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Accomplices Not Allies: Abolishing the Ally Industrial Complex



An Indigenous perspective & provocation.

pdf-128Printable version available here. (PDF | 3.3MB)
Print friendly cover w/corrections here. (PDF | 3.2MB)

This provocation is intended to intervene in some of the current tensions around solidarity/support work as the current trajectories are counter-liberatory from my perspective. Special thanks to DS in Phoenix for convos that lead to this ‘zine and all those who provided comments/questions/disagreements. Don’t construe this as being for “white young middle class allies”, just for paid activists, non-profits, or as a friend said, “downwardly-mobile anarchists or students.” There are many so-called “allies” in the migrant rights struggle who support “comprehensive immigration reform” which furthers militarization of Indigenous lands.

abolish-ally-industrial-complexThe ally industrial complex has been established by activists whose careers depend on the “issues” they work to address. These nonprofit capitalists advance their careers off  the struggles they ostensibly support. They often work in the guise of “grassroots” or “community-based” and are not necessarily tied to any organization.
They build organizational or individual capacity and power, establishing themselves comfortably among the top ranks in their hierarchy of oppression as they strive to become the ally “champions” of the most oppressed. While the exploitation of solidarity and support is nothing new, the commodification and exploitation of allyship is a growing trend in the activism industry.

Anyone who concerns themselves with anti-oppression struggles and collective liberation has at some point either participated in workshops, read ‘zines, or been parts of deep discussions on how to be a “good” ally. You can now pay hundreds of dollars to go to esoteric institutes for an allyship certificate in anti-oppression. You can go through workshops and receive an allyship badge. In order to commodify struggle it must first be objectified. This is exhibited in how “issues” are “framed” & “branded.” Where struggle is commodity, allyship is currency.
Ally has also become an identity, disembodied from any real mutual understanding of support.
The term ally has been rendered ineffective and meaningless.

Accomplices not allies.

noun: accomplice; plural noun: accomplices
a person who helps another commit a crime.

There exists a fiercely unrelenting desire to achieve total liberation, with the land and, together.
At some point there is a “we”, and we most likely will have to work together. This means, at the least, formulating mutual understandings that are not entirely antagonistic, otherwise we may find ourselves, our desires, and our struggles, to be incompatible.
There are certain understandings that may not be negotiable. There are contradictions that we must come to terms with and certainly we will do this on our own terms.
But we need to know who has our backs, or more appropriately: who is with us, at our sides?

The risks of an ally who provides support or solidarity (usually on a temporary basis) in a fight are much different than that of an accomplice. When we fight back or forward, together, becoming complicit in a struggle towards liberation, we are accomplices. Abolishing allyship can occur through the criminalization of support and solidarity.

While the strategies and tactics of asserting (or abolishing depending on your view) social power and political power may be diverse, there are some hard lessons that could bear not replicating.
Consider the following to be a guide for identifying points of intervention against the ally industrial complex.

“Salvation aka Missionary Work & Self Therapy”
Allies all too often carry romantic notions of oppressed folks they wish to “help.” These are the ally “saviors” who see victims and tokens instead of people.
This victimization becomes a fetish for the worst of the allies in forms of exotification, manarchism, ‘splaining, POC sexploitation, etc. This kind of relationship generally fosters exploitation between both the oppressed and oppressor. The ally and the allied-with become entangled in an abusive relationship. Generally neither can see it until it’s too late. This relationship can also digress into co-dependency which means they have robbed each other of their own power. Ally “saviors” have a tendency to create dependency on them and their function as support. No one is here to be saved, we don’t need “missionary allies” or pity.
Guilt is also a primary ally motivating factor. Even if never admitted, guilt & shame generally function as motivators in the consciousness of an oppressor who realizes that they are operating on the wrong side. While guilt and shame are very powerful emotions, think about what you’re doing before you make another community’s struggle into your therapy session. Of course, acts of resistance and liberation can be healing, but tackling guilt, shame, and other trauma require a much different focus, or at least an explicit and consensual focus. What kind of relationships are built on guilt and shame?

“Exploitation & Co-optation”
Those who co-opt are only there to advance self interests (usually it’s either notoriety or financial). As these “allies” seek to impose their agenda, they out themselves. The ‘radical’ more militant-than-thou “grassroots” organizers are keen on seeking out “sexy” issues to co-opt (for notoriety/ego/super ally/most radical ally) and they set the terms of engagement or dictate what struggles get amplified or marginalized irregardless of whose homelands they’re operating on. The nonprofit establishment or non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) also seeks out “sexy” or “fundable” issues to co-opt and exploit as these are ripe for the grant funding that they covet. Too often, Indigenous liberation struggles for life and land, by nature, directly confront the entire framework to which this colonial & capitalist society is based on. This is threatening to potential capitalist funders so some groups are forced to compromise radical or liberatory work for funding, others become alienated and further invisibilized or subordinated to tokenism. Co-opters most often show up to the fight when the battle has already escalated and it’s a little too late.
These entities almost always propose trainings, workshops, action camps, and offer other specialized expertise in acts of patronization. These folks are generally paid huge salaries for their “professional” activism, get over-inflated grants for logistics and “organizational capacity building”, and struggles may become further exploited as “poster struggles” for their funders. Additionally, these skills most likely already exist within the communities or they are tendencies that need only be provoked into action.
These aren’t just dynamics practiced by large so-called non-governmental organizations (NGOs), individuals are adept at this self-serving tactic as well.
Co-optation also functions as a form of liberalism. Allyship can perpetuate a neutralizing dynamic by co-opting original liberatory intent into a reformist agenda.
Certain folks in the struggles (usually movement “personalities”) who don’t upset the ally establishment status quo can be rewarded with inclusion in the ally industry.

“Self proclaiming/confessional Allies”ally-badge
All too often folks show up with an, “I am here to support you!” attitude that they wear like a badge. Ultimately making struggles out to feel like an extracurricular activity that they are getting “ally points” for. Self-asserted allies may even have anti-oppression principles and values as window dressing. Perhaps you’ve seen this quote by Lilla Watson on their materials: “If you come here to help me, you’re wasting your time. If you come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” They are keen to posture, but their actions are inconsistent with their assertions.
Meaningful alliances aren’t imposed, they are consented upon. The self-proclaimed allies have no intention to abolish the entitlement that compelled them to impose their relationship upon those they claim to ally with.

Parachuters rush to the front lines seemingly from out-of-nowhere. They literally move from one hot or sexy spot to the next. They also fall under the “savior” & “self-proclaimed” categories as they mostly come from specialized institutes, organizations, & think-tanks. They’ve been through the trainings, workshops, lectures, etc., they are the “experts” so they know “what is best.” This paternalistic attitude is implicit in the structures (non-profits, institutes, etc) these “allies” derive their awareness of the “issues” from. Even if they reject their own non-profit programming, they are ultimately reactionary, entitled, and patronizing, or positioning with power-over, those they proclaim allyship with. It’s structural patronization that is rooted in the same dominion of hetero-patriarchal white supremacy.
Parachuters are usually missionaries with more funding.

“Academics, & Intellectuals”
Although sometimes directly from communities in struggle, intellectuals and academics also fit neatly in all of these categories. Their role in struggle can be extremely patronizing. In many cases the academic maintains institutional power above the knowledge and skill base of the community/ies in struggle. Intellectuals are most often fixated on un-learning oppression. These lot generally don’t have their feet on the ground, but are quick to be critical of those who do.
Should we desire to merely “unlearn” oppression, or to smash it to fucking pieces, and have it’s very existence gone?
An accomplice as academic would seek ways to leverage resources and material support and/or betray their institution to further liberation struggles. An intellectual accomplice would strategize with, not for and not be afraid to pick up a hammer.

Gatekeepers seek power over, not with, others. They are known for the tactics of controlling and/or withholding information, resources, connections, support, etc. Gatekeepers come from the outside and from within. When exposed they are usually rendered ineffective (so long as there are effective accountability/responsibility mechanisms).
Gatekeeping individuals and organizations, like “savior allies,” also have tendency to create dependency on them and their function as support. They have a tendency to dominate or control.

“Navigators & Floaters”
The “navigating” ally is someone who is familiar or skilled in jargon and maneuvers through spaces or struggles yet doesn’t have meaningful dialogue (by avoiding debates or remaining silent) or take meaningful action beyond their personal comfort zones (this exists with entire organizations too). They uphold their power and, by extension, the dominant power structures by not directly attacking them.
“Ally” here is more clearly defined as the act of making personal projects out of other folk’s oppression. These are lifestyle allies who act like passively participating or simply using the right terminology is support. When shit goes down they are the first to bail. They don’t stick around to take responsibility for their behavior. When confronted they often blame others and attempt to dismiss or delegitimize concerns.
Accomplices aren’t afraid to engage in uncomfortable/unsettling/challenging debates or discussions.

Floaters are “allies” that hop from group to group and issue to issue, never being committed enough but always wanting their presence felt and their voices heard. They tend to disappear when it comes down to being held accountable or taking responsibility for fucked up behavior.
Floaters are folks you can trust to tell the cops to “fuck off” but never engage in mutual risk, constantly put others at risk, are quick to be authoritarian about other peoples over stepping privileges, but never check their own. They basically are action junkie tourists who never want to be part of paying the price, the planning, or the responsibility but always want to be held up as worthy of being respected for “having been there” when a rock needed throwing, bloc needs forming, etc.
This dynamic is also important to be aware of for threats of infiltration. Provocateurs are notorious floaters going from place to place never being accountable to their words or actions. Infiltration doesn’t necessarily have to come from the state, the same impacts can occur by “well meaning” allies. It’s important to note that calling out infiltrators bears serious implications and shouldn’t be attempted without concrete evidence.
“Acts of Resignation”
Resignation of agency is a by-product of the allyship establishment. At first the dynamic may not seem problematic, after all, why would it be an issue with those who benefit from systems of oppression to reject or distance themselves from those benefits and behaviors (like entitlement, etc) that accompany them? In the worst cases, “allies” themselves act paralyzed believing it’s their duty as a “good ally.” There is a difference between acting for others, with others, and for one’s own interests, be explicit.
You wouldn’t find an accomplice resigning their agency, or capabilities as an act of “support.” They would find creative ways to weaponize their privilege (or more clearly, their rewards of being part of an oppressor class) as an expression of social war. Otherwise we end up with a bunch of anti-civ/primitivist appropriators or anarcho-hipsters, when saboteurs would be preferred.

Suggestions for some ways forward for anti-colonial accomplices:

Allyship is the corruption of radical spirit and imagination, it’s the dead end of decolonization.
The ally establishment co-opts decolonization as a banner to fly at its unending anti-oppression gala. What is not understood is that decolonization is a threat to the very existence of settler “allies.” No matter how liberated you are, if you are still occupying Indigenous lands you are still a colonizer.

Decolonization (the process of restoring Indigenous identity) can be very personal and should be differentiated, though not disconnected, from anti-colonial struggle.
The work of an accomplice in anti-colonial struggle is to attack colonial structures & ideas.

The starting point is to articulate your relationship to Indigenous Peoples whose lands you are occupying. This is beyond acknowledgment or recognition. This can be particularly challenging for “non-federally recognized” Indigenous Peoples as they are invisiblized by the state and by the invaders occupying their homelands.
It may take time to establish lines of communication especially as some folks may have already been burnt by outsiders. If you do not know where or how to contact folks, do some ground work, research (but don’t rely on anthropological sources, they are euro-centric), and pay attention. Try to more listening than speaking and planning.
In long-term struggles communication may be ruptured between various factions, there are no easy ways to address this. Don’t try to work the situation out, but communicate openly with consideration of the points below.
Sometimes other Indigenous Peoples are “guests” on other’s homelands yet are tokenized as the Indigenous representatives for the “local struggles”. This dynamic also perpetuates settler colonialism. A lot of people also assume Indigenous folks are all on the same page “politically,” we’re definitely not.

While there may be times folks have the capacity and patience to do so, be aware of the dynamics perpetuated by hand-holding.
Understand that it is not our responsibility to hold your hand through a process to be an accomplice.
Accomplices listen with respect for the range of cultural practices and dynamics that exists within various Indigenous communities.
Accomplices aren’t motivated by personal guilt or shame, they may have their own agenda but they are explicit.
Accomplices are realized through mutual consent and build trust. They don’t just have our backs, they are at our side, or in their own spaces confronting and unsettling colonialism. As accomplices we are compelled to become accountable and responsible to each other, that is the nature of trust.

Don’t wait around for anyone to proclaim you to be an accomplice, you certainly cannot proclaim it yourself. You just are or you are not. The lines of oppression are already drawn. Direct action is really the best and may be the only way to learn what it is to be an accomplice. We’re in a fight, so be ready for confrontation and consequence.

If you are wondering whether to get involved with or to support an organization:

Be suspect of anyone and any organization who professes allyship, decolonization work, and/or wears their relationships with Indigenous Peoples as at badge.

Use some of the points above to determine primary motives.
Look at the organizations funding. Who is getting paid? How are they transparent? Who’s defining the terms? Who sets the agenda? Do campaigns align with what the needs are on the ground?

Are there local grassroots Indigenous People directly involved with the decision making?

Continue Reading


  1. AllenaTapia (@AllenaT)

    May 5, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Can you clarify here– Is it supposed to be whose LAND/whose ISSUE/whose SPACE- All of the above? “The starting point is to articulate your relationship to Indigenous Peoples whose you are occupying.”

    • admin

      May 5, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      Thanks! The correction was caught earlier and changes made. Making changes to the PDF as well. We also received a note to use a more printer friendly image for the PDF, that change is coming too.

  2. Eric

    May 5, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    As a White, Straight, Cis-gendered, Male, American, Middle Class, University Educated, Jewish, Atheist, Able-bodied, able-minded (etc., etc. privileges in no particular order) I realize I pretty much am the problem. I know this because of friends and specifically friends from my housing cooperative. Maybe this isn’t the place for this (my apologies if so) but this is a public forum on the intartoobs talking at least generally about such issues, so what the hell.

    I’m not involved in social justice things because I can tell I am not wanted (rightly so in many forums). I am trying to not be part of the problem, I guess I am asking what do you want, and what do you want from me and people like me? If it is recognition, sure I count for jack squat but whatever you want and think is needed. Poorly phrased, but another example is I default to calling someone whatever gender and pronouns they want. Agency, it is a thing.

    I am an Engineer, meaning that I need not have anything to do with this and other issues, which is a choice vast majority of Engineers make consciously. I am not saying it is your job to make me comfortable.

    If I should just off and go away, I can and will, nary to reappear save to vote in an election (e.g. I voted for marriage equality in my state’s election, but did not campaign, updated no profile pictures, nor attended any pride parades; I simply saw an injustice in society and did my small part to help where I knew I comfortably could.

    However, I see that there *are* in fact problems in society and I think that there *are* things to do without really being involved.

    Here is an analogy: The first person is cutting a very long board on a table saw. The second person is there holding the end after it is cut. If the second person pulls, it messes up the person who is actually doing the cutting. That is what I see many of these problems as, the second person asserting themselves. However if the second person is simply supportive and keeps the piece of wood from falling, the first person can get a much better cut.

    I want to be the second person, supportive, not assertive. My question is how?

