Category Archives: Decolonization & Unsettling

Seize The Tide: Decolonizing the Watersheds of the East Bay

From Fireworks:

“Say infrastructure and you’re saying that life has been detached from its conditions. That conditions have been placed on life. That life now depends on factors out of its control, that it has lost its footing. Infrastructures organize a life without a world, suspended, expendable, at the mercy of whoever is managing them.” -The Invisible Committee, 2014

Black Spring, Dirty Water

Without assuming too much, it is fair to say that you are currently at the mercy of the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD). If you refuse to pay them for water, they will eventually put a lock on your water meter. If you clip the lock and turn the water back on, they will remove the meter and disconnect your house from the pipe network. The money you must pay to EBMUD is supposedly meant to maintain the infrastructure and pay the workers, although it is hardly that simple.

The biggest customer in the East Bay is the Chevron refinery in Richmond. Every day, the refinery uses up roughly 10 million gallons of water. In a single week, it consumes enough water to supply 500 houses for a year. Throughout the year, the refinery uses over 3 billion gallons of water. Up until 2010, the refinery drew from the same water supply as every other EBMUD customer. But since 2010, around 7.5 million gallons of waste water are being recycled from the municipal network. Today, the refinery only uses around 2.5 million gallons of fresh water a day, or 15 million gallons a week.

dirty1According to the UN, humans need just over two gallons of water a day to survive. As it stands, every day that the Richmond Chevron refinery is operational, it consumes enough fresh water to satisfy the needs of 4,500people for an entire year. The annual water use of the refinery is equivalent to the amount needed to supply the combined populations of San Jose and Oakland for an entire year. EBMUD services 1.3 million people, yet its biggest customer consumes more in a year than the entire population of the East Bay. Even with its recycled water, the refinery is a glaring example of the fundamental contra diction of capitalism.

10 million gallon of water goes into the refinery each day and out comes 250,000 barrels of refined petroleum, or 4,750,000 gallons of gasoline. In other words, for every two gallons of water put into the refinery, less than one gallon of gasoline comes out. This gasoline isthen burned up by millions of vehicles at varying rates. A hybrid Prius can travel 50 miles on each gallon, whereas a Suburban SUV can travel only 20. Either way, both vehicles release climate changing carbon molecules into the atmosphere at consistent rates, thus contributing to the long drought in California. But despite all of the available data, the Chevron refinery is still using up 2.5 million gallons of drinking water per day, all so that millions of other people can poison the atmosphere and warm the planet.

Something is clearly wrong with this situation and it is no exaggeration to say that it needed to be stopped years ago. With a bleak future ahead of us, it is important to begin formulating an exit strategy. Making matters worse locally, EBMUD announced that is will be raising a surcharge to water rates by 24% on all customers. The reason for the raise: people are using less water. Because people are cutting back their use, EBMUD is getting less revenue coming in. But raising the cost under the guise of “drought conditions,” the agency can bring in more cash. The ‘drought surcharge’ is coupled with a permanent hike of 8%, which was supposedly implemented to replace crumbling infrastructure and pay off debts for construction projects. The current raises by EBMUD is a classic austerity move, pushed through the auspices of water conservation and raging drought.

Furthermore, while poor and working-class people are cutting back on water use, many wealthy Californians baulk at the idea of cut ting water consumption. As one upper-crust put it in the SF Gate, “People should not be forced to live on property with brown lawns, golf on brown courses or apologize for wanting their gardens to be beautiful. We pay significant property taxes based on where we live, [and], no, we’re not all equal when it comes to water.” Like everything else, to the rich and corporations go the spoils and water. For everyone else, we pay out the nose. Continue reading

Decolonizing the Colonizer

“Dispelling the illusions and resulting relationships around passive labels of Canadians such as ‘guests’, ‘newcomers’, ‘brothers’, or ‘settlers’. Incorrect labels lead to incorrect relationships. I pursed the point that all of these labels mask the true nature of Canadians; they are occupiers upon our homelands. The labels guests, partners, brothers and newcomers are all pacifist revisionist ways of incorrectly re-constructing the relationship. It starts by ignoring 500 years of genocidal atrocities and refuses to hold Canadians to account for their injustices. The label settler is too historically and politically sterile. Canadians are truly occupiers on our homelands. They need to acknowledge and take responsibility for the colonial crimes that they inherited, they benefit from and continue to impose today.”

“Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, & Society” Volume 4, Issue 1 has been published!

Tlalli Yaotl:

The Spring 2015 issue of the “Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, & Society” journal is out! Read it here.

Originally posted on Decolonization:

We’ve got a new issue! Our Spring 2015 issue is now live, please take the time to read and share! You can read it HERE.

Shapeshifter cover (upload)

Table of contents:

Table of Contents

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Toward Decolonizing Conservation

Humpback whale breaching, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, Haida Gwaii.

By Phil Levin, SNAP.is

Six hundred miles northwest of my Seattle home lies British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii archipelago, nearly 100 miles off the mainland. It’s a seemingly pristine and timeless  place — old-growth forests and breaching humpback whales, endless rocky shores enveloped in pea-soup fog and the penetrating smell of decaying seaweed, and a silence broken only by the drumming of ocean waves and the occasional cry of a bald eagle.

After a visit here in 2010, as I flew back to Seattle, I snapped a picture from my airplane window and posted it on Facebook with the caption: “Haida Gwaii is a magical land devoid of people.”

I couldn’t have been more ignorant.

Continue reading

Heart of Decolonization Gathering

From Awakening the Horse People:

A gathering for decolonizing people of diverse backgrounds who are in positions of teaching and inspiring others to decolonize while occupying stolen Native lands still under resistance.

