide by new strictures and disciplines, learning to call new and old phenomena by unfamiliar terms, both living in and understanding your bodies and surroundings in set and prescribed ways, contributing daily to a project not your own.

Is this what the term ‘colonisation’ evokes to you? For many of us, the initial connotations are the same: expropriation, persecution, enslavement, loss of culture and meaning, apartheid. For some, depending on one’s starting point, this picture will feel painfully present and fresh; an open sore not given respite to heal, a torment without end in sight, as the circumference of your life shrinks to fit your ghetto, house-hold, reservation, labour-camp or mental ward. For others, the impression would be like traces of a lingering nightmare – collective grief buried under daily survival; echoes of the kitchen-table laments of neglected elders or whispers of half-forgotten rebels. For others still, this will feel like the stuff of wide-screen dystopias or foreign dictatorships; figures from the past, maybe, without bearing on or relation to our ‘individually determined’ existence in The Free World.

The common usage is deceptively simple; one kind of culture invades and overwhelms another. The basis for this hostility towards the ‘other’, and the complex mindsets of differentiation and superiority within which it exists, is rooted in the settling of certain concepts and assumptions in the consciousness of its hosts. Often, however, discussion of the phenomena of colonisation stays hemmed into limited readings on the theme of race, or the moves of one specific culture on the stage of History, or even just to shrewd geopolitical calculations set apart from ideology. The truth is that contributions from such discussions continue to inform our perspectives on the matter, yet our use of the term conjures a logic far deeper and wider. We who are writing feel that opening out our understanding of this dynamic can equip us to better comprehend the indignities in all our lives, and the axes along which they intersect. This is why we wanted to dedicate this space to the topic.

Some of the descriptions to follow are straight from our own experiences, or those shared with us by others on a separate footing within the colonisation process, but some will be what has in one way or another been served to us as History (even in its antagonist version). Because this History is a slippery tool to wield, and more than a little implicated in the very process of worldview-shaping we’ll critique, we will at least be making more abundantly clear than usual which key sources we’ve worked from or what conversations we’re following in this line of inquiry.

Continue reading

Native Resistance and the Carceral State

Image credit: “Wilding” Cops at Standing Rock, Josh Yoder

Image credit: “Wilding” Cops at Standing Rock, Josh Yoder

Via Rustbelt Abolition Radio:

Nick Estes identifies the anti-Indian origins of the carceral state within the U.S. settler colonial project and argues that indigenous liberation offers critical frameworks for understanding how to abolish it. Estes is a co-founder of The Red Nation: an anti-profit coalition dedicated to the liberation of Native Nations, lands, and peoples. He holds a PhD in American Studies from the University of New Mexico and is a fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University.

Image credit: “Wilding” Cops at Standing Rock, Josh Yoder

Subscribe via iTunes | Subscribe via RSS |Download the MP3

Decolonizing Anarchism at the Institute for Advanced Troublemaking

This workshop by Maia Ramnath will explore the history, structure, function, and ideologies of colonialism, anticolonialism, and decolonization from an anarchist perspective. It will be organized in three parts. The first one, anarchism in anticolonial action, will offer a historical overview of colonialism and its various manifestations over the past five hundred years. This requires understanding and confronting the interconnections of empire, capitalism, race, and resource extraction. Part two will focus on how anarchists (in both colonizing and colonized positions) have related to anticolonial struggles, including those identified as national liberation struggles. It will consider various specifically located traditions of resistance and liberation philosophy/praxis that have affinity or share some key concepts with anarchism. Finally, part three will center on anarchism and decolonization today, concentrating on some contemporary hot spots of empire and settler colonialism, and touching on both ethical and practical concerns for action, taking into consideration how anarchistic thought and praxis might look in different political, social, and cultural contexts.

More info…

Maia is a writer, historian, teacher, activist, and performing artist based in New York City. She has taught modern South Asian and world history, written two books (and is working on a third) and numerous articles on transnational radical anticolonial movements. Coming up on her twentieth anniversary as a “self-identified anarchist,” she has worn many different organizing hats to face a range of intersecting issues of social, economic, racial and environmental justice, Palestine solidarity and indigenous solidarity, all understood as interlinked aspects of the same imperial/colonial system. Check out Maia’s book Decolonizing Anarchism : An Antiauthoritarian History of India’s Liberation Struggle

Featured Book: The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism

The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, and Capitalism in Seventeenth-Century North America and the Caribbean

By Gerald Horne, Monthly Review

Virtually no part of the modern United States—the economy, education, constitutional law, religious institutions, sports, literature, economics, even protest movements—can be understood without first understanding the slavery and dispossession that laid its foundation. To that end, historian Gerald Horne digs deeply into Europe’s colonization of Africa and the New World, when, from Columbus’s arrival until the Civil War, some 13 million Africans and some 5 million Native Americans were forced to build and cultivate a society extolling “liberty and justice for all.” The seventeenth century was, according to Horne, an era when the roots of slavery, white supremacy, and capitalism became inextricably tangled into a complex history involving war and revolts in Europe, England’s conquest of the Scots and Irish, the development of formidable new weaponry able to ensure Europe’s colonial dominance, the rebel merchants of North America who created “these United States,” and the hordes of Europeans whose newfound opportunities in this “free” land amounted to “combat pay” for their efforts as “white” settlers.

Centering his book on the Eastern Seaboard of North America, the Caribbean, Africa, and what is now Great Britain, Horne provides a deeply researched, harrowing account of the apocalyptic loss and misery that likely has no parallel in human history. This is an essential book that will not allow history to be told by the victors. It is especially needed now, in the age of Trump. For it has never been more vital, Horne writes, “to shed light on the contemporary moment wherein it appears that these malevolent forces have received a new lease on life.”

