Decolonizing the Sex & Gender Wars: Part 1

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13 thoughts on “Decolonizing the Sex & Gender Wars: Part 1

  1. wileywitch says:

    Couldn’t get past the 2 and a half minute marker. Societal Stockholm Syndrome. Rape, sexual abuse, and battering on reservations belies this “respect” she speaks of.

    • Feminist Rag says:

      Sadly, colonialism infects all, and yes some Native people are sick with the white man Spiritual illness, though others are decolonizing and reclaiming their traditional indigenous ways. I thought it was a great video, especially the last part to patriarchal feminists’ nay-saying.

      We must be careful not to impose the euro-colonist filter upon other cultures, who think and do things very differently. Nor should we assume all Native men are like the white men who tried to destroy them (and of course who’ve already destroyed their white women). And for those Native men who behave like the white men, they are sick, just like the white men are sick. ALL sexes & genders need healing, in all cultures contaminated by colonization, industrialization, domestication and so-called “civilization”.

    • “She” – Pearl Means is speaking of TRADITIONAL Indigenous Values in this video. She is not making a statement on the current conditions on modern day post colonial prison camps aka “reservations”. Russ and Pearl have spent the last couple of decades creating a SOLUTION to destruction and disease brought on by colonization by creating Freedom Total Immersion school, where kids are completely immersed in their TRADITIONAL culture all day every day until they are grown. Just because colonists come here and inflict their diseased ways upon us does not mean that our Traditional ways are erased or that we cannot REclaim them and that is what this video is about.

  2. wileywitch says:

    I agree that colonialism effects us all; but cringe at the romanticizing of Native American tribes. Yes what was done to them is offensive and horrible. Yes they have internalized patriarchal culture— and that’s just it— no words about how women in the tribes used to be treated changes how they are treated now. They do not live in the society this man and women are saying they represent. The live in a society with an even higher incidence of rape, battering, and sexual abuse than the dominant culture.

    What these two are saying about essential gender roles is no different from what Phyllis Schlafly says about women’s gender roles.

    Is there no one to nurture women? Are we to accept that we as women we are bottomless pits of nurturing who have no need to be nurtured ourselves? Are we to accept that this is our role whether we want it or not because of this romantic vision that just happens to benefit men a lot more than it benefits women?

    Are we to accept a man voicing his appreciation for having been nurtured by a woman living in a society that proscribes nurturing as the role for her, as if that were some grand token? Did he even hint that if she needed it, that he would take care of her? Did he say that he values her as her and not as someone who lives to take care of him?

    A man or a woman who believes that women are here to take care of children and men and that is their essential purpose has a colonized mind, no matter how many matriarchal ornaments they describe.

    • Feminist Rag says:

      I find it sad, offensive and disrespectful to Native people when non-Natives charge others with “romanticizing” and “utopia” when Indigenous cultures are brought up. I see it as an arrogant euro-centric dismissal of entire cultures. Just because something is horribly wrong in one culture doesn’t mean that cultures who do things better and differently are some “romantic” pipe dream or “utopian.” Also, it’s a way to erase the vast knowledge us non-Natives can gain from looking at how other people and cultures did & do things RIGHT. This is not to say traditional Indigenous cultures were without problems, but it is to say that they were nowhere near as dis-eased and suffering as they are now ever since the euro-colonist genocide, then and now. We must also remember that we ALL come from Indigenous cultures before our own Native land and peoples underwent “civilizing” and domestication and other de-humanizing processes that finds us so Spiritually wounded today. Some of us are more colonized than others and so just have more work to do to get things right, with ourselves and our relations with others.

      I am not familiar with Phyllis Schlafly so I cannot comment on that, but in regards to women being bottomless nurturing pits and who gets to take care of us, is a valid question. The answer for me is that WOMEN take care of eachother with the beautiful gift and power of our nurturing essence — our mothers, our sisters, our lovers for those of us who are queer, our aunts, our grandmothers, all the women in our circles, can give to us what men cannot. And men (when healthy) give to us what strengths they have. We see it in hetero relationships — straight women in healthy relationships with men have very deep bonds and intimacy with their girlfriends, and get from men what they don’t get from their sisters. I hesitate to use the words “sister” and “sisterhood” because feminism has left such a bad taste in my mouth and a bruise on my heart from the psychological abuse and iciness some feminists inflicts on other women (and trans people). But I don’t want to give feminism that much power and throw the baby out with the bathwater around sisterhood, because I believe there IS and can be a beautiful, intimate sisterhood which we so desperately need.

