Category Archives: publications

Uprooting Colonialism: The Limitations of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

From Indigenous Action:

Declarations, Disconnect, & Decolonial Recuperation

As momentum has accelerated for occupying forces to issue declarations of “Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IPD),” we can’t help but feel disconnected from the revelry.

Aside from psychic solace, if the state dismantles these statues and proclaims Indigenous Peoples’ Days, what do we actually achieve if the structures and systems rooted in colonial violence remain intact? Is it merely political posturing or window dressing to diminish liberatory agitations? Our senses are heightened as most re-brandings of Columbus Day into IPD appear to whitewash ongoing colonial legacies.

The statistics are all too familiar: Indigenous Peoples in the “U.S.” are the ethnic group that faces the highest police murder rate, the highest rates of incarnation, homelessness, and sexual violence.

So yes, we have very good reason to be skeptical of symbolic gestures.

We’re all for removing colonial symbols and nationalistic myths, so long as structures such as colonialism and racism go along with them. Problem is they are not. These edicts are readily embraced by their advocates as “steps in the right direction” for Indigenous interests, yet—as we’ll assert here—only serve to calcify colonial rule. What else are we to glean from superficial declarations handed down by occupying governing bodies?

Decolonial aspirations are stunted with liberal cosmetology if nothing concrete is done to address historical and ongoing anti-Indigenous brutality. This is an insidious conciliatory process of decolonial recuperation that is rooted in cultural and symbolic change primarily fixated on transforming social stature. It fails to meaningfully confront and transform social power.

Read more…

Fall 2017 (v1.0)

Edits and contributions by
Indigenous Action Media Collective & friends

www.indigenousaction.org

Downloadable PDFs | Readable | Printable (zine format)

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Prairie Rising: Indigenous Youth, Decolonization, and the Politics of Intervention

By Jaskiran Dhillon, University of Toronto Press

In 2016, Canada’s newly elected federal government publically committed to reconciling the social and material deprivation of Indigenous communities across the country. Does this outward shift in the Canadian state’s approach to longstanding injustices facing Indigenous peoples reflect a “transformation with teeth,” or is it merely a reconstructed attempt at colonial Indigenous-settler relations?

Prairie Rising provides a series of critical reflections about the changing face of settler colonialism in Canada through an ethnographic investigation of Indigenous-state relations in the city of Saskatoon.  Jaskiran Dhillon uncovers how various groups including state agents, youth workers, and community organizations utilize participatory politics in order to intervene in the lives of Indigenous youth living under conditions of colonial occupation and marginality. In doing so, this accessibly written book sheds light on the changing forms of settler governance and the interlocking systems of education, child welfare, and criminal justice that sustain it. Dhillon’s nuanced and fine-grained analysis exposes how the push for inclusionary governance ultimately reinstates colonial settler authority and raises startling questions about the federal government’s commitment to justice and political empowerment for Indigenous Nations, particularly within the context of the everyday realities facing Indigenous youth.

>Purchase here<

Indigenist Intersectionality: Decolonizing an Indigenous Eco-Queer Feminism and Anarchism

Institute for Anarchist Studies

This essay appears in the current anarcha-feminisms issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory (N. 29), available here from AK Press!  Laura received an Institute for Anarchist Studies writing grant to complete this piece. 

The violence enacted against Indigenous women and Two-Spirit/LGBTQ people evokes deep questions about the intent and impact of colonization in a Canadian settler and state context. The horrors of colonial violence—bodies were violated and abandoned at the sides of highways, in ditches, in rivers—tell stories of the vital importance of Indigenous women’s leadership, their warriorhood, their gifts and their medicines, and also of the centrality of gendered freedom and fluid belonging in Indigenous cultures. It is a system of colonization that seeks to erase and subsume these realities and to replace Indigenous truth with illusions of our weakness. We are at a pivotal moment now as state and settler voices seek to understand what is…

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Cards Against Colonialism

From Native Teaching Aids:

We are stronger when we laugh and humor makes it easier to talk about difficult issues. Cards Against Colonialism attempts to embrace the modern Native Culture, and allows us to learn and laugh at the same time.

