Collapsing History Is An Act of Imperial Violence
Some days I ask myself, why am I on twitter and then I get mornings like this and read a series of tweets from Indigenous thinkers and academics and go - oh right this is why.
“There’s a lot of discourse these days that completely collapses Indigeneity into a Native American/USA framework and also erases the visceral terror that Indigenous Peoples experience worldwide defending homelands against corporations, nation states. To erase this is violence.
So important not to lose this in conversations that deny the existence of Indigenous peoples, which collapse Indigenous peoples into frameworks that deny the structural, ideological realities through which ongoing genocide against Indigenous peoples is happening.
Indigenous peoples must also contend with how and when Indigenous peoples are weaponized against other oppressed groups. In the collision of plural genocides, Indigenous peoples must take accountability for harms against others.
There are roughly 370-476 million Indigenous people on earth. This is a fluid, complex collective of people asserting plural ontologies in the face of domination by colonial, white supremacist, imperial powers. To collapse this to a single narrative is to erase plural experiences
But just remember: Indigenous peoples — in dynamic, plural, shifting ways across plural continents — are asserting onto-epistemologies that pre-date, refract, disrupt, refuse, diffuse, implode, transform and confound universalism, empire, capital, white supremacy, extraction.
Key to all this is simply refusing the categories of Indigeneity imposed by white supremacy/white anthropology. Acknowledging the self-determination of plural Indigenous cosmologies. Working in pluralities — which includes the possibilities of plural simultaneous existences.
Indigeneity is not wholly a racial category or wholly an onto-epistemic category. It exists simultaneously across these (quantum) and, for far too long, has been controlled through the logics of the ‘white possessive’.”
Dr. Zoe Todd, Métis Feminist
To refuse the pluralistic Indigenous historical diasporas is violent. To collapse, reduce or try and ignore the presence and experiences of race and culture preceding white capital supremacy is violent.
It is about race, we have had Nations (in our own languages and ontological understandings) before imperialism and distinct cultures before that. To try and reduce the gravity and scope of these experiences is to oppress and perpetrate the violence of the white man.
I really appreciate what Todd is addressing here, if we think about this from a white imperial paradigm we will become our own oppressors. There is much complexity to this and to try and erase any of the experiences of Indigenous people’s to try and harken to a “time before” using epistemologies only from a time when they came - is white supremacist.
I have always been very weary of anyone thinking about this from a reductionist position and Todd affirms my feelings of this type of thinking to be violent and painful for all of us who hold the blood memories and lives of our Ancestors, kin and community who have experienced and are still battling in the 500 years war.
in honour to the racial, cultural and spiritual pluralism that deserves us to refuse anyone trying to ideologically collapse it,
Happy Monday Folks.
p.s please check out more of Todd’s impressive and important work here.
Cover Image by Kar Harvey