My intention in writing yesterday’s blog post, Urgency to Decolonize, was to bring attention to the concepts of decolonization. I don’t think many White people are very familiar with that topic. And below I include an excerpt from the article “How Racism Against Native People is Normalized” because I also think most White people don’t think about racism being related to Native people.
I feel the urgency for us White people to look at decolonization and racism against Native people now because of the opportunity presented by protests and attention to structural racism triggered by the public death of George Floyd at the hands of the police.
And because the U.S. is becoming a failing state (see Urgency to Decolonize), meaning it is increasingly unlikely our current economic and political systems will offer solutions to the threats of environmental chaos, the COVID-19 pandemic, and collapse of our economy. I contend we need to stop trying to make incremental changes to these failing systems and instead look for alternatives.
As my friend Ronnie James says,
I’m of the firm opinion that a system that was built by stolen bodies on stolen land for the benefit of a few is a system that is not repairable. It is operating as designed, and small changes (which are the result of huge efforts) to lessen the blow on those it was not designed for are merely half measures that can’t ever fully succeed.
So the question is now, where do we go from here? Do we continue to make incremental changes while the wealthy hoard more wealth and the climate crisis deepens, or do we do something drastic that has never been done before? Can we envision and create a world where a class war from above isn’t a reality anymore?”Ronnie James
How do we White people learn more about these things? Following are several websites. A couple include information about workshops.
- Decolonizing Quakers https://www.decolonizingquakers.org/
- There are a series of workshops and presentations based on the ministry of my friend Paula Palmer. More information about these here: https://friendspeaceteams.org/trr/
- First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity https://firstnationfarmer.com/
- There are many excellent resources on the website my friend Christine Nobiss is part of, Seeding Sovereignty.
- A six part series of webinars will begin soon (August 10) related to Decolonizing Quakers https://www.decolonizingquakers.org/right-relationship-webinars/
Following is more information about the webinar series, Working Towards Right Relationship with Indigenous Peoples.
As more and more people confront how deeply white supremacy is embedded in our culture and institutions, focus has largely centered on the systemic racism visited on Black people. Yet we know that European settler colonists brought a racialized world view with them when they came to exploit the land and peoples of North America. The nation states of North America are built on the so-called Christian Doctrine of Discovery, which purports to justify the theft of land and resources and the enslavement or destruction of many Nations, including the theft and enslavement of Africans from their homelands and the actual and attempted genocide of Indigenous Peoples.
Quaker descendants of European settlers benefitted and continue to benefit from this oppressive history. Quakers individually and corporately also played a direct role in the attempted cultural genocide of Indigenous Peoples. Among other things, they ran and supported Indian Boarding Schools, which were designed to “civilize” Indigenous peoples by separating children from their families and communities and erasing their native language, customs, and culture.
Beginning on August 10 and continuing on the second and fourth Mondays of August, September and October, 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. Eastern time (U.S. and Canada). Co-sponsored by Pendle Hill, Decolonizing Quakers, Canadian Friends Service Committee, and Friends Peace Teams/Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples
A 2018 Pendle Hill conference helped broaden and deepen a conversation about the Quaker role in the genocide of Native Peoples and about ways of moving toward right relationship—awareness, acknowledgment, apology, and reparative work. A group of Friends convened to form a steering committee for a continent-wide organization that would continue the explorations and the work identified at the conference, now calling itself “Decolonizing Quakers.”
Originally planned as a conference for May 2020, the webinar series is intended to further the goals and intended action steps of the 2018 conference — with re-organized format that accommodates pandemic realities.
I am Dena’ina Athabascan and Unangan (Aleutian), an Alaska Native living in California. As a Native person, there is not a day that passes where I don’t come across some form of exploitive, anti-Native behaviors in play. Not a day.
Racism toward Native people is normalized, so much so that many people do not see it as racism at all. Racist stereotypes of Native people are seemingly ingrained into the psyche of people starting in childhood, some subliminal, some direct.How Racism Against Native People Is Normalized, From Mascots to Costumes by Heather Davidson, Teen Vogue, OCTOBER 31, 2018
To talk about decolonization, people need an understanding of what we are decolonizing from. Colonization is when a dominant group or system takes over and exploits and extracts from the land and its native peoples. Colonization has taken place all over the globe, through the stealing of lands; the raping of women; the taking of slaves; the breaking of bodies through fighting, labor, imprisonment, and genocide; the stealing of children; the enforcement of religion; the destruction—or attempts to destroy—spiritual ways of life. All of these things have left a psychological, spiritual, and physical imprint on indigenous peoples, and a governmental ruling system that we did not create, that was not made for us. These are the things we need to heal from, where we need to start reclaiming. This is where organizing and decolonizing comes in.What Decolonization Is, and What It Means to Me. “Decolonizing is about reclaiming what was taken and honoring what we still have.” BY TINA CURIEL-ALLEN, Teen Vogue, MARCH 4, 2018