“through this short and profound experience,  I realized how putting these stereotypes on the table can help with the decolonization of the individuals who would be playing the game. It also drives the conversation to a deeper level, shift paradigms and awakens consciousness. It leads to storytelling of one’s culture, which can be liberating, transformative and set the trajectory for culture healing and revitalization…..and it is so hilariously wrong!”~Gerry Ebalaroza-Tunnell Hawaiian

Click here to purchase…

Decolonizing Dialectics

By George Ciccariello-Maher, Duke University Press

Anticolonial theorists and revolutionaries have long turned to dialectical thought as a central weapon in their fight against oppressive structures and conditions. This relationship was never easy, however, as anticolonial thinkers have resisted the historical determinism, teleology, Eurocentrism, and singular emphasis that some Marxisms place on class identity at the expense of race, nation, and popular identity. In recent decades, the conflict between dialectics and postcolonial theory has only deepened. In Decolonizing Dialectics George Ciccariello-Maher breaks this impasse by bringing the work of Georges Sorel, Frantz Fanon, and Enrique Dussel together with contemporary Venezuelan politics to formulate a dialectics suited to the struggle against the legacies of colonialism and slavery. This is a decolonized dialectics premised on constant struggle in which progress must be fought for and where the struggles of the wretched of the earth themselves provide the only guarantee of historical motion.

Read the introduction or order it here.

About The Author

George Ciccariello-Maher is Associate Professor of Politics and Global Studies at Drexel University and the author of We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution, also published by Duke University Press.

Decolonization Not Inclusion

Indigenous Resistance to American Settler Colonialism

By Erich W. Steinman, Department of Sociology, Pitzer College, Claremont, CA, USA, via Sage Journals

American Indians experience forms of domination and resist them through a wide range of decolonizing processes that are commonly overlooked, misidentified, or minimally analyzed by American sociology. This inattention reflects the naturalizing use of minoritizing frameworks regarding tribal members and ethnic rather than political conceptions of American Indian nationhood, membership, and identity. Drawing upon a settler colonial framework, the author uses an analytic typology to identify particular dimensions of settler colonialism, their manifestations, and indigenous action addressing those forms of power. Implications for race and ethnic scholarship and for indigenous participation in racial politics are considered.

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Land Education

Kate McCoy is Associate Professor of Educational Foundations and affiliated faculty of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at SUNY New Paltz, NY, USA. Her scholarship focuses on qualitative research methods and representation, cultural studies of addiction and drug use, and historical and contemporary uses of drug-crop agriculture in colonial processes.  Eve Tuck is Associate Professor at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada. Her scholarship focuses on the ethics of social science research and educational research, Indigenous social and political thought, decolonizing research methodologies and theories of change, and the consequences of neoliberal accountability policies on school completion.  Marcia McKenzie is Associate Professor of Educational Foundations and Director of the Sustainability Education Research Institute at University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Her scholarship focuses on the intersections of environment and education, educational policy and practice, youth identity and place, and the politics of social science research.Rethinking Pedagogies of Place from Indigenous, Postcolonial, and Decolonizing Perspectives

Edited by Kate McCoy, Eve Tuck, Marcia McKenzie

© 2016 – Routledge

This important book on Land Education offers critical analysis of the paths forward for education on Indigenous land. This analysis discusses the necessity of centring historical and current contexts of colonization in education on and in relation to land. In addition, contributors explore the intersections of environmentalism and Indigenous rights, in part inspired by the realisation that the specifics of geography and community matter for how environmental education can be engaged.

This edited volume suggests how place-based pedagogies can respond to issues of colonialism and Indigenous sovereignty. Through dynamic new empirical and conceptual studies, international contributors examine settler colonialism, Indigenous cosmologies, Indigenous land rights, and language as key aspects of Land Education. The book invites readers to rethink ‘pedagogies of place’ from various Indigenous, postcolonial, and decolonizing perspectives. This book was originally published as a special issue of Environmental Education Research.

Special decolonization issue of Geez magazine

Issue 39The Decolonization Issue
Issue 39, Fall 2015

“There are good and bad things in our society, successes and failures. But there is only one fundamental reality that remains unaddressed. That is the situation of indigenous peoples. This is the single most important issue before us, whether we are recently arrived in Canada or have been here for centuries.” – John Ralston Saul

In the midst of production for this issue of Geez, editor Aiden Enns sat down with guest editors Leah Gazan and Steve Heinrichs to get a sense of what readers could expect from an issue on decolonization. What follows is a brief excerpt based on their conversation.

Aiden Enns: What does decolonization mean to you?