Gerald Horne returns to the scene of the crimes that birthed the modern world. With cinematic flair, he takes us through what at first may appear to be familiar terrain—slavery, dispossession, settler colonialism, the origins of capitalism—but by extending his analytical lens to the entire globe, he delivers a fresh interpretation of the 17th century. His careful attention to European militarism, technology, national and imperial political dynamics disrupt the now common Anglo North American story of the emergence of whiteness, racial slavery, and class consolidation. Thanks to Horne, what Marx once called the ‘secret of primitive accumulation’ is no longer such a secret.

—Robin D. G. Kelley, author, Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

This is history as it should be done. Acutely perceptive and solidly documented, lucidly presented and uncompromising in its conclusions, The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism reveals the roots of our present socioeconomic nightmare with a force and clarity unrivaled by anything previously available. Gerald Horne, already a leading voice in forging a counterhegemonic understanding of the ‘empire of liberty’ we now inhabit, has truly surpassed himself. This book simply must be read.

—Ward Churchill, author, A Little Matter of Genocide

Gerald Horne strengthens his stature as one of our leading global historians with this ambitious and engaging book. Taking settler colonialism seriously as central to the development of whiteness, he brilliantly situates changes in that tiny part of the 17th century world in what would become the U.S. within far wider worlds of increasingly racialized commodities and cruelties. Among much else Horne demonstrates that colonies were not marginal to capitalism nor to the politics of the colonial powers.

—David Roedgier, University of Kansas; author, Class, Race, And Marxism

Drilling down in the 17th Century Atlantic world made by European colonialism through invasions, occupations, ethnic cleansing, and enslavement of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and Africa, historian Gerald Horne reveals the roots of white nationalism and capitalism, the pillars of the United States political-economy today. This brilliant, concise monograph is a must-read for all who propose to change the social order.

—Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, author, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

One of the preeminent global historians of repression and resistance, Gerald Horne has done it again. The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism follows the “three horsemen” that gave rise to the West: slavery, white supremacy, and capitalism. Horne’s erudite look at this seventeenth-century apocalypse brings together the hemispheric struggles of Black and Indigenous peoples for reparations. He shows that transnational solidarity is the greatest foe of settler colonial domination.

—Dan Berger, University of Washington; author, Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era

The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism interrogates the roots of white supremacy, enslavement, and racism in the United States. Horne focuses on reconstructing England’s emergence as an empire and the impact of Cromwell’s ‘Glorious Revolution’ on its colonies in the Western Hemisphere in the 17th and early 18th centuries. He notes the ascendancy of the class interests of the ‘surging merchants’ or bourgeoisie in England and their white settler counterparts in the colonies, particularly in North America. The relationship between England’s Caribbean sugar colonies, particularly Jamaica and Barbados, with its settler colonies, is also explored. Horne’s text has relevance for our contemporary political reality and the persistence of settler colonialism ideology, structural racism, and racial capitalism today. His assessment that calls for a ‘massive program of reparations’ from African and Indigenous people to ‘repair immense damage inflicted over centuries’ is provocative and intriguing. The Apocalypse of Setter Colonialism is a must-read for all wishing to understand the historical roots of race oppression in the U.S. today.

—Akinyele Umoja, Professor and Department Chair, Department of African-American Studies, Georgia State University; author, We Will Shoot Back

Gerald Horne’s The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism is a meticulous history of the colonial era, one that opens portals into understanding the power of white nationalism to determine contemporary elections. Horne’s well-researched text maps the evolution of historical cross-class alliances among Europeans and settlers that enabled white voters to consistently choose racial animus over decency. Imperial capitalism, rapacious colonialism, human trade, genocidal wars—all were incubated by the white racism that stabilizes the present order. Apocalypse details how centuries of warfare, greed or need in both the ‘old’ and ‘new’ worlds were resolved by slavery and the spilling of African and Indigenous blood. Despite the efforts of maroonage to stem its rise, a ‘master race’ addicted to a b`ete noire-as-cash crop thrived. Essential reading for those who wish to comprehend how the past led to the violence of the present order, and how best to plot an alternate trajectory.

—Joy James, Williams College; author, Seeking the Beloved Community: A Feminist Race Reader

Spirit Island review: Finally, an anti-colonialist board game

Like Pandemic, but people are the disease.

By Aaron Zimmerman, Ars Technica

A side effect of Euro-style board games’ preoccupation with European history as a theme is that many such games hinge on colonialism. Most board games are not “pro-colonialist,” of course, but simulating a long history of European imperialism necessarily means that a lot of us sit around on game nights trying to figure out the most efficient way to exploit the resources (and sometimes, uncomfortably, the people) of a newly “discovered” land.

Spirit Island, a cooperative strategy game for one to four players, flips this well-worn script on its head. Instead of playing as settlers building out villages and roads in a new land, you and your friends take on the role of god-like elemental spirits charged with protecting the island’s various landscapes from those pesky invaders, who are controlled by the game itself. It’s kind of like a complex, wildly asymmetric Pandemic—but here, people are the disease.

The island’s natives are there to help you fight back when they can, but it’s mostly up to you and your teammates to destroy the settlers’ fledgling cities, remove the blight they introduce as they ravage your pristine lands, and gain more and better powers to help you on your way. Gameplay is driven by cards, and as the game progresses, you’ll get more and better powers and strike more and more fear into the invaders’ hearts. Drive them off to win.

Click here to read the full review…