Tag Archives: Waziyatawin

Unsetting America and Oshkimaadziig team up to archive Radio Against Global Ecocide

¡RAGE Presente! (RIP)Unsettling America has previously featured content from Radio Against Global Ecocide (RAGE), particularly their interview with Waziyatawin, but much to the dismay of the show’s listeners, its demise included the online archives of the show. Thankfully, we’ve teamed up with our friends at at Oshkimaadziig.org (Anishinabek Confederacy to Invoke Our Nationhood) to (re)archive the show. Although we took this action in order to assure the decolonization-related interviews were archived and accessible online, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to archive the entire show in its entirety! Here are a few we find most poignant:

Colonialism is alive and well (with Waziyatawin): Parts 1a, 2a, & 2b

Also from Waziyatawin & RAGE: Indigenous People & Revolution & Holocaust, Collapse, & Dispair

Related: Relationship with Salmon & other stories…

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Decolonizing Our Minds and Actions

For Indigenous Minds Only features Indigenous scholars, writers, and activists who have collaborated for the creation of a sequel to For Indigenous Eyes Only (SAR Press, 2005). The title reflects an understanding that decolonizing actions must begin in the mind, and that creative, consistent decolonized thinking shapes and empowers the brain, which in turn provides a major prime for positive change. Included in this book are discussions of global collapse, what to consider in returning to a land-based existence, demilitarization for imperial purposes and re-militarization for Indigenous purposes, survival strategies for tribal prisoners, moving beyond the nation-state model, a land-based educational model, personal decolonization, decolonization strategies for youth in custody, and decolonizing gender roles. As with For Indigenous Eyes Only, the authors do not intend to provide universal solutions for problems stemming from centuries of colonialism. Rather, they hope to facilitate and encourage critical thinking skills while offering recommendations for fostering community discussions and plans for purposeful community action. For Indigenous Minds Only will serve an important need within Indigenous communities for years to come.By Waziyatawin and Michael Yellow Bird, from the Introduction to For Indigenous Minds Only: A Decolonization Handbook:

Introduction and Background

In 2005, eight Indigenous intellectuals created the volume For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook, to offer hands-on suggestions and activities for Indigenous communities to engage in as they worked to develop decolonizing activities. Beginning from the assumption that Indigenous Peoples have the power, strength, and intelligence to develop culturally specific decolonization strategies to pursue our own strategies of liberation, we attempted to begin to demystify the language of colonization and decolonization. Through a step-by-step process, we hoped to help Indigenous readers identify useful concepts, terms, and intellectual frameworks that will assist all of us in our struggle toward meaningful change and self-determination. The handbook covered a wide range of topics including Indigenous governance, education, languages, oral tradition, repatriation, images and stereotypes, nutritional strategies, and truthtelling.

“The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”
—Steve Biko

In this volume, a number of new Indigenous scholars, writers, and activists have collaborated for the creation of a sequel to the Decolonization Handbook. The title, For Indigenous Minds Only, reflects an understanding that decolonizing actions must begin in the mind, and that creative, consistent, decolonized thinking shapes and empowers the brain, which in turn provides a major prime for positive change. Undoing the effects of colonialism and working toward decolonization requires each of us to consciously consider to what degree we have been affected by not only the physical aspects of colonization, but also the psychological, mental, and spiritual aspects. Kenyan intellectual Ngugi wa Thiong’o, in his book Decolonising the Mind, describes the “cultural bomb” as the greatest weapon unleashed by imperialism:

The effect of the cultural bomb is to annihilate a people’s belief in their names, in their languages, in their environment, in their heritage of struggle, in their unity, in their capacities and ultimately in themselves. It makes them see their past as one wasteland of non-achievement and it makes them want to distance themselves from that wasteland. It makes them want to identify with that which is furthest removed from themselves; for instance, with other peoples’ languages rather than their own. It makes them identify with that which is decadent and reactionary, all those forces that would stop their own springs of life. It even plants serious doubts about the moral righteousness of struggle. Possibilities of triumph or victory are seen as remote, ridiculous dreams. The intended results are despair, despondency and a collective death-wish.

