A Belated Good Indigenous Peoples’ Day to All of Us

During the days of Occupy encampments and General Assemblies across the land, many people, especially black and First Americans, advocated changing their groups’ names to either ‘DeColonize’ or UnOccupy’ to remind us all that this is a stolen land, and that from their points of view, they and their traditional home territories had already been ‘Occupied’. Their re-colonization writ large was underway, and growing stronger every day, as the third-worlders in our nation were reaping ever more of the hideous results of corporatization, capitalism, and neoliberalism by way downward economic pressures and toxic poisoning of their land, water, and air. That almost all of us are now in that boat with them is increasingly crucial to acknowledge, as is the burgeoning sense that we are all related in brother- and sisterhood, and are composed of the same stardust.

For your related reading and viewing pleasure:

Kshama Sawant on the Establishment of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

After weeks of collaboration with Indigenous Rights activists, on Monday, October 6th, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously in favor of Resolution 31538, declaring the second Monday in October “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in the City of Seattle. It was an honor to work with activists to draft the legislation, and to sponsor it. Check out the video of my speech and the transcript below.

Other cities that celebrate Indigenous People’s Day:

Minneapolis (as of this year.

Berkeley has since 1992.

On Columbus Day, UNM Students Organize “Indigenous People’s Resistance Tour of the University of New Mexico” at La Jicarita (wonderful photos, including this one:

From Owen McCormack at Truth-out, ‘Columbus Day and the Sanitization of History’.

Nick Estes’ review of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.

‘American Holocaust of Native American Indians‘ (Full Documentary) is on youtube (about 30 minutes).

 “When the Earth is dying, there shall arise a new tribe of all colors and creeds. This tribe shall be called The Warriors of the Rainbow and it will
put it’s faith in actions not words.

~ Hopi Prophecy

Love as you’re able, peace when you can manage it, and Solidarity!

And last but certainly not least, from Canadian-American Cree Buffy Sainte Marie:

(cross-posted at My.Firedoglake.com)

26 responses to “A Belated Good Indigenous Peoples’ Day to All of Us

  1. After so many years of trying to force our government to respect the human rights of the indigenous peoples of Amerika and seeing only modest success we now face the irony that many of the settler peoples of this country are being relegated to being treated much like the indigenous have been treated since the conquest.

    We, as the beneficaries of that conquest, can never truly know what it means and feels like to be a conquered people but we are getting a bitter taste of the attitudes of the Ruling Class towards subjicated people.

    It is also strange how the Indigenous resistance is growing in power and determination while the Anglo resistance is a mere ghost of its former self.

  2. Both “victors” and vectors will re-subjugate US by way of 530-year terminal blowback; from imperial war in meso-America, down to viral infection of Ebola from abroad. The indigenous especially have always seen everything as so interconnected, sacred and worthy of eminent respect.

  3. oh, dear. neither of your comments came in on email; so sorry. tomorrow, tomorrow. 4 now, more bruce cockburn, and sleep well.

  4. you’ve put your finger right on it, west. for years i’ve been trying to tell folks that ‘we’ are increasingly ‘they’, and they need to understand that fact, especially as their experiences of massive genocides, sociocide, and ecocide are direct examples of the lies that underpin ‘american exceptionalism. and those are all coming to theater near them, if not in as obvious a way. (hunger, dying from lack of health care, poisoned planet, malnutrition from cheap food, etc.)

    no, we can’t ever feel the vast generational pain and anger the indigenous still feel, but we can empathize if we simply care to pay attention to their plights, and the same with amerika’s other original sin: slavery. what a crime blacks are suffering even more under the ‘first black president™, and the ‘black misleadership class’ could give a flying fuck. that’s another reason i’m thrilled to see blacks in many cities fighting back against police killing them with almost total impunity.

    mr. wd and i adopted an azteca/black son and a ute daughter, so for us all of it is rather up close and personal, and has caused our awareness of their pain to be that much more acute. heh. i was sitting here musing that even within our family we’ve seen plenty of racism, and some of it strained our relationships to the point of breaking. baked-in institutional racism of course extends far past police into local schools, colleges, and two-tiered systems of ‘justice’.

    bruce: nice to see the math on that, egad. it really was following the 2002 climate talks in brazil that showed me the crystal clarity of the indigenous understandings of the scourge of capitalism, gmo’s, the raping of the gifts of the planet, and the calumny of Big Ag’s contribution to world hunger, and the lies of ‘green capitalism’, which is one of the reasons i loathe mckibben and the big greens. their popularity stands in the way of actual better changes for carbon reduction, and they are all funded by the same polluters. neat trick.

