Poem: From Eagle Rock to Standing Rock

Every treaty broken,
Meanwhile genocidal amnesia plagues the land,

We have never left the land,
We have always spoken for the land,
We have never left the water,
We have always spoken for the water,

From Eagle Rock way up in the UP,
In the 1842 Treaty of LaPointe territories,
In Anishinaabe Aki,
To the Ring of Fire,
Attawapiskat First Nation,
Neskantaga First Nation,
Aamjiwnaang First Nation,
To Standing Rock,
We join hands across Turtle Island,
Our tears become the cleansing waters,

Hands on the land,
Hands on the water,
Standing for the land,
Standing for the water,

Ancestors draw near,
Touch our hearts and souls,
As a people we rise,
Together in prayer,

Across Turtle Island injustice is normalized,
Through militarized colonial violence,
Denial of Indigenous identity,
Voice or visibility,
Our sacred sites gated with barbed wire and barricades,
They tell us our lands are not as worthy as a church,
Dominion reigns,

Eagle Rock is mined below,
We have no access to it,
Contamination of the soul is welcome,
We seek to bring healing,

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community fought for 12 years,
The colonial white government ignores our voices,
Colonization has never ended,

The security guards laugh and take pictures,
I tell them this is our land,
My heart connected to Migizi Wa Sin,
Through the barbed wire fence,
Our heart is Migizi Wa Sin,
I love you my family,
I love you my relatives,
I love you my ancestors,
I love our land,
I love our water,
The ancestors still protect Migizi Wa Sin,
We still protect Migizi Wa Sin,

Missing and murdered Indigenous women,
Girls and Two-Spirits,
Sex trafficking,
The Bakken,
Duluth,
Thunder Bay,
The ports,
Broken hearts,
Broken lives,
Wounded souls,
We never wanted to live this way,

The water flows under the steel and iron,
The voice silenced,
She never wanted to live this way,
Maybe the water will lead her to safety?
To heal,
To be renewed,

We are all rising,
So no one else goes missing in the oil fields,
On a Great Lakes freighter,

We are all rising,
To prevent more pipelines,
Which bring the toxic and patriarchal violence of "man camps,"
To say no more to colonial sexual violence,
We are on the tributary of a healing to a decolonized future,
When we stand and speak,

Eagle Rock is our ancestral soul,
Standing Rock is our ancestral soul,
Resonation in healing justice,

Heart,
Spirit,
Land,
Water is life,

The ancestral soul is rising,
We are rising,
We are here,
We are here with our ancestors,
We are here with the ones to come,

We are singing,
We are dancing,
We are speaking,
We are healing,
We are love.

An Essay on the Modern Dynamics of Tribal Disenrollment

Disenrollment is predominately about race, and money, and an “individualistic, materialistic attitude” that is not indigenous to tribal communities.

Because many tribes have maintained the IRA’s paternalistic and antiquated definition of “Indian” vis-a-vis blood quantum (as discussed in “An Essay on the Federal Origins of Disenrollment“), tribal membership has largely become “an explicitly racial conception of Indian identity.” Suzianne D. Painter-Thorne, If You Build It, They Will Come: Preserving Tribal Sovereignty in the Face of Indian Casinos and the New Premium on Tribal Membership, 14 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 311 (2010).

The racial construct has worked well for disenrollment as “American Indians have one of the highest rates of interracial marriage in the U.S.” Gosia Wozniacka, Disenrollment leaves Native feeling ‘culturally homeless’, Associated Press, Jan. 21, 2014. Indeed, Indians of any quantum (defined as “portion”) of Indian blood are by federal design, multi-racial. In addition, “many Native Americans don’t live on reservations, speak Native languages or ‘look’ Indian, making others question their bloodline claims.” Id. In those illustrative ways, Indian conceptions of both race and class converge, with tribal classism also catalyzing disenrollment.

