Tag Archives: decolonization

Culture Clash: When the “Right” to be Greedy Imposes on Existence & Being

Is this thing still on? *tapping my screen* Do I still have blog followers? Or has everyone given up on reading and moved on down to YouTube land because our collective attention span has shrunk to 1 minute video retention? I was going to start vlogging a while back. Still want to. One day it will happen. Too much going on right now. As of this moment, its been one year since my last post. Wow. I’ve been deep in the throes of DEcolonization, with soooo much more to go. The process of DEcolonization is not easy or fun or fast. But it builds Strength and Sense. And when we have Sense and Strength (especially spiritual strength), we can actually do some GOOD in this world.

Do you ever feel like you’re weak, or not as strong as you thought you were? If so, that just means you’re gaining strength, starting to understand what it is TO be a strong person (a wise and incredibly strong Indigenous land and water protector told me this recently). Many people with privilege/luck have no clue what it is to struggle, what REAL adversity looks or feels like. Indigenous people do. They fight for their lives every day, for the right to exist THEIR way. They’ve been resisting and fighting the monster of colonist genocide spiritually, physically, culturally, emotionally, mentally, and ecologically for the last 500 years here in the Americas.

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Indigenous warrior land protectors & their allies @ Standing Rock North Dakota, protesting the earth rape that is Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Image from HuffPo

As I think and cry and rage about this and other Indigenous fights against genocidal colonialism, I draw on the brilliant and fierce Oglala Lakota activist Russell Means’ 1980 speech because he sums it all up so clearly, coherently and powerfully. There is kind of a lot too it, but at the same time, not really. The thing is, colonized minds often get sidetracked trying to discuss or “debate” this kind of stuff because there are so many linear lines of divide made to complicate some pretty simple ideas. So I share below snippets of Russell’s speech that so perfectly sums up this current Indigenous resistance and self-determination going on at Standing Rock as we speak, against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota. Back then he was talking of uranium mining, which is still a very serious and ongoing issue. This oil pipeline is not much different.

If you are white or a person of color and colonized in the mind/heart/soul, I ask you to read the below words carefully. If any of it pisses you off or confuses you, ask yourself WHY. The words below are more powerful DEcolonizing words than I could ever string together on my own from my still-colonized brain, which is why I’m sharing them with you. They’re important. They are literally life-giving or death-making, depending how you (mis)understand them. These are not some abstract words used to entertain me or you and be passively, half-heartedly consumed, discarded and forgotten until next time “boredom” strikes (I don’t believe in the word “bored”, I think it comes from the colonist concept of mindless, endless consumption and the constant demand to be “entertained.” There is a shit ton to do in this world, in our own backyards. Boredom is spiritual dis-ease…but I digress). Thank you for your time, attention and care. I appreciate you and welcome your comments/thoughts/questions.


The European materialist tradition of despiritualizing the universe is very similar to the mental process which goes into dehumanizing another person. And who seems most expert at de humanizing other people? And why? Soldiers who have seen a lot of combat learn to do this to the enemy before going back into combat. Murderers do it before going out to commit murder. Nazi SS guards did it to concentration camp inmates. Cops do it. Corporation leaders do it to the workers they send into uranium mines and steel mills. Politicians do it to everyone in sight. And what the process has in common for each group doing the dehumanizing is that it makes it all right to kill and other wise destroy other people [and their “right’ to exist on THEIR terms, specifically indigenous beings]. One of the Christian commandments says, “Thou shalt not kill,” at least not humans, so the trick is to mentally convert the victims into nonhumans. Then you can proclaim violation of your own commandment as a virtue.

In terms of the despiritualization of the universe, the mental process works so that it becomes virtuous to destroy the planet. Terms like progress and development are used as cover words here, the way victory and freedom are used to justify butchery in the dehumanization process. For example, a real estate speculator may refer to “developing” a parcel of ground by opening a gravel quarry; development here means total, permanent destruction, with the earth itself removed. But European logic has gained a few tons of gravel with which more land can be “developed” through the construction of road beds. Ultimately, the whole universe is open—in the European view—to this sort of insanity.

Most important here, perhaps, is the fact that Europeans [and other colonized folks] feel no sense of loss in all this. After all, their philosophers have despiritualized reality, so there is no satisfaction (for them) to be gained in simply observing the wonder of a mountain or a lake or a people in being. No, satisfaction is measured in terms of gaining material. So the mountain becomes gravel, and the lake becomes coolant for a factory, and the people are rounded up for processing through the indoctrination mills Europeans like to call schools.

But each new piece of that “progress” ups the ante out in the real world. Take fuel for the industrial machine as an example. Little more than two centuries ago, nearly everyone used wood—a replenishable natural item—as fuel for the very human needs of cooking and staying warm. Along came the Industrial Revolution and coal became the dominant fuel, as production became the social imperative for Europe. Pollution began to become a problem in the cities, and the earth was ripped open to provide coal whereas wood had always simply been gathered or harvested at no great expense to the environment. Later, oil became the major fuel, as the technology of production was perfected through a series of scientific “revolutions.” Pollution increased dramatically, and nobody yet knows what the environmental costs of pumping all that oil out of the ground will really be in the long run. Now there’s an “energy crisis,” and uranium is becoming the dominant fuel.

There’s a rule of thumb which can be applied here. You cannot judge the real nature of a European revolutionary doctrine on the basis of the changes it proposes to make within the European power structure and society. You can only judge it by the effects it will have on non-European peoples. This is because every revolution in European history has served to reinforce Europe’s tendencies and abilities to export destruction to other peoples, other cultures and the environment itself. I defy anyone to point out an example where this is not true.

Revolutionary Marxism is committed to even further perpetuation and perfection of the very industrial process which is destroying us all. It offers only to “redistribute” the results—the money, maybe—of this industrialization to a wider section of the population. It offers to take wealth from the capitalists and pass it around: But in order to do so, Marxism must maintain the industrial system. Once again, the power relations within European society will have to be altered, but once again the effects upon American Indian peoples here and non-Europeans elsewhere will remain the same. This is much the same as when power was redistributed from the church to private business during the so-called bourgeois revolution. European society changed a bit, at least superficially, but its conduct toward non-Europeans continued as before. You can see what the American Revolution of 1776 did for American Indians. It’s the same old song.

I think there’s a problem with language here. Christians, capitalists, Marxists. All of them have been revolutionary in their own minds, but none of them really mean revolution. What they really mean is a continuation. They do what they do in order that European culture can continue to exist and develop according to its needs.

European [colonist] culture itself is responsible. Marxism is just the latest continuation of this tradition, not a solution to it. To ally with Marxism is to ally with the very same forces that declare us an acceptable cost.

There is another way. There is the traditional Lakota way and the ways of the other American Indian peoples. It is the way that knows that humans do not have the right to degrade Mother Earth, that there are forces beyond anything the European mind has conceived, that humans must be in harmony with all relations or the relations will eventually eliminate the disharmony. A lopsided emphasis on humans by humans—the Europeans’ arrogance of acting as though they were beyond the nature of all related things—can only result in a total disharmony and a readjustment which cuts arrogant humans down to size, gives them a taste of that reality beyond their grasp or control and restores the harmony. There is no need for a revolutionary theory to bring this about; it’s beyond human control. The nature peoples of this planet know this and so they do not theorize about it. Theory is an abstract; our knowledge is real.

