Every single time we speak publicly, or put ourselves out there we are always asked by other Indigenous Nations, settlers, and settlers of color: what can we do. We then go on to outline all the ways those who want to be potential allies can help us out in a tangible way, in a targeted way, and in a general way. Everyone takes notes, asks more questions, and seems really earnest. Then inevitably soon after something happens that we need to utilize these tools and reach out to our settler allies, guess what happens?! Not much. More understandably our indigenous friends and relatives who are resisting the forces of industrial occupation cannot usually leave their fight to join ours unless the situation is very dire. Yet settlers also seem to have problems with moving beyond the round dance rhetoric of the protest industry and organizing outside of that box.
This is when the reality of doing something other than agreeing with us, reveals the struggle that settlers face when it comes to actually being an active ally; the word ally evokes images of rallies or marchers and bullhorns and social media call outs complete with said ally in the pic standing next to indigenous whoever with fists raised! It is colonized, pretty, and almost as hard to swallow as not having allies at all.
Ally is a verb it implies action, there are more ways that settler allies or hopefuls can participate and help in the indigenous struggle for liberation from the colonial genocidal regime than marching. Our freedom as humans rely on this relationship but it has to be looked at a different way and our life long learned behaviours have to be shed.
Lets forget for a moment all the new mythology of canada and what it presents as the relationship it has with the indigenous people here on this continent called north america. Strike from your memory the silver screen shaman and the great joining of the rainbow warriors. Forget the lie that this is an awesome country founded expressly for your people and remember that is in fact a country that was born on top of our nations and the birth was a bloody abortion of humanity. Now that we have effectively tried to eradicate the lifetime of untruths we have learned in schools and through media, and society, we can come to a place where we can work together but there is more for settlers to know. A great unlearning is happening at a fast rate right now because of the status of the human race and the plight of the planet. We have come to the end of the era of the power and consumption phase, civilization always collapses and we are here to help it! This ending is bringing many new people to the battle that we are waging against the state, but many of our own people are happy with the colonial status quo and only want to secure their rights as far as they can still shop at star bucks and use power. Many settlers do not even care or can fathom giving up their privilege on this continent. It is our job to leave them behind and be the van guard of a new way of being that is based on how our governance systems worked here for millennia.
There has always been a great many of us who are not OK with being assimilated. Last year we seen many indigenous citizens of canada get upset and staged massive protests (INM) from ocean to ocean to prevent something that happened despite the mass mobilization, in the end the omnibus bill was passed. This exercise however was useful in weeding out those who were only in it for the short term or weren’t invested. It also helped to point out those who are really trying to shed the colonial system from themselves, their families, and their lands and for us to connect with each other. It also was a massive waste of momentum and people power!
So now we are here, the dawn of a new winter and more threats against Mother Earth and our very beings.
A few things to remember: Indigenous activists are not super human mythical indigenous beings who are all knowing and all wise. We have problems, we are easily triggered, can be dysfunctional, some are addicted to sex, drugs, alcohol, and ego. We are the perpetrators of lateral violence as we denounce it. We pay rent, work for the man, go shopping and partake in mainstream culture more then we should. We beat our wives and husbands and ourselves there is much we have suffered in our generation and this cannot be undone. We want change, we aspire to change, and we are the change but we are inherently flawed. There is nothing wrong with that, it is a human condition and we are products of our enforced enslavement and colonization but we have to acknowledge these things in ourselves and you do in us as well so we can really do what has to be done. It does no one any greater disservice then to put them on pedestals and many a good movement has been waylaid because we are all too human and the mutual disappointments have caused things to slow to a trickle.
Once we are in the place where we have left our egos and acknowledged our short comings as indigenous now we can touch on the great failings of the settler nation. Many have read the awesome and plentiful articles on settler colonialism, and have gained some insight and now use terms like: unceded coast salish, (insert whatever Nations name whose land you are occupying with privilege) territories, or maybe you dumpster dive and hate consumerism, maybe you have a rosy idea of what indigenous governance means and that you will be welcomed here with open arms and be part of the rainbow tribe. These are the newest forms of mythology that are coming up and into existence because the settler nation no matter how many indigenous you know, how enlightened, and down to earth you are, in your world view there is no future here on turtle island that you are not here. We need to fix this mythology and live the reality of our task.
