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The New Face Of American Indigenous Radicalism

Discussion in 'Anarchism and radical activism' started by punkmar77, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. punkmar77

    punkmar77Administrator Staff Member Admin Team Experienced member


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    FBI asks about Dakota activist's controversial speech
    by Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
    January 7, 2011

    [​IMG]

    St. Paul, Minn. — A Minnesota American Indian scholar's remarks that the Dakota people might have to reclaim lost tribal lands "by any means necessary" has drawn the scrutiny of federal authorities.

    The Dakota historian who goes by the name Waziyatawin said she received a call this week from the FBI to discuss remarks she made in November at Winona State University.

    Waziyatawin, a professor of indigenous history at the University of Victoria in British Columbia who used to go by the name Angela Cavender Wilson, told students that it's time for American Indians to abandon symbolic demonstrations. Truth-telling efforts haven't achieved anything, she said, according to a recording of the speech obtained by the Winona Post.

    "We're going to need to take a different kind of action," said Waziyatawin, who grew up on the Upper Sioux Reservation in southwestern Minnesota. "All of you are going to have to figure out your role. For Dakota people, I know we're going to need to recover our land base, by any means necessary."

    In an interview, Waziyatawin said her lecture was not a threat to commit violence as some have suggested. But she admits she's no pacifist. An author of books on Minnesota's history of oppressing, and then exiling, the Dakota people, she said removing people from their comfort zone is her job.

    But in Winona, some students were shocked when Waziyatawin told them that anyone committed to achieving true justice might have to go on attack.

    When someone in the audience asked whether that could happen without violence, Waziyatawin said she was doubtful.
    "For Dakota people, I know we're going to need to recover our land base, by any means necessary."
    - Waziyatawin, in a recent speech in Winona

    "Right now, for Dakota people, we're going to need to reclaim land. We need to strategize about how we're going to do that, whatever it takes, and those are conversations we have that are internal to Dakota communities," she said. "But in terms of dismantling industrial civilization, I think that can happen in any variety of ways, and I think that's going to be about attacking infrastructure."

    Fourth-year student Nick Benike, who attended the lecture, said what he heard scared him.

    "I think she was telling us she is willing to be violent -- and that it's inevitable it will happen. It's just as a matter of when," Benike said.

    In a letter to the editor of the Winona Post, Benike praised the first half of the lecture, saying Waziyatawin drew in the crowd with details of how her ancestors were forced to march many miles to Fort Snelling, where they were interned after the Dakota War of 1862, and then banished from the state.

    But Benike said dozens in the audience walked out after the professor told them white Minnesotans would still likely choose to exterminate the Dakota if given the same choice today.

    His letter spurred about a dozen others, including one from Dakota tribal leaders condemning Waziyatawin's remarks. Benike said the FBI soon called him at least three times for more information.

    One of the tribal leaders, Roger Trudell, chairman of the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

    Waziyatawin was unapologetic, and said her words are being distorted.

    She said the world is heading toward an economic and environmental collapse, as industrialized nations become more dependent on a limited supply of fossil fuels. As this way of life comes to an end, she said, native people must recover their homelands for food and survival.

    "Never have I said that Dakota people should go out and kill people, or kill white settlers, or kill all white people because we hate them," Waziyatawin said. "That is definitely not my message, and I think that's the way my words get construed."

    She said the audience misunderstood a crucial part of her address.

    "When I'm talking about there will undoubtedly be violence, I'm talking about violence against the Dakota people by the state, if we work toward justice," she said.

    However, she does not rule out violence as a form of resistance. Waziyatawin wouldn't say what she meant by suggesting an attack on infrastructure.

    The 42-year-old historian received her doctorate from Cornell University, and she's never shied away from the limelight. She was arrested three times during demonstrations at the 2008 Minnesota sesquicentennial celebration, during which activists blocked a commemorative wagon train en route to St. Paul. The charges were eventually dropped.

    Over time, she became, as she put it, "radicalized," when she realized the demonstrations weren't bringing about change.

    "When you're banging your head against the wall, using the same method, you're going to kill yourself doing that, or you're going to have to look for other strategies that are perhaps more serious, more risky," she said.

    Waziyatawin said she advocates for a number of "decolonization" strategies for indigenous people, including moving back to the land, arming themselves, and defending the land at all costs.

    Her first experience with the FBI came Monday with a phone call from an agent in the the Mankato office.

    "He said he'd heard about my presentation in Winona, and as an agent of the United States government, he was concerned about national security," she said.

    Waziyatawin said the phone call ended after she referred the agent to her attorney.

    FBI officials would not comment or confirm an investigation.

    Last year, the FBI raided the homes of several Twin Cities antiwar protesters, raising questions about First Amendment rights. But search warrants issued in the case indicate authorities are interested in whether the activists have ties to foreign terrorist organizations, not their peace demonstrations.