Leah Gazan: For me, decolonization is about reconnecting back to land and place and an identity that was defined prior to colonization. We very often talk about building communities through economic development but there’s no greater poverty than poverty of the spirit. So I think decolonization means rejuvenating the spirit that’s rooted in land and ceremony and identity and relationships and an understanding of everybody’s role in that.

Steve Heinrichs: A simple metaphor many folks bring up is the guest-host relationship. It’s a bit simplistic but it rings true. You have people coming into another family’s home and occupying the space, with the original owners in the attic while the guests have the run of the house and dictate the rules.

Most of us non-native folks in Canada have not recognized our connection to host peoples and our obligation to honour our relationships with them. Decolonization is not just a fancy umbrella word for undoing sexism, undoing racism – the oppressions list. It is specifically talking about settler colonialism.

Patrick Wolfe says settler colonialism is not an event, it is a structure. It’s not simply a history which we’re trying to become aware of and lament and then move toward respectful relationships. It is a structure, so that means this relationship continues. It means fundamentally reworking our relationship into a place of mutuality and respect.

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Book Review – Time Bomb: Canada and the First Nations, by Douglas Bland

Book Review - Time Bomb: Canada and the First Nations, by Douglas BlandA frank discussion of Canada’s vulnerabilities

By Jamie Scout, Media Co-op

For radicals, part of taking our struggle seriously is committing to understanding ourselves, the context we’re operating within, and the perspectives of our enemies. Time Bomb is a good example of an enemy text which can prove useful to us. The author, Douglas Bland, spent thirty years in threat assessment with the Canadian Armed Forces. Time Bomb is his second book, essentially a long essay that broadly discusses the Canada-First Nations relationship, examines the possibility of an indigenous insurgency, and proposes a counter-insurgency strategy to preventatively ‘disarm’ the time bomb.

The most interesting section of this book is Bland’s study of so-called feasibility theory that seeks to explain the origins of contemporary insurgencies. Proponents of feasibility theory are less interested in what motivates insurgents and instead how feasible an insurgency is in a given context. They argue that if conditions exist that make an insurgency feasible and they aren’t ‘corrected,’ an insurgency will inevitably occur. The prevention and/or suppression of insurgencies is achieved not by resolving grievances but by shifting the conditions that make insurgency feasible in the first place.

Feasibility theorists did a statistical analysis of civil conflicts and came up with five major determinants that significantly increase the risk of an insurgency:

1) A society divided by ethnic or religious cleavages;
2) A high proportion of men aged 15-29;
3) A more mountainous, and less flat, terrain;
4) A weak security apparatus; and
5) An economy heavily dependent on exporting natural resources.

Bland applies these determinants to the Canadian situation and finds that overall, Canada is at risk:

1) Indigenous people are sharply separated from Canadian society, especially on reserves.
2) There is a very high proportion of young men in the population.1
3) Canada has both mountainous and flat terrain, but is vulnerable because of its enormous territory.
4) While Canadian security forces are effective at containing ‘localized incidents’ they simply can’t defend hundreds of kilometres of transportation and energy infrastructure.
5) The Canadian economy is largely dependent on natural resource export, which relies on this same infrastructure to get to market.

Bland follows his feasibility study with a thought experiment: what would an indigenous rebellion that managed to successfully threaten Canada actually look like? Assuming that the overall strategic objective would be for First Nations to become recognized as fully sovereign entities within Canada, and noting the growing frustration activists are expressing at Idle No More’s inability to force the federal government to meaningfully change course, he argues that a strategic shift is already happening within grassroots indigenous movements away from convincing the Canadian public and towards threatening the economy. Bland fears that a strategy of gradually escalating disruptions to railway and highway bottlenecks across the country, if coordinated and prolonged, could directly threaten the economy:

Continual widespread and unpredictable minor disruptions … could be effective without the use of sophisticated skills and guns and explosives simply because the foundation of the economy is vulnerable to very simple techniques of interference – burning cars on railway tracks would suffice.

In the final chapters of Time Bomb, Bland proposes a sophisticated counter-insurgency strategy for the federal government that reads like a neocolonial playbook. First, he argues for a number of political solutions: building stronger alliances with moderate Native leaders, integrating Native communities into the resource economy through profit-sharing and preferential hiring programs, education and training programs targeted towards the 15-24 year old ‘warrior cohort’ on reserves, and increased funding for on-reserve police forces. This is coupled with a number of repressive tactics, including disrupting illegal indigenous organizations,2 encouraging migration from reserves into cities, withholding government funding for reserves that refuse to marginalize radical leaders, and quietly threatening potential insurgents.