    • Mac

      May 5, 2014 at 7:02 PM

      Eric – here are some rad recommendations made in an article I just read called “Accomplices Not Allies: Abolishing the Ally Industrial Complex”

      “Suggestions for some ways forward for anti-colonial accomplices:

      Allyship is the corruption of radical spirit and imagination, it’s the dead end of decolonization.
      The ally establishment co-opts decolonization as a banner to fly at it’s unending anti-oppression gala. What is not understood is that decolonization is a threat to the very existence of settler “allies.” No matter how liberated you are, if you are still occupying Indigenous lands you are still a colonizer.

      Decolonization (the process of restoring Indigenous identity) can be very personal and should be differentiated, though not disconnected, from anti-colonial struggle.
      The work of an accomplice in anti-colonial struggle is to attack colonial structures & ideas.

      The starting point is to articulate your relationship to Indigenous Peoples whose lands you are occupying. This is beyond acknowledgment or recognition. This can be particularly challenging for “non-federally recognized” Indigenous Peoples as they are invisiblized by the state and by the invaders occupying their homelands.
      It may take time to establish lines of communication especially as some folks may have already been burnt by outsiders. If you do not know where or how to contact folks, do some ground work, research (but don’t rely on anthropological sources, they are euro-centric), and pay attention. Try to more listening than speaking and planning.
      In long-term struggles communication may be ruptured between various factions, there are no easy ways to address this. Don’t try to work the situation out, but communicate openly with consideration of the points below.
      Sometimes other Indigenous Peoples are “guests” on other’s homelands yet are tokenized as the Indigenous representatives for the “local struggles”. This dynamic also perpetuates settler colonialism. A lot of people also assume Indigenous folks are all on the same page “politically,” we’re definitely not.

      While there may be times folks have the capacity and patience to do so, be aware of the dynamics perpetuated by hand-holding.
      Understand that it is not our responsibility to hold your hand through a process to be an accomplice.
      Accomplices listen with respect for the range of cultural practices and dynamics that exists within various Indigenous communities.
      Accomplices aren’t motivated by personal guilt or shame, they may have their own agenda but they are explicit.
      Accomplices are realized through mutual consent and build trust. They don’t just have our backs, they are at our side, or in their own spaces confronting and unsettling colonialism. As accomplices we are compelled to become accountable and responsible to each other, that is the nature of trust.

      Don’t wait around for anyone to proclaim you to be an accomplice, you certainly cannot proclaim it yourself. You just are or you are not. The lines of oppression are already drawn. Direct action is really the best and may be the only way to learn what it is to be an accomplice. We’re in a fight, so be ready for confrontation and consequence.”

      Here’s another great article:

    • i n d e e

      May 5, 2014 at 7:12 PM

      this is not the space to have this conversation. have a brainstorming session with other folks whose privilege mirror your own. aka you figure out how to not be shitty white dude, while we figure out how to survive.

      also it wouldnt hurt to re-read the “Suggestions for some ways forward for anti-colonial accomplices” section, especially the part that says “Understand that it is not our responsibility to hold your hand through a process to be an accomplice.”

      • Jane

        May 6, 2014 at 3:18 PM

        Indee, thanks for demonstrating what I think I hate more than condescending liberal types and spotlight hogs– the people who make it impossible, even for someone who is humble and well-meaning– to make any kind of positive step forward without being attacked. “I am not this white dude’s teacher and i will not coddle his feelings in telling him so by swallowing my own. ” — so basically you’re unwilling to even talk to people who are putting themselves out there. If you don’t want to hold his hand then don’t do it, you don’t have to respond to men like that. People who want to take on the task of educating can do so, because.. guess what! it’s our collective responsibility as progressives to educate people, whether you like it or not.

        • sexandonions

          May 18, 2014 at 1:34 AM

          wrong. this dude can put himself out there all he wants, but nobody deserves even a pat on the back for that. in the end it is on HIM to do the research, to take the time, do the hard thinking and talking and crying and deciding to do better. he needs to figure that shit out. there are mountains of literature addressing these and other issues already out there, written by indigenous folks and oppressed peoples. theres also tons of stuff written by white people about whiteness and facing white supremacy. the words have already been written, the stories told – he needs to find them for himself if any personal transformation is to be really really fucking real. it cant be a quick-and-dirty, silver bullet experience. what he calls for here, and what entitled liberals and others call for all the time, is for someone surviving on the front lines to take the their time to make it easy for him. “heres a concrete, short list of 5 perfect, easily digestible and explicable steps for you to take that i as a scholar of my experiences plus everyone in my minority demographic has learned for sure.” as a white dude my continuing education of race and privilege has been long and will not end. ever. start today for the long haul or dont bother. and dont dare take shit personally when folks call you out. and cheers for indee! right on

        • ffff

          May 20, 2014 at 10:38 PM

          lol jane if you’re so committed to educating the white man why don’t you go ahead and do it then? oh i guess its even more important to be a self-righteous prick. who told you “we” are progressives?

        • Aug

          November 26, 2014 at 6:58 PM

          I agree with Jane. One is often attacked for acting, or as some of these comments show, condescended for asking and listening. Very counterproductive and confusing for people trying to better understand.

    • Merdeka

      May 6, 2014 at 3:53 AM

      There’s nothing wrong with your comment & you seem sincere don’t let Internet radicals intimidate you. Political groups who fail to recruit members of the public outside their clique & insult or snark at you on the internet to make themselves look radical on blogs are a big part of the problem.

      My recommendation is find an actual political movement that exists in your area, join up with them & see what they’re doing. Something like pcr-rcp, brown berets – i’m not American so I have no idea what exists where you live. If they’re working with indigenous groups get involved through them. Alliances can be made between groups with known political goals not random individuals

      • i n d e e

        May 6, 2014 at 11:08 AM

        To be clear, i dont think that there was anything wrong with Eric’s comment or questions above. In contrary I think its really important for white folks to be asking these questions, thinking about these things. Its to whom the questions are directed to and also where the questions are being asked that make me feel icky and frustrated. I am not this white dude’s teacher and i will not coddle his feelings in telling him so by swallowing my own. And Merdeka, you can try and minimize that to some unimportant ass internet/radical credibility, still i come from a long line of black women who were forced to take care of white babies with a smile on their faces and that cycle ends with me.

        • Sey

          December 8, 2014 at 4:56 PM

          Indee, your shitty attitude and assumption that it’s all about you would make sense in this case if Eric had called you on your home phone to speak his original comment.

          If you feel “icky and frustrated” because he opened a perfectly reasonable discussion on a public forum DEDICATED TO THIS TOPIC, the problem lies with you, and you should probably dip. He’s not talking to you.

    • mikesteraz

      May 20, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      “I count for jack squat” … I find it tragic and counter-liberatory that some have been made to feel like this based on their social class and skin color , and it is celebrated by privilegemongers as some kind of victory. Eric: You are every bit as equal as the rest of us and your voice has value!! Don’t ever feel like you are not wanted or needed, or let another person diminish you as an individual.

      Aside from that, I would add a cautionary note to this entire conversation: Many, actually most, of we so-called “colonialists” were actually born here … thus, we, too, are indigenous to this land, and we face a common enemy in the political ruling class. Our struggle IS a struggle that is bound up as one; but casting it as a struggle for territorial dominance that places some ethnicities above others is … problematic.

      Thank you your acts of complicity in the fight for liberation. This is an amazing article.

      • the rizqian

        May 28, 2014 at 6:00 PM

        u trivialize the term indigenous with ur statement.
        if u are white(of european decent) , u are not indigenous. stop playing games up in here. none of those tired plots will stick sir. the privilege on blast in this thread shows exactly why nothing will change as a result of himming and hawing on a website with a kinder gentler version of monstrosity. trust and believe that. there can be no allies where there is no shared triumph and shared pain. ur pamperd,enclosed,assured position must be defended even when u pretend to be above such considerations. hence no real communication is taking place.

  3. Beorn

    May 5, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    “Accomplices aren’t motivated by personal guilt or shame, they may have their own agenda but they are explicit.”

    I think it is important for accomplices to recognize they are motivated out of some personal factor. Recognize it and name it. Abstract terms likes “liberation” or “ending oppression” need not apply.

    And only because you seem concerned with grammar/typos already I’ll mention one I noticed…yes this is a silly language but what the hell:

    “The ally establishment co-opts decolonization as a banner to fly at it’s unending anti-oppression gala.” it’s/its

    • jeff sorenson

      June 27, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      “Recognize it and name it. Abstract terms likes “liberation” or “ending oppression” need not apply.”
      The personal factor that motivates me is common survival. If that’s not good enough, then never mind.

  4. Merdeka

    May 6, 2014 at 3:57 AM

    I don’t really appreciate this article advising white people as individuals to look around for indigenous people or movements to attach themselves to. That’s the most annoying thing they do. There should be alliances between movements, Indigenous movements of Indigenous people already exist & mainstream movements if they want to be “accomplices” to our movements could use some advice how to behave. I have no idea of this blogger even belongs to a movement themselves or they’re just issuing instructions on their own initiative.

    • admin

      May 6, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      Merdeka, why do you assume the article is just advising white folks to look for Indigenous movements? The assertion here is that this dynamic is already occurring, not just with WFs but POC as well. “if they want to be “accomplices” to our movements could use some advice how to behave.” Agreed. Sometimes this happens with protocols that are established and sometimes it doesn’t, hence some of the suggestions at the end of the piece. As one of the primary authors of this piece, I have been involved in a range of movements for years. Being born into the land conflict on Big Mountain area opened my eyes at a very young age. The primary movement I’ve been involved with for the past 20 years is protection of sacred places. I helped to build a coalition that brought together 14 Indigenous nations and non-Native enviro groups (some Big Eco ones). I learned some very hard lessons regarding allyship then. For the past 10 years I’ve worked with Indigenous youth to create a media justice movement, we started a radical resource center 7 years ago called Táala Hooghan Infoshop. The infoshop was one of the main points where these conversations, observations, and frustrations were born from. Ahe’ hee’, Klee

  5. Marissa

    May 6, 2014 at 6:05 AM

    What an amazing article! !! As a descendant of enslaved Africans I find myself meeting these ‘allies’ time and again and REALLY appreciate the thought that went into this project. My question is I would love to know what the relationship between indigenous people and the children of those kidnapped from Africa ie African-Americans, could & should be?

    • admin

      May 6, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      Marissa, thank you for the comment. I would highly recommend connecting with Indigenous folks whose lands you’re on and starting the conversation there. These discussions certainly have occurred in a range of circles/movements before, particularly focusing on Black & Brown unity, to my knowledge not much has been written regarding Red & Black (lot’s of historical documentation exists though). Check out Andrea Smith’s “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy: Rethinking Women of Color Organizing” if you haven’t already. If you’re in AZ I would be happy to connect that conversation here. Otherwise if you email me (through the site contact page) I can forward you some info from research/convos that I’ve been part of. – Klee

      • Shanya Cordis

        May 6, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        I think engaging in the relationship between Red & Black unity is a critical point that continues to be marginalized. As a Black-Indian (Warao/Lokono) woman, I think we should recognize that blackness and redness are critical to the construction of the settler landscape, and that indigenous and black communities continue to undermine one another’s political projects by constantly framing the political projects as mutually exclusive. In fact, they are inherently linked, and not in a hierarchical my-struggle-is-greater-than-yours or my-struggle-comes-first. However, on the ground there continues to be anti-blackness within native and indigenous communities and anti-indigeneity in black anti-racist struggles. I would love to see more on this particular point as notions of settler colonialism often continue around a native-settler binary that fails to consider how blackness is the third aspect of this triangulation.

        I appreciate this article for its really insightful critiques of the ally industrial complex, but one point I would like to engage further is how alliances or as to quote the articles “accomplices” are formed within native/indigenous communities as this remains a contentious issue that receives little attention.

        • andrea

          May 6, 2014 at 4:57 PM

          Although both my parents are “white”, based on the current definition of the term in american culture, my extended family — cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws, etc– people who occupy my heart space and share life closely with me, are people of color, including descedents of people indigenous to literally every inhabited continent of the planet except Australia. Being an ally or accomplice or whatever word is trending right now for an anti-racist, anti-fascist person is an act of love and self-defense for me and my entire family. The real battles are fought daily on a personal level, and we will never be paid in anything but love and survival.

  6. Christine Prat

    May 6, 2014 at 2:14 PM

  7. Andrew Curley

    May 6, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    In a recently published pamphlet, “Accomplices Not Allies: An Indigenous Perspective & Provocation,” the un-credited author(s) highlight some real problems facing indigenous social movements. The work is commendable in many ways. It surveys the range of potential compromises different actors within indigenous social movements might face. Although the categories are debatable, it’s a good start to the conversation.

    For example, the author(s) account for the complicated and sometimes self-serving role of nongovernmental organizations and what they describe as patronizing attitudes of academics, intellectuals (and I would add lawyers.)

    But the pamphlet lacks ideals. It doesn’t assert an ideology or something to build upon. It does suggest “direct action,” but this is a tactic, not a strategy—and to what question?

    Instead the pamphlet provides a vague critique of different types of actors who move in and out of indigenous social movements. Each one of these critiques deserves their own examination, but at this point I feel that the categories are too hard to understand to make this pamphlet workable, now. To be clear, I’m not dismissing the pamphlet. I’m just pointing out areas where we can build a debate.

    Primarily, the author(s) define all “allies” or “accomplices” against the assumed backdrop of “we.” Who are we? What constitutes “we” in a social movement? Is the author(s) perspective(s) the most militant faction of a struggle? If so, we would better understand what the writers are asking for. They want “allies” to become “accomplices,” to move from the safety of a privileged position to the center of the struggle and bear some of its burden, to “not be afraid to pick up a hammer.”

    Arguing for increased militancy is a fair point and shouldn’t simply be dismissed from the equally vague notion I hear a lot of “non-violent resistance.” But the pamphlet assumes too much that “we” is a consistent thing that should be supported. Maybe I would support it, but I don’t know what it is and what it stands for. No movement should be blindly followed and framing things in “us versus them” leads to this dangerous tendency.

    Using the language of the well-known critique of the “not-for-profit industrial complex,” the author(s) assert something of an “ally-industrial complex.” There might be some truth to this and it’s an insightful claim. I really think it should be looked at further. Again, I’m not dismissing it. But here are some problems:

    Unfortunately the category of “allies” is still too vague and probably isn’t anywhere close to “industrial” in the sense that Eisenhower coined the term in 1960 to talk about “the military industrial complex.”

    There is an inherent interest in nongovernment organizations to work on a problem in a certain way that feels disengaged. It’s also true that their perspectives and actions are complicated by their funding sources. This is something called the not-for-profit industrial complex. The notion of the ally-industrial complex builds on this. But academics, intellectuals, gatekeepers and floaters have varied interests and don’t maintain an institutionalized form of funding that the term “industrial complex” evokes. This might sound like its splitting hairs but it’s important.

    It’s important because we want to know what really drives these actors and their involvement in indigenous social movement. Calling it an ally-industrial complex might obscure more than it illuminates. Are university interests the same as nongovernment organizations? How about lawyers who double as intellectuals for Native communities? In some circumstances, we have lawyers and members of not-for-profits maintaining very different institutional motivations. Some work for their tribal government and defend existing tribal policies while others are extensions of large foundations and critique these same polices. Maybe I am confusing things because the latter is not an “ally.” But without clear definitions in the pamphlet, it’s hard to know what the author(s) are talking about in each of these categories. It’s really hard to understand how these constitute an “industrial-complex.”

