Save Oak Flat: Protect The Sacred

Oak Flat, another story of many in which the federal government is trying to destruct a sacred site in the name of profit. Now we all know this story, these stories pop up in our movies, books, and other media. In those stories, we are taught that money and greed does no good to a person’s soul. We feel bad for the good guys who are trying their best to fight a corporation. Of course, to make the story good there is a long and hard carried out fight, however the good guys always win. Greed and evil do not prosper in the stories of Western media. So why can we not have those same successes in real life; for land that matters for fights that are happening right now? The extraction and destruction of a sacred site is deep especially looking at it as a continuation of the forced colonization of indigenous people. The space the Apache holds sacred has songs and stories tied to that spot. There is knowledge, food, relationships, and space that exist in Oak Flat. Just the other day my brother and I picked a few wild onions and Cholla buds to make a nice vegan dish for our family. My younger brothers and sisters are Yavapai/Apache on their dad side. I always encourage them to get involved and to develop a relationship with the land. How can they do that when the government rather gives it away for billions of dollars that I am sure my siblings will not see one penny? Nevertheless, they will face endless harm on their culture and identity because Oak Flat is one less sacred place that will be available for them and their future generations. Just like San Francisco peak, the Verde Valley, and the depletion of the Verde River. Soon enough there will be nothing for my brothers and sisters to have any ties to the land. That pisses me off.

The words on the paper will never be able to scream out the anger and pain I feel. My only hope is that many will see the words and feel the same pain or have felt the same pain and are tired of it. All over indigenous land, which is the entire world, is facing destruction. Day by day inherent knowledge is being lost because elected authoritarian figures feel we need more capitalism and more opportunities to waste our precious minds on entertainment that takes us away from what really matters. Water, air, land, culture, memories, family, our neighbors that is what matters; knowing that I can give birth in a world that honors the stories and knowledge of the land so my future generations can flourish, that is what matters. Yes, Betsey Johnson, Coach, Dolce and Gabana make some nice shit. Yes, going to the movies or concerts are fun. And yes, sitting down watching reality TV with a big bowl of gluttony sounds like a relaxing time. However, that shit won’t last and when there is no more water to power your electricity or no more gas to ship in the latest trends, or no more beautiful natural spots to escape, you will then realize you should have done something sooner.

Lets stand behind the Apaches in their fight for their sacred land and lets all start mobilizing and stand in solidarity with the fighters who are trying their very best to create a sustainable world for all of us. Let’s not compete anymore, let’s not try to prove ourselves anymore, that can only take place when our Earth is not in pain. But we have a crisis here and I am sure if you were facing the same threat to something that means so much to you, I am sure you would want the world on your side. If we come together as one community, I am sure corruption will step back and we can have a successful story just like the movies.

Here is a link to the Saving Oak Flat Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Saving-OAK-FLAT-Campground/202998493114242

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World Wide Web Through Indigenous Lens

The Science Museum Unveils Their Latest Exhibition "Robotville" Displaying The Most Cutting Edge In European Design

Social media an interesting phenomenon and a force that needs to be acknowledged on a deeper scale rather than the endless possibilities it has to offer. I would like to do a study on the difference between collectivist and individualistic communities effects/behaviors/attitudes on social-networking sites. These two types of societal arrangements have different ways of doing certain acts; such as, producing knowledge and seeking societal change.

Seeing the organization and participation from Indigenous people using FB is surreal. Those red alerts are modern day smoke signals, pokes are literally a virtual poke, and your feed is basically rez gossip. Though there is something more and that is the ability to explore pass the spaces we occupy. From the comfort of our own home we can see what the Sami’s are doing in Sweden and what the Maori’s are doing in New Zealand. Indigenous people are able to come together and mobilize. The collectivist mentality are learning up on the lives around the world, and are becoming concerned with how much colonization has not only effected our own communities but Indigenous communities across the world. 

Activist may be seen as collectivist groups, which can be a political noise to many individualistic people who are more concerned with themselves. Collectivist may be easily seen as activist, and maybe that is because we are; because we choose to care about others over ourselves. That may actually be a great weapon against the colonial governments. And governments want to construe the lines between collectivist communities, indigenous communities, activist communities, and the creation of “terrorist” communities. Especially, with the laws coming out since 9/11. Well I choose to honor my time on this great network and create a community through an indigenous decolonization lens. If that makes me a terrorist than that shows the true intentions of the government and I hope the people of the world will recognize the destruction this system has on life.

Thank you computer and technology for the gift of the World Wide Web. I know you (the computer) are often looked at as a promising gadget for the future and/or a curse on the present. However, it depends on those who use it. I decided to look at my computer as a friend and a companion that has been there for me. But am aware that it is not meant to replace the love and appreciation I have for my family and friends and above all life and the natural orfer. Balance is key and that key can unlock many doors.