      Of course, every woman is different, as is her nurturing essence; maybe the Spiritually sick, patriarchal/paternalistic women’s nurturing essence is buried, or maybe it’s just not there, I don’t know, but I think this is a gift that we must honor of ourselves and other women.

      Being a non-Native person living on stolen Native land, I privilege and prioritize Native voices because they had and have it right before colonization came and fucked shit up, and also because Indigenous worldviews just speak to my heart and Spirit and make sense. I am a learner, and have much more learning to do as I walk my own decolonizing path, and am so grateful for the wisdom and knowledge I receive from Native people, most especially my wife who is the most beautifully nurturing, loving, and kindest woman I know (she is Zoongitigozi Noodin Kwe commenter on this thread, that is her traditional Anishinaabe name which in English means Strong Voice in the Wind).

      I think it’s sad how some feminists start and stop at just shredding things apart; of course we must recognize and name the wrongs around us, but if we just stop there, we are left Spiritually and emotionally bankrupt: we must fill the holes and gaps that the predatory colonist culture creates in us with the GOOD things as we learn them, and Native people have so so much Good to teach us. Their liberation will liberate us all. I don’t think that is “romanticizing”, I think it is RESPECTING Indigenous worldviews and ways of Being that will benefit everyone, and part of the Decolonizing process.

  3. Actually Russel and Pearl were living in the Republic of Lakotah, that is where this was recorded. Russell has now walked on (he has died) and this was the last video of him. Russell was BORN on the Pine Ridge Sioux reservation, his Mother was Yankton Sioux and his Father was Oglala Sioux. Seeing the destruction and cultural genocide inflicted by colonization Russell set out to create a place where Sioux people could go to live and learn in as Traditional a way as possible, that is how the Republic of Lakotah and the Total Immersion schools got started.
    All Indigenous societies are unique but have many similarities and in most Indigenous american societies personal freedom is highly valued (in fact it is just a given) and people (children as well as adults) choose their own paths, you are not necessarily going to be a nurturing mother and wife just because you are female and not necessarily going to be a provider and protector if you are male- you choose your own path and do what you are good at doing. Maybe you are Winkte or Two Spirited, maybe you have a sacred spiritual calling, etc.

    As far as “romanticizing” things I don’t know who you are accusing of doing this…. certainly not an Indigenous person trying to explain their traditional culture.

    Russell like many Traditionalist Indigenous men was expressing his respect for women and their inborn power. He was acknowledging Female power and how it fits into being a human being. It is sad to me that you cannot recognize this respect ….. but this is a common thread throughout all of colonist culture- lack of respect. I guess if a person is unfamiliar with respect or anything else they would have a hard time recognizing it when they see it or experience it. Perhaps this is a case of culture clash.
    This is the last video of the man taken while he was deathly ill, can you not watch the entire 9 minutes and just listen to what Russell and Pearl have to say, learn what you can from it and be respectful and thankful that they shared their selves with you at such a difficult time? Even if you disagree with everything they say, would it not be honorable and respectful to just watch the thing in its entirety? No you don’t owe anything to anyone including respect and common human decency which isn’t so common in the colonist construct….some people are trying to change that with real world solutions. Those that are trying to do that and who have, definitely have My respect.

    • wileywitch says:

      I came back and watched it all. Call me eurocentric, or whatever you like, they are promoting essential sexual differences and gender roles.

      • Feminist Rag says:

        The entire complex Lakota culture cannot be explained in 9 minutes, so I’m sure if Pearl & Russell had more time they would have gotten into what Zoongitigozi said about how:

        “personal freedom is highly valued (in fact it is just a given) [in more Indigenous societies] and people (children as well as adults) choose their own paths, you are not necessarily going to be a nurturing mother and wife just because you are female and not necessarily going to be a provider and protector if you are male- you choose your own path and do what you are good at doing.”

        There is nothing essential about that other than the fact that it is essential to have an identity, which has nothing to do with the euro-colonist concept of “identity politics.” Most definitely people have unique roles, it’s called our Life Path and gifts and strengths we are born with. Just because the colonist culture bastardizes the idea of sex and gender (and every other fucking thing in Life), doesn’t mean the roles/responsibilities within and between the sexes and genders are bad or problematic — they are actually ONLY bad and problematic in the colonist culture that fucks them up in the first place! We shouldn’t be ignorant and arrogant as to apply this faulty thinking to HEALTHY cultures. Let’s leave the sickness and distorted views with the culture they belong in.

