What I’m about to say is going to rub a lot of people the wrong way, especially an older generation who built their identity on the backs of a sovereignty based in contention between governments. But ultimately a shift occurred while many were sleeping, and this wasn’t something the younger generation brought about. We were simply swept away in the waters and learned to swim for fear of drowning.
The old world contention said, “We are Native and we are sovereign,” in the face of compounding erasure posed by a system bent on keeping Indigenous people struggling and at each other’s throats. This stance pulled many Natives together as we held the U.S. accountable to treaties signed between governments.
Then the rapidity of the economic market lifted us up from our feet and soon we were relocated into cyberspace, where we were further dissociated from land and ecosystems. Soon our dissociation made us vulnerable to resource acquisition, where a new tyrant, THE CORPORATION, used currency to purchase their way past and around treaties.
What we learned from the NODAPL movement and now Mauna Kea is that state and corporate interests will find a way around our treaties and placate us until we abandon the protest. Then they’ll come in and complete the task they originally set out to accomplish. But what we also learned is that we can mobilize world wide. We recognize the zones of resistance that make the largest waves. And if we can collectively move in and support each other we can give real teeth to the paper tiger.
Where previous civil rights leaders under the AIM movement once waved a flag of sovereignty and cited treaties, this new generation waves a flag of ideology, where traditional practices leave us in a last ditch effort to protect the natural environment for future generations. In an age of ECO-COLLAPSE, Natives send a final rallying cry for all people of planet Earth to come together under a solidarity to protect the land.
This is not to say the old movement doesn’t have it’s place among our numbers. But we erased the lines so borders mean nothing under a banner of solidarity. We need allies from all corners of the planet if we are going to be successful in saving our grandchildren from the excessiveness of our own ignorance. This is not the time to exclude for the sake of holding onto a rigid and broken identity. This is the time to be malleable and adaptable and open our minds to the possibility that if we can step into a new identity, one so powerful that we can hold everything and lose nothing, then we’ll leave our grandchildren a legacy based in saving the planet; instead of a legacy based in destroying it.
(Images borrowed from thenativepress.com, nodaplarchive.com, and vox.com)