Enemy of the State
A big part of my decolonial and Indigenization practice is investigating what colonization has oppressed and ultimately buried inside of me. I use to do this exploration aggressively, abhorrently with contempt - I did it like a colonist. The method was rooted in control, ego, extraction and assimilation. A relentless and damaging entitlement that I needed to and could believe I could comprehend completely.
It was a process that was as damaging as the act of colonization itself. A euro-centric approach of hegemonic control incentivized by appropriation of knowledge. Thinking "I" was the deliverable, that if I could just commandeer my trajectory I would find some peace in that take over. A violent and reckless dismantling of self, lacking humility, respect and courage. It was entirely Indigenous value exempt.
I'm actually in awe of how effective, perfect almost, the conduit and system of colonial control is. The potency of the settler colonial paradigm that is deliberately planted and settled into Indigenous peoples is impressive. Omnipresent colonial dominance is the unquestioned ascendancy of the canadian state. So as an enemy of the state I do have to take a moment to applaud it's effectiveness. You almost won you bastards.
What colonization and settler suppression naively underestimated was the power of our ancestors and blood memory - thousands of years of knowledge locked into our DNA. And like every good system of dissemination there are multiple conduits. Indigenous knowing not only exists in the fibres of our beings but the teachings are locked away in everything around us, the earth itself being the biggest classroom.
Colonization was never going to beat evolution. The power of this fact is what confidently allows me to gently wipe away the topical levels of oppression. Attacking myself would be falling into the trappings of the persistent systems of colonial oppression, it's the conditioning that I'm working against and remapping. For so long I would attack myself with copious amounts of negative self talk and vicious false narratives that kept me down and colonialism up.
That's the power of colonial oppression, it gets buried so deep, it becomes our unconscious state. A command by the government that conditions and positions ourselves to turn falsehoods into truisms. Making ourselves believe that we are not worthy, we are not enough, we hold no value, the challenges we encounter in parts of ourselves become the truths of our entire selves. State sponsored brainwashing that toxically embeds and spreads like a tick.
Did you know tick's do this thing called "questing" where they hide out in areas where they know they can latch onto a host, they just wait, ready to attack. Some species of tick's don't just quest they hunt and "lurk near places hosts might rest." That's the shitty thing about colonial brainwashing it's tactics are multilayered and so deeply entrenched in everyday we are constantly in a mode to simultaneously eradicate it while defending against its re-permeation.
To further complicate the matter some Indigenous community members are so deeply entrenched in it they don't even question their own complicity to sustain our own oppression. A recent example is that the pathological liar trudeau, recently visited one of my Nations and was given a heroes welcome. He was there on colonial oppression business, he behaved like a colonial oppressive dictator and he was gifted with far too much generosity and respect from some community members. The disease of colonial oppression was fed greatly that day.
Colonization is purposefully such a complicated snake, such a sophisticated host of settler supremacy that it can sometimes falsely present as hope and Indigenous sovereignty. And because our people are so symptomatic we can become agreeable to the crumbs of colonization. Colonization in its design almost perfectly formulates just how many crumbs we need to sustain it's power. Clever thing isn't it.
What really hurts my spirit and makes me so angry is that the colonial disease becomes our primary narrative and we become so distracted and exhausted from constantly measuring ourselves in settler metrics of success. Constantly trying to exist in a paradigm that is not built for us, that the government sponsored hate tactics make us feel "wrong" our nervous systems, which are what I like to think about as our spirit protectors, succumb to the colonial attacks and break.
Out of all the colonial oppressive prongs of attack I believe the spiritual and mental are today's most effective and ultimately the most heartbreaking. Colonial oppression always has a seat at the war against Indigenous peoples table and it's rubbing it's hands with delight as it reports back to trudeau. It opens its folder and laughs at how little fiscal investment they have to resource to maintain its supremacy.
"Water? Ha! Settlers don't even think they need clean water anymore prime minister. Housing nor that. No, no, no since the TRC and we paid a small amount for mental clinicians canadians don't believe we need to help them anymore. Of course they are not better but we found that sweet spot of settler guilt being assuaged so don't need to invest anymore. It's truly a double win because we know that inter-gnerational takes a lifetime of deliberate healing so by not having to support the indians we also keep them under our control. The layering of internalized racism do keep the communities occupied with either hating themselves and or each other so we successfully entrenched the crabs in bucket mentality and therefor we don't have to plan for another distraction tactic like the TRC or an offensive attack like the Indian Act for many decades we believe."
But I refuse to let them win against me anymore.
With the teachings that I've been gifted by my ancestors, the earth and my community - I refuse the states power over me. Operation fuck you colonialism has just kicked itself into phase awesome where I feel like I now have the capacity to participate in knowledge sharing tactics. So here is the greatest lesson that I've learned on this journey so far, the best thing I can do for my people is invest in my health. A heathy me is one that can defend against the onslaught of colonial attacks. Peak health allows me to stay focus on Indigenization and creating offers to help the community sovereignly transform itself.
So I train.
Psychologist sessions are my mental endurance training
Ceremony is my cultural nourishing
Running and mediation are reconnecting my full body thinking
Indigenous resurgence theory is my innovation training
Deep thinking sessions
Investment in relationality
These are how I fill my days. These are the tools I use to dismantle or walk out the door of colonial systemic oppression and truly gain my Indigenous sovereignty. I've learned that decolonial practices are but one piece of the journey and that a big focus in the past year has been a focus on Indigenous resurgence, creating Indigenous practices and pieces that continue and contribute to the long line of Indigenous creation based ceremonial and relational living. Kamloopa, Indigenous theatre methodology and artistic ceremony to presence some.
I now know that the journey is ongoing, the healing a beautiful state of transformational impermanence. My approach is now filled with love, kindness and gentle compassionate curiosity. I'm equipped with the Indigenous knowing that I will never truly understand it all, especially not in an intellectual capacity. Our lives and journeys are so layered and magnificent I now know that I am but one part of a very long journey and my role is to be healthy and strong to invest in the connectivity of my relationships so that those involved in the next leg of the journey will inherit those relations.
An offer to end is that I hope we all remember that we are born with an inherit dignity that nobody can take from us. We have a strength beyond whatever oppressive system is coming at us and our stories are so much greater than what we tell ourselves. What's buried deep inside of us is the love of our ancestors, unearthing their gifts on this journey can be challenging but also joyful, happy and ultimately peaceful and we all deserve that.
We need that.
With courage and humility and working towards peace,
p.s I had the pleasure of visiting the powerful women of Unceded Airwaves which is centers Indigenous voices and we chatted post Kamloopa and had lots of giggles and Matriarchy. You can check out the interview here.
p.p.s do you think that in lieu of this post I could've just posted the youtube of Lion King's Circle of Life?
p.p.s I said I was going to write a lighter post this week and that didn't necessarily happen so here is a picture of me dressed up like a dung beetle. Happy Friday!