All European tradition. Marxism included, has conspired to defy the natural order of all things. Mother Earth has been abused, the powers have been abused, and this cannot go on forever. No theory can alter that simple fact. Mother Earth will retaliate, the whole environment will retaliate, and the abusers will be eliminated. Things come full circle, back to where they started. That’s revolution. And that’s a prophecy of my people, of the Hopi people and of other correct peoples.

American Indians have been trying to explain this to Europeans for centuries. But, as I said earlier, Europeans have proven themselves unable to hear. The natural order will win out, and the offenders will die out, the way deer die when they offend the harmony by overpopulating a given region. It’s only a matter of time until what Europeans call “a major catastrophe of global proportions” will occur. It is the role of all natural beings, to survive. A part of our survival is to resist. We resist not to overthrow a government or to take political power, but because it is natural to resist extermination, to survive. We don’t want power over white institutions; we want white institutions to disappear. That’s revolution.

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When I use the term European, I’m not referring to a skin color or a particular genetic structure. What I’m referring to is a mind-set, a world view that is a product of the development of European culture. People are not genetically encoded to hold this outlook: they are acculturated to hold it. The same is true for American Indians or for the members of any other culture.

What I’m putting out here is not a racial proposition but a cultural proposition. Those who ultimately advocate and defend the realities of European [colonist] culture and its industrialism are my enemies. Those who resist it, who struggle against it, are my allies, the allies of American Indian people. And I don’t give a damn what their skin color happens to be. Caucasian is the white term for the white race: European is an outlook I oppose.

But there is a peculiar behavior among most Caucasians. As soon as I become critical of Europe and its impact on other cultures, they become defensive. They begin to defend themselves. But I’m not attacking them personally; I’m attacking Europe. In personalizing my observations on Europe they are personalizing European culture, identifying themselves with it. By defending themselves in this context, they are ultimately defending the death culture. This is a confusion which must he overcome, and it must be overcome in a hurry. None of us have energy to waste in such false struggles. Caucasians have a more positive vision to offer humanity than European culture. I believe this. But in order to attain this vision it is necessary for Caucasians to step outside European culture—alongside the rest of humanity—to see Europe for what it is and what it does.

This leads me back to address those American Indians who are drifting through the universities, the city slums, and other European institutions. If you are there to learn to resist the oppressor in accordance with your traditional ways, so be it. I don’t know how you manage to combine the two, but perhaps you will succeed. But retain your sense of reality. Beware of coming to believe the white world now offers solutions to the problems it confronts us with. Beware, too, of allowing the words of native people to be twisted to the advantage of our enemies. Europe invented the practice of turning words around on themselves. You need only look to the treaties between American Indian peoples and various European governments to know that this is true. Draw your strength from who you are.

END OF RUSSELL’S WORDS (these are all snippets of the speech; if you’ve come this far, do check out the full speech here, it’s well worth it, though about 80% of it I’ve shared here!)

Until next time my DEcolonizing Darlings!  (And I promise it won’t be another year til my next post!)

When Indigenous Lives Matter, ALL Lives will Matter

And last but certainly not least, this is one of my fave songs and vids by Klee Benally:

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The Being Part of Human is Where Our Power Comes From

A powerful speech (and awesome poetry) given by the legendary revolutionary thinker John Trudell.  I like how he explains that thinking in race and sex terms (as well as age, class, (dis)ability, etc.), are all part of boxing ourselves into a victim mentality and identity.  Of course race/sex/class/disability/etc. exist, but they don’t define us nearly as much, nor in the ways, that we are made to/have come to believe they do.  A snippet of the speech:

“I’m only human” is a very confused interpretation and recognition of Self because you’re only recognizing half of yourself. That’s the whole point of the [euro-colonist] industrial mining process, to get us to not recognize the BEING part of human, because the Being part of human is where our power comes from, the energy, the essence, the Being, Spirit. Spirit, Being. Our Being humans. Our relationship with sun, sky, universe. All things of the earth have Being. We are locked in a dimensional distortion when we only recognize ourselves as human through a victim identity, and we’re disconnected from the reality of our power, and we’ve been programmed to chase the illusions of power, like voting, accumulating wealth, etc.

Check out the full speech, it’s well worth it.  He talks a lot about the important difference between believing and thinking, and how things like judgments and expectations cripple our thinking. I know for me, I’ve never felt so liberated as when I gave myself permission to think, and slowly stopped living the scripts imposed on me without my consent, when I began to recognize what they were. The more I think, the more I realize I don’t know, but the more power I also feel that I gain, because the thinking and deciding is in MY hands, and no one else’s.  This is a huge thing in the euro-colonist industrial supposedly “civilized” culture which relentlessly works to mine our minds, eat our spirits, and distract us away from being human.

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Illusions of Choice in Colonist Feminism

I saw this tweet while blog-browsing.  I think none of the listed options are real choices, they are all slavery and illusions of choice in a colonist world, whether filed under feminism or capitalism or patriarchy or whatever.

To “further one’s career” in the so-called “modern/developed/civilized” world is to partake in colonist slavery and genocide.  Whether it’s as a lawyer, architect, plumber, investment banker or hooker, all are positions of servitude to a master, unless you happen to work your way “up” to a slavemaster position, in which case you get to exploit others, all in the name of greed and selfishness because that is the nature of the colonist beast. Being a nanny is the least harmful because it is universally necessary and natural work to protect, nurture and sustain the lives of young ones, though it’s still slavery if you’re doing it for someone else.  And it’s even more of a mangled mess when we have to give up caring for our own kids in order to care for others just so that we can feed and house our own loved ones, such as the case with importing nannies from foreign places.  Hot spots in the past were the Caribbean and the Philippines, I don’t know what the hot spot nanny places are these days. These poor women leave their families behind “for a better life” (thereby opening the door to the trauma that is immigration), sending their wages back home and eventually, if “lucky”, migrating their families to wherever they work.  More colonization in motion — Indigenous people and ways ravaged and destroyed by colonialism, forced to abandon their home and family, move to a foreign (and stolen Native) land to babysit the kids of colonist slave/masters who go to their offices and participate in yet more colonization exploitation projects. Toil, toil, toil, keep upping profit for those useless widgets and gadgets and “services”, ever increasing quotas because last year’s profit MUST be beat, because enough is never enough!

Law cannot fix any of this mess because laws merely regulate slavery, giving (some of) The People a false sense of security and order.  The more colonized and enslaved we are, the more secure we feel and believe in laws and those who create and enforce them.  “The Law” is actually a colonist tool of social control that represses, oppresses and punishes/exacts revenge.  Laws are rules made and shuffled around by self-appointed leaders, punishable by more slavery (via fines) or violent punishment/revenge when broken (via imprisonment & death sentences).  As far as ‘leaders’ go, true leaders don’t need to put on elaborate dog and pony shows to win popularity contests because people naturally follow those who speak and behave with sense.  When s/he stops making sense, The People stop following that person, and look to others for guidance.  So solutions to any of this nightmare have never, can never, and will never come from the colonist legal system or colonized minds.

