what am I doing for Indigenous people

This is in response to a rather plaintive tweet.

 

I acknowledge their relationship to their lands, whether peculiar to them or shared by treaty with their neighbours. I acknowledge this is a relationship I can’t share and should never try to profit from, or try to harm in any way.

I acknowledge and celebrate their cultural contributions to the global store house of ideas, practices and technologies.

I acknowledge their right to their artifacts, the bodies of their dead wherever tomb raiders have stolen them away to, and their traditional folkways, even if I object to some because I’m squeamish or elitist.

I acknowledge and celebrate their right to remove artifacts from where they are not being cared for properly to the care of their own people.

I pay them for their work, their art, their beading, their poetry, their books. I wear their art.

I know whose lands I live in and upon (Qayqayt, Musqueam, Squamish, Tsawwassen, Semiahmoo, Stó:lō – among others), and want to know more each year I live here. I read about it, but mostly I listen on social media to what the locals say about their land, when they walk around on it, when they catch salmon upon it, when they hunt and harvest on it, when they just live their lives and re-watch their favourite shows and worry about their children. The word ownership does not describe and can’t describe how they are about their land; stewardship makes it sound like there’s a bigger boss you need to turn the reins over to, if he ever shows up, and it’s always a guy; custody makes it sound like you can put a fence around it or secure it somehow; all these concepts endeavour to make land into parcels and people into atomized parcels of factions, forever at war with their neighbours, instead of sharing an immense bounty of ocean, river, land and sky. Anyway, English doesn’t have a word for it and can’t; it’s a failing and not a useful one.

I support language revitalization in word and deed.

I spit on blood quantum. Only their modern requirements for membership in their particular nation, informed by tradition and agreed upon within the nation, are any basis for being members of any Indigenous band, tribal or national group. Judicial measures regarding membership imposed by settlers are some bullshit, and should be dropped into the sun with a bow tied ’round them.

I support charities which bring culturally appropriate Indigenous teachings about sexuality, gender and consent to Indigenous youth.

I SUPPORT THE ENTIRE DISMANTLING OF THE INDIAN ACT.

I would abolish the RCMP and put a stop to the (estimated) three billion dollars those fuckers check out of the government purse every year to have carte blanche to kill, rape, and beat Indigenous people IN A HEARTBEAT.  We could promise the best education in the world to every Indigenous student in Canada (and the settler kids too sure) with that money, and the dent it would make in structural inequality couldn’t be measured.

I support abolition of the police and the end of incarceration except where a legitimate safety hazard (harm to self, harm to others, absence of self-care endangering life) exists and even then I dunno.

I do not idolize one particular nation over another. I am partial to certain aspects of Cree, Inuit, Mohawk, Haida, Blackfoot and Plateau artwork and traditions, but I don’t smudge my house or have a dream catcher or disrespect anyone’s regalia by touching or coveting it or stealing the design or mocking it or wearing it as a cheeseball Halloween costume.

I do not believe that if their lands were restored the first thing the Indigenous would do is kick me off. The cops, the bankers, the real estate agents, maybe, but as long as I upheld their rules, I doubt I’d be kicked off, and I’d go quietly if I was.

I follow Indigenous progress and revitalization in Canada, the US, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia and to a lesser extent Asia, Central and South America, and Africa.

That’s all I can think of for now. It isn’t much, but I’m tired of thinking I’m not doing enough so I thought I’d make a list.

 

 

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Allegra

Born 1958. Not dead yet.

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