Think of how 500 years of genocide, colonization, residential school, forced assimilation, cultural appropriation, and land theft and destruction would affect you. Think of the break down of our houses, our families, and ourselves, and how you would deal with that. PTSD is a reality, suicide affects us all daily, violence against our women, human trafficking of our children, alcoholism, drug abuse, and murder are our daily battles, add to that trying to survive everyday and the state of being on our own homelands, poverty stricken, oppressed, and marginalized people that are considered wards of a colonial crown. Supporting indigenous causes isn’t pretty or something to add to the activism resume, it often means accepting fierce strong humans at face value, saying you are in solidarity with indigenous people and sovereignty means you accept our laws and reject the illegal laws of the military state that is actively occupying our lands. If being disciplined or dealing with warrior justice scares or offends you then you are NOT ready to be an ally or to smash the system.
Fact: you are the children and grandchildren of oppressed people who seen our lands as means to escape their own oppressive imperialistic leaders. They came and they used racism and religion as the catalyst for the wholesale slaughter of the native peoples. There is a responsibility in this knowledge to do something. More then acknowledgement and more then rallies or marches. Real tangible ways to create meaningful relationships to us and to the the land is what the next step in our struggle is.
Fact: there is no free pass, just because you know a native person from somewhere who accepted you or adopted you or gave you a name that does not mean you get a free pass with every single native you meet. this also does not make you one of us, there is a common misconception that many believe to be true. just because you know some songs or are rejecting your heritage does not mean you can somehow become one of us. never going to happen. and a huge FYI: even though someone may have honored you with names, songs, or what have you THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEIR WHOLE NATION ACCEPTS YOU OR HAS TOO! so tuck it in and never introduce yourself as if your part of the tribe, it just makes you look ignorant and is a bad first impression.
Many settlers who are awakening are involved in climate work, or social justice work, or are trying to figure out what decolonization means to you and how you came to be so thoroughly assimilated and made to be part of the machine. This is great you are ready to work! We all have to come to an agreement that awareness saturation point of the masses has happened, we now have to work with who is on board and work hard. If you are living in a city you need to examine how you do this, change is based on leaving behind the ways of life that is destroying our culture. The next steps are to find those in your communities who are able to see a future that is worth working for and doing what is necessary to ensure that those who are working hard on the front lines are being supported. If you are not living in an city then focus can be put on how to actively support resistance in a manner that is helpful and timely. This can translate into many of the suggestions we are putting forward.
Not everyone is a warrior, not everyone wants to be in confrontational situations with the police and governments, or angry people but most of the people who fall into this category are often pigeon holed into being a bull horn blow hard and march organizer. Creating a culture of resistance and support requires us all to know what our strong suits and talents are and to cultivate them so they benefit the cause in a manner that is respectful and meaningful. Creating a culture of resistance is a lifestyle, it is a way of being, and it is an agreement to work together towards a better future for us all. What is your role: are you good at cooking, organizing, preserving, driving, mechanics, drawing, knitting, sewing, gardening, training, writing, healing, building, fishing, hunting, making tools? any of these and more contribute to a cohesive functioning healthy society that reflects the purpose of the cause. In order for us to smash the system, and to crash civilization we have to have a working functioning way of living together in place, humans need security, and comfort. These times we are heading into and are already in are not healthy, this is a scary anxiety producing time in human history and is unprecedented in its enormity. The planet is dying and it is high time we band together physically, and mentally and dig in for the long haul.
Like it or not, and try as you might to refute it, settlers have privilege and more protection when it comes to interactions with the authorities than we do. You also have more benefits and freedom to acquire certain items. Lets put that to good use, this list is by no means complete, or absolute it is a compilation of suggestions from us and other indigenous “activists”. There is variables to every situation, these are merely tools and guidelines to help be more effective in your support of our resistance.
Xhopakelxhit ~ Ancestral Pride
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