    Getting to the point, I feel that it would have been a useful exercise to talk more about the ideals for an indigenous social movement that could inform the role of “allies” rather than to simply denounce the activities of these vague categories and then to simply ask for people who fit in them to stand as accomplices. Simply put, if there are floaters or parachuters, don’t let them get in the way.

    Andrew Curley

    • admin

      May 6, 2014 at 6:51 PM

      Andrew, Thanks for your prodding at this provocation. The intention of the piece isn’t to promote an ideology but to confront a problematic tendency prevalent in pretty much every current struggle. After all, it’s not a manifesto, it’s a provocation and as such has very different utility. The closest moments this piece comes to identifying an ideology is in naming the desire for total liberation of land and people and the mentions of anti-colonial struggle. Ultimately prescriptive treatises become dogmatic, a tendency we intentionally tried to avoid here (with the caveat of some advice being necessary based upon direct experience, not just theory). The “we” section is left somewhat abstract so affinity can be drawn based upon positionality. Certainly it’s a great question to interrogate, just as much as what we mean when we say “community.”
      If the critique is too vague, maybe it’s the difference in the lens you’re looking through? All of these categories (and more that we did not include) are based upon experience in a range of movements, both Indigenous and non-indigenous. Certainly we could have built them out more, but that would require more attention and time than we cared to spend exploring our frustrations. Maybe someone will write a book about it and pontificate more, we could have provided examples and named names, but we decided to play nice, for now.

      “But academics, intellectuals, gatekeepers and floaters have varied interests and don’t maintain an institutionalized form of funding that the term “industrial complex” evokes.” Just because interests are varied – just as non-profits have varied interests from all points in the political spectrum – doesn’t change the current trends in commodification and exploitation of struggles through allyship. While the Ally Industrial Complex may be smaller scale (at this moment) than the examples you compare it to, it isn’t so much a matter of scale but effect.
      – Klee

      • Andrew Curley

        May 7, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        Good points. I’m glad you opened the conversation! Thanks again for the work you all put into this.


  8. wolfonakayak

    May 6, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    Thank you for these thoughts. I really enjoyed them. I’m wondering if I may write something based on this but more digestible for my own audience, citing what you wrote? My audience being a whole bunch of white lesbians who don’t seem to be very open to understanding the difference between, “I’m here to help!” versus “Would you like any help from me, and if so, of my skills xy and z, which would you like and how can I apply them in a way that would be beneficial?”

    My big thing to try to teach people is that the best thing we can all do to fight racism or any -ism is to send our ego elsewhere and to start from the premise that we are -ist. I am not racist in the sense that I *mean* to be racist: I’m racist in the sense that I was born a white person in a white-oppressor society, fed messages of superiority about my “race” and inferiority about others from my first breath. I did not CHOOSE to be fed those messages, so why should I be guilty or ashamed that I was? No–I should be vigilant and aware, knowing that it is my job to root those messages out and destroy them. The only shame, the only guilt, is when I adopt those racist messages as my own. The only shame is if I do not make it my responsibilty to notice, to care, and to do what I can to change the status quo.

    I tend to find myself dashing my head against a wall at times, but my head is sometimes harder than their wall, and it’s fun to smash that sort of wall. Look! Bricks-of-Idiocy are flying, whee!

    • admin

      May 6, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      Thanks for asking, this is @nti-copyright so have at it. It would be great to see this re-worked from various perspectives.

      • Eyad Alkurabi

        May 28, 2014 at 3:24 PM

        I’m working on same topic.. and they way you broke it down is so good ! Recently i tried to do the same thing and i get compared to George Wallace…..
        I’m Palestinian-Syrian and queer.

  9. The Great Bandito

    May 6, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    this is stupid. you anarchists dont actually want to change anything. you just want to find more things to complain about so you can maintain your “edge.” what a stupid article.

  10. Markus

    May 9, 2014 at 7:55 AM

    Thank you for writing this – it is a powerful piece and so important.

  11. Hailey

    May 9, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    As said by others who commented, this pamphlet offers critical and needed insight for those in circles you’re referring to – it poses many, perhaps unfamiliar, questions for self reflection, for myself and to others this relates to. Hopefully this piece will be used as a means to abolish these dynamics and not solely as a field guide to pigeon-hole people into “ally” stereotypes because they exhibit certain characteristics, like being generally quiet, curious of anarchism, or whatever else, especially if the consented goals of the dialogue/space are allusive.

    I look forward to which conversations this will lead to.

  12. Isabelle

    May 10, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    Please excuse my english, it’s not my mother tongue.

    There was (and there still is) a culture linked to Mother Earth in Europe (where I live). Those who practiced formerly were probably… white. This didn’t prevent them from being burned alive in the Middle Ages as “witches and wizards” (they were shamans, plant healers, druids, european pagans…). But their spirit survived (this kind doesn’t fear death) and finally : it is more and more recognized today, everywhere in the world, that the care of Mother Earth – as she takes care of us – is the most “valid spirituality”. In connection with how things work in reality, with the Spirit, from we all come and return (whose only “book” is Nature, sorry).

    I probably will never go to the U.S. But when I have the opportunity to read texts written by Native American spiritual leaders, they are often very enlightening because they come from nations that have managed (against a terrible violence) to maintain their communities and knowledges through the centuries, while ours were atomized. In the revolution of souls smoldering and secretely strengthening – for now – before spreading widely sooner or later, inevitably (or we will disappear), they have a major role to play. You can take it as a prophecy ; on this side of the world as in the other, those who walk in truth quite easily read the future. And who predicted centuries ago the colonizer civilisation was “no sustainable” ? Right. You see.

    That is why I understand this text – without understanding it *really*. The Spirit also speaks to white people if they want to listen. He makes no such discrimination. But if those people do not make the effort themselves to connect, by returning to their own “pre-christian” sources (yes, appropriating a practice that is not from your culture is quite inefficient, because it is through your own ancestors that you will connect more easily to what flows within you – and that’s a little ridiculous, besides being disrespectful), how do they see natives ? Only as “opressed people” they have to “help” with their “activist science” ?

    It seems a bit unreal, the totally lost guy who wants to teach life to the one who never lost sight of the path.

    But perhaps it’s too early, it’s true. The human mind is not so alert. So, to the allies-comlices or whatever they are I will say : be careful and respectful, learn to shut up, you’ve done enough stupid things at this time. And to Turtle Island people : remember who you are, please. We don’t have so much time, our mother is already seriously injured. And as we all are her children, we are brother and sisters, nothing more, nothing less.


  13. paragardener

    May 21, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    Okay, I’m going to stay away from this group, which would obviously see any contribution I might have to offer as some sort of slippery oppression fueled by my shadow of white guilt. Good luck finding accomplices who make the cut.

  14. fanto

    May 26, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    Thanks. I find the idea of building relationships of sincerity and radical friendships across those oppression lines really important. It sounds to me in some lines that it’s something maybe similar that is advocated for here. And yes, building those relationships through direct action sounds like a good way to start.
    But I wonder if the making of a new category of « the good ally » (with a new name) helps to build a space where we are actually able to let go of some of our pretence and anxious search for purity or perfection and can work from the place of being our whole evolving, learning selves, imperfect yet perhaps more in touch with who we are at the moment. Seeing and accepting ourselves and each other for who we are, even with those tendencies we perceive as our « annoying » or counter-productive ways (of course unless it’s voluntary and for personal gain like exposed in the first part of the article), seems to me like it could also be a foundation to building a real partnership culture that counteracts the dominator culture on that level.

  15. Josiah Walrus (@Josiah_Walrus)

    May 30, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    Can you explain this contradiction in the article?

    First the author says: “The self-proclaimed allies have no intention to abolish the entitlement that compelled them to impose their relationship upon those they claim to ally with.”

    Beyond intentionality, this seems to imply that allies _should_ be willing to abolish their own entitlements, if they were actually in support rather than just acting out of guilt.

    Later in the article there is this: “You wouldn’t find an accomplice resigning their agency, or capabilities as an act of ‘support.’

    Now, the accomplice knows she _should not_ resign agency as an act of support.

    On the one hand, tell allies they _should_ give up entitlement. On the other, note that an accomplice would never do that, because any power can be used against the system.

    • admin

      May 31, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      You’re observing the distinction between “self-proclaimed allies” and accomplices. The two roles should be mutually opposed.

  16. Timothy Rgs Maton

    June 24, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    it is an enjoyable read but a concerning topic. to me it is concerning because its tone is essentialist (yes i am using academic jargon- i think lots of people are smart enough to be able to have complex thoughts and use complex words- i think you are talking down to people by trying to make complex ideas seem simple when they are not). Complex issues, complex societies, and complex institutions require complex approaches. If you are going to turn everything into an essentialistic conversation that turns every issue into a simple dichotomy then you are alienating a lot of people who are honestly trying to be helpful to your struggle. Yes, some of them are ‘professionals’, but everyone needs to live. And often it is poor people who end up in these situations with people acting like they are a walking talking political ideology instead of a human being with human needs. I think there is a big problem with interpreting everything as political when alot of what happens under the guise of politics is the result of human people, with human needs, having human responses to human problems and feelings. Trying to turn everything into a political dichotomy sounds to me like blame and hate instead of trying to work towards improvement and cultural coexistance. that said i have always hated the term ‘ally’. i am not a state, i am a human being, i am not your ‘ally’ i am your friend and someone who cares.

    I think the above comments clearly show how angry and vapid essentialistic conversations about politics become when they are formulated along essentialist ways of thinking. Your essentialism is also colonial, so you know, thats where that way of thinking originates.

  17. Timothy Rgs Maton

    June 25, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    (I would cut that last paragraph I wrote since it seems unnecessary)

  18. Nij Iskode

    June 27, 2014 at 5:18 AM

    I’m seeing a lot of frustration that I feel is not necessary. There are a lot of good points in this article, and a lot of truth. As I understand it, the spirit of this article is to point out the worst motivating factors (especially those corporate “not for profit” organizations), but leaves potential individual allies/accomplices little information on how to contribute in a good way…and that is not very conducive to acceptance and cooperation.

    In my experience, nobody does anything without motive…and no ally nor accomplice has the same spirit of the Indigenous decolonization “movement”, for they have not faced the obstacles. That does not mean they cannot participate, are unwelcome, nor that they are all corrupt…they must find something in the cause that motivates them, and we as Indigenous people need to understand this. We also must aid them to understand us…clearly they have an interest in helping our cause to some degree, and that is to our benefit as much as it is to theirs.

    Certainly we don’t need to educate them…but we cannot simply shut them out either. We must be open and accepting, in the same spirit our ancestors were when colonials first came to this land. With the wisdom and knowledge our people have now, in concert with the understanding of the atrocities and consequences of the past, by those colonials, this generation can accomplish much! We cannot alienate people for not understanding if we are unwilling to answer their questions, and they will never learn if we are unwilling to teach. It is a simple equation delivered in the seventh fire, and it is our responsibility to our ancestors, Mother Earth, and humanity to make it happen.

  19. tristan

    August 26, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    so… the”allies” are now just going to call themselves “accomplices”? the jargon just seems like a distraction from the real issues here.

  20. Christine Prat

    September 7, 2014 at 6:22 AM

  21. Dr. A. Breeze Harper

    November 26, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Permission to repost on my blog?

    • admin

      November 30, 2014 at 8:46 PM

      Yes, repost away! Ahe’ hee’!

  22. venice

    November 28, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    While much of it is valid, some seems to a projection of separatism often done by radical extremists. As both a “federally unrecognized native” and an anthropologist, some of it is very generalized and demeaning. I agree with almost all of the material, but do not agree that criminalization and betrayal are the only way, and neither is attacking. There exists a middle ground, and for those of us who walk it, the road is lonely, because we are never included by mutual consent.

  23. J.

    December 8, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    The “anti oppression” model of the post modern left seems to be premised on the idea that groups are somehow united in their goals, methods and expectations by the common experience of disenfranchisment/oppression. They aren’t. “Allies” are told to shut up and listen, as if oppressed groups all spoke with one voice, or all wanted the same things from their allies. In this way, the actual contradictions, politics, and ultimately agency of oppressed groups is glossed over and eliminated, a subtle form of discrimination.
    It seems to me that a lot of groups engaging in liberation struggles would benefit more from strong allies who made their motivations and intentions clear, and who were willing to dissent or draw lines, rather than spineless, guilt motivated allies whose intentions are unclear and whose commitment is uncertain.

  24. Brendan

    December 13, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    Just a few comments. When you refer to ”returning the land”what exactly can that possibly mean in 2014 ?
    Are you calling for some sort of mass deportation of the overwheming majority of the population of North America that aren’t descended from the original peoples ? And if so are you calling for just those who’s families came from Europe ? What about African-Americans ? Do they get some sort of ”Green Card” ?
    And about Asians. At least one Black Nationalist group , The African Peoples Socialist Party (Uhuru House) describes Koreans , for example, as ”Colonizers” ! And what about Latinos . Of course many are of mixed race but many aren’t . So are those Latinos who are mestizos acceptable but those who are of probably only Spanish descent not ?
    BTW I don’t know what you think of the legacy of Che Guervara but you do know his grandparents were of Spanish descent and one was a immigrant from Ireland ? So he was not a person of color .
    I think that in contrast to this Ultra Nationalistic vision of a movement we should build a Multi racial movement based on shared class interests and principles


      January 6, 2015 at 8:22 PM


    • Andy

      April 5, 2015 at 5:32 PM

      I think there are some great points in this piece which expand on the kind of work that groups like INCITE have done surrounding the non-profit industrial complex. The piece is very good at updating and naming the kind of hollow language radical nonprofits use on groups and individuals they want to profit from. Although I understand that the piece self-identifies (to use a perfect example of radical nonprofit and academic speak) as a “provocation” I don’t follow why the role of “ally” needs to be replaced with the equally dubious “accomplice”. I guess I’m too old to find crime terminology excitingly romantic. “Comrade” has perhaps too many marxist-leninist associations but I think it’s better than the bad-ass “accomplice”. But the goal I think is to find a place where everyone is working towards liberation, their own and that of their comrades.

    • Wester

      May 3, 2015 at 8:52 PM

      About 1/3 of the lower 48, all towards the east coast, has been fully and effectively genocided, so if you want to be sanctimonious about not having anywhere to go, maybe you can go here and continue your self-righteous indignation on fully cleansed and purified-for-your-use fallout of 500 years of colonial terror territory that’s “technicall” all yours….that is if you can live with the endless screams of agony from the ghosts who live there

  25. Paula

    December 14, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    So much to think about here. Unfortunately one sees oneself here and there…and recognizes unflattering motives. How very interesting. Thanks to James for starting this conversation.

  26. heavystone

    December 14, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    This is terrible advice. You demonize everyone, especially those who try to help you. The recommended alternative isn’t even real, it’s just abstract posturing. You are a disgrace.

    • tom

      December 22, 2014 at 7:58 PM

      Well said, heavy stone!

  27. Alison Pryle

    December 23, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    It is a lot to think about ..I believe it is a valuable conversation. To the person worried Europeans and other non Natives wii be thrown off their land: how about if we help keep corporations and mining off? This way we willl incur good willi with indigenous people. I did not read all of this. I will try to save it to my wall for catch up.