  5. InDeed, it is obvious that Big Lieberals (B.G.s, NAACP, AFL-CIO, et al) are merely ‘fighting’ for The FUND Of it! My personal experience is of their profound “Sounds of Silence” in response to my nationwide Clean Water Act serial whistle-blowing and to the crystal-clear intent of its 1985 water pollution ELIMINATION DEADLINE!

  6. kinda sad to have to use such a soulful song to illustrate the point that your whistle-blowing fell on deaf ears, and somewhere in my noggin is one that might be more illustrative, but damned if i can dig it out of storage…

    but yes, the old adage about people not hearing what it’s in their financial interest to hear, or understanding or not, similarly, is a lot of what’s gotten u exactly where we are today.

    money talks, money gatekeeps, money makes the world go around. yeah, it’s time to laugh just a li’l bit… ;) but, it’s changing a bit here, on accounta it must, given that so many have so little of it, and are re-jiggering their vallue systems.

  7. Wendye

    here- Enjoy. Personally I think that Skip Sandman may be part of the Ojibwe – Seven Rivers Prophesy. Where it is a Native people who show the world how to live after the other peoples of the world almost destroy it.


  8. great letter, michael cavlan; you’ve convinced me to vote for him. ;)

    interesting life he’s led, from vet to corrections officer to healer and beyond, eh?

  9. i thought i’d bring a comment i made over yonder; it seems important to note.

    Lest you think that due to so much colonization, eradication, and oppression that all First Americans are down and out: they aren’t. There are many who are highly educated, thriving professionall, not limited to: college teachers (especially in Indigenous Studies programs), authors, film makers, and the arts.

    If memory serves, I believe I saw ChéPasa say once that only half still live on reservations, although those folks can have a very rough time of it financially, especially if they don’t or refuse to operate casinos (another way that corruption sneaks its way into tribal doors).
    Many tribal councils were set up by the BIA in the past, and the agents instructed many of them in the worst of USian graft politics (see the Navajo tribal council for one).

    One of the single best trends, imo, is that over the past few years there have been a number of Native written and produced films with Native actors, in which they can tell their own stories. Most are, of course, blends of supreme tragedy and comedy. Chris Eyeres (sp?) has directed a few, but my recent favorite is called ‘Barking Water‘ (2009), a going home saga that is beyond compare.

    Indigenous literature has really taken off; our shelves are full of jewels.

    ChePasa brought a number of examples, too, and some california massacre links.

  10. The People’s History….

    Thanks for the post wendyedavis.

  11. Above chronicles ~ one century (1492-1599) of Spanish genocide on “Haiti/Dominican Republic”; US’ ‘forefathers’ took about the same time 1776-1889 to do the same to the remaining people, occupying the entire 3000 mile-wide North American continent! Heinous beyond any Shred Of HUMANITY.

  12. thank you, nonquixote; breathtaking. i regret that i never read zinn’s book; so many have reported that it was the book that caused their epiphanies as to the true nature of this nation, and understand how many falsehoods we were taught in school. and of course, most are still taught.

    manifest destiny! god smiles on our endeavors! how blithely i parroted that back in grade school with zero comprehension of its meaning, bruce. there are times that i confess i add the descendants of slaves as quasi-indigenous, as well.