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Thoughts on the Introduction of the Transit of Empire, by Jodi A. Byrd

image_mini               jabyrd(jodi A. Byrd)

As I finished Jodi A. Byrd’s introduction, similar thoughts and feelings arose from when the first time I read it back in the Spring semester of 2013. This time I rushed through the last part and forgot most of the first half. However, I got a good understanding of what Byrd is getting across and I consider much of her research as reflecting my contemporary academic epistemological world view. Maybe because my professor Dr. Myla Vicenti-Carpio is a big influence and she introduced me to the Transit of Empire. This time the introduction touched a different part of my mind. Maybe due to the paradigm shift that took place back in 2013, because I do remember how excited and moved I was by her work and the other scholars I was reading around that time in grad school.

Now, I found myself looking more in depth and raising questions from her book. She mentioned liberal humanism and it struck me because it questions the values/ goals/ needs a human strives for (p. xxiv). Among western civilization there is a need to be FREE, that is why the U.S. Empire pushes for militarization. Freedom is contested through the binaries of that of which is free and unfree and the cacophonies (unnecessary noise) keeping freedom from being achieved by everyone, thus furthering the agenda of globalization in a unquestioned post-colonial world. Globalization’s main lobbyist is Western Civilization and the birth of this mentality was initiated by the genocide of the indigenous people of Turtle Island. Western mainstream mentality is rooted in greed, competition, measurement, individualism, and discovery. And yet all over the world rebelling against the system is a righteous thing to do. From Hunger Games to Divergent, all the way to social movements, and police brutality, these events are articulating what freedom is, who should contest it, who should experience it, and how will it be achieved. A part of Byrd’s argument is that indigenous stories need to be included in post-colonial studies and that AIS/NAS needs to be more inclusive in the conversations happening around post-colonial theory. We need to make connections and tell our stories.

Byrd mentions this story among the Choctaw that tell of the Upper and Lower worlds colliding with the between world and when that happens chaos happens, both negative and positive (p. xxvii). I am starting to think a renaissance is about to happen, where scholars and artist are able to better articulate the world around us. This articulation will bring up important topics of coming together and learning to live together differently; environmental protection and the concept of being a good relative; defining roles for genders and ages and understanding identity on a global scale. 

Fracking Away Our Medicinal Plants

From a colonized mindset one can easily forget the importance of water, especially its spiritual implications. Learning from indigenous individuals about the holistic connection with water and land can save humanity from mass destruction. Sootahkii Callinglast is an intelligent individual who has extensive knowledge on the life of water. I encourage everyone to follow her blog and learn more about water.

Indigenous Waters Blog

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I write this with concern from a water and soil quality perspective but also as a member of a tribe in contracts with oil and gas companies. I am part of the Blood Tribe in Southern Alberta and the Blackfeet tribe of Montana.

First, this matter is immediately concerning to me because my family will be living close to proposed frac wells and I am concerned for not only their health but also the health of the future generations of my family and tribe.  Second, but not any less important is the intricate connection between animals and plants, their health and habitat, and their role in our cultural practices.

Both tribes are uniquely located at the headwaters to the American and Canadian farming belts. We are responsible and should act as stewards for the quality, and the quantity of water flowing to our downstream neighbors. Reducing the amount of water…

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Warning: exploitation of Indigenous identity

We are in a time where we have to be cautious of the people who claim an Indigenous identity. Sometimes we have to questions ourselves when we claim an Indigenous identity. Why? Well there are benefits associated with certain groups, such as federally recognized Indians, which through treatise are promised healthcare, grants for education, and the incentives of living on reservations. If one is able to comprehend, these “benefits” continue to ensure genocide and “kill the Indian and save the man” methods of destroying the ideologies of traditional Indigenous societies.

These benefits, provided by institutions, continue to damage Indian people. Doctors at Indian Health Service would do cesarean section on women because they would get paid more for these operations. Indian Health Service would also sterilize Indian women without their consent (http://cbhd.org/content/forced-sterilization-native-americans-late-twentieth-century-physician-cooperation-national-). Indian Education is no better, this agency rather spend money forcing an ineffective method of teaching over finding innovative methods to meet children’s needs.

No matter what these incentives do not tell the story of survival Indigenous people deal with in their day to day interaction with society. Growing up as an Indian one realizes that this world was not made for us. It was made by and for white-straight-Christian-males.

However, there are new incentives of identifying as Indigenous, Native, Indian, First Nations, Aboriginal and it serves the idea of settler-colonialism. Settler-colonialism has not received much attention until recently and it discusses the idea of colonialist identifying as native because they develop stories of a certain space over time.