  28. tbaker926

    December 27, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    These are important issues to bring to the table — we should all assume that struggle for social justice is not just about an enemy outside — it is about a continual recreation of healthy relationships within the group — including calling each other out on unequal power dynamics and the like. I understand perhaps the impulse to use “accomplice” to distinguish it from ally but it is a difficult word for me because I am not participating in criminal activity. (The state may think I am but I refuse to take on the identity assigned me by the state) We make the road by walking it.

  29. Fani

    January 17, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    Hello, we are a group of women and QPOC living in France, and would like to translate your text in french. Its possible ?

  30. anabraxas

    January 25, 2015 at 2:51 PM

    Late but not too late… translated to French here:

    Awesome critique, and very useful for anyone in or willing to join this ongoing resistance.

    Set to appear as well in a project by Ill Will Editions soon.

  31. olleicua

    February 11, 2015 at 7:04 PM

    Thank you for writing this. I didn’t know very much about the indiginous rights movement before reading this but I feel like it applies really well to the social just movements I know more about and am a part of.

  32. Patrick Cate

    March 7, 2015 at 1:27 AM

    For those settlers (and I am a settler) who feel somewhat indicted by this typology, I think the point isn’t to see these differing destructive identities of allyship as platonic absolutes that you either fall into or don’t. I think its a point of entry for self-reflection, and that if I see a bit of myself in any of these types of allyship then I am already doing the work by learning to be self-reflective about how and why I do things, and working to rid myself of them in the future, That is the first step in decolonizing myself. I can’t take it personally; it’s part of a journey towards liberation for not only myself but for all people. I know that if I see myself as somehow magically immune to the systems of oppression I was born into, as a settler, than I am clearly missing something of vital importance, and I am eternally grateful for those who have taken the time to think critically about my role and what I can do to improve it.

    • GreenNinja

      June 4, 2015 at 10:31 PM

      nicely said.

  33. Fani

    March 11, 2015 at 5:53 AM

    My name is Fania, I am a black queer franco-haitian ciswoman and my friends and I have just launched an intersectional French-language magazine: AssiégéEs (Beleaguered), the first issue of which will be coming out next June. The magazine will be available by donation online and paper issues can be ordered on demand (provided we reach our crowdfunding goals).

     The AssiégéEs team is composed of radical women and (a few) men of colour who stand firmly as: anti-racist AND anti-sexist AND anti-homophobic AND anti-transphobic AND anti-capitalist AND anti-Islamophobic AND anti-respectability politics. AssiégÉs is a magazine accessible to all, and is not an academic journal we set at a
    maximum of 40% the number of contributions produced by academics and offer writing support for people uncomfortable with this form of expression, while accepting others types of submissions (drawings, graffiti, poems, etc..). All magazine contributors are people of colour. The first issue will be on traps. Traps set by identities, but also by struggles and demands. How to find support points, live at intersections? This often
    leaves one feeling at an impasse. I am contacting you today because we would like to translate your text to include in this first issue. Because your work is of particular relevance, for us, and since our magazine strives to be non-classist, we would like that English-languages texts be made accessible to people who do not master the language. 

    With this in mind we would like to know your financial requirements for reprinting and distribution.

  34. lincolnjfinch

    April 2, 2015 at 12:29 PM

    Are non-natives who occupy non-native lands necessarily colonizers? What can they do, in positive terms, to legitimately occupy the land they were born on that their ancestors stole, for example? I can’t fight this fight if I emigrate.

  35. Susan James

    May 12, 2015 at 10:55 PM

    Excellent article and an eye opener actually. Man there is a lot of self serving do good ears out there. I actually get each category personality types you have addressed . Money shit man people get paid to do this , workshops on it?? He’ll we just say na governments wrong lets protest or occupy and send the appropriate heads to parliament to battle ! Interesting article very interesting we thoroughly absorbed much of it and ill have to read it a few more times to totally absorb all .

  36. marcos

    June 2, 2015 at 8:43 PM

    The most productive era of activism that I’d ever worked in was during the mid 1980s in Austin where there were several intersecting radical formations that offered up mutual aid, another term for accomplice. Earth First!, pro-choice, ACT/UP, anti-apartheid, anti-US intervention in Central America and refugee support organizing all synergized to create an action and goals oriented volunteer radical army.

    The moment that activism gets professionalized it morphs into advocacy which carries a different dynamic. The antidote to this neoliberal resistance poison is ongoing mass democratic participatory organizing and mobilization.

    And today’s youth to my mind are overly fixated on language and group identity in ways that simply are not reflected in self perception of those in these groups who are outside of the academic and activist bubble. What counts more than language is measurable progress towards emancipation and justice. These ideals of groups and language must yield to the material reality we confront. You cannot speak your reality into existence, that is magical thinking, there is no substitute to risk taking and participatory organizing. I could imagine how today’s sensitive flowers would have fared at Stonewall or Compton’s or the Edmund Pettis Bridge which were not safe spaces by any means.

    Nor can we expect to organize free of some degree of racism, sexism and homophobia given that we live in a racist, sexist and homophobic culture and most folks who come to participate will come with that baggage. We need to identify means of addressing these issues effectively in real time without stopping the show.

    Both for-profit and non-profit capitalists (brilliant!) share one thing in common: a mutual contempt for the people because they do not trust us. Emancipatory political activity cannot succeed when it is mediated by a wage. Thank you for this wonderful piece.

  37. Will Shetterly

    August 9, 2015 at 9:23 AM

    Excellent post. It reminds me of two things:

    1. I’ve long wondered how much money Tim Wise makes.

    2. In the ’60s, allies weren’t expected to share the same ideologies. They were only expected to share the same goals.

  38. Danielle Hilton

    April 6, 2016 at 7:26 AM

    Strong work☆

  39. Andrew

    November 6, 2016 at 11:54 PM

    The pamphlet was good. Then the author used irregardless, that was distracting. Irregardless is not a word.
    Regardless is correct.

    • Damned

      February 17, 2017 at 4:56 AM

      irregardless IS a word and isn’t exactly the same as regardless albeit closely related.

      ie. regardless of the outcome, the directions are the same for both methods.
      ie. irregardless of what he does, she will still have to make a decision that affects both of them.
      Not sure those were the best examples, I’m not an English teacher but irregardless is a real word as well as regardless.

  40. Monique

    November 25, 2016 at 3:02 AM

    Was considering how I might make my contribution to this piece funny, yet that may be more difficult, given the serious nature of matters, than I’d like.

    Briefly, by way of introduction, over the decades, I’ve had varying experiences with different factions of community. Including, of course, various local native factions. I’ve naturally fallen into activities or projects, generally speaking, geared towards improving the challenging scenario so many of us face. I’m not here to go into the details of a lifetime of this or offer some sort of resume on action taken. (Though I’ve personally not had any funding, done any workshops or had membership in any NGO’s – some of which have dubious connections btw.)
    I’m here to offer some constructive criticism, in regards to when things go wrong. This requires a better understanding of what can happen, than what I’m seeing here. Proper communication & follow up is important for refining action in the future.

    Firstly, in regards to the criticism of anarchism.
    Anarchisms history has a lot offer with it’s countering of colonial structures. There is of course, a great deal of disinformation on this by vested interests.
    So here’s some links that may assist.

    These first two docos give an account of the Spanish anarchist experience:

    This short clip regards indigenous cultures as being anarchist, make of that what you will:

    Here’s a starter on common myths:

    I’m pretty disappointed with your casual slander of this cultural movement. (There as some subgroups of it I don’t agree with of course – I’m wondering here if you’re implying that you’re ok with upwardly mobile anarcho capitalist types – who don’t seem at all anarchistic to me, given their affiliation with the values of colonialism – groups can have all sorts of factions.)
    You would leap on me in a hot minute if I referred to your cultural or ethnic group as “downwardly mobile natives” or “hipster indigenous peoples”… You demand respect be given, yet seem to offer none in return here.
    Cultural exchanges are important & need to be a two way street. Misunderstandings can easily occur. There will be differences. I find, in my experience, the claim there isn’t any “listening” to be laughable. I’ve listened to some for years, yet did not receive the same regard in return. Hierarchical, authoritarian, patriarchal, paternalistic, patronising attitudes are hallmarks of the system of empire. Embodying them, does not encourage me to respect or work with someone, regardless of their background.
    Know also that people cooperating, to work towards common goals, can be “burnt” just as much by some indigenous factions, not to mention other factions.

    I’ve grown up multiculturally & find some sort of assumption of there being an apartheid style history to be inaccurate. A divisive false assumption of separation, discounts a lifetime of family & personal history with all sorts of peoples & cultural groups. This seems a flawed framework, a false narrative & a disrespectful disregard of longstanding lived experience & relationships.

    I have no interest in labels or acting roles. “Activist” “Ally” “Accomplice”
    We have more in common than not & the challenges we face are old & powerful.
    We are all indigenous to somewhere, many of us to many places. Before this version of empire, we all lived in ways somewhat similar. This brings me to what seems too often ignored, that prior to the invasions over the last 5 centuries – such had been going on elsewhere, for thousands of years. This is where approaches were honed, tactics developed & there are so many peoples touched by this. So many have histories of being invaded, enslaved & having land stolen.

    One of my experiences involved some serious cointelpro style activity. There were many groups, over time, making their influence felt. From government institutions, secret services, secret societies, military, religious, corporate institutions & others.
    Serious targeting, propaganda, smear campaigns & the like, ensued.
    Set ups, staged events, threats, coercion, stalking, manipulation of community factions occurred. We need to do better in regards to the complex realities of these matters. Serious abuses can take place – racism, sexism, sexual harassment, rape, assault, gas lighting, attempted religious conversion & brainwashing, theft, destruction of property, incarceration, health problems, exploitation, loss of work opportunities & ultimately, destruction of lives. Some people will throw others under the bus to promote themselves.
    Transformative justice techniques can be employed to sort these matters out – yet you really need to get a proper understanding of what has really happened, to make sure the process isn’t hijacked & used to commit further abuse.

    I don’t have any experience of having my hand held.
    I have found myself holding the hands of those who have attacked me with their ignorance, cruelty & arrogance. Frustrated by their lack of understanding.

    I also have gratitude to family, friends & community factions, who take the the time to get a more accurate perspective & treat me with respect.

    A renewed focus on tactics to deal with malicious vested interests that seek to divide & conquer, to hinder cooperation & collective power, seem from here, a good way to move forward on all this.

    If you’d like me to go into further details, let me know.

    All the best.

    • M Cryer

      July 3, 2017 at 6:40 PM

      Pingback and Monique: Do you think we need ‘cultural competency’ training? The ‘cultural competency’ training is a small step, albeit a step towards, an open mind, receptive to comprehension, therefore, awareness, therefore the initiation of change, and for addressing a deeper programming. We have to have some place to start. I am asking you, because what you have written above, resonates with me (Monique). I too, prefer to maintain, a day to day focus on commonalities as opposed to societal ‘corrective’ action; since there has to be a starting place for awareness to begin…. if not in harmony with others; then it seems the alternative, is we travel this journey in pain with more trauma…. certainly NOT a promise of change rather continuation of what has gone before. Are the AVAILABLE CULTURAL COMPETENCY training options, enough? Do we turn it down, as suggested if there is government funding attached or a ‘hidden agenda’ by some (other) Indigenous community/individuals (NOT) original land dwellers where we attend? It is all very complex, we must have a starting point. We wouldn’t be involving ourselves if we didn’t have a yearning to understand and develop greater awareness, being grateful people to start with. Seeking feedback by all / any who are able to communicate with a layperson lacking degree in poly sci. thanks, (and apologies Pingback for heavy referencing of academic resourcing’ without it I never would have been referred to your page…. despite my level of concern (FOR US ALL, and wish for solidarity…. ) M. Cryer (I got this link via speaker Craig Chalquist explaining and recommending, ‘ activist archetype’ and referencing Mary Watkins abstract; ‘psychosocial accompaniment’ – ) – Craig Chalquist webinar

  41. Rodrigo Rodriguez

    February 9, 2018 at 2:56 PM

    Need to include the Jetsetters in this one too, some of these so called allies spend all their time traveling to exotic locations to build “Solidarity” but really just on vacation lol

Add your comments (racist, sexist, & trans/homophobic comments will not be published)


No Pardon for Genocide: Rejecting the Catholic Church’s “Repudiation” of the Doctrine of Discovery




On March 30th, 2023 a joint statement was released by administrative departments of the Vatican City-State condemning “acts of violence, oppression, social injustice and slavery, including those committed against indigenous peoples.” The Catholic Church stated that it “…repudiates those concepts that fail to recognize the inherent human rights of indigenous peoples, including what has become known as the legal and political ‘doctrine of discovery’.”

We are used to the deceptions of the church, this “repudiation” is no exception.

The words of the Catholic Church are nothing more than an attempt to damage control and downplay their genocidal legacy while obscuring their ongoing benefit from and perpetuation of colonial violence.

In 1493 the Papal Bull “Inter Caetera,” was issued by Pope Alexander VI. The document established the “Doctrine of Discovery” and was central to Spain’s Christianizing strategy to ensure “exclusive right” to enslaved Indigenous Peoples and lands invaded by Columbus the year prior. This decree also made clear the Pope’s threat to forcibly assimilate Indigenous Peoples to Catholicism in order to strengthen the “Christian Empire.” This doctrine of “civilization” led to successive generational patterns of genocidal and ecocidal wars waged by European settler colonizers against Indigenous lives, lands, spirit, and the living world of all of our relations. “Manifest destiny,” the intensified invasion of Indigenous lands in the so-called U.S., was inspired and sanctioned by this religious “Doctrine.”

Fuck your manifest destiny.

In 1823 the “Doctrine of Discovery” was written into U.S. law as a way to deny land rights to Indigenous Peoples in the Supreme Court case, Johnson v. McIntosh. In a unanimous decision, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that Christian European nations had assumed complete control over the lands of “America” during the “Age of Discovery.” And in declaring “independence” from the Crown of England in 1776, he noted that the U.S. had in effect and thus by law inherited authority over these lands from Great Britain, “notwithstanding the occupancy of the natives, who were heathens…” According to the ruling, Indigenous Peoples did not have any rights as independent nations, but only as tenants or residents of the U.S. on our own lands. The papal bull inter caetera was enshrined in U.S. law and continues to be the basis of colonial legal domination of Indigenous existence.

The Doctrine of Discovery has long been contested by Indigenous Peoples. Multiple delegations since the 1970s have visited Vatican City and demanded repudiation. In occupied Hawaii, an annual ceremonial burning of the Papal Bull “Inter Caetera” has been held since 1997.
In response to the Catholic Church’s repudiation, some Indigenous organizations have criticized the statement and are issuing demands for the Catholic Church to take “accountability.” Deborah Parker, CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition stated, “While the Vatican’s decision to renounce the Doctrine of Discovery is the right one, it downplays the Church’s role and accountability for the harm it has caused to Native peoples. It does not change the fact that the Church’s views gave permission to colonizers to take Native lands and assimilate Native peoples… We demand more transparency, including access to Indian boarding school documents, which they have refused to provide. We demand that the Church returns lands to the Tribal Nations in which it operated Indian boarding schools. We demand that the Church supports the Truth and Healing Bill, which would establish a federal commission and conduct a full inquiry into the assimilative policies of U.S. Indian boarding schools. And we demand that the Church respects Tribal sovereignty and Indigenous ways of being.”