I used to think that “sex work”/”prostitution”, i.e. sex slavery was perhaps the most intimate kind of slavery, and therefore the most harmful. But the more I DEcolonize myself, the more I have to wonder, who’s to say sex slavery is “worse” or “more” harmful than mother earth being raped — by fracking, by trees clear cut and debarked, by the air being contaminated with industrial toxins, by mining processes poisoning fresh drinking water (with all these rapes dreamed up, organized and carried out by slavery (“jobs”), with many people trying to “further their careers” in whatever industry they’re in)?  Colonized minds scoff at – sometimes even take offense to – a comparison of human rape to land rape, but traditional Indigenous people cry and die resisting both because they see and treat humans and earth with equal importance.  Indigenous viewpoints do not place things in hierarchies or linear ordered assignment of value (e.g. humans being more important or more feeling than animals or forests or oceans), because ALL LIFE is valuable, and Indigenous ways see everything on mother earth, including mother earth herself, as being alive, necessary, and worthy of respect and care.  Therefore it’s equally bad when ANY of it is harmed.  Colonist attempts to hierarchically measure degrees of harm amounts to a mind-numbing administrative circle jerk, i.e. circles and circles of nothingness, instead of just STOPPING the madness, then listening to and following traditional Indigenous voices and ways.  Native people and their traditional ways of living are the rightful “owners” and leaders of the stolen land which all of us non-natives continue to occupy.  Colonist “green/alternative” solutions are often not thought out enough and end up creating different sets of problems to the same old colonist game. But the colonist ego is so large (fragile), the mind so narrow, the heart and ears so closed, the spirit so lost, to stop, really think about things, and give up the power it so obsessively hoards, wields and abuses.

We have to make difficult “choices” in an enslaved, colonized world.  We do the best we can, which changes as we change, and as our circumstances change.  Therefore I would never shame or blame or support efforts that deny a woman or man the “right” to sell sex, because it’s a privileged position of pure luck that keeps me and many others from having to make such a “career choice.”  And luck can change at any time.  For the selling of sex to no longer be a “choice”, a whole lot of other DEcolonist things have to happen.  Like no more money system, which is the currency of slavery.  Like people realizing that human bodies cannot be separated from the spirit and are NOT for objectification or commodification or separation into consumable parts, to be discarded when worn out or too “boring” to the “consumer.”

I dream of a world where sex slavery, and ALL other forms of slavery — whether physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, or ecological — are not just re-packaged, branded and sold as “jobs” or “choice” or “freedom” or “democracy” or “civilization” or “progress” or “evolution” and so on, but truly no longer exist other than as cautionary tales.  I dream of returning to our tribal, “primitive” ways of being, the Right and Intelligent way we ALL lived in our own homelands before losing our way.  Our ways are so buried simply because we’ve been colonized for SO long — much longer than still LIVING Indigenous people.  We’re lucky we didn’t wipe all of them out (only most of them) — and against all odds, these amazingly resilient people are throwing off their colonist shackles, UNassimilating, and reclaiming and reconnecting to their traditional ways of life.  These are the voices we must privilege, prioritize, learn from and follow if we ever want to live a Good Life.  And those who try to say this is “romanticizing”* Native people or noble savaging, well, that idea spring from a colonist/colonized mentality which disrespects things it doesn’t know or understand or RESPECT — in this case, different people doing things differently. Discredit, delude and deny the unknown & different are colonist culture ways of clinging to its perceived superiority, so take care not to fall into this trap. There is nothing “romantic” about a healthy way of life.  What IS unhealthy is that Indigenous/tribal ways of life are so disrespectfully dismissed/written off by colonist mental & verbal gymnastics.

Image respectfully borrowed from here.

* Funny how the concept of “romanticizing” has a built in assumption that the current order of things is some natural default and just The Way Things Are.  So from this incredibly narrow and arrogant perspective, to dream of/fight for better and different ways of doing things becomes outside the realm of possibility, especially if it has to do with Indigenous people and ways, which were supposed to have been wiped off the planet by genociders who invented the notion of “romanticizing” — great way to perpetuate the genocide in people’s psyches, to continue dismissing/devaluing/disrespecting Indigenous ways.  “Romanticizing” — what a limited imagination colonist/colonized naysayers have!  And what a miserable default worldview of life they have, if better ways of looking at and living life are a mere fantasy and “romanticism”, instead of simply the way things actually WERE for *everyone* before the dis-ease of colonization/industrialization/domestication began. Let’s bring Indigenous ways back and resist ALL forms of so-called (continued) colonization/globalization/”civilization”, not sink deeper into its quicksands.

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Spirituality is the Foundation Upon Which Decolonization Must Begin

