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Decolonize Wall Street: An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists

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There's just one thing. I am not one of the 99 percent that you refer to. And, that saddens me. Please don't misunderstand me. I would like to be one of the 99 percent... but you've chosen to exclude me. Perhaps it was unintentional, but, I've been excluded by you. In fact, there are millions of us indigenous people who have been excluded from the Occupy Wall Street protest. Please know that I suspect that it was an unintentional exclusion on your part. That is why I'm writing to you. I believe that you can make this right. (I hope you're still smiling.)

An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists

Zashnain @bedlamfury
September 24, 2011

Thank you for your courage. Thank you for making an attempt to improve the situation in what is now called the United States. Thank you for your commitment to peace and non-violence. Thank you for the sacrifices you are making. Thank you.

There's just one thing. I am not one of the 99 percent that you refer to. And, that saddens me. Please don't misunderstand me. I would like to be one of the 99 percent... but you've chosen to exclude me. Perhaps it was unintentional, but, I've been excluded by you. In fact, there are millions of us indigenous people who have been excluded from the Occupy Wall Street protest. Please know that I suspect that it was an unintentional exclusion on your part. That is why I'm writing to you. I believe that you can make this right. (I hope you're still smiling.)

It seems that ever since we indigenous people have discovered Europeans and invited them to visit with us here on our land, we've had to endure countless '-isms' and religions and programs and social engineering that would "fix" us. Protestantism, Socialism, Communism, American Democracy, Christianity, Boarding Schools, Residential Schools,... well, you get the idea. And, it seems that these so-called enlightened strategies were nearly always enacted and implemented and pushed upon us without our consent. And, I'll assume that you're aware of how it turned out for us. Yes. Terribly.

Which brings me back to your mostly-inspiring Occupy Wall Street activities. On September 22nd, with great excitement, I eagerly read your "one demand" statement. Hoping and believing that you enlightened folks fighting for justice and equality and an end to imperialism, etc., etc., would make mention of the fact that the very land upon which you are protesting does not belong to you - that you are guests upon that stolen indigenous land. I had hoped mention would be made of the indigenous nation whose land that is. I had hoped that you would address the centuries-long history that we indigenous peoples of this continent have endured being subject to the countless '-isms' of do-gooders claiming to be building a "more just society," a "better world," a "land of freedom" on top of our indigenous societies, on our indigenous lands, while destroying and/or ignoring our ways of life. I had hoped that you would acknowledge that, since you are settlers on indigenous land, you need and want our indigenous consent to your building anything on our land - never mind an entire society. See where I'm going with this? I hope you're still smiling. We're still friends, so don't sweat it. I believe your hearts are in the right place. I know that this whole genocide and colonization thing causes all of us lots of confusion sometimes. It just seems to me that you're unknowingly doing the same thing to us that all the colonizers before you have done: you want to do stuff on our land without asking our permission.

But, fear not my friends. We indigenous people have a sense of humor. So, I thought I might make a few friendly suggestions which may help to "fix" the pro-colonialism position in which you now (hopefully, unintentionally) find yourselves. (Please note my use of the word "fix" in the previous sentence. That's an attempt at a joke. You can refer to the third paragraph if you'd like an explanation.)

By the way, I'm just one indigenous person. I represent no one except myself. I'm acting alone in writing this letter. Perhaps none of my own Nishnaabe people will support me in having written this. Perhaps some will. I respect their opinions either way. I love my Nishnaabe people always. I am simply trying to do something good - same as all of you at the Occupy Wall Street protest in what is now called New York.

So, here goes. (You're still smiling, right?)

1) Acknowledge that the United States of America is a colonial country, a country of settlers, built upon the land of indigenous nations; and/or...

2) Demand immediate freedom for indigenous political prisoner Leonard Peltier; and/or...

3) Demand that the colonial government of the United States of America honor all treaties signed with all indigenous nations whose lands are now collectively referred to as the "United States of America"; and/or...