With the 215 remains of Indigenous children uncovered in 2021 in a mass grave at a residential school in “Canada,” collective Indigenous rage was sparked to address the brutal legacy of forced colonial education. The strategy of boarding or residential schools, as they are called in so-called Canada, was part of a political, religious, and ideological war waged against Indigenous Peoples that targeted children.

In 2007, after decades of advocacy for reparations in so-called Canada, a settlement was agreed upon in the largest class action settlement ever faced by the colonial government. The settlement included a $10,000 “common experience” payment to the approximately 90,000 people who survived residential schools with an additional $3,000 for every year they were held at the schools. Approximately $200 million was allocated for funding for healing and educational programs. As part of this process, the Catholic Church has paid over $50 million and has offered to pay $30 million more.

A group called the Truth Commission into Genocide in “Canada,” which has charged that the residential schools were responsible for the deaths and disappearances of thousands of Indigenous children, rejected the deal stating, “This bribe and legal gagging is being presented as a final ‘resolution’ of the claims of residential school survivors, as if such unspeakable crimes as mass sterilizations, gang rape, ritualistic torture and murder are resolvable by or reducible to an issue of money…”

On April 1, 2022 the Pope apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in violent assimilation through “Canadian” residential schools. In a written statement, the Pope acknowledged colonial “lack of respect” and forced assimilation and said, “For the deplorable conduct of those members of the Catholic Church, I ask for God’s forgiveness and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry. And I join my brothers, the Canadian bishops, in asking your pardon.”

In the recent statement of repudiation, the Catholic Church has the audacity to say that while many Catholics “…gave their lives in defense of the dignity of [Indigenous] peoples… Many Christians have committed evil acts against indigenous peoples for which recent Popes have asked forgiveness on numerous occasions… As Pope Francis has emphasized, their sufferings constitute a powerful summons to abandon the colonizing mentality and to walk with them side by side, in mutual respect and dialogue, recognizing the rights and cultural values of all individuals and peoples. In this regard, the Church is committed to accompany indigenous peoples and to foster efforts aimed at promoting reconciliation and healing.”

They absurdly state, “…the Church is committed to accompany indigenous peoples and to foster efforts aimed at promoting reconciliation and healing.”
But we hear more theocratic lies as authoritarian religious dogmatists still spit their texts while murdering in the name of their god.

We do not desire to be “accompanied” by the church to heal. It is in its shadow that our trauma and abuse continue. We refuse to have our hand held by our abuser who is also attempting to set by which terms we may “heal.” Statements of historical remorse change nothing if systems of colonial domination and exploitation remain. 

The Church directly asks for forgiveness, “It is only just to recognize these errors, acknowledge the terrible effects of the assimilation policies and the pain experienced by indigenous peoples, and ask for pardon.”

To this we state fuck their forgiveness. How dare they ask for “pardon” while they sit on a throne paid for by stolen wealth, lands, lives and resources throughout the world? We look forward to the day their walls crumble around them and the empires their ideals built are nothing but smoldering ash and ruin.

Christianity as a whole has long been a primary institution of cis-heteropatriarchal colonial violence which perpetuated mass femicide during the “inquisition.” The Malleus Maleficarum and preceding papal bull Summis desiderantes affectibus were explicitly used to demonize and murder Indigenous “pagan witches” throughout Europe. The doctrine was the basis of the white supremacist initiated genocidal inquisition to remove Jews, Muslims, Roma, and land-based indigenous cultures from Europe while they set out to destroy and colonize indigenous lands in Africa and the so-called Americas.

The history of their faith is written in the blood. They cannot truly repudiate the discovery doctrine because it is the foundation of their “civilization.” Christian civilization has always been a spiritual war of domination of Mother Earth. At every massacre of Indigenous Peoples, a cross. In every Indigenous child’s boarding school desk, a bible. On nearly every slave ship from Africa, a devout Christian at the helm.

We do not speak of colonialism in the past-tense. 

The systematic domination and annihilation of Indigenous Peoples and lifeways, women, and queer people in the “name of God” continues throughout the world. The Doctrine of Discovery fuels current missionary work by Catholics and other Christian sects who are violently trying to convert Indigenous Peoples throughout the world. They draw their missionizing tactics from the practices that the Catholic Church developed during the inquisition and colonial conquests. There’s no difference between current evangelical, Mormon, jehovah witness, or any other missionary projects invading Africa, South “America,” and reservations. All Christian denominations doing missionary work are part of the doctrine’s legacy which continues to sanction the forcible assimilation of Indigenous Peoples to this day. 

This is also the legacy that White Supremacist Christian nationalists are still rallying to uphold throughout the so-called U.S. They attempt to bury historical violence in attacks on the specter of “Critical Race Theory” while further dehumanizing queer folks and attacking women’s bodily autonomy. The facade of mass scale victim blaming and scapegoating is not enough to escape the consequences of a history of genocide, enslavement, and ecocide.

The Catholic Church attempts to rewrite history and distance themselves from their role and responsibly in mass-scale violence systematically waged throughout the world against the Earth and existence.

The recent statement says, “The ‘doctrine of discovery’ is not part of the teaching of the Catholic Church. Historical research clearly demonstrates that the papal documents in question, written in a specific historical period and linked to political questions, have never been considered expressions of the Catholic faith… these documents were manipulated for political purposes by competing colonial powers in order to justify immoral acts against indigenous peoples that were carried out, at times, without opposition from ecclesiastical authorities.”

A statue of Junipero Serra comes down. In so-called California.

In spite of Indigenous protests, Pope Francis canonized Junipero Serra as a saint in 2015. In 1769 Serra founded the first of 21 missions in so-called “California.” Under Serra’s leadership, tens of thousands of Indigenous people were forcibly enslaved and brutalized. As racist statues were torn down during the George Floyd uprisings of 2020, statues of Junipero Serra (at least 7 were toppled or beheaded), Christopher Columbus, and other colonial monuments were also destroyed. In so-called California 5 people were charged with felonies for their alleged role in toppling a Serra monument (Support here:

From Po’pay to Toypurina, Indigenous ancestors burned their missions to the ground and killed their missionaries to defend Mother Earth and all existence. As more bodies of Indigenous children have been found in mass graves at residential schools in so-called Canada, a reported 68 Christian churches have been vandalized with many being consumed by fires set by Indigenous rage and vengeance.

No apology will ever be enough. Excuses are not enough, an obligatory debt is owed in so many forms yet how could we ever claim it? While many demand reparations, we must counter: We do not seek any form of payment or recompense but the ruin of those institutions and ideals of domination, control, and exploitation. We make no demands of that which we seek to abolish. As sacred sites remain under attack and as intergenerational wounds remain open, we continue to resist the extremely brutal and ongoing legacies of colonial religious violence. Their repudiation is over 500 years too late. We seek abolition and revenge. 

Read our previous post: Colonial Education is Still War. Indigenous knowledge & rage is power.

Vatican statements:

Recommended reading:
Columbus and Other Cannibals The Wetiko Disease of Exploitation, Imperialism, and Terrorism, Jack Forbes

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Continue Reading


Unknowable: Against an Indigenous Anarchist Theory – Zine




Unknowable: Against an Indigenous Anarchist Theory
Klee Benally, Ya’iishjááshch’ilí (June 2021)
Originally published in Black Seed: Not On Any Map

Prinatable zine format: Readable PDF | Print (Imposed) PDF

A brief introduction.

Yá’át’ééh, I feel it necessary to offer these pieces of the introduction I wrote for Black Seed: Not On Any Map, particularly because this overall piece was originally situated in the midst of a larger conversation and may feel like it’s missing a couple of things to some readers.

…I was upset the first time I read Locating an Indigenous Anarchism, though like with certain textual oddities, with each re-read over the years I became less frustrated.
Perhaps like you, I picked up the zine with the same zeal that enticed you to open the pages of this book. You wanted some answers from people who have been thinking about these questions. You expect that from analysis, next steps and an action plan follows, right? The response is both disappointing and refreshing, “No, it does not.”
The smug assertion that, “the last hope for an indigenous world-view… is patience” was terribly insufficient punctuation.
I’ve nurtured my impatience over the years. It’s been a personal project of intentional temperament disorientation that is the byproduct of not taking shit and doing activisty projects like organizing direct actions and establishing an infoshop. As I grew to know Aragorn! and converse more about these ideas, I realized this was a baited truth. I’ve longed for this conversation to continue but not like this, not in these pages.

For a range of reasons you’ll observe throughout the entirety of this offering, Indigenous Anarchy is not a conversation we really desired to have. …our reluctance was affirmed at the 2019 Indigenous Anarchist Convergence… Yet here we are, beating our thoughts out like a neglected rug, pulled from the abandoned house of a dead relative. Indigenous Anarchism is that dreaded collect call…

…Perhaps this project here is tasked towards ensuring that this conversation is never a doctrine. In terms of Indigenous Anarchy, that this remains part of its anti-discovery.

For those that desire as much, here are some short cuts and it was nice to meet you:

If we understand that European Anarchism is “1) A history of iconic figures. 2) A set of increasingly radical ideas about social transformation. 3) A practice that has only been uniform in its rejection by those in power.”1 And that it is also a dynamic politic that invites its very destruction yet maintains composure of core principles: Direct Action, Voluntary Association, and Mutual Aid.

Then we build on this dynamic an understanding that Indigenous Anarchism is 1) An anti-history of ancestral memory. 2) A set of radical (as in total negation) ideas that are not a detour but a bridge between anti-colonial struggle and Indigenous liberation. 3) A practice that expresses and asserts autonomy in the context of where it is located. As Aragorn! observed, “An indigenous anarchism is an anarchism of place.” 4) Is not an identity.
And that its first principles as articulated by Aragorn! are: Everything is Alive, The Ascendance of Memory, and Sharing is Living.
For distinction I would add that an Anarchist would pronounce, “There is no authority above yourself.” An Indigenous Anarchist would offer, “There is no authority but nature.”

…When pressed against many of these words I don’t find myself. When I’m not home I call myself an Indigenous Anarchist to agitate against assimilation and shitty liberal politics. When I’m home I am a child of Yoolgai asdzáá (White Shell Woman). I am in her arms, where the constraints of colonial political control and categories are totally meaningless.
In these words I find others. I locate an affinity of longing. A shared lament and dreaming.

Find the earth in your fingers and let the questions of these beliefs, values, and practices “haunt you.”
There are worse and more voracious ghosts in the dead world of the colonizers.


Unknowable: Against an Indigenous Anarchist Theory

“This land is a sacred land. The man’s law is not our law. Nature, food and the way we live is our law.”
 – Roberta Blackgoat, Diné matriarch from Big Mountain.

The Unraveling

My actions are clumsy and deft. My hands are shaking. I have a fever. These are the convulsions of bitter medicine and the spirit.
We have become entangled in words that are not our own. They cut our tongues as we speak. They eat our dreams as we sleep. This is a reluctant offering.

A thread that weaves a story, pulled gently at first. So focused on the line that we become disoriented in the delicate tension. When we remember to breathe. When we step away from these stars and into constellations, we see new symbols have emerged.

The idea of “civilization” was translated to Diné bizaad, as it was in many other languages of the land, in the brutal and fractured words of imposition that were spread through a multitude of ruptures throughout the world and refined in Europe. This is not an evaluation of what has proceeded as the depths of its telling has been surveyed acutely in other spaces. Though it is important to speak of its stark shadow as it was announced in the eclipsing language of domination, control and exploitation. And when it consumed and it did not swallow us whole, it voraciously welcomed us into its folds. Our ancestors knew this was the language of non-existence, they attacked it.

When we ask the question “What does civilization want?” we are visited by the ghosts of our children. The specters of a dead future. Emaciated skeletons buried beneath vulgar stories of conquest upon conquest upon conquest. Civilization has no relatives, only captives. Breathing dead air and poisoned water, it owns the night and creeps towards distant constellations. Its survival is expansive unending hunger, a hunger that has been named colonialism; a vast consumption that feeds on spirit, and all life. It fashions its years and seconds into an anemic prison. It has shaped time into the most exquisite of weapons, obliterating memories, killing cycles. Its essence is time. The temporal and spacial imposition of awareness is the oblivion that is modernity and linear, or one-way time. When we name the genocidal fulfillment of a colonized future, civilization pronounces itself as The Existent. This is what is meant by “modernity.” It is authoritarian temporality. We name this consuming of existence, this assertion of “superiority,” as a war of wars against Mother Earth. 

Capitalism is the alimentary tract of this monster, it is a transmuter. Recoiling onto itself to keep its accumulations from others, only moving when there is something to be gained. It speaks between acrid breaths, “the air is mine, the water is mine, and the land is mine,” as it carves the earth and draws lines, “even the night, is mine.” We cannot even sleep without a payment to exist within its expansive nightmare.
Everything can be transmuted into commodity; this is what is meant when the words free and market are conjoined. Whether driven by capitalist expansion or other political and economic means, industry demands resource. It covets them and produces a hierarchy of existence, or power, through a vulgar alchemy. It fragments our lives into manageable tasks. To produce. To make. To Grow. To Serve. To build. To move. To gain. It cultivates food not to eat. It builds pipelines through sacred rivers to fuel industries, to benefit those who believe in its “order,” its adherents, its devout believers, those who name themselves “capitalists.” The lights are left on. The fridge is still cold. The water flows down the drain to somewhere. Our lands are left ravaged by open sores where they were scraped and dug for coal, uranium, lithium, metals, glistening stones…
When they shit we are left to live and feed on the wastes.

That we cannot live freely from the land is the ultimatum of capitalism, it is the banner waving over the death march of progress across the world. That the earth has been scorched so we submit, that our children were stolen so we forget. It has not solely been that our existence is what has been the target of civilization though, in terms of commodities and productivities; we can exist with the condition that our world ends within us. So long as we shed our skin and unravel that which has been woven since time immemorial.

Na’ashjé’ii Asdzáá taught us how to weave.

Each thread has memory and recoils towards its restoring. When it is so tightly woven it holds water, that is how familiar, how deep our mutuality is. Place, beings, each other, ourselves, this depth is beyond the reaches of memory.
It is what has always made us a threat.

Civil (Dis)Agreements

Civilization’s urge is to constitute itself in ways to manage, or govern, by a range of means i.e. divine right, social contract, etc. its people and resources; it has come to articulate this arrangement in the form of the State. However it has been organized, we can understand the State plainly as centralized political governance. Its characteristics have always been the same: a privileged group makes the decisions for everyone else and upholds those decisions with military and police forces, the judiciary, and prisons. Whether it is constituted in a religious, class, hereditary, or ethnic authority, there is nothing voluntary, or consensual about the State except within the ranks of its elite privileged groups. The “rights” of the governed can be granted or taken away.

Max Weber offers this candid and most useful definition of the state as, “a polity that maintains a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.”
Its violences are most often obscured (because some form of agreement is necessary to maintain power) but always upheld through some combination of implicit and explicit institutional brutality.
In the political theater of “democracy,” that obscurity is maintained through the symbolic act of voting. Voting is ritual agreement of the legitimacy of the state and its mandate over society. It only ever resolves the question of rules and rulers. Decolonization will never be on the ballot, yet Indigenous captives continue to play out their roles and vote for their colonial masters.