In turn, tribal officials who wish to target political foes or large swaths of politically weak or unpopular members, can “voluntarily invoke race-based definitions of ‘Indian’ [to] narrow the pool of tribal members, perhaps in an effort to limit gaming revenue and federal dollars to [those targeted] tribal members.”Painter-Thorne, supra. These disenrollment stories bear this out. See e.g. Liz Jones, ‘We’ll Always Be Nooksack':Tribe Questions Ancestry of Part-Filipino Members, NPR/KUOW, Dec. 16, 2013; Joanne Barker, The True Meaning of Sovereignty, New York Times, Sept. 16, 2011.

The “forced transition to a cash economy” has likely played a large part in the dramatic spike in disenrollment as well. Jana Berger & Paula Fisher, Navigating Tribal Membership Issues, Emerging Issues in Tribal-State Relations 61, 66 (2013). Prior to the recent disenrollment epidemic, which is estimated to have already vanquished over 11,000 Indians, tribal governments were very inclusive, frequently wanting to have large “membership” numbers. Aside from a greater amount of funding from federal agencies relative to increased tribal membership, from a practical standpoint tribal governments recognized that “there is strength in numbers.” Id.

 But over the last couple decades, as tribes became more dependent on the U.S. economic free-market system, primarily through gaming entrepreneurship, disenrollment began to rear its ugly head. According to Charles Wilkinson.
Just as federal education practices reverberated throughout tribes, so too did the forced transition to a cash economy. The concept of sharing, integral to Indian societies, did not jibe well with the individualistic, materialistic attitude that drove the nation’s economic system. As one Navajo stated, “When a relative needed help, you helped them out. When you needed something else, you could rely on a relative to help out, it all worked out in the long run. With money it doesn’t work anymore, now the relative with the money is expected to help out, what is needed for most everything is money and the poor relatives never have any.” 
Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations 54 (2006).

As Professor David Wilkins observes, tribal communities historically used ceremony and prayer to resolve intra-tribal tension or conflict; because traditionally speaking, “you don’t cast out your relatives.” Wozniacka, supra. But today, when the political going gets rough in tribal communities, the individualistic, materialistic Indian attitude that Professor Wilkinson describes, increasingly leads to disenrollment of one’s own relatives–instead of towards any holistic or indigenous values-based solution.

Galanda Broadman is an American Indian owned firm dedicated to advancing tribal legal rights and Indian business interests. The firm represents tribal governments, businesses and members in critical litigation, business and regulatory matters, especially in the areas of Indian Treaty rights, tribal sovereignty, taxation, commerce, personal injury, and human/civil rights.

An Essay on the Modern Dynamics of Tribal Disenrollment

Article: Six things not to say to a mixed-race person. And some personal notes

 
This is an excellent video by Marina Watanabe.

As an American Indian of mixed blood (my Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood says I'm 3/8s, but my reality is a bit more complex than that), I know many other mixed-blood Indians. They, like me, have run into conflict on both sides of the racial divide.

Not the least of this is the "you don't look Indian" remark, something that happens a lot to those of us with lighter skin. When the members of my Seminole family used to come together for reunions, the skin colors of the 25 or so people who showed up—all of us closely related by blood—went from very light to as dark as Michelle Obama, a product of the tribe's long history of intermarrying not only with other tribes but also with whites and blacks.

Appearance is often a poor judge of someone's racial background. Take the Dawes Rolls, for instance. These were established by the government in the late 1800s to determine who among the "Five Civilized Tribes" were Indian and, therefore, entitled to an allotment of land. (These allotments were a means of breaking up the tribes and grabbing "surplus" tribal land. Nearly three-fourths of the land in Indian hands prior to 1887 had been expropriated via this means by 1935.)

The determination of whether somebody was an Indian or not for the Dawes Rolls was accomplished in many instances by a white bureaucrat sitting at a table and looking at the person for half a minute. Thus were families split up. Sometimes brothers and sisters with the same father and mother were categorized differently, one an Indian, another not. It was just one more pernicious practice of a pernicious law.

Historically, there have been two different rules for Indians and African Americans. For the latter, it's the "one-drop rule" actually codified into law at one time in Louisiana. Any African American blood at all and you were black. For Indians, something almost opposite has been the case. If you weren't a full blood, then you were not viewed as a "real Indian." Half breed was a common perjorative term even for people quite a bit younger than I. During my 16 years in the American Indian Movement, I probably had to explain a couple of hundred times why my phenotype doesn't match what most people—both Indian and non-Indian—think my genotype should show.