From this article by Giibwanisi: I was at this presentation the other week, and I listened to this doctor give his medical opinion on how to treat addicts and help them in their recovery. He went on to suggest different medications, treatment practices and even dancing around bureaucratic policies within the hospital he works at. I sat there and reflected on how almost everyone I meet outside of ceremony, whether they are in activist, academic or revolutionary circles, tend to see spirituality as a passing thought or a footnote. I beg to differ. Spirituality is the foundation upon which any healing or decolonization must begin. I can only draw on my own experience, but I have been to every recovery, self-help and therapy imaginable. I have been to AA, I have had thousands of hours of counselling sessions, I’ve been to church, I’ve been in psychiatric facilities, I’ve had outreach workers buy me meals, etc. I’ve done almost everything that western medicine and science can prescribe, and time after time I have failed. In AA, their perspective would be that “I didn’t work the steps to my best ability.” That might be true, but I also didn’t see anything uniquely distinct or Anishinabek worked into the writings. There was a component that I could hang on to. AA worked with me for a while, but it eventually stopped working, just like all the psychiatric medications and counselling sessions that I had been to. What I do give AA credit for is their recognition that there is absolute necessity for this “spiritual awakening.” Time and time again, my AA sponsors told me that if I ever wanted to get sober, I had to grasp the spiritual aspect to the AA recovery. But I’m a bit of an idiot, and if it isn’t directly spelled out most of the time, I have a hard time grasping it. It wasn’t until I had met Elder Vern Harper at CAMH (Centre for Addictions and Mental Health) that I actually had someone spell it out for me. Only he didn’t use a chalk board or any literature. He did it with some Grandfather Teachings, sage, a smudge bowl, and some prayer. What he was able to do for me, with that little gesture, did more for me than all those other things that had failed me all those other times. I don’t know how to explain spirituality to non-Anshinabek people. I don’t have those answers, as I have discovered that there isn’t a way to spell out spirituality for anyone. The seeker actually has to find it for themselves. For me, as an Anishinabek man, it was the return to the Red Road. Once I retraced my steps here, and listened to what the Elders were telling me, I had a better grasp on what it was that I had been missing my entire life, a connection to my spiritual centre that had been severed. It was only when I began to mend that broken and severed part of me, that I began to feel like I was recovering from that “hopeless and helplessness” that AA talks about all the time. In western medicine, they don’t teach spirituality in the universities of medicine, and unless the doctors come from some faith-based families or lineage (as my family doctor is Hindu), I tend to feel that it is mostly foreign to them. Science can’t describe it, or even prove it for that matter, so they have difficulty prescribing it, and using it as an effective treatment. Colonization can be viewed as a carcinogenic sickness that has eviscerated our indigenous interconnections to all things, animate or inanimate, including our ceremonies, governing political systems, and everything that is our Anishinabek Mno Bimaadziwin (Good way of life). Therefore, the cure, or the path towards decolonization must be, the reconstruction of all of these things, which includes the Grandmother and Grandfather Teachings, and the Anishinabek holistic approach, where Two Legged Humans, can be put back together using not only the mental, physical, and emotional, but especially the spiritual. The Anishinabek belief system holds that all things have a spirit, even our emotions, and the interconnectedness in which we relate to everything. There is a spiritual conceptualization to it all. Which is why, the path of decolonization or Biskaabiiyaang, must include the spiritual awakening and recognition. Our spirituality is the key to our identity, our strength and our very survival. Why else would the colonizers outlaw them? They knew that if they could take that away from us, they could more easily defeat us. But we have persevered, and we will continue to persevere, lest we forget our spirituality. I don’t know how to spell out spirituality for non-Native people. I don’t have the answers for you, nor should I be expected to find those answers either, but it probably isn’t the culturally appropriative ways of the New Ager hippie, “Rainbow Bridge Warrior of Peace” clans out there. But where there is a will there is a way. I know many non-Native people who have been adopted into some our communities and societies. That shouldn’t be taken as permission that you are entitled to seek out a societal role with our Anishinabek Nations, but it doesn’t exactly preclude you either. I will leave you with this thought. There was a teaching that I was given once, when I was asking an Elder why he was so helpful to White people, and why he chose to share knowledge with them. He said something that went like this, “There was a prophecy that came to the people of Turtle Island once long ago. It came around the time of the Seven Fires Prophecies, and it said that in the time of darkness that would be known as the Seventh Fire, many of the White people would come to us Anishinabek people seeking help. “They would have forgotten their original teachings, and they would become aware of this, and they wouldn’t know where else to turn but to us. It says in this prophecy that we would either help them or we wouldn’t. Our decisions of either helping them or not, would also decide the outcome of the Seventh Fire. “I choose to help them, because my teachings are that if you see someone with genuine intentions, then the medicine that we carry are not exclusive to Anishinabek people. If we are truly medicine people, then we understand that the medicine isn’t exclusive to us. If we see sick people who genuinely want to get well, then we have an obligation to help those people.” You see, people, it is the matter of intention. What is it exactly that you are seeking, and what do you intend to do with it? ——————————————————————————————————

I seek to learn more about the Right Way to Live so I can live it, and help others do the same, so we can all get busy living in Love, Health & Happiness.  Chi Miigwech Giibwanisi for the learning & lessons.

The upside down U.S. flag is an official signal of distress. It is not meant to be, and is not officially recognized as any type of disrespect when so displayed for the right reasons. As per the US Code of Laws regarding how to fly the flag when in distress:  THE FLAG CODE Title 36, U.S.C., Chapter 10 As amended by P.L. 344, 94th Congress Approved July 7, 1976 There is no group in more distress and danger of extinction than the original Indigenous People of the Americas who are still enduring & resisting the euro-colonist genocide inflicted on them for the last 523 years and counting.

The upside down U.S. flag is an official signal of distress. It is not meant to be, and is not officially recognized as any type of disrespect when so displayed for the right reasons. As per the US Code of Laws regarding how to fly the flag when in distress: THE FLAG CODE
Title 36, U.S.C., Chapter 10
As amended by P.L. 344, 94th Congress
Approved July 7, 1976
There is no group in more distress and danger of extinction than the original Indigenous People of the Americas who are still enduring & resisting the euro-colonist genocide inflicted on them for the last 523 years and counting.

——————————————————————————————————

Here is another excellent article by Johnny  Hawke discussing Decolonizing “Traditionalism” & New Ageism (see the site image of colonist stephen harper wearing a headdress and how blasphemous & way wrong it looks): “Traditionalism, the movement to restore the social, cultural, and political integrity of our communities by restoring ancient models of governance and social interaction, has degraded into a laughable form of self-centered New Ageism, a ceremonial show or smokescreen behind which the dark abuses of the colonial master on a personal and collective level continue.” –    Taiaike Alfred in his book Wasase Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom

The following article is by: Johnny Hawke:

Through my own Decolonization process I have been engaging in my Anishinabe Peoples own Institutions to remove the colonial influences in my life. One of these tools I have been using is through the healing approaches of our spirituality where I have come to identify colonial attitudes embedded in our own Indigenous institutions which are creating a synthetic resurgence of our collective Identity. I have established relationships and met many of our people who have been influential in the revival of the spiritual aspect of our Indigenous Institutions which has become an expressed ideology known as “Traditionalism.”  This Traditionalism is viewed by those who embrace it and those who oppose it as something that is separate to our collective day to day modern Indigenous identity. The attributing of our peoples way of life and all the things that make us who we are as being “Traditional” limits the goals of what we are continually trying to achieve. Traditionalism though it is centered on Indigenous Spirituality like everything within our communities still has colonial attitudes attached and we must acknowledge that “Traditionalism” is a significant approach to of our shared Decolonization Process but is not the whole movement itself. Traditionalism when used as an approach to replace existing colonial institutions in our communities mistakenly creates an illusion that something western has been replaced with something authentically Indigenous but most time those same colonial values still exist. This rant is a call out to those who are conscience of the illusions that are disguised as our own Indigenous Institutions and the attributed colonial behaviors that follow so we can create awareness for those who are ready to reclaim their identities and start their own Decolonization Process.

Things to be aware of within Indigenous Spiritual Institutions on your Decolonization Process:

Traditionalism, Hierarchy and Elitism: Spirituality is the center of our Indigenous Being and in our history our Spiritual Institutions were subject to changes where another world view was introduced which affected these things and also where our Spiritual Institutions made illegal by our oppressors which forced us to keep these things hidden underground, where these things were almost lost. Now we are seeing a resurgence of our Spiritual Societies and Ceremonies thriving. With this we should not be so ignorant to believe that our Spiritual Societies are not exempt of the colonial stains which have infiltrated our other Indigenous Institutions. We need to be conscience of this and correct oppressive behaviors within our various societies as we are seeing a majority of our people return to our ways where they are doing it through our Spiritual Institutions. Although our spiritual societies play a significant role in our decolonization process traces of colonialism is still entrenched in them instilling passive values which are making us submissive to our oppressor. We must also not make the mistake that “Traditionalism” or our Spiritual Institutions is the only thing there is to our Identity. We also have our own political, judicial, warrior, hunting, medicine, economic societies to reestablish. The Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge is a contemporary movement of the sacred Midewiwin Society of the Anishinabe. Historically the Midewiwin, sometimes referred to as the ‘Grand Medicine Society” or the “Good Heart Way” is the original spiritual institution that keeps the sacred knowledge, songs and ceremonies for the Anishinabe people. Members of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge are initiated into the various levels of the Midewiwin. Today the Three Fires Society is one of many leading spiritual institutions where Anishinabe peoples are returning to our own Anishinabek Identity. This returning to our spiritual ways is commonly known by various Indigenous Nations as “Traditionalism” My friend who has been involved with the Three Fires Midewewiin Lodge for most of his life and who is a prominent person who holds a specific degree in this society has helped me with some issues in my healing. He has helped me to understand some things with our Spiritual Societies. I didn’t ask to use his name in this article so I will leave it out in respect but will share what he described to me. “Our Midewiwin Society has undergone three major changes since it was given to us by Creator. The coming of the white people to Turtle Island introduced a whole different world view which is based on monetary values. This made some of our people within earlier centuries concern themselves with providing our spirituality  for the exchange of goods of the white man and not out of the good of the heart. The second major change was when we had to keep these things hidden and where some stuff was lost. However these ways can never be lost because Creator gave us the ability to dream where we can retrieve these things. We are in another major change where we are seeing our Spiritual Societies return to our people.” As he helped me to understand some things he also told me that there are two kinds of people who enter to the lodge. “Some people enter for the healing they need and some enter sincerely because the spirit calls them to do this spiritual work.”” This helped me understand a whole lot because through my own colonial values that have been embedded in my upbringing I automatically assumed all the people who followed this way were all healed as I put them up on a pedestal and attributed them as “holy rollers” because they were following these ways. These colonial thought patterns that mainstream society conditions us to make also make a small number of people involved in this work to place themselves up on that same pedestal as well. In our Indigenous worldview we are all equals and have our own roles to play within our community where respecting the free will of every entity in creation is understood. Today’s utilization of our spirituality is sometimes creating a hierarchy and elitism by some people who identify themselves as “traditional” or “initiated” or “sober” and some place themselves above others who may be on another level of their own healing journey, or who play a different role within the community. This egotistic attribute employed by some is a western value that is not based on Indigenous teachings of humility. Although ego is a human condition and affects all races, colonial thought patterns and values that our people have adopted through assimilating into mainstream culture seem to be intensifying such colonial behaviors which affect our Spiritual Societies. The individualistic ego behavior is creating elitism, hierarchy and belittlement which turn some of our people away from their individual decolonization process, healing and at times even against our own Indigenous Identity. In my experience and opinion some people who have certain issues who follow our ways make it seem that our ways are personally belong to them because of their seniority in the “Traditionalist” movement or because their families followed our ways longer than others. This creates a feeling that we need to seek them out for permission in everything “Traditional” that we invoke. Our Medicine Societies and Ceremonies entrap non-natives and even our own people in a small box believing that this romanticized “spiritual” world view is all there is to our Indigenous Identity. Sometimes the “Traditional Healing Movement” is a barrier itself to healing and Decolonization. These Spiritual Institutions also serve as a place where our people are flocking towards for healing and where a percentage of the people within these “societies” still retain deep internal unhealthy issues which affect their behaviors. Some of these people who are not well are giving the perception that they are spiritually healthy by belonging to these spiritual societies. They need to be told that they are representing these spiritual societies and are turning others a way. At the same time I would like to acknowledge and honor those spiritual people who are out there who are true to the teachings and are representing what it means to be Anishinabek having a Good Heart and who really have a connection with the Spirit.

Powwows:  Inter-tribal Gatherings that included Political, Military, Economic, Social and Ceremonial Societies of our Nations has now been replaced by the Pan-Indian Traditional Gathering of Powwow.  Powwow has become a “Traditional” Gathering that showcases and has been a benefit of the reemergence of our Songs, Dances, Arts and Crafts. Some Powwows serve as Competitions for Dancers and Singers involving prize money and some are Traditional centering on honoring communities through song and dance. As a “Traditional” Dancer and sitting with a few Drum Groups over the years I have noticed that other aspects of “traditional gathering” are not present.  I observe at Powwows  where community members who want to particpate by providing the “traditional” act of “giveaways”or other “specials” seems to be marginalized by the Powwow Community because it takes too much time away from the singers and dancers.  I have also observing Egotistic behavior and honorarium issues within drum groups and dancers which has also made me question if our values and teaching are being compromised just for the showcasing of our culture. Also Politics,  Militancy or too much Ceremony seem to be unwanted at Powwow but organizers allow Colonial Armed Forces and Police Agencies to participate.  At a few Powwows I have also noticed people who are coming from communities who are engaging in either an occupation or blockade or protest, who come to seek support are turn away from Powwow MC’s who tell them Powwow is not the place for Politics or Militancy. In Powwow there are many teachings. One of these come from the Grandfather Drum Teachings which is used at the Powwow by most Indigenous Nations. One founding teaching says that the “Big Drum” was given to all Indigenous Nations by a Woman.  During a time where all tribes we at war with each other  this Woman was given a vision. In her vision she was given a “Big Drum”  along with seven inter-tribal songs to teach to all the Nations so all Nations can sing and gather together to end the inter-tribal wars that was destroying the people. Teachings say that only Men can sit at the drum and Women are not because of the power of Creation that they hold. There is a new phenomenon happening where Women are sitting  and  singing  and carrying the Drum breaking this “Traditional” taboo. These Women Drum Groups who are doing this are being asked to leave Powwows  by a majority of “Traditionalists” involved with Powwow. The teaching that these Women Drum Groups are sharing to why they sitting at the “Big Drum” is that they are reclaiming the drum because most Men are forgetting their responsibilities. We are no longer standing up to protect our territories, the earth or are respecting our women or standing up to protect our Nationhood to defend the Peace. The Grandfather Drum is being carried by a generation of Men who are abusive to themselves or their people is the message these Women Drum Groups are sharing. If it was through Women that gave Men the Grandfather Drum in the first place to end inter-tribal wars to create peace between our Nations and are so powerful for being close to Creation, why we using “Traditionalism” to shut out a message that needs to be said? Is there acceptance of the evolution of a new kind of Powwow? or even the rekindling of the spirit of what our “Traditional” gatherings used to be about? We now divide ourselves in specific circles to gather as  Chief and Council, Medicine Societies, Powwow, Blockades, Ceremonies, Occupations, Fish and Hunting Camps, Economic Conferences.   How is Powwow reflective of what our culture is as a whole? How is it nurturing our spiritual reemergence if it only concentrates on only a certain social group within our Nations?

