the founding fathers and mothers of Turtle Island, the role many indigenous nations had in the USA Independence with their council, and the role they had in many good policies, such as public education, preservation of ecosystems, and women’s and queer rights.
their sacrifice to ensure a free life for the next generation, even whilst each nation was systematically wronged, massacred, and subject to genocide. I honour the descendants and survivors, members of sovereign nations- whether federally recognized or not. I stand beside them in their struggle to exist, and their right to protect what is sacred.
this spirit of respect with my non-native friends and neighbors, and I remember the role of indigenous people when the discussion turns to politics, climate change, or the direction of the USA. I respect their right to be unique, and accurately represented. I remember them, with their permission, and seek to respect their story as they tell it, not as the history or other books lay down.
events that are significant to the indigenous nations, as I would hope others remember events significant to my people. Such as the anniversary of Wounded Knee massacre. I do not speak of their history as continual victimization, but as a continual, and successful struggle, which will persevere.
I DO NOT PITY
them for what they have lost, but I admire them for what they have retained, and what they create. I do not listen to statistics as much as I listen to their voices. Sovereignty rarely makes it on the statisticians list.
that sovereignty is not a civil right; it is a human right. It is a relationship that is not dependent upon the federal US government to administer or take away. It is a right outside the jurisdiction of the US & Canada, and I will not stand in the way of that right being exercised. An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
to indigenous americans. I hope what I am learning will help to protect their right to live, as well as what I now know is sacred. The river in my backyard. The trees on my street. The migrating geese, and the grass on which they graze. The water, and the knowledge that it flows to the gulf, and out to the sea. And that the sea is suffering.
from your example, about community empowerment. That power comes from truth, and unity comes from respect. I learn that respect does not mean on my terms- it means to respect on your-the indigenous peoples- terms.
the role history has in a community and that it cannot be disregarded. Drug abuse, suicide, and diabetes cannot be looked at without an accurate, historical, and respectful context. Therefore, I learn a lot about public service and health care. I also learn a lot about myself, and my people, and the things I can do in my own community.
THANK YOU. Wado. Migweetch. Pilamaye. Hiy hiy.
Idle No More. All my relations.
~From an ally
Photo by Jeff McIntosh.