But looks are far from the only issue.

As Watanabe points out in her video, mixed-race Americans—even when they are the same mix—are affected quite differently by how that mixed racedness is seen by people we come into contact with. Although there are stereotypes specific to our groups, we're unique. The various cultures of our ancestors plus our everyday life determines that uniqueness. We're blended, but even among people of the same blending, how prejudice against mixed-race people plays out is not one-dimensional.
Watanabe's video offers people who want to confront their prejudices with an upbeat lesson on how to get started.

Via - Daily Kos

Article - No, You’re Not Imagining It: 3 Ways Racial Microaggressions Sneak into Our Lives

This is a good article however again and as per usual there is no mention of Native American/First Nations people.  A heads up on this because the term is called "statistical genocide."  We as Native American/First Nations people are left out of statistics, research projects, studies, articles, reports and on and on.  Raising awareness on this will continue indefinitely as long as the dominant/majority/mainstream culture continues to treat us the invisible minority.  Nonetheless this is a good article on racial microagressions.  From my point of view we deal with colonial racial microaggressions.  Racism can occur towards us as a people (insults, stereotypes, discrimination) or racism towards our lands and waters (environmental racism). 

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No, You’re Not Imagining It: 3 Ways Racial Microaggressions Sneak into Our Lives

Have you ever experienced someone insulting you in a way that felt a little bit racist, but you couldn’t quite figure out why?

Were you worried about “reading too much into it,” “being too sensitive,” or taking offense when none was intended?

When this happened, did you let the other person know you were hurt, only for them to become distressed or defensive? Have you been reluctant to say something when you felt this way because your opinions have been silenced or ignored in the past?

Like many other people of color (POC) living the US, I’ve felt all of these things. For some of us, feeling this way is the norm and, without realizing, we put up a wall to protect ourselves from the damage that comes with it.

These uneasy, uncertain feelings can be the result of what Chester M. Pierce, a psychiatrist and professor, coined racial microaggressions – originally defined as the racist insults directed at Black people from non-Black Americans.

Dr. Derald Wing Sue, who also writes about racial microaggressions, explains them as the “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.”

Microaggressions are “micro” because they often happen in small, private situations, yet their effects often impact us in massive and dangerous ways.

Over time, being on the receiving end of these everyday (yet often unrecognizable) attacks can lead to depression, social isolation, and lowered confidence. Because we’ve been conditioned to question ourselves and not the perpetrators or the situations, we begin to wonder if our own feelings and experiences are legitimate.

Sometimes, without understanding what we’re doing, we even internalize those aggressions and use them to police both our loved ones and ourselves.

As a kid, I often corrected my mother’s pronunciation of English words. Though she did have a Chinese accent, she didn’t need me to tell her how to speak English – she’d taught English as a second language for more than a decade.

I didn’t realize that by doing that, I was communicating that her foreign accent not only made her English different, it made it wrong. And like so many others, I had no idea I was regurgitating racist ideology (practicing internalized racism).

While small acts of internalized racism like mine go unnoticed all the time, there are too many occasions where the victim is just too shocked to say anything in the moment.

Whatever the reason, it amounts to letting racism off the hook. When we allow these small incidences to keep happening, we are allowing racism, in general, to remain a part of our culture.

As Dr. Sue goes on to state, the perpetrators of microaggressions are often unaware of how they may be offending or hurting others.

It’s important for us to remember that just because a perpetrator of racism is clueless (or in denial) about the impact of their words doesn’t mean that their actions were any less violent or that the impact of that violence is changed.



When it comes down to it, intention is irrelevant.

If we only focus on intention, we continue to center and prioritize the perpetrator. And let’s face it: The perpetrator is always a more privileged person who is used to getting their opinions and feelings validated.

We are trained to believe people with social power.

But if ever we hope to truly put an end to racism (or any other injustice for that matter), we, as people who encounter so much marginalization, must also validate our own feelings and opinions. We re-center our attention to our needs and experiences by focusing on impact, not intent.