  4. wileywitch says:

    What should be sad-making is this:

    “The Native American woman alleges that her daughter and granddaughter, one age 16 and the other 17, were raped by an adult man one year ago. When they reported the crime, each girl was examined at the Pine Ridge Hospital. The woman assumed tribal police would collect evidence at the scene of the alleged crime. Instead, she said tribal police allowed the scene to be cleaned.

    In the meantime, the woman said the alleged rapist and his family began harassing her family. “We can’t go out into public without being chased. It’s like stalking,” she said. “These are the reasons these fall through the cracks. And I know I’m not the only one who is suffering like this.””

    On the Pine Ridge, reservation, for instance, there is over 80% unemployment, an almost 80% rate of alcoholism, higher infant mortality, lower life expectancy, high rates of violence, high rates of rape and sexual abuse, and gang activity.

    “Culture” is not a remembrance of the past, it is LIVED. “Eurocentric” or not, it has been repeatedly demonstrated that the best way to lift a population out of poverty and squalor is to empower the women and give them opportunities to earn money and to be independent—- not to wax poetic about women’s essential roles.

    These people aren’t living like indigenous peoples did hundreds of years ago. Their indigenous “culture” is exactly what you see— poverty, crime, hardship, and suffering. Whether that culture is a result of adopting white culture, or not, there is no native state to return to. We all live in the 21st century.

    • Feminist Rag says:

      Culture is absolutely a remembrance of the past, and extending it into the now and tomorrow. It’s not linear — not Indigenous cultures, anyway, and this is a blog about Decolonization where euro-colonist linear thinking is challenged and discouraged due to its harm and limitations.

      I am aware of the problems in Native communities — Post Colonial Stress Disorder among Native people is a very real thing. The euro-colonial genocide is what causes so much distress in Native communities and their off-the-charts ill health (physical, emotional, Spiritual and mental), and it is exactly in reclaiming their TRADITIONAL ways of being, that they are finding healing, in the pockets of Native communities where this is happening. And I hope to see this happen more and more. And non-Native folks need to have a seat and take some serious notes.

      I do agree that Native women need to be empowered, but not through assimilation-ism such as “employment” and “education” as defined by the colonist genociders, but through *indigenous* education and again, reconnecting to and reclaiming traditional Indigenous ways, which were non-consensually stripped from Natives, and the rest of us and our own Native roots. This is unfortunately a divided issue even within Native communities where you’ve got the assimilationists on one hand, and the traditionalists on the other. Culture clash is a very real thing — though middle ground is a good thing to aspire to, when we’re talking about cultural and literal genocide, there is no middle ground that can ever make it an acceptable way of life. “Development”, “progress” and so-called “civilization” *requires* the genocide of Indigenous ways of being, and many Indigenous people are saying no — 500 years ago they said NO, and today they’re still saying NO. And as occupiers of their Land, we must Respect this and figure out how to work with it, not continue working against it.

  5. wileywitch says:

    Half of the population of native women living on reservations marry to non-native men. In some tribes, the non-native population on reservations is higher than the native. Often times, a tribe has trouble itself telling who is and is not native, so who has jurisdiction is a tough call for everyone.

    Colonization is certainly the evil that it is and is having long-term effects, but if you’re married to it there isn’t much that the embrasure of native culture is going to do to fix it if the women on reservations don’t have the means and resources to protect themselves from imminent danger. “Women are great— they take care of men”— isn’t saying “men should not hurt women, we (men AND women) are going to do what we can to stop men (native or not) from hurting women and to make sure that women have options.”

    Indigenous cultures all over the world are losing and have lost their ability to support themselves in a way that gender roles could be respected without creating inequality; because they no longer live in self-supporting economies. All over the world, populations of indigenous cultures who don’t have government protected land have moved to cities. A few tribes have tried to return to the tribes native habitat after a generation lived in the city, and have failed miserably. “Culture” is not race based. It’s learned and it cannot survive in an environment or economy that does not support it.