The planting and igniting of this “cultural bomb” by the colonizing forces has been essential to the colonization process, for if our minds are contaminated with self-hatred and the belief that we are inferior to our colonizers, we will believe in both the necessity and virtue of our own colonization. We will begin to diminish the wisdom and beauty of Indigenous ways of being and embrace the ways of the colonizers as inherently superior. When we believe in their superiority, our motivation to fight for our own liberation is splintered and eventually seriously damaged. However, we do not believe that it can be killed. That destiny lies within each of us. Still, if we accept the cultural bomb, why would we fight for something we perceive to be undesirable?

Working toward decolonization, then, requires us to consciously and critically assess how our minds have been affected by the cultural bomb of colonization. Only then will we be positioned to take action that reflects a rejection of the programming of self-hatred with which we have been indoctrinated. We will also learn to assess the claims of colonizer society regarding its justification for colonization and its sense of superiority. When we regain a belief in the wisdom and beauty of our traditional ways of being and reject the colonial lies that have inundated us, we will release the pent-up dreams of liberation and again realize the need for resistance to colonization. This volume is dedicated to facilitating the critical thinking that will help us work toward our collective decolonization.

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For Indigenous Minds Only: A Decolonization Handbook

2012. 284 pp., 9 figures, 2 tables, activities, resources, notes, index, 8 x 10Edited by Waziyatawin and Michael Yellow Bird

From SAR Press:

For Indigenous Minds Only features Indigenous scholars, writers, and activists who have collaborated for the creation of a sequel to For Indigenous Eyes Only (SAR Press, 2005). The title reflects an understanding that decolonizing actions must begin in the mind, and that creative, consistent decolonized thinking shapes and empowers the brain, which in turn provides a major prime for positive change. Included in this book are discussions of global collapse, what to consider in returning to a land-based existence, demilitarization for imperial purposes and re-militarization for Indigenous purposes, survival strategies for tribal prisoners, moving beyond the nation-state model, a land-based educational model, personal decolonization, decolonization strategies for youth in custody, and decolonizing gender roles. As with For Indigenous Eyes Only, the authors do not intend to provide universal solutions for problems stemming from centuries of colonialism. Rather, they hope to facilitate and encourage critical thinking skills while offering recommendations for fostering community discussions and plans for purposeful community action. For Indigenous Minds Only will serve an important need within Indigenous communities for years to come.

Contributors: George Blue Bird, Gregory A. Cajete, Ngaropi Diane Cameron, Chaw-win-is (Ruth Ogilvie), Jeff Corntassel, Scott DeMuth, Na’cha’uaht/Kam’ayaam (Cliff Atleo Jr.), Leonie Pihama, Waziyatawin, Molly Wickham, Michael Yellow Bird

Download an excerpt (PDF, 160 KB).

“This book is absolutely for Indigenous minds and spirits; a book that challenges our minds and awakens our spirits, expands our minds and allows our spirits to soar.” —Linda Tuhiwai Smith, University of Waikato, Aotearoa (New Zealand)

Radio Against Global Ecocide (RAGE) interviews Waziyatawin

Waziyatawin is a Dakota writer, teacher, and activist committed to the development of liberation strategies that will support the recovery of Indigenous ways of being, the reclamation of Indigenous homelands, and the eradication of colonial institutions. Waziyatawin comes from the Pezihutazizi Otunwe (Yellow Medicine Village) in southwestern Minnesota. After receiving her Ph.D. in American history from Cornell University in 2000, she earned tenure and an associate professorship in the history department at Arizona State University where she taught for seven years. Waziyatawin currently holds the Indigenous Peoples Research Chair in the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. Her interests include projects centering on Indigenous decolonization strategies such as truth-telling and reparative justice, Indigenous women and resistance, the recovery of Indigenous knowledge, and the development of liberation ideology in Indigenous communities.She is the author, editor, or co-editor of five volumes including: Remember This!: Dakota Decolonization and the Eli Taylor Narratives (University of Nebraska Press 2005); Indigenizing the Academy: Transforming Scholarship and Empowering Communities (University of Nebraska Press 2004); For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook (School of Advanced Research Press 2005); In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors: The Dakota Commemorative Marches of the 21st Century (Living Justice Press 2006); and, her most recent volume, What Does Justice Look Like? The Struggle for Liberation in Dakota Homeland (Living Justice Press 2008).