The process of bringing people and lands that have not been civilized into civilization is the essential and vicious role of colonialism. When a State has consumed its available resources it is compelled to look elsewhere and to others. This is the etymology of colonialism; it is the language of domination, coercion, control, exploitation, assimilation, and annihilation. It expands and contracts in between breaths of unending wars, it colonizes memories to justify itself, this is what it calls History. Its corroded conscience constructs a national identity out of its insecurities: stories of greatness, of the world before and the world to come. It emerges entitled and assembles against its persistent enemies, the menace of those who refuse captivation, those fluctuating threats it names as “others.”
The maintenance of this internalized violence is its nationalism. When it becomes so pervasive that it has no need to pronounce its dominance and authority, this is what we also call “fascism.”

The settler colonial State has always meant war against Indigenous Peoples in so-called North America. The military designs of reservations were open-air prison camps. Treaties were negotiations of the terms of our surrender. The strategy of “Tribal sovereignty” was planned as a temporary management project towards total assimilation. That Indigenous Peoples have been politically corralled into the colonial designation of “domestic dependent Nations” is antithetical to the very concept of sovereignty (in terms of self-governance). From the Doctrine of Discovery to the Marshall Trilogy, these acts are the formal legal basis of ongoing genocide, ecocide, and slavery on these lands. Indigenous politicians (those that aren’t outright colonial puppets) are still sentimental to the fantasy of “Tribal sovereignty” under colonial occupation. Their strategies are social and political suicide.
While Indigenous scholars and activists like Vine Deloria Jr. and members of the American Indian Movement have focused on the goal of an Indigenous sovereignty “without political and social assimilation,” this objective has been limited and ultimately reinforced the Euro-colonial, or more precisely the Westphalian system, of nation-state sovereignty. “Tribal sovereignty” is not possible while colonial authority exists, and perhaps a more pressing concern is that it is fundamentally a colonial political concept. While calls to “honor the treaties” on one hand could be viewed as assertions of Indigenous political authority, on the other, they are a myopic urge to revisit forced negotiations made under duress to benefit the colonial order. The strategy of colonial expansion was not designed to sustain treaties with Peoples that invaders planned to assimilate into their order. The U.S. government had absolutely no problem breaking every treaty it marked its name on. From the colonizer’s perspective treaties were always temporary; they were a concession to captivity, an agreement to civilization. They were merely a symbolic and political formality of capitulation. Treaties are dead words on dead pieces of paper that were negotiations of the surrender of our ancestors.

In its simplest terms, settler colonialism is violent dispossession, appropriation, and imposition. Resource colonialism is only differentiated in that it is oriented to enslave and exploit. Both forces of colonialism are most often imposed in tandem; always depending and shifting based upon the benefits sought by the colonizer. In its mapping of existence, colonialism dispossess all life. Its first discreet violence is discovery, the brutal act of making “knowable,” the unknown. It then imposes one way of living, one way of time, and one way of knowing, over another. What has been called “manifest destiny” —More’s utopian impulse— is the mass-death march of settler futurity. Always towards a temporal hegemony. Its power coalesces in spacial moments by its adherents. As it breathes it is scalable; it is at once the State, the monarchy, the church, the colony, and the empire. For those that continue to reap the rewards of colonization, it is a “civil” agreement they silently make and uphold everyday.

Nature negates the state.

As we trace tree rings and dust turned stone carved by powerful waters into vast canyons, we are comforted with the unknowledge that nature has always negated the State. As it controls and consumes existence to sustain and build itself, the State, as a constitution of civilization, exists against nature.

For Diné, our lives are guided in relation to six sacred mountains that are the pillars of our cosmology. Each of these mountains is adorned in sacred elements and presents a teaching of how we maintain and restore harmony as we exist in this world. Through our ceremonies and prayers we maintain a living covenant (physically maintained as Dził Leezh or mountain soil bundles) to exist in harmony with nature.
At points in our existence, a collective social process called Naachid (to gesture in a direction) has been implemented to address significant matters facing our people. Naat’aáni (the one who speaks) have been misinterpreted by colonial  anthropologists as “leaders” of Diné yet their role, as those responsible for the medicine bundles for their families, was ceremonial and not absolute or coercive. This way of being is incompatible with any form of centralized governance. It is incoherent to the State.
Throughout the world Indigenous Peoples live their mutuality on varied terms in complex (and sometimes conflictual and contradictory) social relationships. The cosmology of existence, the continually emergent worlds and manifestations of being and becoming, are all outside of “civilized” order and the state. They are unknowable.

Yet the settler anthropologist wants more evidence, more rationale, more comparison, more information, and more justification to feed itself on the unknown. It scavenges for barbarity to justify its own violent social urges: “this is how it’s been, this is why we dominate and destroy.” The living world is sacrificed and consumed on the altar of progress; this is the sacrament of Darwin.

Perhaps to also clear their genocidal consciences, European invaders have been fascinated with projecting “enlightened” ideals of social management (like calling even the slightest agreeable political cohesion a “democracy”), hierarchies, and power relationships to justify their ongoing march of “modernity.” Anthropologists have nearly dissected everything they can about who we are and how we relate to each other. As we’ll discuss later, it is no surprise to see radical leftists calculate their existence on that same path, with similar projections.

Ours is a continually emergent world, our existence and our future is continuous manifestation, and we are always in the process of becoming.
To unmap Indigenous social relations from the colonial political geography means to become unknowable again. When we restore or heal ancestral living knowledge, we become a remembering against time. Indigenous memories are anti-history and anti-future. Indigenous physical and mnemonic resistance is the rejection of colonial temporal “awareness,” it is the negation of oblivion. Our mutuality with existence has always occurred outside of time.

Our existence is organized in cycles that have rejected coercion into the static geography of settler-colonial understandings. We find more affinity with the juniper and sage that grow through impossible sandstone. We locate ourselves in the springs where our ancestor’s footprints have worn a path like an umbilical cord. We know the land and the land knows us. Where and who we are mean the same thing. This is an understanding that is cultivated through generations upon generations of mutuality. This is where our thinking comes from. It is a place where no government exists. Indigenous liberation is the realization of our autonomy and mutuality with all life and the Earth, free from domination, coercion, domination, and exploitation. This is also an anarchist assertion, so we locate a connection.

The anarchist position is one that locates the fundamental oppression and power in society in the very structure and operations of the State. Although autonomy and anti-authoritarianism didn’t originate in Europe, as a political idea, Anarchy was named through hundreds of years of resistance to domination by the State, monarchs, capitalists, and the Christian church. For those who assert themselves as anarchists, any form of State power is an imposition of force. They fundamentally reject and critique political authority in all its forms. In its early expressions, those now considered “classical” anarchists such as Bakunin & Kropotkin, found anarchism in what they observed as a “natural law” of freedom and sought harmony in its order. Though there is some interesting ancestry with Lewis Henry Morgan (who fetishized the Haudenosaunee) and William Godwin, and the influences of the products of their fascinations with Indigenous Peoples in the so-called Americas, we’re not interested in the pedigree of anarchism. They drew from our blood and we kept bleeding. In their distillation they separated out our matriarchy, our queerness, and that which made us whole, so what would they have to offer except a vague essentialization?

When anarchism speaks we locate an affinity in our hostility towards those who have imposed themselves upon us.
But we resist to be reduced to political artifacts, so this has also made us hostile towards anarchist identity, though not entirely to anarchism.

When it is asked, “how can we locate an Indigenous Anarchism” and “how can we heal and live our lives free from colonial constraint?” Our first response is an extension of our hostility; there is no Indigenous anarchist theory and perhaps there never should be. 

Against an Indigenous Anarchist Theory

Theory proposes to map who and what we are into the awareness we reject; to make us known and formulate a position through the cartography of settler knowledge. But what use do we have for political ideologies that have been imposed through colonial relations?
Political science theories are established through substantiation, explanation, and justification. The reference points for these standards are Euro-subjectivities that inherently delegitimize and dispossess Indigenous knowledge. Those who aspire to be scholars, by design of their institutional careers, most often are placed in the position of ideological authority.
The contours of the existent political geography have been over-mapped by intellectuals, academics & armchair revolutionary theoreticians who desire to flatten our earth-view into categories that are too stifling for the complexities of our desires. Their pastime is building walls within walls of concrete structures where they can hang their accolades and intellectually manage those of us below. Their affinities are shaped within the same halls of other “sciences” that are reductive fascinations born of, benefit from, and ultimately serve to perpetuate a materialist culture of domination, exploitation, and death.

After a political theory is solidified, a banner is waved, a flag is planted, and allegiance is due.

We do not seek that our ways of knowing, being, and acting ever be wrapped up into a fixed belief and presented as a pitiful rag. We do not wish that Indigenous anarchism ever be a flag that is planted anywhere on Mother Earth. The calcification of an Indigenous anarchist theory would precipitate all the merchandizing that relegates other political theories to banal dramaturgy, and we fanatically reject these conditions.
Indigenous autonomy needs no theoretical foundation to justify itself.

As an anarchist who was also an Indigenous person, Aragorn! identified this rejection, “Anarchism is the term used to describe an open ended theory that will not be set in stone. Anarchy isn’t named after a man, it is named after negation.”

The modern leftist political urge towards unified (centralized) revolutionary struggle, with meticulously identified “points of unity” and check box manifestos outlining programs, are all propositions of philosophical, ideological, and political homogeneity. This is a tendency that the Zapatistas — who are romanticized ad nauseam for their particularly wonderful sustained insurrection — were very aware of. Much to the frustrations of leftists seeking legitimacy and to have their political theories confirmed, the Zapatistas were intentionally elusive about their politics due to the trappings of modern leftist political projections. While it was clear that the assertion of Zapatismo by Ch’ol, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Tojolobal, Mam, and Zoque people embodied autonomous anti-capitalist anti-colonial struggle, land back, and mutual aid, the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee Zapatista Army of National Liberation asserted, “Zapatismo is not a new political ideology, or a rehash of old ideologies. Zapatismo is nothing, it does not exist. It only serves as a bridge, to cross from one side, to the other. So everyone fits within Zapatismo, everyone who wants to cross from one side, to the other. There are no universal recipes, lines, strategies, tactics, laws, rules, or slogans. There is only a desire – to build a better world, that is, a new world.”
Leftists have excessively applied “post-modern” (a concept that placed them farther along their linear timeline) anthropologism and studied their uprising (while almost always neglecting struggles of Indigenous Peoples whose lands they occupy), but their rebellion is incomprehensible without understanding the Indigenous heart (through language, ceremony, cosmology, etc.) at the center of their struggle. We appreciate and desire to build on this negation of comprehensibility. We do not fetishize Zapatismo because it does not exist.

We also reject the proposition that any political ideology could comprehensively represent the desires, aspirations, resistance, autonomy, and social organizing of all Indigenous Peoples throughout the world. When we say Indigenous, we mean of the land. That means who we are is specific to a place.
This is something Aragorn! explored from a position of dispossession in Locating an Indigenous Anarchism, “An indigenous anarchism is an anarchism of place. This would seem impossible in a world that has taken upon itself the task of placing us nowhere. A world that places us nowhere universally. Even where we are born, live, and die is not our home.“ Aragorn! reflected passed those of us who are still rooted in place and not in the location that, “…is the differentiation that is crushed by the mortar of urbanization and pestle of mass culture into the paste of modern alienation.” But this is the beauty of this conversation. When we start talking about our relationships to place, we draw out the tensions, the exclusions, the conflicts and contradictions. (Perhaps we should also be asking or proposing, “how can we weaponize our alienation?”)

Our aspirations are already well articulated by our original (living) teachings; no theory or postulation can substitute. This is not to say that our ways are rigid, but to break the dams imposed by colonial stunting and let the rivers of our ways of being flow. Without breaking those barriers, we face stagnation of any political aspiration in the tepid waters of theory. Our existence is guided but it is also fluid and as such, no river should live as a lake if its waters were born to flow.

The disharmony of Anarchist identity & solidarity.

There is a push by settler leftists, particularly by those entangled in the academic industry, to define an Indigenous Anarchism. They come as inchoate anthropologists with their half-chewed hypothesis in their mouths, speaking for us before we have spoken. Perhaps the impulse is a moment to celebrate for some, as the alternatives are to continue the status quo towards our social death and the fulfillment of colonial future or to compete for equal access to coercive power through “revolutionary” leftist propositions. But settler sciences and politics can only define what we are not. Their reference point is European thought that slaughtered their own Indigenous understandings long ago. For the better part of its articulated existence, Anarchism has been a response to power in the context of European cycles of social domination, exploitation and dehumanization. And so the expectation for Indigenous Peoples to answer with a clear ideological and political response is in many ways, a project that (unintentionally) serves to justify settler colonial identity and existence. It is an insidious survival strategy, veiled as an overture of political solidarity. So why should Indigenous Peoples join the chorus of this death rattle when the killing of a settler colonial future is what we mean when we pronounce “Indigenous Liberation”? The project of politicizing Indigenous identity produces Indigenous actors assuming roles in a political theatre that ultimately alienates our autonomy. But if we study civil movements in the so-called U.S., apparently this is how we qualify for solidarity.

It would appear that we would naturally find affinity with those asking and answering the question, “How can we live our lives free from authoritarian constraint?” Yet the terms of affinity or solidarity have almost always been skewed towards the pursuit of a settler colonial future. Indigenous Peoples constantly have had to justify our existence in political terms to be suitable for support.
This false solidarity has never been mutual; it has existed as an instrument of settler colonial assimilation. It seeks to justify itself through captivating Indigenous Peoples rather than examining how it is itself a product, perpetuator, and benefactor of settler colonial domination. There is nothing more contradictory than an autonomous settler asserting a standard for which Indigenous autonomy should be justified.
To make this point clear, early “American” anarchists never declared war against colonialism. 

One of the most prominent representatives of the early Anarchist tendency on these lands, Voltairine de Cleyre, celebrated colonial violence against Indigenous Peoples in her 1912 essay “Direct Action.” That it has never, in all of these years of study, come to the attention of students of anarchism to address her example as settler colonial defense against Indigenous Peoples, is a glaring reality of the blind spot that European descended anarchists continue to maintain. In her essay De Cleyre stated,

“Another example of direct action in early colonial history, but this time by no means of the peaceable sort, was the affair known as Bacon’s Rebellion. All our historians certainly defend the action of the rebels in that matter, for they were right. And yet it was a case of violent direct action against lawfully constituted authority. For the benefit of those who have forgotten the details, let me briefly remind them that the Virginia planters were in fear of a general attack by the Indians; with reason. Being political actionists, they asked, or Bacon as their leader asked, that the governor grant him a commission to raise volunteers in their own defense. …I am quite sure that the political-action-at-all-costs advocates of those times, after the reaction came back into power, must have said: ‘See to what evils direct action brings us! Behold, the progress of the colony has been set back twenty-five years;’ forgetting that if the colonists had not resorted to direct action, their scalps would have been taken by the Indians a year sooner (emphasis added), instead of a number of them being hanged by the governor a year later. In the period of agitation and excitement preceding the revolution, there were all sorts and kinds of direct action from the most peaceable to the most violent; and I believe that almost everybody who studies United States history finds the account of these performances the most interesting part of the story, the part which dents into the memory most easily.”