    Authorities won't have to look far to learn more about the woman formerly known as Angela Wilson. She is working on a sequel to an anthology known as the "Decolonization Handbook." Waziyatawin's chapter will spell out her action plan for indigenous people.

    One of the professors who invited her to speak, Colette Hyman, said she stands by her decision to bring Waziyatawin to Winona.

    "My students who attended and wrote papers were intrigued, were interested, found it challenging," said Hyman, a history professor at Winona State. "They were uncomfortable, certainly, but that's part of learning."

    Winona State University hasn't taken a position on Waziyatawin's remarks, saying it has adopted a policy of promoting an "intellectually open campus."

    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/displa ... ivist-fbi/
     

  2. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    :thumbsup:
    I hate it that ppl ignore the violence that has and continues to occur against Indig ppls yet gets all indignant when one suggests fighting back. I sure know which behaviour is more violent...

    as for the stuff about dismantling industrial civilisation, well - ten foot pole - me, bored of talking to primmos :ecouteurs:
     
  3. sludgefuck

    sludgefuckExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    I think both sides of the story are pretty stupid actually...
     
  4. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    there is a Lakota radio station (http://www.kiliradio.org/) from the Pine Ridge/Wounded Knee reservation - sometimes i listen to their english program and comrade gobbledigooks helps organizing financial support to keep them on air and improve their inhumane living conditions (an incredible high percentage of the people living there suffers from diabetes resulting from the black mould pollution of their cheap government-build homes).
    i think they got bigger and more realistic problems right now than to reclaim lost tribal lands and dismantle industrial civilisation...
     
  5. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    to be fair, you don't get paid to be a crackademic by being practical, do you? ;)
     
  6. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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  7. sludgefuck

    sludgefuckExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    I'm about to make a shitload more enemies with this but fuck it!

    Fuck these reservations and fuck their representatives. I'd say fuck the people too but it's not their fault. These reservations are fucking horrible death traps. Solution: get the fuck out. Only problem is just like the hood, the people who are in the situation don't know any other way of life and don't know how to get out. Instead of filling their heads with unrealistic idealist bullshit, these activists should be educating people there on how to get OFF them and live better lives.
     
  8. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    How exactly do ppl GTFO?
     
  9. sludgefuck

    sludgefuckExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    git a jeeeeeerb you bums. Seriously though no one said it was going to be easy and simple as fuck, getting out of a situation like that especially on a reservation is like crawling your way out of the bottom of a tar pit. But what I'm saying is that the people who say they're helping aren't helping at all and are actually making it worse.
     
  10. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    fair enough, but whom are you referring to inre 'people who say they're helping', and in what ways are they 'actually making it worse'.
    Some examples would be good.
     
  11. sludgefuck

    sludgefuckExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    People who say they're helping: The Activists. If you scroll all the way up there's a story about one.
    Examples of them making it worse: Filling their heads with unrealistic idealist bullshit (like the aforementioned story) instead of trying to create realistic solutions to their problems. The longer the people are diverted away from their real problems, the worse their situation gets.
     
  12. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    whilst I agree that this lecture ie encouraging folks to 'destroy industrial civilisation' may be a bit daft, yr argument has a few problems.

    Firstly, the lady in question is not identified as an 'activist', but rather a crackademic and an actual Indigenous person. Now whilst crackademics are good at sitting in their ivory towers and pontificating, it may be worth noting that it could be possible that as an Indigenous person, she may be in a better position to determine what is best for herself and her community than we are.

    Secondly, we can not take this story as a representation of the entirety of this woman's political activity. She may in fact be working tirelessly within the community doing 'good', 'practical' things - like i dont know, Food Not Bombs or something, you know?

    In short, it may be better to have stated that this story is a specific example of bad political praxis, rather than make sweeping generalisations on the basis of a single news story.
     
  13. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Since the early 80's I'm interested in native american affairs, I visited some agencies/reservations in the u.s. and canada, and interviewed quite a number of people, in europe we campaigned for arrested AIM activists like Leonard Peltier, Russel Means and Dennis Banks, organized concerts and tours of musicians and protestsingers like Willie Dunn and Floyd Westerman.
    Is still a problem hard to understand for a "white" boy like me, most of the native activists I've met believe in this utopia, it's their tradition to live with the land and tradition is part of their identity - if we like religious believes or not - for them it's a strong part of their view of the world they live in, without it they would loose their identity.
    The most famous example in the last 30 years:
    "On July 23, 1980, in United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Black Hills were illegally taken and that remuneration of the initial offering price plus interest — nearly $106 million — be paid. The Lakota refused the settlement, as they wanted the Black Hills returned to them. The money remains in an interest-bearing account, which now amounts to over $757 million, but the Lakota still refuse to take the money. They believe that accepting the settlement would validate the US theft of their most sacred land."
    Here in europe we have difficulties in raising money to keep some projects running - and there are 800 million dollars waiting? For us an easy decision - but not for the real recipients...

