A White settler colonist and Indigenous people’s day

This is one of those times when I’m really uncomfortable as I begin to write because this is solely based on my own experiences. Which is a bit silly compared to the perspective of people putting their lives on the line. Basically what life is like for Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) every day in this country. That has to stop.

As Indigenous People’s Day approaches we have an opportunity, or I would say obligation, to reflect upon where we are today. By we, I mean White settler colonists such as myself.

Settler colonialism is a form of colonialism that seeks to replace[1] the original population of the colonized territory with a new society of settlers.[citation needed] As with all forms of colonialism, it is based on exogenous domination, typically organized or supported by an imperial authority.[2] Settler colonialism is enacted by a variety of means ranging from violent depopulation of the previous inhabitants to more subtle, legal means such as assimilation or recognition of indigenous identity within a colonial framework.[3]


In the same way one of the first steps toward recovery from addiction is to admit one has the addiction, I believe we White settler colonists need to face this is what we are. If you are a White person, can you say “I am a White settler colonist?”

Most White people in this country would like to believe the White version of the history of this land since the arrival of their ancestors. And whenever we White people hear parts of the true history, most of us try to convince ourselves those acts occurred in the past and are no longer relevant.

But William Faulkner was correct when he wrote “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” The effects of trauma are carried from one generation to the next, intergenerational trauma. The tragedies of the history of forced assimilation of native children generations ago, for example, are an “open wound” in native communities today.

White settler colonialism continues to this day. We White people are living on, have settled on native land. Can you, if you are a White person, say “I am a White settler colonist?” Do you believe it?

Though not even on the same order of magnitude, trauma also affects those who inflict the trauma. Those adverse affects are also passed from generation to generation. If you are a White person, can you look deep inside yourself to find your trauma? Can you look for stories about your ancestors, and see them in a different light now?

Decolonizing is, of course, the opposite of colonizing. We, as White people, need to be open to, to search for help to decolonize ourselves. The process of decolonizing involves education and healing. Two resources to help us do so are Decolonizing Quakers, https://www.decolonizingquakers.org/, and Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples, https://friendspeaceteams.org/announcing-trr/

Yesterday I wrote about Indigenous People’s Day in Des Moines, Iowa. This is an opportunity for us White people to learn, for the education part of decolonization. https://kislingjeff.wordpress.com/2020/10/07/indigenous-peoples-day-des-moines/ This is organized by my friends of the Great Plains Action Society. It is also an opportunity to publicly support BIPOC.

Great Plains Action Society


We are Indigenous Peoples of the Great Plains proactively working to resist and Indigenize colonial-capitalist institutions and behaviors. We defend the land where our ancestors lie and where the children walk. Our goal is to reclaim what has been stolen and oppressed to create a better world for us all.


Join a coalition of organizations in Des Moines on October 12th from 4-7 (South Lawn of the Capitol Building) to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day! However, as we celebrate this day we also recognize that columbus day has not yet been abolished in Iowa and is simultaneously celebrated and taught in the public school system. Furthermore, monuments to white supremacy litter the landscape of Iowa and we demand that they be removed.


Indigenous Peoples Day 2020 – Des MoinesMONDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2020 AT 4 PM CDT – 7 PM CDTIowa State Capitol

Indigenous People’s Day is coming up. This is a good time to have conversations about colonization and respecting Indigenous sovereignty. Climate Justice Alliance provides a set of policy proposals we can support and organize around. 

This is one of the Policy Planks of the United Frontline Table’s toolkit A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy. The policy planks are one of three tools in the kit, together with series of Strategy Questions and the Protect, Repair, Invest, and Transform Framework. Make sure the check out the section on How to Use This Resource to Enhance Your Work and the Working Definitions.

BREAKING THE CYCLE OF COLONIZATION by Climate Justice Alliance. October 6, 2020

This entry was posted in decolonize, Des Moines Mutual Aid, Indigenous, Native Americans, Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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