Waziyatawin is also the founder and director of Oyate Nipi Kte, a non-profit organization dedicated to the recovery of Dakota traditional knowledge, sustainable ways of being, and Dakota liberation.

Waziyatawin has been frequently featured on RAGE (Radio Against Global Ecocide), and we thought our readers would enjoy listening to the interviews:

UPDATE! Unfortunately, RAGE and their website have apparently gone down. But worry not! Unsettling America has teamed up with our Oshkimaadziig accomplices to archive the entire show!

Colonialism is Alive & Well part 1: Full Show / Full show at 24k

Colonialism is Alive & Well part 2a: Full Show / Full Show 24k

Colonialism is Alive & Well part 2B: Full Show / Full Show 24K

Waziyatawin on Holocaust, Collapse & Despair: Full show / Full show 24k

Also on RAGE: Indigenous People & the Revolution

(Please seek above episodes archived here).

Towards a Turtle Island Without Canada or the US: Talking Decolonization with Waziyatawin

Editor’s Note: This interview with Waziyatwin was recorded by Healing the Earth on September 26, 2007. While the links on their website seem to be dead, we dug up the interviews on Rabble.ca. We are republishing it here, more than four years later, because it remains relevant and powerful. Enjoy.

Waziyatawin is Wahpetunwan Dakota from the Pezihutazizi Otunwe in southwestern Minnesota. She is the author of Remember This!: Dakota Decolonization and the Eli Taylor Narratives, In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors: The Dakota Commemorative Marches of the 21st Century, co-editor of Indigenizing the Academy: Transforming Scholarship and Empowering Communities, and is the co-editor of For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook.

In this interview she talks at length about colonization and decolonization – the physical and mental aspects of decolonization work for both indigenous and non-indigenous communities, how to recognize that there is another way to live that is radically outside of institutions like federal, state, and provincial governments, how to break through our identification with the colonizer, and so on. She also talks of appropriate ways people who are not indigenous to Turtle Island can work not only in solidarity with indigenous people, but in active decolonization in our own communities as well.

A decolonized world can be very difficult to imagine, given that the physical reality is so very different now than it was before colonization. For example, most habitat for wild animals is poisoned or clearcut, leaving us very little ability to live free of the capitalist system. We have been forced into dependence on the very system that is killing us and the planet, and it is the escape from and destruction of this conundrum that Waziyatawin explores in this interview.

Part I: Talking Decolonization with Waziyatawin

Part II: What Does Decolonization Look Like?

[Transcript]

Also see: Defenders of the land: Indigenous survival and liberation in times of collapse

For more excellent interviews from Healing the Earth, click here…

Waziyatawin speaks at the Earth at Risk conference (audio)

From Deep Green Resistance:

On November 13th, 2011, Earth at Risk was held in Berkeley, CA. Hundreds attended and thousands watched by livestream online. Below, you can listen to and even download these conversations between Derrick Jensen and seven important thinkers, writers, and activists who each hold an impassioned critique of this culture and who offer ideas on what can be done to build a real resistance movement.

Our planet is under serious threat from industrial civilization. Yet most activists are not considering strategies that might actually prevent the looming biotic collapse the Earth is facing. We need to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet. We need a serious resistance movement that includes all levels of direct action–action that can match the scale of the problem.

Waziyatawin is a Dakota writer, teacher, and activist committed to the liberation of Indigenous Peoples and homelands. She is the author or co/editor of five volumes, including For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook and What Does Justice Look Like? The Struggle for Liberation in Dakota Homeland. Her current research interests include the topics of Indigenous women and resistance, how to theorize and practice decolonizing strategies of resistance and resurgence, and Indigenous Peoples and global collapse. Waziyatawin currently holds the Indigenous Peoples Research Chair in the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria. When she is not in British Columbia, she is in her home community of Pezihutazizi K’api Makoce (The Land Where They Dig For Yellow Medicine) in the beautiful Minnesota River Valley.

Click here to listen to Waziyatawin at Earth at Risk.

To download, right click on the link above and save the file to your computer.

Listen to or download other Earth at Risk speakers here.

