Decolonization is Not a Metaphor

This post is titled after this excellent article by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang.

Indigenous women understand that our struggle for autonomy is related to the total need for structural change in this society.  We realize that indigenous people in industrial society have always been and will always be in a relationship of war, because industrial society has declared war on indigenous peoples, on land based peoples.

To look within a bigger context, when I say indigenous peoples, I’m not only talking about [Native American] Indians. All people come from land-based cultures.  Some have been colonized longer than I have, which means they have got more work to do (Winona LaDuke, source).

I try not to reduce life to black/white ways of thinking because so few things are that simple, and I find mainstream war metaphors like the brilliant George Bush Junior’s gem “You’re Either With Us or Against Us” idiotic, though sadly true at times when dealing with mentalities like his.  But in the case of the culture clash between indigenous and colonist culture, it is very simple and indeed black and white:  this Culture Clash is an ongoing, 500+ years war here in the Americas ever since genocider Christopher Columbus stepped foot on this so-called New World (new to HIM and fellow european thieves, not new to the millions of Natives living on this land for ages before this).  So which side of the war are you on?

I have MUCH work to do because I have been colonized for much longer than the Native People of the Americas as my own Indigenous roots are in Siberia.

My own liberation and REAL freedom can only come with Indigenous Peoples’ freedom because nothing is linear and everything and everyone is connected, in beautiful and ugly ways.  That, and I AM living on stolen Native land.  The great John Trudell says it’s always and ALL about The Land.

The concept of “property” is a fucked up one because it necessitates theft.  That alone makes it necessary to completely abolish the idea of property in the way we’ve come to think of it in so-called civilized society.

Land “deeds” and “titles” are pieces of paper that thieves own and use to stake their land thefts, and these little pieces of paper are “validated” by other thieves who’ve stolen bigger pieces of land (i.e. the government).  So there is no use in waving land deeds around (or flags, for that matter) to claim “ownership” of pieces of land.  DEcolonization does not acknowledge this land occupation as “ownership” — it is theft, no matter how legitimate the thieves try to make it look.

Of course this is a very uncomfortable truth.  You or your loved ones may “own” land.  I don’t own land, and don’t intend to, but some of my family members do.  It is not ours or theirs to own if they are not Indigenous to the land they live.  This MUST be acknowledged if people are serious about decolonization so that next steps can be taken.

Directly and indirectly benefiting from the erasure and assimilation of Indigenous peoples is a difficult reality for settlers to accept.  The weight of this reality is uncomfortable; the misery of guilt makes one hurry toward any reprieve […] excuses, distractions, and diversions from decolonization […are] strategies or positionings that attempt to relieve the settler [or immigrant] of feelings of guilt or responsibility without giving up land or power or privilege, without having to change much at all.  Settler moves to innocence are hollow, they only serve the settler [or immigrant]. source

I know all about the misery of guilt, I’m a Jew (thanks a lot for the gems of shame/blame/guilt and judgment, Judeo-Islam-Christianity, big shout out to ya!); it took me some time to wade through the thick, blinding, crippling fog of white guilt when I began to more fully understand racism, white privilege, able-ism, other ism’s, and their overarching Bid Daddy, colonization.  These guilt trips are ego-driven reprieves and work as brilliant (fucked up) distractions and diversions from clear, coherent thought and its natural extension, action.

Decolonization is not an easy, pleasant or fast process.  But it is a critical one.  We’re ALL suffering under colonization.  How do YOU perpetuate it?  How can you stop your role in it?

These kind of questions occupy my mind and Spirit as I go about my days participating in colonization.

The answers will not emerge from friendly understanding, and indeed requires a dangerous understanding of uncommonality that un-coalesces coalition politics – moves that may feel very unfriendly. source

So I ask my fellow settlers and immigrants who live on occupied Native lands in so-called “developed” and “civilized” nations:  which side of the war resonates strongest with your heart and Spirit?  If the decolonization side, what can we do about it?

A Breakdown Shakedown of the Dis-Eased D.I.C.K. :

DOMESTICATION of people and animals is, at its core, unnatural.  It is “the process whereby a population of animals or plants [or people] is changed at the genetic level through a process of selection, in order to accentuate traits that benefit [certain] humans” and always at the expense of others, as well as devastation to the natural Order of Things.  Domestication differs from taming whereby taming “is simply the process by which animals become accustomed to human presence.”  source  Domestication has a profound effect on human psychology and social relations.  I look forward to reading this book that explores this in depth.

INDUSTRIALIZATION, brought to us by Britain in the late 1700’s, enables massive amounts of “stuff” to be made by machines versus hand-making things.  No longer were things made and consumed as needed, and “wants” became out of control.  This changed human consumption patterns and paved the way to today’s massive over-consumption and endless, devastating plunder of Earth’s natural elements, better known as “resources”, which is an icky, colonist, removed word for humans Earth Raping things like water, oil, trees, coal,  natural gas, etc., causing catastrophic destruction and trauma to ecosystems, creatures and cultures that live in harmony with these elements.

COLONIZATION (colonialism/globalization):

Both the formal and informal methods (behaviors, ideologies, institutions, policies, and economies) that maintain the subjugation or exploitation of Indigenous Peoples, lands, and resources.  Colonizers engage in this process because it allows them to maintain and/or expand their social, political, and economic power.  Colonization is detrimental to us because the colonizers’ power comes at the expense of Indigenous lands, resources, lives, and self-determination.  [And remember, we’re all Indigenous at our roots, which means we’re stepping on our own throats as well as other Native peoples’ throats].

Colonization is an all-encompassing presence in our lives.  The consequences of colonization are similar for all peoples all over the world.  [James Riding In states] colonialism [and its present-day name of globalization] instills the colonizer with a notion of absolute entitlement – a  notion that denies the colonized the respect and rights afforded other humans. […] Colonialism is a deceptive, oppressive, and powerful institution and process that requires intelligent, creative, calculated, effective and courageous responses.” [source]

KYRIARCHY:  “A social system or set of interlocking social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission.  It is an intersectional extension of the idea of patriarchy beyond gender.  Kyriarchy encompasses sexism, racism, economic injustice, and other forms of dominating hierarchy in which the subordination of one person or group to another is internalized and institutionalized (from wiki).

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2 thoughts on “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor

  1. […] out and looking at it from a cultural perspective and the colonial hell we’re all trapped in.  Decolonization is not a metaphor and there is MUCH work to be […]

  2. […] We Must Decolonize ourselves, literally, not in the metaphorical sense (see more about that here). […]

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