De Cleyre, like most early anarchists in the U.S., critiqued authority, domination, and coercion yet glorified the brutality of colonial conquest as an exemplary unmediated act.
The deeper story of Bacon’s 1675-1676 “rebellion” is that this colonial invader went against British authority and manipulated Occaneechi warriors to assist in his attack against the Susquehannock who were defending their homelands. After their raid, Bacon’s white militia immediately turned on their Occaneechi allies and massacred men, women, and children. That this analysis has remained unchallenged is remarkable considering that thirty years after this “rebellion,” settler militias like Bacon’s transformed from Black slave and “Indian” patrols into the first police forces in “America.”

We can also look to Cindy Milstein’s 2010 book Anarchism and Its Aspirations for more recent examples of settler colonial advocacy. While the majority of the book succinctly states what anarchism is about, in the section on Direct Democracy Milstein states, “…we forget that democracy finds its radical edge in the great revolutions of the past, the American Revolution included.” For Milstein, settler colonial violence was a reconcilable complication, “This does not mean that the numerous injustices tied to the founding of the United States should be ignored or, to use a particularly appropriate word, whitewashed. The fact that native peoples, blacks, women, and others were (and often continue to be) exploited, brutalized, and/or murdered wasn’t just a sideshow to the historic event that created this country. Any movement for direct democracy has to grapple with the relation between this oppression and the liberatory moments of the American Revolution.”
Milstein then states, “At the same time, one needs to view the revolution in the context of its times and ask, in what ways was it an advance?” and later calls for “a second ‘American Revolution.’”

Settler colonialism by definition is involuntary association. Colonizers who are anarchists still maintain an implicit position of domination over Indigenous Peoples and Lands, which is unmistakably contrary to anti-authoritarianism. This has been incongruously apparent in “primitivist,” green anarchist, and re-wildling tendencies that have been wrought with cultural appropriation, fetishism, and erasure. Without consent, without meaningful relationality with Indigenous Peoples, settler colonizer anarchists in the so-called U.S. will always have to face this deep contradiction. Anarchism, or any other political proposition for that matter, simply cannot be imposed or “re-wilded” on stolen lands.

While settler colonizer anarchists preserve the idea of “America” in their revolutionary imaginary, Black Anarchists such as Ashanti Alston, Kuwasi Balagoon, Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin in the so-called U.S. have long articulated their deep concerns with anarchism’s lack of racial analysis while struggling with propositions of Black statist nationalism. In As Black As Resistance: Finding the Conditions of Liberation, William C. Anderson and Zoé Samudzi dig directly into this matter by asserting, “We are not settlers. But championing the creation of a Black majoritarian nation-state, where the fate of Indigenous people is ambiguous at best, is an idea rooted in settler logic.” They observe that,

“Black American land politics cannot simply be built on top of centuries-old exterminatory settler logic of Indigenous removal and genocide. Rather, the actualization of truly liberated land can only come about through dialogue and co-conspiratorial work with Native communities and a shared understanding of land use outside of capitalistic models of ownership.”
The solidarity of stolen people on stolen lands is built through mutuality, consent and breaking the manipulations of colonialism, capitalism, and white supremacy that have dispossessed all of us from Indigenous ways of being.

That “American” anarchist history and contemporary analysis is devoid of meaningful anti-colonial analysis and action speaks volumes to this concern. For all its aggressions towards the state, there are no excuses for its lack of implication of the overlying function of the first violences that compose “America” and from which the continuity of its power flows to this day.

Anarchism, as with all settler produced or adjacent political ideologies, has a compatibility issue with settler colonialism.

In the recent past, settler colonizer anarchists continually excused themselves out of solidarity for Indigenous struggles. From denouncements that “Indigenous struggles are nationalistic,” which really is a projection by fragile settlers of national identities that have absolutely no correlation with Indigenous social organizing (other than with the likes of republican & violent misogynist Russell Means), to outright attacks on the spiritual basis of Indigenous relationality, if solidarity matters, settler colonizers have to confront their hang-ups. This is not to argue that Indigenous Peoples should be considered solely as candidates for political alliance, this goes beyond solidarity, it is an assertion that any liberatory impulse on these lands must be built around the fire of Indigenous autonomy. Whether its performative allyship through land acknowledgements or adopting the label “accomplice,” settlers need to implicate themselves fully into the destruction of their social order. Otherwise we end up satisfied that Its Going Down and Crimethinc check boxed anti-colonial as part of their politic and feature the occasional Indigenous story that they share affinity with. It’s meaningless unless it is a position that informs every part of their analysis and actions, not just when a radical Indigenous moment occurs and they can attach their own analysis to it.

We reject the identifier of “anarcho-Indigenous” for this reason. We are not an appendage of a revolutionary ideology or strategy for power for someone else’s existence. We do not seek to merely be acknowledged as a hyphen to anarchism or any liberation or resistance politics only to be subsumed into its counter movement against a dominant culture.

The question of Indigenous Anarchism isn’t one that we arrived at as corollary of or due to the shortcomings of white or settler Anarchism—it isn’t “what it wasn’t doing for us”—it is a question arrived at in relation to the existence of the State, of the ongoing brutalities of civilization of colonialism, capitalism, cis-heteropatriarchy, and white supremacy, and the desire for an existence without domination, coercion, and exploitation.

From capitalism to socialism, the conclusion towards an affinity with anarchism is in part made due to the anti-Indigenous calculations of every other political proposition.

Marxism’s theoretical inadequacy as a strategy for Indigenous autonomy and liberation lies in its commitment to an industrialized worker run State as the vehicle for revolutionary transformation towards a stateless society. Forced industrialization has ravaged the earth and the people of the earth. To solely focus on an economic system rather than indict the consolidation of power as an expression of modernity has resulted in the predictions of anarchist critics (like Bakunin) to come true; the ideological doctrine of socialists tends towards bureaucracy, intelligentsia, and ultimately totalitarianism.
Revolutionary socialism has been particularly adept at creating authoritarians. Anarchists simply see the strategy for what it is: consolidation of power into a political, industrial, and military force pronouncing liberation to only be trapped in its own theoretical quagmire that perpetually validates its authoritarianism to vanquish economic and social threats that it produces by design.

To be required to assume a role in a society that is premised on colonial political and economic ideology towards the overthrow of that system to achieve communalization is to require political assimilation and uniformity as a condition for and of revolution. Marxist and Maoist positions demand it, which means they demand Indigenous People to reconfigure that which makes them Indigenous to become weapons of class struggle. The process inherently alienates diverse and complex Indigenous social compositions by compelling them to act as subjects of a revolutionary framework based on class and production. Indigenous collectivities exist in ways that leftist political ideologues refuse to imagine. As to do so would conflict with the primary architecture of “enlightenment” and “modernity” that their “civilized” world is built on.
This is why we reject the overture to shed our cultural “bondage” and join the proletariat dictatorship. We reject the gestures to own the means of production with our expectant assimilated role of industrial or cultural worker. Any social arrangement based on industrialization is a dead-end for the earth and the peoples of the earth. Class war on stolen lands could abolish economic exploitation while retaining settler-colonialism. We have no use for any politics that calculates its conclusion within the context of these kinds of power relations.

As Indigenous Peoples we are compelled to go deeper and ask, what about this political ideology is of us and the land? How is our spirituality perceived and how will it remain intact through proposed liberatory or revolutionary processes? As any political ideology can be considered anti-colonial if we understand colonialism only on its material terms as colonized forces versus colonizer forces. When the calculation is made; all other propositions such as Communism, revolutionary socialism, and so forth become obsolete in that the core of their propositions cannot be reconciled with Indigenous spiritual existence. Anarchism, with its flawed legacy, is dynamic enough to actually become a stronger position through the scrutiny; this is primarily due to the matter that as a tension of tensions against domination, anarchism has the unique character of resisting urges towards intransigence. It has been developed and redeveloped as a dynamic position that strengthens with its contortions. Anarchists have constantly looked inward and convulsed with (and even celebrated) their contradictions.

Dislocating an Indigenous Anarchism

If anarchism doesn’t make us more whole, what use do we have for it?

When we ask the question, “What do our cultures want?” The response for Diné is hózhó, or harmony/balance with existence. This is expressed and guided through Sa’ah Naagháí Bik’eh Házhóón.
The idea of collective care and support, of ensuring the well being of all our relations in non-hierarchical voluntary association, and taking direct action has always been something that translated easily into Diné Bizáad (Navajo language). T’áá ni’ínít’éego t’éiyá is a translation of this idea of autonomy. Nahasdzáán dóó Yádiłhił Bitsąądęę Beenahaz’áanii (the natural order of mother earth and father sky) is the basis of our life way. Many young people are still raised with the teaching of t’áá hwó’ ají t’éego, which means if it is going to be it is up to you, that no one will do it for you. Ké’, or our familial relations, guides us so that no one would be left to fend for themselves, it is the basis for our mutuality with all existence, not just human beings.

Our culture is our prefiguration.

I only share this to assert that the principles of anarchism are not at all unfamiliar to Indigenous ways of being: a harmonious life without coercion based upon mutual aid and direct action.

Anarchism is among the few (anti-)political propositions that can be configured through our teachings and remain intact. This is perhaps why some Indigenous Peoples have either identified as Anarchists or drawn connections through affinities with Anarchism. We can look to the autonomous collectives and anti-authoritarian actions of Indigenous Peoples throughout the world and list an incredible amount of brilliant examples. We could easily calculate the principles of anarchism and compare, but we resist that urge, simply because they need not be justified by comparison to any fixed political ideology. Though we could explore texts, historical documents, and oral histories and tease anarchisms out from within them, we reject this kind of anthropological political tourism.

Overall, in many ways anarchism appears to be what we’re already doing. So what use do we have for developing a formal affinity or a political identity of it?

Although we can review the genealogy of leftist political propositions such as Anarchism and Marxism and unveil limited Indigenous inspirations for those ideologies (Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution being a prime example), there have been only a handful of Indigenous thinkers and writers who have articulated their positions linking Indigenous ways and anarchism more formally. Out of the range of texts that relate to Indigenous Anarchism, only Aragorn!’s two essays: Locating an Indigenous Anarchism (2005) and A Non-European Anarchism (2007), and Taiaiake Alfred’s 2005 book Wasàse: indigenous pathways of action and freedom, offer a more direct naming of an Indigenous anarchism.

While Aragorn! offered first principles of Indigenous Anarchism: “Everything is Alive, The Ascendance of Memory, and Sharing is Living,” he rejected a pinning down of an Indigenous Anarchist position and challenged the ways academics, particularly anthropologists, have attempted to domesticate an Indigenous Anarchism in their scholarship.

In his 2005 book, Wasàse: indigenous pathways of action and freedom, Taiaiake Alfred spoke of “anarcho-Indigenism.” In explaining why he felt this term is appropriate to identify a “concise political philosophy.” He stated,

“The two elements that come to mind are indigenous, evoking cultural and spiritual rootedness in this land and the Onkwehonwe struggle for justice and freedom, and the political philosophy and movement that is fundamentally anti-institutional, radically democratic, and committed to taking action to force change: anarchism.
…strategic commonalities between indigenous and anarchist ways of seeing and being in the world: a rejection of alliances with legalized systems of oppression, non-participation in the institutions that structure the colonial relationship, and a belief in bringing about change through direct action, physical resistance, and confrontations with state power.”

Both Aragorn!’s and Alfred’s analysis emerged at the same time with different conclusions. Alfred fetishized non-violence and called for revolutionary change through spiritual resurgence, while Aragorn!, who was an anarchist without adjectives, proposed patience.

In the aftermath of these openings, other articulations have been made, some less clear than others.

In 2007 Táala Hooghan Infoshop was established (myself being one of many “founders”) as an autonomous, anti-colonial and anti-capitalist space by Indigenous youth in occupied Kinłani (Flagstaff, Arizona) with the statement, “We are an Indigenous-established, community based and volunteer-run collective dedicated to creatively confronting and overcoming social and environmental injustices in the occupied territories of Flagstaff and surrounding areas.” In 2013 I helped host “Fire at the Mountain” which was an anti-colonial and anarchist book fair. This is also the location where we (a small temporary collective of sorts) held the 2019 Indigenous Anarchist Convergence.

In Anarchism is Dead! Long Live ANARCHY! (2009), Rob Los Ricos, who maintains strong affinity with anti-civ critiques, asserts that, “The greatest fallacy of Western ideology is that human beings are something apart from — and somehow superior to — the natural world.” but he does not offer an Indigenous perspective. He articulates what he thinks anarchism should be “for” (one race, earth centric, etc.) and cautions anarchists to be wary of progress, “If the enlightenment view of progress can be interpreted as an ideology of the annihilation of life on Earth in the pursuit of monetary gain, then anarchism can only be seen as a more democratic form of worldwide genocidal-euthanasia.”

In 2010, an anti-authoritarian bloc was called for to intervene in a march against a fascist cop named Joe Arpaio organized by liberal migrant justice groups in occupied Akimel O’odham Pi-Posh land (Phoenix, Arizona). It was named the Diné, O’odham, Anarchist Bloc due to its composition of Indigenous and non-Indigenous anti-authoritarians. The call for the bloc stated,

“We are an autonomous, anti-capitalist force that demands free movement and an end to forced dislocations for all people… We categorically reject the government and those who organize with its agents. And we likewise oppose the tendency by some in the immigrant movement to police others within it, turning the young against movement militants and those whose vision of social change goes beyond the limited perspective of movement leaders. Their objectives are substantially less than total liberation, and we necessarily demand more. Also, we strongly dispute the notion that a movement needs leaders in the form of politicians, whether they be movement personalities, self-appointed police or elected officials. We are accountable to ourselves and to each other, but not to them. Politicians will find no fertile ground for their machinations and manipulations. We have no use for them. We are anti-politics. We will not negotiate with Capital, the State or its agents.”

The bloc was singled out and severely attacked by police and five people were arrested. Unsurprisingly non-profit migrant justice groups denounced the bloc as “outside agitators,” they claimed that the bloc had brought the violence upon themselves. These so-called “outside agitators” were elders and youth Indigenous to the area and their accomplices.

In 2011 Jacqueline Lasky compiled a collection of essays building on Alfred’s work titled, Indigenism, Anarchism, Feminism: An Emerging Framework for Exploring Post-Imperial Futures. Lasky offered that “…anarch@indigenism attempts to link critical ideas and visions of post-imperial futures in ways that are non-hierarchical, unsettling of state authorities, inclusive of multiple/plural ways of being in the world, and respectful of the autonomous agencies of collective personhood.”

In a 2012 essay, Cante Waste expressed their interest in an Indigenous Egoism, “I recognize no authority figure over me, nor do I aspire to any particular ideology. I am not swayed by duty because I owe nothing to anyone. I am devoted to nothing but myself. I subscribe to no civilized standards or set of morals because I recognize no God or religion…Egoist anarchists have declared war on society, war on civilization.”

The transcription of a powerful talk in 2018 by Tawinikay was published into a zine titled, Autonomously and with Conviction: A Métis Refusal of State-Led Reconciliation, that offered,

“Anarchism is a political philosophy – some might say a beautiful idea – that believes in self-governed societies based on voluntary association with one another. It advocates for non-hierarchical decision making, direct participation in those decisions by affected communities, and autonomy for all living persons. Furthermore, it leaves space for the valuation of non-human entities beyond their monetary worth or usefulness to human beings. My Indigenous teachings have communicated to me that our communities are important, but so are we as individuals. Traditional ways saw decision making as a participatory process, based on consensus, where communities made choices together. My teachings tell me that the land can offer us what we need, but never to take more than that. I see these ideas as fundamentally compatible. I’d like to see an anarchy of my people and the anarchy of settlers (also my people) enacted here together, side by side. With an equal distribution of power, each pursuing healthy relationships, acting from their own ideas and history. Just as the Two Row imagined. I would like to see the centralized state of Canada dismantled. I’d like to see communities take up the responsibility of organizing themselves in the absence of said central authority.”

