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Indigenous Support, deCol and Territorialism in the Movement, an activist open letter

by Jennafer Waggoner-Yellowhorse Saturday, Jul. 06, 2013 at 4:49 AM

Forwarded to imc via email, and posted here.

I thought twice, more, about writing anything. Really, because people who are non native are normally buried by the actions of white colonialism, pervasive colonization in the movement and unfortunate new ageism. I do not seek to justify any such behavior nor do I challenge any native critique of it as a whole. It is imperative to address deCol standards and behaviors by Indigenous Support Groups professing non native solidarity to native struggles.

So while I toil through our local conditioning, I also want to compare it to the same issues used with white examples, but directed towards Palestine. But also pointing to online violent harassment and threats by particular people claiming native identity to justify their violent attacks on peaceable organizing natives and non-natives all races. I reflect on white as my experience, but really I know personal examples of people who were attacked that were native, mexica, asian, you name it.

Based on personal experiences, many of you know me personally to form high critique of publicity directives in high profile non native environmental and human rights campaigns. I have the unfortunate burden of even having personal examples of what is considered taboo non native traits - such as The Indian Name syndrome, marrying in, and participating in events, ceremonies and other arenas, where most non-natives are unwelcome for abuse of these privileges. Very useful fodder when deconstructing ideological challenges to what could be construed as black market fundraising by sexy high profile indigenous support campaigns. Most whom have benefitted from campaign work based on hundreds of natives and non native allies of all races working in past alliances who spearheaded and established the reputation that many continue to idealize and flock to. However today, there's a decidedly violent and aggressive campaign to eliminate organizations or reduce their effectiveness online and elsewhere.

Some might question how anything listed is relevant. But when you look at the honest attempts to debate, the attacks on peaceful organizing natives and non-natives, white and poc. Then look at the attacks that aren't happening directly to people like Bellerose, one might consider the level of violence is indicative, of organized attention directed at a particular goal oriented campaign, security if you will.

So let me get direct to the issue. Mainly because of the zionist position recently taken recently by an INM organizer, I wish to explore Territorialism, where I live. In hopes perhaps another campaign can at least address conflicts internally, that are open wounds roaming the internet.

I once saw a letter drafted and sent to the Hopi Tribe sandblasting the Hopi Tribal Chair on human rights abuses associated with HPL policy and impound of cattle. I was then a member of the FB group that is designed to develop the conversation with people who have perennially supported the resistance of the HPL Dineh. However, I too support the Hopi in their struggle against exploitation of their historical connections and their impoverished climb into tribal authority. I challenged this already in motion tirade against the tribal chair, based on the impound of one cow.

As the media uprise deep in the sympathetic community surged, many issues were being sold out in favor of blatant fundraising and misinformation. A letter went out insisting upon 10-40,000$ in damages for the impound of a cow. A cow that had been fed, housed and still remained in stock for claiming for a refundable impound fee save 3$ in hay expenses imposed by the range ordinance. Meaning the cow might have been eating Hopi hay for three years before the impound complaint arose. This is clearly not the picture painted by the small crew of white supporters under the thumb of hungry fundraising natives who were incensed that anyone dared question any motives. Reeling out abusive derision based on supporting Hopi's with caravans, or not wanting "other" supporter groups, who outlined different affinity strategy based on 20 years of collective caravaning.

The question was only based on reading the impound ordinance itself and recognizing a chain of provisions already worked out with Tribal Officials and an appeal process. That giving money to an elder is not the contest, people should give money to the elder who's cow was impounded.

And surely devoted white supporters did flock In the nick of time and paid for the process and got the errant cow back, with a security detail to photograph in case anyone came to interview said cow. Regarding the cow being any witness to Hopi atrocities, outlined by the Indigenous Support letter to the chair. Unspoken was the cows rights that were denied access to roads without fencing, where innocent natives, are killed on a regular basis from cows that are not adequately monitored by HPL or other cattle ranchers. Horses too find their way to damaging vehicles and today insurance companies do not prosecute owners of branded livestock for killing or damaging people driving on these roads. It's a delicate balance that residents and tribal officials, who too are residents, let's not forget, they work hard to achieve and they are assigned the task of mitigating the damages by free range use of this area for grazing.

So that even the reading of the ordinance may too be colonialist a concept by those who do not assign to the laws overlayed and assigned in this occupied and sovereign national area. Yet conveniently, it's applied without open discussion or forum for critical analysis and review, that these "ally" actions scripted by angry young natives who really don't care that their actions create the same division between tribes and elders; that they cry like puppies - blaming critics for the same crimes. Blanketing their refusal for accountability with a shroud of censorship with a clamor for respect and denial that their actions have equal if not worse implications of colonialist exploitation.

Like a grand kid ripping off their grandma and leaving her without water or help with her chores. Or creating a turf conflict to assist lack of action on return of remains. I wondered out loud, ignored of course, what type of impression they are making in front of clearly educated Hopi and Navajo, who are familiar with the grazing ordinance, and see exactly what they are doing. Its disempowerment and clear intentional harassment.

One might think the argument itself could lay on its own terms. But censorship and Territorialism outweighs any consideration of actual argument, coupled with bans, exclusion and outright badmouthing and ill-will. But its not just ill will.