By not reacting to microaggressions, we can lose our sense of being true to ourselves. We risk bottling up the toxic feelings brought on by unending racism. But if we react angrily, we are often faced with defensiveness and criticism from our perpetrators.

But, alas, there is a middle ground, and that is to engage the perpetrator in a thoughtful manner. Vlogger Jay Smooth has a great video about it here. 

The Three Types of Microaggressions

Dr. Sue and others at Teachers College of Columbia University have identified three basic forms of microaggressions: 

1. Microassaults

Microassaults, the most conscious and intentional form of microaggressions,  best resemble what we are accustomed to thinking of as “old-fashioned” racism.

Some common examples are using racial epithets (or abusive, derogatory language or names), displaying confederate flags or swastikas, mocking another language, telling racist jokes, and serving White customers first.

What they all have in common is their explicitness. Whether verbal or nonverbal, microassaults are fairly direct forms of prejudice and discrimination.

The following two forms of microaggressions are less direct and intentional on the part of the perpetrator. 

2. Microinsults 

Microinsults communicate rudeness and insensitivity towards someone based on their racial identity or heritage. These acts take away a person’s dignity or sense of self-worth, but they do so indirectly.

Some microinsults can seem like compliments to the person saying them.

Growing up, I was repeatedly told by White boys that I was “cute for an Asian.” This always made me feel incredibly shameful even though I had done nothing wrong. It led me to believe that being Asian meant being undesirable. It also taught me that White boys would never see me as an individual but as a race.

Other examples of microinsults are being told that “You are a credit to your race” or “You are so articulate.”

These statements assume that intelligence or role model behavior is tied with Whiteness because they reveal surprise at the POC’s excellence in what they do.

And even more examples (because racism is so frustratingly relentless) are a White person crossing to the other side of the street at the approach of a Black or Latino man, or a storeowner carefully watching or following a customer of color.

This conveys the message that these people deserve to be feared and are likely to steal or hurt, but this fear is based on racist stereotypes hyped by the White media.

While some data makes it looks like Blacks and Latinas are more likely to steal or hurt others, it is based on a racist system (the prison industrial complex) that targets people from those communities

3. Microinvalidations

Microinvalidations exclude or negate the experiences, feelings, and experiential reality of a POC.

A common microinvalidation is the notion of “color blindness” or the assertion that we now live in “post-racial” times. It is also invalidating to downplay occurrences of racism, or to tell a POC, “Stop being so sensitive” or “Not everything’s about race!”

These phrases, perhaps meant to smooth over the perpetrators discomfort of the situation, completely dismiss the racialized experiences of POC.

What lies at the heart of most microinvalidations is the norm of Whiteness and White experiences.

Dismissing the racialized experiences of POC is oppressive and continues to give credence only to the White experience. Along with that, colorblind thinking dismisses the reality of white privilege and white supremacy, and allows them to keep doing what they do.

An example of this is asking a person of color, “Where are you from?” or “How do you say ____ in your language?”

This question is often directed at Asian and Latin Americans – whether immigrants skilled in other languages or not – out of simple curiosity. But the message is that even if they consider America their home, they will never truly belong.

Another example is “I’m not racist – I have a ____ friend!”

Racism is culturally pervasive, which means that it’s part of almost everyone in this society. Whether or not we believe ourselves to be racist, our words and actions often conform to what our racist culture has taught us – and having a Black friend does not change that fact.

Also: “If you work hard enough, you will succeed.”

This is called the “myth of meritocracy” – the idea that through determination and hard work, alone, we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps (for a classic example, read the story of Horatio Alger).
This is what leads us to believe the racist, classist stereotype that we, POC (and people in general) who don’t succeed, are lazy, stupid, or incompetent – that they deserve what they have or don’t have.

But the experience for many, though not all, of us is more complicated.

Factors such as institutional racism, education level of family members, and access to fewer resources that help us succeed means that many of our paths to personal success is challenging in more ways than our White counterparts.

The truth is, privilege — due to race or class — is what helps you succeed in an unjust society. (POC benefit from class privilege, too.)