  6. Sally Archer says:

    One truth of culture not being race based but learned, and supported (or not) by economy and environment, is the rise in the past 15 years of a global internet-spawned gonzo porn culture featuring rape and torture of girls and women by men to infect male minds across categories of race and nationality. The gang rapes buy males in India, the gang rapes by males in Steubenville, Ohio, the little girls (from their bedrooms, from sidewalks walking home from school, from stores) abducted by men, the now infamous three American women “missing” (abducted) to turn up years later after house-bound sex-enslavement, torture, beating and impregnation by a man whose two brothers were not even charged despite living in the same house, the on and on and on of this same horrific story repeating itself day after day. The worse the global porn-and-rape culture gets, the worse the images of males abusing females viewed by men in common with support of environment and economy, the worse the violence against women becomes. Is it time to focus where the harm currently resides, and against whom (women) by which causative agents (men)? I hope so.

    At the same time, white men’s colonization of indigenous ways and attempts to destroy cultures of first-nation people has been horrific. My great-great-grandmother (Cherokee) was conscripted by my great-great-grandfather (Scotsman transplanted to the SE USA), raped, impregnated and forced to become a Baptist and raise the brats, clean the house, on and on and on. Horrible. Knowing this story (even the sanitized version) and seeing her old-time photo on the mantel at my grandmother’s house growing up was a form of social control for compliance and male-dominant colonization of me and my girl cousins. (See what can happen if you don’t mind your P’s and Q’s was the subliminal message. See how much power men have over you? It is a miracle any of us have a free thought at all.)

    These are complicated issues and it is good to have discussion, respectfully, while also not pretending the facts are otherwise than we know them to be about male violence and oppression of women and girls. Perhaps it would help to prioritize where the greatest risk of harm exists, and against whom through whose actions.

    Spirituality is well and good, part of being human, but not at the expense of teaching girls and women that men as a global sex call are very dangerous to us (statistically and anecdotally) so that we learn to avoid risks from men wherever and whenever possible.

    P.S. I say this as a former prosecutor (long since retired) who once had a “major crimes” case from a reservation along these lines: The 12-year-old girl, hitching a ride back from school on a break to her parents’ house “on the res,” found her fellow male members to be less than honorable. They did not intend to take her home as they lied when she asked for a ride and they smilingly invited her into their truck. Instead they bound and gagged her, and drove her far off into the scrub, where for a whole day four young men ages 15 to 19 gang-raped her, beat her black and blue, broke her nose, and inserted harsh objects not made of flesh into all her orifices. They left her in the desert, bleeding and seemingly dying. After a night, then a day of the sun beating down to burn her skin, the young girl (almost miraculously) dragged herself to the outskirts of an elderly (80+ years old) woman sheepherder’s land. The sheepherder was of a rival tribe (in that the two tribes were in a convoluted legal land dispute heavily litigated) but she took pity — female to female — on the girl who looked like she might die and, realizing also the shame that would attach to the girl as a battered gang rape victim in her tribal culture, the sheepherder nursed the girl back to health without letting anybody know the girl was there. After several weeks, the girl had regained most of her physical strength and some of her emotional resilience by the sheepherder’s kindness. The family was overjoyed to have their daughter back, and only because the sheepherder had assured the girl it wasn’t her fault did the girl ultimately report the terror and start the chain of events that resulted in my getting the maximum sentences against all four perpetrators. Did it make it okay for the girl? No. Nothing ever will. But for the time of those maximum prison sentences, at least those four men couldn’t rape another girl.

  7. Sally Archer says:

    Caught my typos above … gang rapes by [not buy] males in India … men as a global sex class [not call] … It brings more thoughts up to express.
    I am so tired of pretending men are not violent against women as a global sex class. I am so tired of the female apologists for men. It is as women are required to live among semi-tamed wolves who can become ravening and murderous at a moment’s notice. And that’s not even talking about nuclear weapons, biological warfare, genetically modified food, sex trafficking, wage slavery, on and on and on the onslaught never seems to end of this evil.
    Last week I was verbally assaulted and threatened by a man in a horrific way (vile, threatening, rapist language) when taking a walk during broad daylight in a U.S. city with park rangers and lots of other people in shouting proximity. There was no way out but to go forward past the aggressor, who backed off when I showed no fear, and I felt lucky afterward to be alive.
    The daily events and global news is starting to sound like open season on women to me, said as a former prosecutor who does not intimidate easily. It is important to remember what evils have been perpetrated without remorse upon indigenous people by male euro-centric colonizers because now the hateful methods may be extended globally by all (or at least most) men to all (or at least most) women as a global sex class. Not the tribes of the world but the women of the world may be the next genocidal targets. (It’s already been happening for years in places like Darfur.) If this is looming, then don’t we owe indigenous women a special debt of caring for the violence they daily suffer at male hands?

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