Its violent, and terroristic threats, threats for people's donations, for their participation, and race is no guideline. Its anyone that's not on their team.

For our area, its as if there needs to be someone more qualified to bring claim then residents, who may or may not work with "ousiders" and other family members. Their position, no different than Gumerman or any other exploiting white creating division and hierarchy to eliminate voices and direction on critical issues like NAGPRA keeping natives sequestered from non natives in petitioning the return of archaeology removed and profiting exclusively whites and white imperialist structure. I mean there's a screenshot here. But for the written examples I use here, there are screenshots of the very same behavior, on each and every count. And when I presented to said group, they acted like it never happened. With screenshots in their hands.

No doubt a simple chore to eliminate effective attention to repatriation. Natives in the name of colonialism eliminate mixed race children from the front lines only to surrender your DNA to the oppressors. But its not just mixed race kids, its anyone that directly conflicts an overall corporate benefitting agenda.

It seems it overlays quite simply, bull dogs who claim they don't want outsiders, literally outsiders themselves. Don't want Palestine in their pure Native agenda. No need for mixed race, intermarriage, or non blessed non-natives in new age fawning. Some fundraising acceptable, depending on who you align with. No different than Tribes courting favors with internationals.

I don't believe it, after years of having well meaning white activists reciting deCol guidelines my generation helped put in writing from our elders before us, white Uni students telling me and many others, not to "act native" simply for working with natives on environmental support. Not that I've ever taken the time to illustrate the love Native people have for their kids, even the white ones, the freemans and asians, we are represented in their homes and family pictures.

The ones the state takes from them because their quantum goes unchallenged. Many are mixed race native to native quantum, one tribe outruling another by quantum standards. Even the tribes are losing the sovereign reign over the children they raise that end up more white. Is this argument on birth any different than the one on death and remains? Who can argue that native sovereignty means that if natives want white kids they can. And who benefits the most from the exclusion of the scrutiny of a mixed race public in NAGPRA?

It doesn't have to be the fear laden colonialist driven segregation.

If native people have the open mind and heart for the return of their lost and stolen children, then why is their voice drowned out by hostile angry native kids who fear the recognition of mixed race native & non natives threatening their pure line quantum. You would think, hey Natives can think what they want. Until you see the same attacks happening to natives who work with people like you. Complete absence of opposition to the INM organizer, who clearly didn't ask anyone for direction in his group process.

Telling people who they can love and can't, who they trust and can't. Who they can work with and who they can't. And hide from public debate. Deny you have participated in the same colonialist oppression in your deCol trainings. And here we have ourselves made some famous, while the non famous Navajo, or the NPL Navajo who too faced the same tools of oppression and relocation, of Bennett Freeze, or happen to have 900 uranium open pit mines, as opposed to two coal strip mines. Or are urban relocated, or have no knowledge they may be connected to this area by DNA as they roam the streets and shelters homeless. As if they are less impacted, native grandmas living alone in other areas across the street from the HPL.

So, here I bring you two critical scenarios of reasons deCol people use to tell people not to work with people when we need every person we can find to manage fighting this war. And that doesn't mean that you need to let white people do anything. But if you use them like mules for your black market organizing agenda, you better enforce censorship and exclusion. Because mixed race white kids are still here as testament to the colonialisation and it seems you prefer the new agers to us. You brothers and sisters who are standing against the occupation while you take us out like enemy combatants.

Because the elders told us, we have to figure this out. We have to resolve this issue in our generation. Not above or for natives, but with, alongside and in reverence of.

And for the Native leaders who do exhibit the quality mission to serve the people, support their voices, and their actions. Those Natives who target them are no more than the old contingent of internal relocation, segregation, exploitation, aggression and suppression exploited by cointelpro, benefiting massive contracts and corporations with no regard to their impact on traditional native people.

It is this school grade conflict amongst us as adults that drowns all our arguments. If we truly seek to qualify as allies, perhaps we need to work harder, talk longer, and spend more time having the conversations, than working to exclude, silence and censor a conversation that is happening on the Rez, in our schools, and in our urban restructuring. Perhaps too soon for people to rescind citizenship to sovereignty, however, deCol is not about denying native people all their children. It's not about policing whites, poc supporters and natives working together. It's about working together to ending colonialist oppression and finding Appropriate roles in which to correct the wrongs of the past.

This does not mean white people can move into authoritarian or unaccountable roles. Accountability is a lazy Suzan for all races and ages, and we each have a chance at the table to address structural issues we face on a real issue daily basis.

I am reminded of a chide I received by a native activist who didn't have the time to develop better tools to connect non natives to natives in issue. He stated, "why don't you just get over what they did to you". I answer in return, please show me how that is done.

In the meanwhile, it is my hope that someone at INM addresses the serious issue of an INM activist who has published a pro-Zionist tear down of Indigenous and Palestinian Struggle as being inappropriate. The fact that it remains unanswered by INM, is an appalling example of the issues I raise above.

Clearly Mr. Belrose has appropriated INM, to further his agenda, to make sure no one else can effectively work with Natives, while hoisting his Israeli support.

My issue, is now that he's explained to the movement at large, using the INM brand, if we will see the same hysterical threats and attacks online. One would pray that would not be the case.

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