    Mrs. Angela Cavender Wilson is a wideknown activist, she wrote lots of books and essays - and yes: She's getting tired and frustrated - the endless head banging against a wall of ignorance, lack of knowledge and not at least the untouchable claim of the white majority on the land and it's exploitation work on her. I don't know her personally, but from her writings and statements i have the feeling she's one of those "angry young women" like her male fellow sufferers Means, Banks and Pelletier, who couldn't live the endless misery no more and - took up arms 1973/1975. Yes, I don't believe she would have any little chance to achieve anything - but the Mohawks of the "canadian" oka-nation didn't believed in their success too and some are still surprised how much can achieved with determined resistance sometimes. The darker the circumstances, the more shiny is the castle in the sky.

    My favorite Apple posted some interesting links about the living conditions in Pine Ridge and some other agencies/reservations - reading those articles might have helped against ignorant "easy solutions" for the threats to the very existence native americans have to face. only 20 % finish their school education, their families live far below the national poverty line and more than half of the households are without water, electricity, adequate insulation or sewage systems, many people live in trailers and wrecks of busses ect. - growing up under such circustances makes really great starting conditions for a living outside the reservation - and in the racist U.S?
    Visiting the people living in the reservation I was constantly stunned by the dense net of family relations, no matter how far the tie to one relative is, the family will never let him/her down or turn him/her away. Most of the people leaving this social network return sooner or a bit later, lonely in the anonymous and socially bleak "white" society - I guess it's a bit hard to understand for someone living a "non"-native life already used to the solitary confinement most of us "civilized" have to suffer.

    And because activism makes everything worse, three projects I and many others support:
    http://ahopa.org/
    http://www.backpacksforpineridge.com/
    http://www.sustainablehomesteaddesigns. ... lcome.html
     
  14. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Whilst its true that some Indig folks are understandably less than plussed about the 'wonders of civilisation', in regards to a specific primitivist perspective that technology=hierarchy and oppression which, whilst historically accurate in many circumstances, it is worth asking the question of had, say, the tractor, been offered sans genocide would it be viewed as something to be purged? I think it is a question worth asking in the context of, as you note, "more than half of the households are without water, electricity, adequate insulation or sewage systems". I don't know, just primmo bashing atm i guess...
     
  15. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oops, inre my previous post:
    I just noticed the article's title :ecouteurs: :ecouteurs: :ecouteurs:
     
  16. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    doesn't matter: I forgot to mention that most of the more militant statements of the native movement come from crackademics and activists, angry-young-women-and-men who live outside the reservations - electricity and means of communications are basics for the struggle.
    There are quite a number of career-natives too, especially on the more liberal wing, some are charlatans selling "healing" to the world - but I think Angela Cavender Wilson and her eldest daughter are putting their asses where their mouths are... too bad that it's sometimes hard to understand for "us" non-natives.
     
  17. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    I don't want my arse anywhere near my mouth, ewwww... ;)
     
  18. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    geographically, not artistical!
     
  19. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    neither preferably... :ecouteurs:
     
  20. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Sumhow I've managed to miss this post completely - sorry...
    The lack of modern basics is just a consequence of the neglect the natives have to suffer. The extensive "american" agriculture around the Pine Ridge for example is already exhausting the groundwater reservoir beneath the reservation, the waterlevel is getting lower and lower and the wells on the reservation hardly reach the water anymore. To dig them deeper, money is necessary - but there is not much money. The energy suppliers aren't interested in poor customers, there is no industry, there is not much profit to be made - so there is no sufficiant powerline/-supply into the reservation. The prefabricated houses were financed by the government - the government order was given to a nearly bankrott house-Building Company which tried to keep the investments low - cheap and unhealthy materials and bad workmanship were the consequences, this black mould problem resulting from the mess is really catastrophal.
    On the other hand there are projects planning the production of photovoltaic cells and bio-generators to solve the energy problem, one of the projects I support is about building sustainable houses and providing jobs and job training in the reservation - again money is the problem.
    Kili-radio is an audible symbol of the natives' different view compared to the "primitivists" - technology is welcomed, if it's clean and safe for the enviroment. the few native farmers use tractors and machinery - if necessary. I've spend quite some time hacking weeds on the fields - much more efford than to spray herbicides - but they would do damage outside the field, so the farmers don't use them. My impression was that they are much more realists than our beloved neo-hunter and gatherers - for the natives on the reservation it's not a romantic hobby but a question of survival.
     
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