Traditional Elders: I often am told by “Traditional Elders” that my place is either silently standing behind the women, tending the sacred fire when protecting our people, rights and territories or that occupations and blockades are only a “Mohawk thing” and I must do things in a good way.  I choose to believe that our people’s responsibility to protect our people, rights and territories is not just a responsibility of the women. If our teachings tell us anything it is to walk beside and not in front or to place anybody behind you and if someone is a threat to your well being it is your right to defend yourself. Any direct actions that challenges the State authority is almost always opposed by “Traditional Elders”.  Our “traditionalism” then preaches on values that makes us complacent and passive which tells us not to be the physical warriors we once were ready to defend our well being. What is a “Traditional Elder” ? Many Old People in our communities are  not active in our spirituality but possess knowledge and have a background in Fishing, Hunting, Construction or fluent in Anishinabek Language and know our Rights.  This “Traditionalist” movement seems to identify and place certain people with spiritual knowledge in high regards over other “Elders” who are not spiritual. People use terms like I get my “teachings” from this “Elder” which creates unnecessary divisions and a childish possessiveness over “Elders” and “teachings”

Cultural Appropriation:   We are a part of a new Generation of Indigenous Peoples that has been brought up with “Traditionalism” where more aspects of who we are is now acceptable  within our communities. We are now in a time where we are regaining those things that were taken away from us but as we still retain colonial values we are now exploiting our cultural knowledge and relics. We are seeing  our communities use symbols and relics of our culture such as  Headdresses. In the past, some traditions required each feather to be earned until enough had been acquired to fashion a headdress. Nowadays, this type of tradition seems to be irrelevant and the main requirement for wearing a headdress is to take advantage of a good photo op. We have Indian Princess Pageants in a culture that never had theses things. We are using Teachings, Ceremonies, Language and placing Cultural logos on Colonial Institutions, Policies, Bureaucracy, Self Governance, Land Claim Settlements fooling ourselves that we are progressing and reclaiming our identity. We are now being are own oppressors by utilizing “Traditionalism” and placing it as a guise over Colonial Institutions. “Culture never comes into play with our current leaders. We did some small things, but it was just, how would you say, a display? Like we had elders opening meetings, but were they there to negotiate, or advise or make decisions? Of course not. The elders were just brought in to do their prayer song, and then they were escorted right back out the door.” – Wasase Indigenous pathways of action and freedom.

Superiority: As a new Generation of Warriors organize to defend our rights, territories and people there is a lot of criticizing from the older generation of Warriors. Some of our “Traditional” Elders in our Spiritual Intuitions were a part of the generation in the 60’s and 70’s that was a part of our spiritual resurgence and warrior societies where AIM was influential in this process. I have been told many times of these Elders that this was the last generation of warriors of moral standing. Although great work came from this generation which us younger generation are thankful and inspired by they must also acknowledge that we too are also a new generation part of a new warrior movement that has brought  hope and change through Oka, Gustufsen Lake, NYM, Ipperwash, Burnt Church, Grassy Narrows, Kanenhstaton and also through the many Artists who are bringing our message and truths out in the open through various mediums. The moral standing of our contemporary movements should not be criticized by our Elders who were of AIM generation. People who call themselves “Traditional” and judge our young generation of Warriors as being immoral need to for sure address their own colonial attitudes and stop placing themselves above others. Sometimes these Elders forget that they were too Armed for Defensive Actions .  AIM although they have their place in our history is not the beginning and end for our Decolonization or Warrior movements. Superiority is also an issue for those who have been participating a lot longer in the struggle. As our people begin to reclaim our Indigenous Identities “Traditionalism” which was initiated in a resurgence movement in the 60’s and 70’s where AIM was an influential force and centered themselves on Spirituality and where today’s Traditional Elders were a part of this generation we as a younger generation must learn and speak out from the mistakes and current colonial behaviors that are dividing us which sometimes comes from our Elders and Spiritual Societies as well. We must not exempt our Elders and Indigenous Institutions from colonialism because they are represented as being organically Indigenous.

New Ageism and the Non Native Experience: Non Anishinabek People from other races are participating in a movement of their own where they are learning from our ways and starting their own healing process as a people who are realizing their own Capitalist Society is destroying everything. Sometimes this movement is referred to New Ageism which is a melting pot of global spirituality because their own ways have been oppressed and lost. They are flocking to our Spiritual Institutions to learn from us which is a good thing but they are also bringing their colonial attitudes with them. I recently attended a sweat lodge before I went out fasting where I was seeking guidance from the spirit to help me in my own decision that my community is faced with. A non native participant of the sweat and an acquaintance who happens to be an A.A Sponsor to numerous people made some comments to me at this sweat as if I was one of his people who he sponsors and made me feel belittled. He vaguely knows who I am and what I am about and only knows me as an acquaintance through ceremony because his girlfriend is herself on a healing journey and involved within the Three Fires Midewiwiin Medicine Society. Anyways he told me that he was very worried about me and that he was glad that I attended the sweat and am back on the healing “path”. He was worried about me because of my apparent anger issues and prejudged my attendance at the sweat and my fasting with his own opinion where he suggested I needed the healing which offended me. He was referring my apparent anger issues to videos I posted on a social networking internet site where I shared some how-to videos on self defense trap maneuvers in guerella warfare which apparently offended him. In any Society some of the people need to be providers and some need to be warriors to protect the people and territory from threats and active training is a part of this. The resurgence of our warrior societies is just as important as our medicine societies. This non native person viewed my training as something angry which caused him to overreact through worrying which affected his wellbeing and where made it seem that he was above me. This is a perfect example how a narrow mindset can cause assumptions which causes problems. This person participation and preaching on Anishinabek Healing is a good step but is a waste of time if he still possesses and clings on to mainstream attitudes. He thought I needed healing for anger issues but choose not to inquire why those videos were relevant in my path. If those videos were on hunting which is also a violent activity I wonder if he would’ve thought I still needed healing for my perceived anger issues. Sill after explaining to him why these man-trap videos are important and speaking my peace with him he still chooses to force his belief system onto my free will. Non-Natives who want to cloak themselves in Indigenous “traditionalism” need to decolonize themselves of their western attitudes when choosing to take up our “ways” otherwise they are just playing make belief and can cause damage. Do I have to share what happened to the non-native capitalizing by conducting sweat lodge ceremonies in a New Age Texas Retreat? [suffering, harm & death, the holy trinity of the colonist way.]

Many issues are created when Non-Natives embrace “Traditionalism” where you can find numerous social impacts by doing a search on the internet all you have to do is type in, “New Age Healing.” In this article I just wanted to address some things that need to be acknowledge as we reclaim who our Indigeneous Institutions. Although critical on some aspects in “traditionalism” I am very spiritually centered. I now encourage those who are on a “healing journey” or Decolonization Process  if your are conscience of colonial values hiding within our own Institutions it is our responsibility to speak up and change it for the good of others and our future generations I will leave this article with a quote from Dr. Wendy Makoons Geniusz who is from the Anishinabek Nation and is director of American Indian studies and assistant professor of foreign languages at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. She teaches courses in traditional American Indian cultures and the Ojibwe language and is also an author. “Because of the colonization process, many of us no longer see the strength of our indigenous knowledge. Our minds have been colonized along with our land, resources, people. For us Anishinaabeg, the decolonization of gikendaasowin (Anishinaabe knowledge) is also part of the decolonization of ourselves.”

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Some Uplift for the Downtrodden

Hello kittens.  I’m sorry I haven’t written for a while, Life has been kicking my mental/emotional/spiritual ass a bit lately as I continue to navigate the cold, dark, turbulent waters of DEcolonization of Self.  It ain’t easy or fun or pleasant to be contaminated in the head, heart and soul by the colonist dis-ease — being enslaved by, and participating in colonization, and throughout it all deeply yearning to live Indigenously and tribally, while not seeing it anywhere around me.