4) Make some kind of mention that you are indeed aware that you are settlers and that you are not intending to repeat the mistakes of all of the settler do-gooders that have come before you. In other words, that you are willing to obtain the consent of indigenous people before you do anything on indigenous land.

I hope you find this list useful. I eagerly await your response, my friends.

Miigwech! ( ~"Thank you!" )

JohnPaul Montano

http://twitter.com/jpmontano

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Decolonize Wall Street: An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists | 8 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Decolonize Wall Street: An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists
Authored by: PantaRhea on Monday, October 03 2011 @ 03:41 PM CDT

While I appreciate the spirit of your words, I believe you may be mistaken in some of your assumptions. If I understand the indigenous worldview correctly, the thought of "owning" land was as absurd as the idea that the sky could be owned. Colonization was indeed theft, but not just from indigenous people (but definitely including them). How else, besides thievery, can we describe taking a divine gift such as the land, and claiming that it is a commodity that can be bought and sold?

Decolonize Wall Street: An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists
Authored by: Dirty Hands on Tuesday, October 04 2011 @ 11:05 AM CDT

I believe perhaps you are mistaken in your assumption that recognizing that the colonization of this continent amounts to the theft of that land from those who were already living here somehow pre-supposes an indigenous concept of land ownership (because it doesn't), or that it somehow excludes the non-human inhabitants who were the victims of industrial civilization's colonization on the continent (because it doesn't). also, the indigenous of the "americas" had a widely diverse and non-homogenous array of territoriality, as can be said about most things, as indigenous people of this continent, far from being homogenous in culture, practice, or believe, represented hundreds if not thousands of independent, unique cultures, each possessing equally unique qualities (while sharing others, of course).

---
Vaya Sin Dios
Decolonize Wall Street: An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists
Authored by: AstralWalker on Tuesday, October 04 2011 @ 11:07 AM CDT

 

  • I really don't understand why any of that really matters? Why are we still caring about a state the world was in when this continent was first settled by Europeans and others...The "indigenous" people came here under their own power through a kind of Migration, Just as everyone else who's ever moved locations has, Why is it that people who "Get there first" always believe it belongs to them, and that everyone else needs to bend their backs or ask permission to accommodate that. Yeah, I understand there is a lot of terrible practices and unfair dealings, Let's fix that ya! But really, holding on to an archaic sense of Land ownership and special rights over everone else just cause some pre-historic people who share the same genes as you got here and spread across and >entire continent< before others seems and always has seemed absolutely ridiculous to me. Why can't folks understand that who you are doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, or what you own or claim ownership over...especially when considering there will be no such thing as Separate races of people in Humanities future, thus nullifying OR giving Every person on the planet the same things to say and lay claim too as that guy. That FACT is unavoidable. So...in 200 years when every human on earth shares common ancestry to the indigenous Americans, Asians, Caucasians, Everyone on this planet(call it genocide, call it whatever the hell you want, It's GOING to Happen, kick and scream and stomp and throw all the fits you want, "Genocide" of ALL the races we have today, is an unavoidable consequence of being Human, And really...Why in the world would it be a bad thing?) due to the very basic fact that people Love sex, we love reproducing, and We love doing it in other peoples "homes" (aka countries)...regardless of their color or where they came from, or who was on that ENTIRE CONTINENT first. There are too many people on this planet to worry about things like what happened 200 some years in the PAST...Every single colony on this planet traveled to where they call home, And Likely Did Not originate where they are settled...unless you still live and your Genealogical family has Always lived in the Cradle of Humanity...which my Friend was not The Americas.
  • So...Earth for People, Animals, Plants...Life in general And most importantly, Our Soul, Collectively. Fuck off with all that junk about moving in and forcing others out or to force coexistance, and demanding special privileges or rights because of it....I don't go around asking and crying for All of China to bend to my will and give me special rights just because I share genealogy with Homo Erectus that got pushed out of Asia by Homo Sapiens in early history. This is now...Your Race of people Don't have claim over anything, regardless of what your race is as far as land goes or where you are, because ultimately if you extend EVERYONE's Argument just a bit further back into Time, Someone else can almost ALWAYS bitch at you for the exact same things you're bitching about...I really really don't care if a Band of your people were walking on this Dirt any amount of time prior to my Band of people who decided to walk on this dirt...Dirt is Dirt, Share it, We need to. We can't afford not too. That dirt in Eastern America doesn't care if the shoe stepping on it belongs to a human, alien, or a dog with a crazy owner, or if the building going up on it belongs to Asians, or Europeans, or Americans, or whatever. the fact of the matter is, That shoe fits a HUMAN, That Building helps a HUMAN. fuck you if you think that HUMAN needs to ask you (ANOTHER HUMAN) to do something on that Dirt in this capacity. (obviously Im only talking about country-wide, continent-wide scenarios, I wouldn't walk into your house and expect equal living rights+ treat it like my house, That's a whole different Ballgame, so using that argument to say "well, America was our "house" or Europe was our "house" is null and void. Earth is Humanities House. I don't care what continent Im on, or who was there first. I live on Earth, ALL of Earth is mine, as much as it is yours. ........Wow...did any of that make sense or am I just runnin my mouth 0.o I really hope my point and message isn't misunderstood here.
Edited on Tuesday, October 04 2011 @ 11:15 AM CDT by AstralWalker
Decolonize Wall Street: An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists
Authored by: MagonistaRevolt on Tuesday, October 04 2011 @ 11:31 AM CDT