  13. Wendye and All

    My wife’s tribe- the Lac Court Oreilles Band of Ojibwe in northern Wisconsin have taken their casino money and used the money to build and maintain Elder Housing Units, a Community College, an Ojibwe radio station (WOJB) and a host of other very good community things. They are also leading the charge to protect the Penokkee Hills in Wisconsin, an Ojibwe sacred area from a Canadian Mining company that have wanted to use it for open pit mining. There has been an armed stand off for a year now between locals and the mercenaries employed by the Mining Company.

    Not all ribs got corrupted by Casino money. On the other hand the Red Lake Ojibwe nation in north Minnesota did not accept a casino. They are very poor but also very proud and are considered one of the most traditional tribes in the nation.

    As my native friend from Occupy Panda said “Happy Dead Indian day.”

  14. MJC
    You are probably aware of these sites then.
    Price of iron ore so low from established mines that GTac cannot compete in this unproven area, but further roadblocks for future attempts to keep the Penokees must continue. As one of the blogs points out it’s the water and GTac doesn’t have the numbers, they never have had them on water used nor water polluted and nor much of anything else except bluster and threats.

    Frac-Sand mining and Concentrated Animal Feed Operations are the next big threats to our state. Water giveaway to industrial dairy and no regulations on spreading, “manure.” Combined with toxic chemicals and antibiotics that are reclassified as safe “manure,” once dumped into the 30M gallon factory lagoons. Sprayed directly on crops grown to feed the animals. Vicious cycle there.

    No less a threat is the planned doubling of dilbit pumped through the heart of the state’s existing pipelines and expansion of refining capacity in Superior, likely as great a threat to rice beds and clean water as GTac, petcoke dust, spills, rail spills or explosions.

    Food costs rising as rail refuses to ship as much farm commodities as in past years, with dilbit paying higher freight rates to Buffet. Legislators, IA, MN, WI with electric utilities still short on coal for winter, being held for the ransoms of allowing RR’s to double train speed from 30-60 mph to speed the oil flow south. Cold winter, less coal, import electricity and rates will spike. Hedgers betting on it happening to line their pockets and we’re urged to be worried about ISIS/Ebola/Benghazi/Putin. Geez, all that and only on my first cuppa. Conquistadors today threatening everyone from historic First Americans, immigrants, next generations. No more subtle with their heinous means to their desired ends than any others before them.

  15. We’re ALL Indigentous, now. But with a regathering of the tribes and NOT allowing US to be flexed as foils against one another, we can ensure that we’re not the ancestors of $laves heretocome.

  16. a belated happy dead Indun day to you. michael cavlan. good on the Lac Court Oreilles, then. the southern utes did invest their casino money and mineral royalties for the good of the tribe, the mountain utes definitely didn’t.
    aaaaand, here came mr. wd w/ groceries, more later… :)

  17. Non Quioxote

    Right on. Thanks for those. especially the woods person blogspot – Yup that is the sacred standing rock area around the Penokkee Hills. I have been there and it iOS indeed a beautiful part of the world. there is a sugarbush and central camp area there. Those are some good decent people there. It was an honor to meet them.

    Wendye- ROFLMFAO. Tell Mr Wendye Davis we all say hello and I will send your obvious returned greetings to Mrs Michael Cavlan. Poor harried woman that she is, being married to me. LOL

  18. michael, i hope i didn’t imply that all tribes were corrupt with their casino profits and ‘investments’. i almost made a detour to investigate whether there’s an sort of comprehensive list of tribes that voted No to gambling like the dineh and lakota. as i started to say, the southern ute tribe under the guidance of a longtime chairman, srsly did invest the tribe’s revenues for decades, and by now the stipends each member receives monthly is nothin’ to be sneezed at.

    i will send the greeting to mr. wd, but shore and be tellin’ miz cavlan that she must be a sin to put up with the likes of you…

    bruce, won’t it be heady when one day a majority of us realize we are, and need to be, one tribe of many colors?

    nonquixote: good thing that one-cuppa longie is for michael cavlan, lol. i’ll read it again when i have more acute reading powers. (hint: that’s not at the moment). ;)

  19. Wendye

    No you are absolutely right to mention the corruption of some tribes. In fact i have a Union friend of mine, Alan Maki who has ben trying to organize the workers at some casinos in Michigan and Minnesota. According to Alan the mob are heavily involved in some casinos.

