By: Oshki Migizi Kwe (Young Eagle Woman)
I struggled with the idea of writing this blog post for a few reasons.
First, I like to think that I’m on path towards becoming a more loving and compassionate Anishnaabe kwe.
Second, I wondered if I wanted to give more space to white “activists” who already consume so much space in our territories, and in our minds.
Thirdly, is there something better I can be doing.
In the end, I decided to go ahead with this blog post.
Because I love my people so much, I think it is essential that we love ourselves and each other first .. especially, in the context of decolonization. My first loyalty is to my people, always.
Because this space is mine & my thoughts are my own, there is nothing that white “activists” can take from me because I am confident in who I am, I know where I come from and my connection to the land is strong.
I believe that we must defend our boundaries. The ‘divide and conquer’ technique has been used by colonizers since time immemorial, so in order to decolonize ourselves and the relationships we have with the people we are working with, it’s important to identify real life examples of colonial behaviours and tactics.
Public Service Announcement
We don’t need white “activists”.
This may be a controversial statement, especially in the context of “reconciliation” but it’s the truth. We need each other. Healing ourselves and our nationhoods are our responsibilities. For too long, we have depended on everyone, except for ourselves. I wonder sometimes why we allow white people to have so much influence in our communities, especially on reserves. Could we not be raising up our own people to the same positions of authority and leadership.
The ‘divide and conquer’ technique has been mastered by our Eurocentric counterparts. While they spit out communist manifestos and tell us why our ways of living and thinking and being are wrong, we become mesmerized by their analysis and their education and forget that the era of white saviours is over. Intergenerational trauma has us believing that we aren’t good enough to do what these white “activists” are doing in our communities.
What happens when these “activists” become so ingrained in our communities that we allow them to be one of the loudest voices espousing ‘divide and conquer’ rhetoric, a technique used by colonizers since contact? What mechanisms are available to ensure that our communities are safe from further encroachment? Can we agree that this ‘divide and conquer’ type of behaviour is not welcome in our communities or are we still so broken that we uplift and honour the words of white men whose only focus are their ego-driven desires?
Some of my best friends are white activists. With my tongue in my cheek, I’m confident in the relationships that I have with many of my white friends, who are also actual activists. I revel in the laughter and kindness I experience with them. Their support and love has helped me through experiences when I’ve had no one else to rely on. As an urban Anishnaabe kwe, I’ve become somewhat isolated from my community, but I have found like minded peoples with which to share this experience called life.
This isn’t to say that my white activist friends don’t have power upheld through structures like white supremacy, hetero-normative patriarchy or colonial capitalism. This is to say that my white activist friends would never use those structures to further oppress me. I choose my relationships carefully. The ability to identify the behaviours that further oppress our people through relationships with white activists is what prompted me to write this piece today.
When White Activists Attack
Today, I witnessed the direct implications of allowing egocentric, white “activists” a place in our communities. I couldn’t believe that I was seeing a a white “activist” attacking members of the Six Nations community through a media outlet, ironically called, Real People’s Media.
Anishnaabe and Onkwehonwe are words that identify our nationhoods as “the real people” or “the original people”. It is insulting to see a white man assume the authority to write about clans, who belongs to them and then attach a moral compass to the analysis, all under the title of “Real People’s Media”.
Excuse me, Mr. White Activist Man, but your invader is showing.
Perhaps what is more problematic is the amount of Indigenous peoples that support this “activist” and his behaviour. Why is this white “activist” who exemplifies colonial behaviour, who is attempting to further divide our communities, being given space to recklessly offer his unwarranted opinion. Why do Indigenous people listen to him? And why the hell is he writing for a “media source” called Real People’s Media?
I’m not from Six Nations
In the end, I’m not from Six Nations. I’m not from the community that is undergoing internal conflict, so I am an outsider, as well. The internal conflict that is being made worse by the meddling of a white “activist”.
I will not stand idly by while another white “activist” tries to make a name off of his involvement with Onkwehonwe people; the same people that he actively attempts to further divide from each other.
If you aren’t there to help with humble and loving intentions, then get the hell out. White “activists” who exemplify colonial behaviours have no place in our communities. But, I’m not from Six Nations, so I humbly offer my unwarranted opinion as well. However, I do so with honesty and clarity about my identity and my intentions.
I’ve decided that I pity the fool. I’m not angry. It is with a clear mind and heart that I name the oppressive behaviour that is causing further harm to Indigenous peoples. It is with conviction that I share my thoughts because people need to know what is going on here. People need to know how insulting it is to Indigenous women that this white “activist” is tolerated, even protected, within our communities.
It is with love in my heart that I refuse to allow this supposed activist to take up more space by pretending to be someone who cares, when he actually doesn’t. Because if he did care, he would take a back seat to issues that aren’t his. He would be quiet and keep his meddlesome opinion to himself. If he did care, he would humble himself
Sometimes, reflections aren’t what they seem but I’m here to show them nonetheless.