SAVE THE (TENTATIVE) DATE!
September 4-6, 2015
Independent Lakota Territory
Hosted by the Lakota Cante Tenza Okolakiciye (Strong Heart Warrior Society)

This unique gathering is intended to bring together a diverse group of decolonizing people under observation of Native warriors and activists. In particular, we are focusing on those non-Native persons in positions of leadership, teaching, or mentoring others in movements of decolonization. Over the three days, we hope to engage in conversations that will create understanding, build relationship, and ensure accountability in the critical movements to return Indigenous lands and lifeway.

The gathering hopes to:

  • Bring transparency and openness to our approaches and perspectives, ensuring we are moving and sharing in ways that center the Native peoples and lands we occupy while doing this work.
  • Create a space to share the stories and experiences that has sparked this work in individuals or peoples, seeking commonalities and differences that may lead to a base of knowledge that can be used to understand and support each other, as well as the future generations who follow in our uncertain footsteps.
  • Openly exchange and share knowledge, tools, approaches, perspectives, and ‘technologies’ to aid each other in non-competitive and collaborative ways,  seeking to eliminate competitive ego, ownership, and to discourage commodification of Indigenous thought and philosophies and recovered cultural information.

Participants will need to bring their own camping equipment, food to share, and cover your own transportation.  Some carpooling to the land from Rapid City will be available. Traditional protocols will be observed.

Click here for the online application…

Essential Questions on Ecology & Decolonization

Originally posted on hastenthedownfall:

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[This entry also appears in my Rewilding Community Toolbox Zine]

Personal Questions, Part I
Where does your water come from? Where does your food come from? Who makes the things you use? Under what conditions? Where does your poop go when you dispose of it? Where do your other wastes end up? Who lives within 200 feet of you when you sleep? How well do you know them? Do you interact more with creatures, or plastic?

Ecology Questions, Part I
Does the moon currently wax or wane? What wild flora, fauna, and fungi live around you? Which local native species do you know? What watershed do you live in? Which ones border it? What do you know about your local bioregion? Polar, temperate, or tropical climate? Do you know your latitude, humidity, and elevation? Your hardiness zone? The direction and source of your winds and rains? What terrestrial biomes…

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When Being An Ally Turns Into Being An Appropriator (Settler Conduct and Self Check) PDF

Originally posted on Warrior Publications:

Ancestral Pride ally appropriatorPRINT READY! In the same vein as our first infamous zine, for indigenous and settlers alike here are some serious thinks to think about especially if you think you don’t need too. As my web master and ally friend put it: “Sometimes I think I am veteran, you know, like the call-outs are for someone else, not me. But I need to keep tabs on these things.”

Do you ever think that truths or check yourself advice, articles, or memes are not about you? Do you feel you been around long enough to know whats up with indigenous resistance or any kind of activism and and so you are exempt from these types of teachings? If this is you YOU NEED TO READ THIS NOW!

You can purchase for $10 (or more! bigger donations for the zines are happily welcomed) with Email Money Transfer to mamazonscreations@gmail.com or Pay Pal to…

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HipHop’s Origins as Organic Decolonization

Originally posted on Decolonization:

by Damon Sajnani

Scholars routinely recognize HipHop’s political potential but this relation is commonly construed as incidental rather than definitive. Others have gestured to the colonization of HipHop in reference to the way minstrel stereotypes have replaced Afrocentric consciousness as the dominant theme in major label U.S. rap recordings post-1992. However, this leaves the antecedent relation of HipHop to colonization merely implied. This brief article outlines the more fundamental connection between HipHop culture and politics, specifically the politics of decolonization. HipHop culture, at its origins, is an organic decolonization of local urban space by internally colonized people in post-industrial 1970s New York.

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Rhyming Out the Future: Reclaiming Identity Through Indigenous Hip Hop

Originally posted on Decolonization:

by Lindsay Knight

Hip hop music has begun to transform the ways in which young Indigenous people perceive their environments and assert their identities. Examples of resistance in Indigenous music can easily be discovered through hip hop. Without easy access to land and rural communities, urban Indigenous people often have limited exposure to ceremonial ways of experiencing music. Many grow up without an awareness of the existence of Indigenous forms of song and dance beyond the limited versions taught in school. Instead, they are exposed to other forms of music, which they latch onto and reformat by incorporating Indigenous style and sound into the music. By focusing on positive and conscious artists who are situated in this growing movement, this essay describes how hip hop fills a cultural void within urban people’s identities, and assists in maintaining Indigenous worldview through resistance, revitalization and connection to the spirit world.

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Trackin’ settler colonial erasures in Palestine: Decolonizing Zionist toponymy

Tlalli Yaotl:

Solidarity with occupied Palestine!

Originally posted on Decolonization:

by Chandni Desai

Settler colonial societies use national mythologies to erase the genocidal history that lead to a settler nation’s founding. These national mythologies are profoundly racialized and spatialized stories. Sherene Razack (2002) argues that “although the spatial story that is told varies from one time to another, at each stage the story installs Europeans as entitled to the land, a claim that is codified in law” (p. 3). The legal doctrine of terra nullius – empty, uninhabited lands – describes territory that has supposedly never been subject to the sovereignty of any nation. Settler colonists used such laws to politically and materially occupy Indigenous land.

For example, early Zionist settler colonists rendered the land of Palestine as a “land without a people, for people without a land.” Zionist “imaginative geographies” (Said, 1978) constructed Palestine as terra nullius, the empty wilderness, a land that is “bare”, “abandoned”, “naked”, “virgin” and…

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