For those of us who want to see Canada decolonized, what lessons can be drawn from Time Bomb? Obviously it would be a mistake to take all of Bland’s warnings at face value, as his career directly benefits from fear-mongering. I’m inclined to agree with his acknowledgment that presently, a level of coordination simply doesn’t exist across the country to actually threaten the economy. Most disruption until now has been relatively localized, and when it has spread it has been through more spontaneous expressions of solidarity, such as the #ShutDownCanada response to the police attack in Elsipogtog, or the Idle No More Days of Action.

Still, I find his assessment of Canada’s vulnerabilities compelling. His paranoid thought experiment does offer an interesting toolbox of tactics for economic disruption by relatively small groups of people. If we can identify economic bottlenecks close to where we live, build our capacity to target those bottlenecks, and prioritize well-timed actions when the calls for solidarity go out, we can affirm our power and put Canada’s vulnerability on display. If these acts are effective they would inspire others to join us or take action themselves; if that momentum continues to grow we really could find ourselves in a situation where we pose a threat equal to the fears of Douglas Bland. Of course, such a path would mean escalating repressive consequences, coupled with efforts to delegitimize and isolate our movements. We need to consider those consequences and be prepared to minimize, avoid or counter them. Those of us who desire a life free from Canadian control should develop visions of how that life might look in the areas we live now, and build the skills, relationships and autonomous communities today that could help shape a decolonized future tomorrow.

WAR to launch new national Aboriginal magazine ‘Black Nations Rising’

by , via Intercontinental Cry

The Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) are pleased to announce that we will be launching our new national publication Black Nations Rising (BNR) in January 2015. We will publish independently, receiving no government or corporate funding. Our first edition will have a print run of 5000 copies thanks to the support of several trade unions.

The quarterly magazine will seek to inform Aboriginal people about decolonization and inspire them to take action in the anticolonial struggle. We will promote symbols, stories and strategies of resistance and revival. All content published in BNR will be consistent with WAR’s philosophy of Aboriginal nationalism.

We hope BNR follows in the footsteps of revolutionary print media initiatives like The Black Panther Intercommunal News Service (newspaper of Black Power movement in USA 1967-1980), Warrior Publications (manuals for Indigenous liberation 2006-current) and Black Nation (broadsheet of 1980s Aboriginal land rights movement).

Because WAR believes independent Aboriginal media to be an essential services in terms of pushing for social and political change, there will be no subscription cost for Aboriginal people. The ‘pay the rent’ subscription fee for non-Aboriginal people will be $50 per year, or $15 per copy. The magazine will be distributed via Aboriginal organizations and handed out at Aboriginal events (e.g. Invasion Day rallies, NAIDOC celebrations, football carnivals). Our volunteer staff consists of co-editors Pekeri Ruska (Goenpul/Yuggera) and Callum Clayton-Dixon (Nganyaywana), printing/distribution manager Merinda Meredith (Darambul), and artist Jade Slockee (Gumbaynggirr).

BNR is built upon the foundations laid down by Brisbane Blacks magazine (August 2013 – October 2014). Six issues of Brisbane Blacks magazine were published with over 6000 copies printed and distributed, with 120 pages of content produced. Like Brisbane Blacks magazine, copies of BNR will also be distributed to 200+ Aboriginal families in southeast Queensland via the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy Community Food Program. BNR issue one is slated for release (print and online) on January 19.

Criminal lawyer Pekeri Ruska says BNR will be the most powerful independent Aboriginal publication this country will see. “The information we collate and share will aid in the liberation of our people. We will reignite their strength and conscience to decolonize from the realms of colonial oppression.”

Founder of Brisbane Blacks magazine Callum Clayton-Dixon believes the Aboriginal movement and Aboriginal media should be one and the same. “A new era of Aboriginal activism dawns, and with it comes the need for strong independent Aboriginal media to echo the calls of Aboriginal nationalism and decolonization. Black Nations Rising will carry forward our agenda for change.”

For comment from WAR, call Pekeri Ruska on 0435 950 469 or Callum Clayton-Dixon on 0428 152 777