This is why Affirmative Action exists, though it cannot and will not ever make the playing field entirely even.

There is a last kind of microaggression that doesn’t take place between individuals. Instead, environmental microaggressions are felt in our everyday surroundings or through our social “climate.”

For example, a Latina woman waiting for a job interview sees pictures of the other employees, all of them white men. Even if the company is not racist, its office is telling her that she does not belong there and is less likely to be hired than a white man.

The way that abortion rights and Planned Parenthood funding is debated can be seen as a sexist environmental microaggression because it invalidates the healthcare needs and decision-making abilities of women, especially those with lower incomes.

***
As POC, we are often silenced or stunned by microaggressions. But just as there are positive ways to deal with stress, there are empowering ways to address microaggressions.

How I deal with microaggressions depends on the situation. There is no one way to cope.

And just as the answer for me differs from case to case, what I find helpful may not apply to you. But the first step is always the same, and that is to acknowledge your sense of discomfort, hurt, or anger.
There is a lot we can do for ourselves to minimize the impact of such events. Journaling, meditation, or movement (zumba or yoga, anyone?) are all forms of self-love that can restore our well-being and give our emotions a safe outlet.

Reaching out to friends and other trusted confidantes can be a great way to validate our feelings. Sometimes when something happens that makes our skin crawl with anger or disappointment, all we need is someone to feel it with us.

While we don’t have to engage the aggressor, opening a dialogue with them is one way to come to terms with what happened.

Before starting that conversation, ask yourself what you want to gain from the conversation. How you approach them will differ depending on whether you’re trying to change their behavior or solely desiring to verbalize your feelings.

I am often reluctant to engage with the perpetrator myself, but it can be especially important to do so if the person who microaggressed you is someone you encounter frequently, much less someone you care about.

The last (and maybe most important) thing is to eventually let it go. By this, I don’t mean forgive or forget. I mean taking care not to give them, or the microaggressor themselves, more power over you in the process.

This might happen naturally once you’ve processed the event, but sometimes we need a little reminding that microaggressions should be addressed, but they are not worth dwelling upon and reliving.

Living in constant anticipation of mistreatment is not only draining and stressful, it can even prevent us from experiencing joy or letting wonderful people into our lives. This is the biggest challenge: to strengthen ourselves without becoming hardened against vulnerability.

True strength resides in the reed that bends with the wind but does not fall down. It is rooted. It turns towards the sun. However you choose to handle it when someone micoraggresses you, remember that you are not alone. Your opinion counts. Your feelings matter. And you deserve sunshine.

Anni Liu is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism. She’s a writer, musician, and Chinese DREAMer. Anni is currently working with emotionally and behaviorally challenged kids at an alternative school. She lives in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont with her partner and his son and hopes to make the acquaintance of a moose. Read her articles here.

Original article posted on Everyday Feminism.

Poem: Colonization

Right now colonization has battered a woman,
Colonization has forced relocation of the Indigenous mind to bottle,
Casino only employer around this place,

Right now colonization has neglected a child,
Cold-shaking-fear but smiling in front of a heater,
Dim light flickering,

Right now colonization has made you feel like a patriot or a brave,
And she is sitting in a closet with cut arms,
Hungry and ignored,
Because Native women can't have eating disorders,

Right now colonization is dividing my being,
My legs are Anishinaabe,
My hands are French,
Compartmentalization makes me run away,
Hiding identity in shame,

Right now colonization has discriminated a Two-Spirit,
A "traditional healer," laughs in this Two-Spirit's face,
This Two-Spirit has no community resources,
The Two-Spirit was a revered community resource,

Right now colonization has headed up your tribal government structure,
The epidemics all around have you ignore domestic violence,
Sex trafficking,
Addiction,
And your colonized Christ is judging the actions of many,

Right now colonization is not breaking news on the news,
There is no Native news on the news,

Right now colonization has ran out of tissues,
Tears,
Surviving everyday discrimination,
Heartbreak syndrome,
Ghost sickness is enough for 500 plus years,

Right now 97.7% of the land is occupied,
We get 0.3 % of the land,

How do you map "de-colonization," when there is very little room for us?