Waziyatawin Speaks to Occupy Oakland

Waziyatawin is a Dakota writer, teacher, and activist committed to the development of liberation strategies that will support the recovery of Indigenous ways of being, the reclamation of Indigenous homelands, and the eradication of colonial institutions.

Waziyatawin comes from the Pezihutazizi Otunwe (Yellow Medicine Village) in southwestern Minnesota. After receiving her Ph.D. in American history from Cornell University in 2000, she earned tenure and an associate professorship in the history department at Arizona State University where she taught for seven years. Waziyatawin currently holds the Indigenous Peoples Research Chair in the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. Her interests include projects centering on Indigenous decolonization strategies such as truth-telling and reparative justice, Indigenous women and resistance, the recovery of Indigenous knowledge, and the development of liberation ideology in Indigenous communities.

She is the author, editor, or co-editor of five volumes including: Remember This!: Dakota Decolonization and the Eli Taylor Narratives (University of Nebraska Press 2005); Indigenizing the Academy: Transforming Scholarship and Empowering Communities (University of Nebraska Press 2004); For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook (School of Advanced Research Press 2005); In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors: The Dakota Commemorative Marches of the 21st Century (Living Justice Press 2006); and, her most recent volume, What Does Justice Look Like? The Struggle for Liberation in Dakota Homeland (Living Justice Press 2008).

Waziyatawin is also the founder and director of Oyate Nipi Kte, a non-profit organization dedicated to the recovery of Dakota traditional knowledge, sustainable ways of being, and Dakota liberation.

She can be found online at waziyatawin.net

Understanding Colonizer Status

By Waziyatawin, Unsettling Ourselves

“Colonial relations do not stem from individual good will or actions; they exist before his arrival or his birth, and whether he accepts or rejects them matters little.” -Albert Memmi

Colonization v. Oppression

Many oppressed people around the world identify with the oppression experienced by colonized people. Often, if they live in a colonized society, the poor, oppressed, disenfranchised, and marginalized individuals or classes have difficulty identifying with the colonizers and thus seek to identify with the colonized. Because they live in a society in which colonization is ongoing, they begin to see themselves as colonized.

This discussion is designed to help differentiate between oppression and colonization, and to clearly demarcate colonization as a distinct historical, political, social, and economic relationship between the colonizer and the colonized. In our volume For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook (Santa Fe: School of Advanced Research Press, 2005), Michael Yellow Bird and I offered this definition:

Colonization refers to both the formal and informal methods (behaviors, ideologies, institutions, policies, and economies) that maintain the subjugation or exploitation of Indigenous Peoples, lands and resources.

In the context of the United States, everyone is part of this colonial society. By definition, however, Indigenous Peoples are the only people identifiable as colonized. Because every bit of land and every natural resource claimed by the United States was taken at Indigenous expense, anyone who occupies that land and benefits from our resources is experiencing colonial privilege. Every non-Indigenous person in the country continues to benefit from Indigenous loss. In Minnesota, for example, all Minnesotans continue to benefit from the genocide perpetrated against Dakota people and the ethnic cleansing of our people. Occupation of Dakota homeland, especially while the vast majority of Dakota people still live in exile, places all occupants in the colonizer class. No matter the extent of oppression faced by various settler groups, being a settler means belonging to the class of colonizers.

It may be helpful to develop your own definition of oppression and clearly distinguish how that definition differs from your understanding of colonization.

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Colonialism on the Ground

By Waziyatawin, from Unsettling Ourselves

At one time our ancestors would have had difficulty imagining living in a state of unfreedom.  Now we have  difficulty imagining living in a state of freedom.  This is perhaps the most profound impact of colonialism in  our lives.  It reveals a limitation in thinking so severe that it prevents us from reclaiming our inherent rights as  Indigenous Peoples of this land, even in our dreams.

Colonialism is the massive fog that has clouded our imaginations regarding who we could be, excised  our memories of who we once were, and numbed our understanding of our current existence.  Colonialism is the  force that disallows us from recognizing its confines while at the same time limiting our vision of possibilities.   Colonialism is the farce that compels us to feel gratitude for small concessions while our fundamental freedoms  are denied.  Colonialism has set the parameters of our imaginations to constrain our vision of what is possible.

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