    Alan is a very brave and decent man.

  20. i know he is an estimable human being from all you’ve said. i do know there was a time at least, when all gaming machines were leased and serviced by organized crime. that *may have* changed a bit; i remember it was a big deal conversation at towaoc (ute mtn. ute capital)

    i hadn’t known that the mob might want to block union memberships, though. one other down side of the ute casino is/was that a number of tribal members became quickly addicted to gambling, and blew their modest stipends early on.

    lots of money has disappeared from the tribal account there, including a lot of the tribe’s share of the bucks that fucking obama settled the indian mineral trust accounts: pennies on the dollar.

  21. Good news and timing from Venezuela about the introduction of the rewritten Seed Law sans the Monsanto backdoor. If it passes it will protect their indigenous seed and indigenous farmer from Big Ag.

    This bill was written by grassroots orgs but still faces heavy lobbying from the PTB.

  22. oh, my, did i need some good news, westie; thank you. i’d dug the VZA newsletter out of my junk box, but had been to busy to read it. oh, my, yes, will the lobbyists be out in force! it also looks like they’ve discovered eight of the people who conspired to murder robert serra and his wife.

    glad i checked in; i’m knee deep in patching projects today, glued to the sewing machine and needed a break. but: above the sewing machine is a magnificent and colorful (lots of purple) peruvian weaving and an indigenous folk art stitchery featuring mountains, llamas, fruit trees, maize growing, and bees as big as ta kettles. they keep my spirits up, knowing that we can create a better and healthier world. (i know, i know…) ;)

    dug out the link: http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/10966

    hope you’re well. what sort of car are you restoring now?

  23. BuggyWhip ALL the Koch-sucking, FossilFuel-buggering BA$TARD$! Can US haz our Serially PROMISED electric cars (e.g., Commutacar, EV-1, Zenn) with solar-electric Flisom film surface-panelling, in EVERY garage; a solar-electric array on EVERY homes’ roof; and jobs, Jobs, JOB$, YET? INSTEAD!

  24. while i do have a bias toward (cough, ahem) clearer communication, bruce, may i include these fun things?

    ‘Branson pledges $3bn transport profits to fight global warming: Billionaire to plough cash into new branch of conglomerate producing controversial biofuels


    at least the article mumbled a bit about:

    “Small amounts of biodiesel could be mixed into existing aircraft fuel, kerosene, but critics say its green credentials have been exaggerated. Biodiesel is prepared from plants such as rape seed, and is supposed to be carbon-neutral because the carbon emitted when it is burned to release energy was absorbed from the atmosphere while the plant grew. But recent studies have shown the greenhouse gains are much smaller than assumed. Making the fertilisers and pesticides needed to grow the crop takes large amounts of energy, as does processing it into fuel. Others say the amount of land required to grow crops on a sufficient scale could increase deforestation.”

    well, yes. but when i saw this on several venues, and had seen that 350.org was claiming to have ‘arranged it’…(and yes, at their site, they called them the ‘350 warriors, i’d quipped to mr. wendydavis that they’d said, ‘hey, ya’ll go put yer lives on the line, we’ll contact the media!’ still, the photos are awesome, the direct action was…totally awesome.

    ‘Pacific Climate Warriors’ blockade Newcastle harbour – in pictures’


  25. The buggies and whips passed swiftly into oblivion; and I just(ly) pine for these simple, obvious, perpetual And PROMISED solar replacement solutions. The Climate Warriors’ sloop says It ALL (and yes, auxiliary power may* be needed; but for that we’ve got 350 hot air;~)!
    *Mebbe NOT: My first sailboat was a restored wooden 16′ Southeaster scow, “Deteriorata” and it sailed fine with only the wind (just needed a savvy skipper and stalwart ‘crew-person’).

  26. awesome you had your own sloop; i reckon she was yar. as was her skipper… (hint: don’t fuss about the images) ;) could you email me? i got mail to you back, an i have a question or two. (wendyedavis@msn.com)

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