Being in the American Indian Studies field for six years I myself have to question what is an Indigenous identity? It changes across location and now it even changes among individuals. There are legal, biological, cultural, self-identification definitions of an Indigenous person; no wonder why we are so confused as to who and what we are. I say to hell with all those definitions.

There is nothing wrong with all Indigenous nations coming together and developing a space of discussing common goals, cues, and guidelines of what it means to be Indigenous. We must reclaim our histories, identities, lives, and space so future generations can start to live. I read a quote in a book, which I cannot remember but always sticks with me, and it states “We (Indigenous people) are not living we are merely surviving.” I guess a good place to find the answer of your identity as Indigenous is whether or not you agree with the quote.

This distorts the perception of Indigenous women. In North America 1 in 3 Indian women will be raped and a majority of those crimes are by non-Indian men.

This distorts the perception of Indigenous women. In North America 1 in 3 Indian women will be raped and a majority of those crimes are by non-Indian men. Not to mention imagine the damage this does to Indigenous children.

This is what real Indigenous women look like. Our people are not costumes.

This is what real Indigenous women look like. Our people are not costumes.

My Idle No More experience

#IdleNoMore has gained attention from all over the world. I took the opportunity to attend the Los Angeles #IdleNoMore protest at the Canadian Embassy on 12/21/12. It was my first protest and I got to share this experience with my little sister. At this time I didn’t know much about #IdleNoMore except that it mainly concerned First Nation Canadians.

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Once I got back in AZ there was a Round Dance Flash Mob being held at Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe. I was excited because I saw a picture of the Edmonton mall RDFM and felt privileged that it is taking place in AZ. http://youtu.be/RyFtIuponuc This link will take you to my video that my sister shot at the RDFM.  Overall the experience was short and entertaining.

After that RDFM I then attended the Tempe Marketplace RDFM, Metro Center Mall RDFM, Scottsdale Fashion Square RDFM, Downtown PHX rally, and New Years Eve Round Dance on Mill Ave.

I then had the honor of planning the RDFM at Westgate during the Fiesta Bowl and the IdleNoMore Potluck social at the Puente building. After the potluck a core group of us collaborated with Puente and held a Art party so we can make signs for upcoming protest.

One event that wasn’t successful was the 2nd RDFM at Scottsdale Fashion Square. I was one of the host, however did not partake in planning the event. The other host told me she got permission to have the RDFM at Fashion Square again, however when we got there the Mall manager and security threatened to have us arrested. And the other issue is that the drummers cancelled last minute.

Leading an event is something I prefer not do I rather be that person that shows up and participates. Organizing is a lot of responsibility and hard work. People become organizers because they are really passionate about a cause so that’s the reason why I obligated myself to become an organizer for some of the #IdleNoMore events in AZ.

I learned a lot and have met many awesome, good, smart, funny, giving, humble individuals that will have a lasting impact on my life. I will forever be thankful for the Idle No More movement because it helped me find my voice, helped create a space for discussion on environmental and human rights issues and created a sense of community among the Indigenous people of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

#IdleNoMore RDFM at Westgate during the Fiesta Bowl

#IdleNoMore RDFM at Westgate during the Fiesta Bowl

This is the #IdleNoMore round dance on New Years Eve at Arizona Mills Ave
This is the #IdleNoMore round dance on New Years Eve at Arizona Mills Ave

This is another shot of the #IdleNoMore event on Mill Ave

This is another shot of the #IdleNoMore event on Mill Ave

This is the #IdleNoMore rally at the Downtown Phoenix Civic Center

This is the #IdleNoMore rally at the Downtown Phoenix Civic Center

 

Sorry for the inconvenience I’m trying to save Mother Earth

How can we own our mother? How can we divide her up and put a profit on her? Has she not done enough? Has she not given man all the necessary tools to live life? Why must mankind continue to over consume the finite resources our planet holds?

These are some of the few questions a continuously ponder upon. These questions are why I decided to start a blog. As a marginalized voice located in another marginalized voice there are not many resources for women of color to get their voice heard. The above questions are something every human-being should consider because it is our species that is ruining the planet for all the other life forces that depend on the planet.

Indigenous people all over the world are vastly different though they do share similar portraits of forced assimilation and they also have comparable values relating to kinships. That is why it is vital Indigenous people across the globe unite and use their marginalized voice to make an impact. Many Indigenous people feel we don’t have a choice anymore, we either have to save the world now or say our last goodbye.

Tell a child their limits are endless and the might choose saving the world as an occupation. I know that’s what I decided on.