Solidarity Outside Sovereignty: New Tribal Politics Multiply & Strengthen Beyond Colonial Boundaries

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.

alcatraz1

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.

NODAPL image

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.

Muana Kea Image

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)

Posted by

Oscar Hokeah is a regionalist Native American writer of literary fiction, interested in capturing intertribal and multicultural aspects within two tribally specific communities: Tahlequah and Lawton, Oklahoma. He was raised inside these tribal circles and continues to reside there today–half Native American (Kiowa/Cherokee) and half Hispanic. He earned an M.A. in English from the University of Oklahoma, and a B.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a recipient of the Truman Capote Scholarship Award and the Native Writer Award. He has short stories published in South Dakota Review, American Short Fiction, Yellow Medicine Review, Surreal South ’09, and Red Ink Magazine

8 thoughts on “Solidarity Outside Sovereignty: New Tribal Politics Multiply & Strengthen Beyond Colonial Boundaries

  1. I enjoy your post learning so much, do not live within the USA but I feel so much valuable history and sacredness has been lost through the politics of the USA. Our world is rich in history and traditions but has been tied to follow one dubious history and this has been templated through the world. We need more unity towards peace, tolerance, respect and compassion.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very true and insightful. I’m working hard in my own head to figure out where land issues begin and end. As a Scottish woman living in South Africa it’s super complicated unravel. When really these are global issue affecting all minority’s. How can we rally together in solidarity without getting lost in separateness?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Acknowledging commonality. I don’t have to shake your hand and sit with you to have this discussion right now. And yet we’re unified. Conversing with people on the other side of the planet in this modern age is easy. Jump on a sight for Muana Kea and chat and fall in love. It’s easy.

      Liked by 2 people

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