I recently heard someone describe a person as “well-adjusted” in a positive light and I had to snicker at the absurdity of the notion.  To be “well-adjusted” to the dominant colonist culture is nothing to celebrate or aspire to, unless ignorance is bliss, which it never is because one person’s blissful ignorance is their neighbor’s painfully awake suffering due TO the ignorance next door.  Ignorance seeps out and effects much and many regardless of how much of a me-me-me bubble ignorant people operate from.  Something is Real Bad Wrong when we’re “well adjusted” to the colonist genocide, slavery, oppression and general deep disrespect of the planet and of eachother that is happening on so many levels and degrees.  I should know, since I was one of those blissfully ignorant people, a perfectly “well adjusted” idiot following all the rules I was taught and that I just picked up on implicitly and explicitly from schools, media, family, peers, all in the name of approval and acceptance by the lame-stream mainstream and its high and mighty colonist judgy-judgertons.

I call my move away from blissfully ignorant idiot to slowly and surely DEcolonizing myself, giving myself permission to think.  Which is pretty fucked up, that somewhere along the way I internalized the idea that thinking was bad and wrong.  I internalized this message quite early on, and the equation was something like:  Thinking = Difference of Opinion = Conflict = Bad = Rejection, which = Death to vulnerable young people before building up self-protective mechanisms, general confidence, and the idea that our role in life is not to please people (especially the case for females, though fear to speak up and express difference seems like a big allergy of the colonist culture regardless of sex, though females in particular are expected, encouraged and rewarded to be extra compliant, submissive and people-pleasing compared to males).

So yeah, some of us wake up and smarten up, and some of us never do.  For those of us who do, It’s hard and exhausting fucking work to stay clear, coherent and grounded in this colonist dystopic dysphoric hell.  BUT there are ways to endure, to cope, and sometimes, to fuel the spirit, which in turn incites CHANGE, such as Mz Staceyann Chin’s brand of speak-out.  Plus LOVE — the only reason to stick around and keep enduring the horror show that is the colonist culture.

I came across this rad spoken word video of Fuck You! kinda protest by the bold & awesome Staceyann Chin which I find so soul-filling and inspiring so I share it with you with eternal hope for a better world and the STRENGTH to resist the predatory, soul-sucking colonist energies and behaviors swirling and hurling at and around us 24/7.  For example, the hatred from a random colonized dude which Staceyann poetically responds to in this video.

I have new posts in the works, percolating and to be shared here with you soon.  Thank you for following and being in my world my lovelies. ❤

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The Unseen, Unfelt & Unspoken

ThanxTaking On Indigenous Graves

The Unseen

Is it an uncomfortable truth for the uninvited? An old aching wound that some Indigenous Relations would rather not think about?

Does it put scratches of clarity in the rose colored hipster glasses of today’s blissfully ignorant Indigenous youth?

I notice over the day of colonist thanks taking, among all the social media pictures of enormous spreads of commercialized Indigenous food and posts about black boys shot by white cops in our Indigenous Homelands complete with graphs and charts and pies (both the quantitative and the gastronomic kind) that mostly no one had thoughts about what the so called day of “thanksgiving” Reallllllly is or who it’s really about.

And no one acknowledged that they are living on land taken via the largest GENOCIDE on Earth or that their glutenous feeding frenzy is taking place directly on Anishinaabe land or Creek or Miccosukee or Sioux or Tsalagi or Navajo or 560 or so other Indigenous Peoples Homelands.

Or that where you now park your minivan was once an old growth forest full of living beings, diversified and unified in the web of life.

Or how if you are in eastern “america” odds are high that your house was built on or near a destroyed burial mound where hundreds of loved ones were interred to Mother Earth with intentions of them sacredly remaining together within her forever only to be destroyed and flattened for subdivisions full of all the separately together homes full of all the separately together colonist people that are mindlessly yet “thankfully” “celebrating” the day their white god allowed their relations to smite out the filthy heathens Indigenous to this land, so that they might manifest their “destiny” to become rulers of this living land and all that dwell within it.

This year I decided to just be. To be quiet. To watch and see….if any seeds were planted, if any grew to be yearlings.

Not that I saw. No one acknowledged any of it.

And in all their charts about white on black violence and police brutality across the races, I saw not one shadow or echo of the Indigenous people whose home lands this terror filled colonist drama is unfolding on.

While “Indians” do timeless time in an ever growing rez called prison and in an ever growing prison called the rez, colonists do a mindless mime of a mindless mine, wìth diamonds on their fingers and blood on their hands they perform the american nightmare on a stage of Indigenous lands.

by -Shea Z. Sandy-

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Remembering the Brave, Matriarchal Teacher, Artist & DEcolonizer named Russell Means

Feminist Rag Award NEW_Russell Means

“Until you know a woman, you’ll never know Life.”

Russell Means was a brilliant, brave, funny, powerful, and sometimes controversial figure of the American Indian community and their fight against colonization’s genocide and slavery.  He was controversial because he, like any of us, was human and made mistakes and learned many big and small lessons throughout his life.  This post focuses on the GOOD, valuable teachings from Russell that we are lucky to have access to, such as this video where he discusses women and matriarchy.  I love this convo for its truthful power and the “DUH!” humor he throws in from time to time:

Women who call themselves feminists and who dismiss, distort, or otherwise disrespect Indigenous cultures, including disrespecting Native men, have a lot to learn and unlearn.  Extra ignorant is when they do their disrespecting while living on stolen Native land.  If these women are feminists, they subscribe to a kind of feminism I want no part of.  These types of colonized female mentalities are extremely out of balance and some are the mental/emotional/spiritual equivalent of violent serial killing and raping men.  They need to sit down and do some learning about Indigenous worldviews.  What they forget/deny/just  don’t know is that 1) gynarchies (female governance) were the norm among many tribal cultures long before feminism was a thing (more on this here); and 2) we can be extremely violent with our words without ever raising a hand or even our voice, and some women, including “feminists” are experts at this.  BUT enough about the sickness and nastiness of colonized women (which many of us non-Indigenous women sadly have varying degrees of, due to the cultures and families we were raised in, and which is our personal responsibility to undo), back to the late and great Russell!

Some Russell Means philosophy:

The Universe which controls all life, has a female and male balance that is prevalent throughout our Sacred Grandmother, the Earth.

This balance has to be acknowledged and become the determining factor in all of one’s decisions, be they spiritual, social, healthful, educational or economical.

Once the balance has become an integral part of one’s life, all planning, research, direct action and follow-up becomes a matter of course. The goals that were targeted become a reality on a consistent basis. Good things happen to good People; remember time is on your side.

Russell Means did many important and amazing political, educational, creative and fun things throughout his 74 years of life.  He was a fierce, lifelong activist and warrior by virtue of who he was.  He was also a member of the American Indian Movement in its early years, including surviving the second “modern day” US-led war against Native people at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1973 (though the war has been raging on Turtle Island/the Americas since 1492).  Russell also appeared in in several big films and TV shows and made some great music.