These responses are really sad. It is not "migration" that is at issue here. Learn the difference between migration and colonialism.

The United States as a project was created by Europeans who, when they arrived on the shores of the Western Hemisphere 500 years ago, used systematic genocide and displacement, a series of unmet treaties, deception, enslavement, forced assimilation, and terror to CONQUER, not immigrate to, the Western Hemisphere.

Some Europeans (and others who they forced into the "New World") were so disgusted with or alienated from the colonial project that they actually did migrate. The lost colony of Roanoke, who "went to Croatan." Black Seminoles. Maroons. Kilombo. White indentured servants were accepted into the Creek. Sadly, these brave people are not from whom we have inherited the current United States empire.

Decolonize Wall Street: An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists
Authored by: AstralWalker on Tuesday, October 04 2011 @ 11:35 AM CDT

You read with Blind eyes friend.

Decolonize Wall Street: An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists
Authored by: PantaRhea on Tuesday, October 04 2011 @ 11:54 AM CDT
Decolonize Wall Street: An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists
Authored by: PrehistoricBeast on Tuesday, October 04 2011 @ 06:58 PM CDT

I try not to hate white people. But the ones like you make it really hard not to.  Its difficult to tell the difference between your hippie dippy ahistorical colorblind worldview and the manifest-destiny ultraconservative ahistorical colorblind worldview.

I don't believe in private property, but I do believe in respect for other people. That's a tradition my people have. That's the reason we didn't slaughter anyone who looked like you right off the bat. Our mistake. But I try to live that tradition, nonetheless. I try even though its not reciprocal, as evidenced by the attitude of people like you. Even though white people used dynamite to blow up a sacred shrine of my people in order to make a highway. Even though I can't eat the fish from the river because white people polluted it. Even though my family gets attacked with rocks and called epithets by white people.

But I should just move on and get over the fact that a group of people came here a few hundred years ago and since then has practiced non-stop violence against everything that I am. I should do that because one of those people thinks thats what I should do.

And you wonder why there aren't many brown people at your get-togethers.

---
Even the mighty oak was once just a little nut who stood its ground
Decolonize Wall Street: An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists
Authored by: tool4peace on Wednesday, October 05 2011 @ 05:58 AM CDT

Actually in reference to someone stating that the indigenous people didnt kill the white europeans getting off the boats....King Phillip's War was to eradicate the whites.he saw with clarity that the future of his people depended upon the white people being eradicated....and he came very close to acheiving that goal.