Russell also founded the brilliant T.R.E.A.T.Y. Total Immersion School system on Turtle Island as an “alternative” to the mind-mining, spirit-eating “education” provided inflicted on us and many Native people by colonists in the dominant colonist culture.  Boi do I wish I went to this school as a kid, and who knows, maybe one day as an adult I’ll go and learn all the important stuff these kids are learning.  A good way to understand Decolonizing the colonist patriarchal education system and learn meaningful, valuable things is to hear Russell explain it:

There’s so much more to learn from this great man, this post is just a snippet.  I think it’s fitting to end this written blog post with Russell’s philosophy about the written word, taken from a speech he made in 1980 that is said to be his most famous one, called For America to Live, Europe Must Die! (the entire revolutionary speech is here) as it is pretty lengthy and wholly awesome and eye/mind/heart and spirit-opening & growing stuff):

The only possible opening for a statement of this kind is that I detest writing.  The process itself epitomizes the European concept of “legitimate” thinking; what is written has an importance that is denied the spoken.  My culture, the Lakota culture, has an oral tradition, so I ordinarily reject writing. It is one of the white world’s ways of destroying the cultures of non-European peoples, the imposing of an abstraction over the spoken relationship of a people.

[I]t seems that the only way to communicate with the white world is through the dead, dry leaves of a book. I don’t really care whether my words reach whites or not. They have already demonstrated through their history that they cannot hear, cannot see; they can only read (of course, there are exceptions, but the exceptions only prove the rule).

For all those written-word worshipers out there, remember this Russell truth-bullet when it comes to academic “experts” regarding anything to do with Indigenous people or their cultures:

“A master’s degree in “Indian Studies” or in “education” or in anything else cannot make a person into a human being or provide knowledge into traditional ways. It can only make you into a mental European, an outsider.”

Thank you Russell Means for all you did for your People, and the rest of us occupying your People’s land, who have so much to learn from you and our own Indigenous roots that were colonized out of us for so long.  Your legacy and teachings will live forever and may they be shared, learned and used widely to help create a good, healthy and balanced world for All.

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Decolonization 101

Straight from “the horse’s mouth”, i.e. a DEcolonizing Native American artist, activist and long time AIM member, Shea Sandy:

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In my experience the Indigenous voice is usually struggling to be heard. Struggling to be heard among the din and noise of the ever-crowding colonists who scream out their theories turned gossip and gossip turned theories as if they are fact and “truth”, pointing to the colonist composed books, media and scientific data as proof of their “truth”.  All the while never once during their studying, deep thinking, data collection and empirical evidence-making do they consider that it all comes from colonist minds filtered through a colonists lens and back into colonist minds. Which would be fine if all they talked about were the ways of being a european colonist but it is not fine at all when it comes to other things.

When it comes to Indigenous americans we are nearly wiped out by genocidal colonization and the blank spaces are then filled in by the same colonists who never think to ask an “Indian”. They never (very rarely) think to ask the very people they are talking about. We are still here. But we don’t have newspapers, encyclopedias, n=1 studies or empirical evidence to “support” our “claims”. The brilliant speakers and writers we do have are not taken seriously and rarely if ever referred to…. except by our own.
If someone wanted to know all about YOU, would you not want them to ask YOU instead of the people that tried to annihilate you?

I think it’s a good idea for everyone to really listen to the [traditional] Indigenous Voices whose homeland you are standing on, perhaps you will catch a glimpse of the Indigenous american lens/world view.

Indeed we are all suffering from the current state of things, brought to us by colonization and industrialization. Let us all pray and take action in our own ways so that the suffering stops and the balance of good life returns.

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MASTER RACE CULTURE: WHITE MALE SUPREMACY, LIBERAL DEMOCRACY, AND THE CONTINUING COLONIZATION OF THE WORLD

Check out this keynote address by Dr. Arnold Itwaru, one of my fave thinkers and speakers.  He was the catalyst for my own decolonization process which continues today as it is a lifelong process.

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO  (Sorry, I can’t embed it here.  You’ll need to crank up the volume and listen carefully; well worth the time and effort!)

Some excerpts:

This western civilization is not just an ordinary civilization.  It is characterized by supremacy and it is called western supremacy.  Western supremacy comes into existence as a result of imposing its will upon unsuspecting numbers of people throughout the world, violating them to produce wealth for the coffers of imperialism.  When people accept this sort of thing (and it takes a long time to happen, years and years, it doesn’t happen overnight), what tends to happen is people begin to suffer from various forms of psychic anguish, psychic torture.  People begin to feel, without any explanation, that they’re somehow inferior, that they’re somehow incomplete.

You see, unlike many people, I don’t subscribe to the idea that colonization has ended.  I want to see the evidence.

The spread of white supremacist control characterized by western civilization’s notion of its own supremacy and its economic organization, capitalism.  This consortium is in fact working towards the totalitarian control of every inch of earth and every person on earth.  But it is euphemistically called “globalization.”  Globalization is the incessant chant of white [male] supremacy today.

“Democracy” is a white supremacist conceit that we have to be careful of.  So many people use this word as though it’s a wonderful word.  It is elitist to begin with.  It is a phallocentric representation based on state order over people.  The acceptance of democracy is in fact the acceptance of a particular method of manipulating the public to facilitate in the order of the day.  It is not about any kind of significant change.

We’re dealing here with no less than the devastation of the entire world.

This notion of multiculturalism is used by the Canadian [and American] state to claim there is no racism.  Those who are so inclined will take pride in referring to themselves as being racially “tolerant” people.  Tolerance is the footstool of supremacy.  Tolerance is not acceptance.  You see, acceptance is not acceptable in the culture of tolerance.  Tolerance demarcates barriers; the conditions are strictly drawn.  It’s a calculated allowance in which The Othered are tolerated as long as they continue to work as sources of cheap labour to facilitate this capitalist order here.  Those who are tolerated are constantly watched.  They are heavily policed.  They are always suspect.  This seems to be far from acceptance.  In the culture of tolerance, the white supremacist decides what the tolerated are allowed to do and what they’re not allowed to do, and they have the means to stop people from doing what they’re doing.  And yet, this place calls itself a free society.

War – the killing of human beings – is highly profitable business.  It is good for the military industrial complex.  As far as the master race culture is concerned, the deaths of those who are in the way, those deaths are inconsequential.  It doesn’t matter.  The humanity of The Othered is inconsequential in the rise of white supremacy.  In the rise of master race culture, and rule of people, the humanity of The Other is inconsequential.  Their deaths, their mournings, their sorrows don’t matter.  What matters is how much benefit is accrued in the coffers of the capitalist order.  That is what matters.  We are living in a very dangerous time, to put it mildly.  We are living in a time where the master race culture seems to have cloaked itself in discourses of “nationhood”, “freedom”, “progress”, “knowledge”, “science, [“primary sources”, “peer-reviewed articles”, “studies with n > 100”, “published books”].”  These are some of its buzzwords.  Whose freedom are we talking about?

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