While there are many other examples and actions to list, such as the Minnehaha Free State of 1998 and the Transform Columbus Day actions throughout the 1990’s in so-called Denver, many of those were alliances with anarchists rather than assertions of Indigenous anarchy.

While Indigenous anarchists have long articulated themselves in urban displaced contexts where anarchism is expressed in various forms, primarily as a counter-cultural phenomenon in spaces such as infoshops, Food Not Bombs, punk shows, squats, guerrilla gardens, mutual aid collectives, direct action affinity groups, etc, we also find them in the mesas, the canyons, the corn fields, and the sacred mountains.
We offer these select aforementioned expressions of Indigenous Anarchism as a connection to an ongoing conversation that is much more interesting than anything we could offer in the texts of this essay or that we could expect from any books on the subject.

This is a sentiment that was shared by many after the 2019 Indigenous Anarchist Convergence in occupied Kinłani, as an anonymous Diné wrote in their report back Fire Walk with Me,

“…the Indigenous anarchism I saw was kind of unfamiliar and mostly unappealing…I believe people will grow this indigenous anarchism. An ideology succinct enough for Instagram stories, 280 character limit tweets, and vibrant screen printed art, excuse me, memes. A movement global enough to essentialize a racial, humanist, and material struggle of indigeneity so others will comfortably speak for any absent voice. A resistance so monolithic the powers that be could easily identify then repress all indigenous anarchists.” They added, “The potential I have discovered at the convergence is the particulars of Diné anarchy…I suggest that Diné anarchy offers the addition of a choice to attack. An assault on our enemy that weakens their grip on, not only our glittering world, but the worlds of others. An opportunity for the anarchy of Ndee, of O’odham, and so on, to exact revenge on their colonizers. Until all that’s left for Diné anarchists is to dissuade the endorsements of the next idol expecting our obedience.”

As Aragorn! stated in A Non-European Anarchism, “The formation of a non-European anarchism is untenable. The term bespeaks a general movement when the goal is an infinite series of disparate movements. A non-European anarchism is the thumbnail sketch of what could be an African anarchism, a Maquiladora anarchism, a Plains Indian anarchism, an inner-city breed anarchism, et al. A category should exist for every self-determined group of people to form their own interpretation of a non-European anarchism.”

We anticipate the deeper exploration of Indigenous Anarchism to go two ways: one way will be by activist scholars (both Indigenous and settlers) from an anthropological and philosophical perspective that is totally out of touch with those closer to the fires of autonomy in our lands (and clearly this is the path we reject), the other way will be messy, bold, fierce, experimental, full of contradictions. It will be shared in smoke around fires, speaking dreams. It will be found between shutting down pipelines, smashing corporate windows, and ceremonies. It will be in hooghans and trailer parks. It will be something that refuses with all its being to be pinned down, to be brought into the folds of the knowable, to be an extension of the colonial order of ideas and existence. It will make itself unknowable.

It is in this spirit that we offer the following provocations, assertions, thoughts and questions, not as a conclusion but as an invitation to further this discussion if we are to orient ourselves as Indigenous People who are also Anarchists.

An Ungovernable Force of Nature.

Indigenous Anarchists are an ungovernable force of Nature. We maintain that no law can be above nature. That is to say, how power is balanced and how we organize ourselves socially is an order that flows from and with Nahasdzáán (Mother Earth). This is what we are accountable and what we hold ourselves responsible to. Our affinity is with the mountains, the wind, rivers, trees, and other beings, we will never be patriots to any political social order.
As a force, we defend, protect, and take the initiative to strike. Indigenous anarchism presents the possibility of attack; it is the embodiment of anti-colonial struggle and being.

Our project is to replace the principle of political authority with the principle of autonomous Indigenous mutuality. To live a life in conflict with authoritarian constraint on stolen occupied land is negation of settler colonial domination.

This is also a negation of settler impositions and social mappings of gender, gender roles, ability, who is and who isn’t Indigenous, borders, religion, tradition (as a temporal constraint and not the in living cultural sense of the term), education, medicine, mental health, and so forth.

Before colonial invasion on these lands Indigenous societies existed without the State. While inter-Indigenous conflicts on various intensities and scales occurred, we embrace the negative implications regardless of “cultural relativisms.” Where people of the earth have tended towards domination, there are powerful stories and ceremonies that have brought them back into the circle of mutuality.

We offer that in the incompatible brilliance between understandings of anarchism and Indigenous existence, a space is revealed where we can shed the poisoned skin of formal political entanglement in the dominant social order. 
In this way we view anarchism as a sort of dynamic bridge. A set of radical (as in total negation) ideas that are a connecting point between anti-colonial struggle and Indigenous liberation. A practice that expresses and asserts autonomy in respect to the context of where it is located (place). It is an antagonistic connection between the point of where we are dispossessed and ruled over, to a point towards liberation and autonomy. As a rejection of all systems of domination and coercion, it is the utility anarchism has for Indigenous liberation of which we are interested in. And most specifically, it is in its indictment of the state and total rejection of it that we find the greatest use. Indigenous anarchism is a commitment to the destruction of domination and authority, which includes colonialism, white supremacy, cis-heteropatriarchy, capitalism, and the State.

We think beyond the solidarity of nationalisms (as this is what internationalism is predicated upon) and ask our relatives to consider the solidarity of mutuality with the Earth and all beings. That our solidarity is projected out from our relationship with the Earth. Our solidarity focuses more than just on intersections, it is centered on interrelationality.

We do not seek to “Indigenize” anarchism, or to turn that which is not our thinking into something that works for us. This kind of appropriation is relative to assimilation, and we see no use in it. We do not seek to “decolonize” anarchism simply because we do not share its ancestry. What we would like to offer is that we have already pronounced and located an Indigenous Anarchism, and it doesn’t and should not exist.

Our project isn’t to translate anarchism into Indigenous languages, as so many other ways of thinking have been missionized, but to build ways with which we can end coercive relations in our every day lives. Leftist political ideologies are an unnecessary step towards Indigenous Liberation. We offer no allegiance to colonial politics.

The question of anti-authoritarianism also pulls us farther beyond the trappings of pan-Indigeneity. When we critically ask, “What hierarchies exist in our distinct ways of being?” and “What traditions or cultural knowledge deprives people in our societies of their autonomy?” we resist anthropological temporal trappings that seek to preserve social artifacts to a fixed point.

The notion of life without authoritarian constraint doesn’t belong to a group because it found itself in compounded utterances of dead greek words, nor does it due to the succession of thinkers and practitioners in its beautiful and troubled genealogy. It belongs to no one and thus to everyone. It has been on the tips of our tongues so long as anyone has tried to dominate, control, and exploit our being and others. It has flowed from our thoughts and contracted our muscles to reflexively pull or push back.

Our social relations have had little distractions between what we want and how we live for generations upon generations.
We assert that every formation and theorized political matrix is at its core comprised of manipulation, coercion, and exploitation. Our existence is unmediated by any dominating force or authority. We’re not interested in engineering social arrangements, we’re interested in inspired formations, agitations, interventions, and acts towards total liberation.

We are not preoccupied with the imposition of an identity or social category, our enemies may call us whatever they want until their world crumbles around them. It is not our past time to convince them of anything, it is our intention to do everything possible by whatever means is effective to end the domination of our Earth-mother and all her beings.

If anarchy is the “revolutionary idea that no one is more qualified than you are to decide what your life will be,” then we offer that Indigenous Anarchists consider how deeply the “you” or “we” is as part of our mutuality with all existence.

The Re-Bundling/Weaving Again

Ours is a radical incoherence.
Only by experience will you understand what is taking place in ceremony.

When we ask, “why and how are we dispossessed and by what forces?” it is natural that what follows is the question, “what can be done?”

Civilization and the state are myths colonizers keep telling themselves and forcing others to believe. It is their ritual of power, their prayer is time. The settler imaginary, the civilized mind, is always haunted by everything in them that they have killed. Their State, their entire civilization, exists on the precipice of rupture. Their instability is possibility that can be made to spread. When their spirit is attacked and corrupted, they fail. When we shed the language of non-violence and embrace our dispossession, it becomes more clear how to precipitate that vital failure. When their imaginary cannot justify itself against its brutalities, it becomes so vicious and fearful that it attacks and consumes itself.
The myth ends in powerful unraveling disbelief.

Na’ashjé’ii Asdzáá still speaks. She shared her fascination and we began to weave, she said if we have forgotten, she will teach us again. The restoration is itself a ceremony. We pull at the thread and unbind ourselves and each other. We unravel one story and reweave. This is the pattern of the storm, it is carried by sacred winds.
As it blesses us and our breath mixes with the breaths of our ancestors, we are rewoven and bundled into its beauty. We are reminded, “There is no authority but nature.”

Hwee’díí’yiń déé’ haazíí’aanii, éi’ ńí›hxéé’ bééhaazíí’ áánįį aat’eeh. Baalagaana, Bíí’ Laah’ Áshdlaa›ii, bééhaazíí’ áánįį bíí’jíí’ niinii, éi’ dóh’ áálįįdaa’.

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Recommended readings:

Locating an Indigenous Anarchism, Aragorn!
A Non-European Anarchism, Aragorn!
Autonomously and with Conviction, Tawinikay
Black Kitty Conspiracy For Another World: Deconstructing Anarchism, Settler Colonization & Anti-Blackness, edxi
Black Seed: Not on Any Map, Various
Bitter Water: Diné Oral Histories of the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute, M. Benally

Our Word Is Our Weapon, Galeano/Marcos

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Tending Sacred Fires: Make Colonizers Afraid Again – Part 3




Indigenous Action
Winter Solstice, 2021

Although the white supremacist contortion of the “alt-right” has largely met its end, its urge persists with varied strategies towards social-political legitimization. We can see its trajectory clearly from the post-election convulsions on January 6th, 2021 and subsequent cheerleading, to the Rittenhouse verdict and in-between every corporate (social media) channel.
With some of the more prominent neo-fascist gelded in the aftermath of Charlottesville legal battles, settler colonizers are live-streaming the demise of their social order.

It’s terrified that its prejudices and xenophobia are being “cancelled.”
It’s hysterical over “medical tyranny” so it’s pumping horse dewormer into its veins. It’s brutally gotten ideals of “freedoms” matter more than the well-being of those most vulnerable (as they’ve always mattered more than our lives).
White supremacist con artists are playing the victims of a “culture war” that they’ve been waging against our lives and lands for more than 500 years. We have resisted and survived generations upon generations of this “culture war” called colonization. 

Colonizers are reacting predictably, as they’ve always feared what they can’t dominate and control. To this extent, perhaps they’re so fearful of “wokeness” because those who remain unconscious are easier to control and exploit. No conscious being will willingly choose an existence of suffering induced by someone else’s nightmares.

Yet the (stolen) ground gained in the streets during the George Floyd rebellions has largely been ceded by liberals contracting into their electorally induced delusional safe(r) terrains. But what was to be expected from those so readily willing to kneel with cops and performatively “decolonize” their lifestyles?

Post-election liberal decelerationism has emerged in all its reactionary and pacifying glory.

Liberals have a predictable tendency to rest on their votes and so resign their energy to those who represent them. But theirs are the politics that should be called for what they are: “MAGA-lite.” Their moral denouncements rarely broach on root causes, and when they do indict the State and white supremacy, it is always within the well-mapped binary geography of left versus right. They fail to recognize that making and maintaining of the idea of “America” is really what the problem is (recall the settler colonizer myopia of the chant, “We’re a nation of immigrants?”).
Migrant children are still in cages under the same brutal policies just with different political faces, drone bombs are still circling like imperialist vultures over the geopolitical transcontinental region of the Middle East, and in his first few months behind the desk Biden signed more oil and gas leases than his demagogue predecessor.

When they’re not policing movements, if there’s one thing that is consistent about liberal MAGA-liters, it’s that their theatrical spurts of outrage must be contained within the realm of “legitimate” politics. They rest on reforms in hopes that the State will solve the problems that it is structurally built from and cannot exist without. Whether the tactics are holding signs for “visibility” or are escalated with lock-boxes and tripods, they’re still begging the politicians they voted into office for scraps from the rotting carcass of an imagined ideal called “justice.” They hold onto the most pitiful of political handouts of recognition by colonized tokens like Deb Haaland. They remain rapt with attention and offer their patriotic ovations during the magic act called “climate justice” where the illusion of an industrial system built on destroying the Earth can magically solve the crisis that it thrives off of.

In response, liberals are either investing more in their team (which is really just another side of the same colonial polity), and hyper-focused on pumping the “harm reduction” breaks with “solutions” to make capitalism and settler colonial occupation “green” with economic restraints on policing.
Behind this are the non-profit capitalists engineering “leftist” social and ecological justice wars for their own gain.
 Making settler colonialism and capitalism more sustainable means the death of Indigenous existence. Just look to the mass lithium mining rush targeting Indigenous lands at Thacker Pass, Big Sandy River Valley, and beyond.

In the midst of this pandemic of pandemics, neo-fascists rally and prepare to escalate towards the next major election cycle and beyond, fracking wells and oil pipelines poison sacred lands and waters, Indigenous womxn, girls, trans, and two-spirit relatives are stolen, families are ripped apart, deported, or left to die seeking refuge across colonial political lines, relatives on the streets go without shelter in the cold, we’re locked up and killed by State forces with impunity, all while the existence our ancestors dreamt is being reshaped in the obscene nightmarish billionaire funded selfie-driven theater of trading post “decolonizers ™“ waving “land back” flags cashing-in to “decolonize wealth” with their wokest hipster (and celebrity) settler allies.

It’s clear that some can’t and won’t stop imagining colonial futures.

For many rabid antagonists, catching our breaths between tear gas and pepper spray, taking up our shifts for COVID mutual aid deliveries or anti-state repression work (aka making sure we stay free), we cannot unsee the blood stained writing on the walls of this settler colonial social order.

For many reasons, including a revulsion of the homogenizing propositions found in leftist “revolutionary” politics (especially from authoritarian Indigenous Marxists), we prefer principles rather than platforms, our elder’s teachings rather than those of dead European men, autonomous attacks rather than political campaigns, and we have more questions than answers.

What are we doing? And who is this “we” composed of? What lessons have we learned from years of rolling street battles, autonomous spaces, and frontline blockades? What more effective tactics can we devise? Can cell-based affinity groups and lone-wolf actions be just as or more effective than the idealized mass mobilization? Is it an either/or question or can we dig deeper into diversifying tactics? What opportunities can be made from the predictabilities of law enforcement reactions? What institutions, ideas, and infrastructure can we attack within our means? How can we effectively ensure abusers will be held accountable in our communities? How do we embed those practices into security culture? What are our advantages? What are our disadvantages and how can we overcome or shift them? How can we accelerate internal and external settler colonial social, economic, and political ruptures and precipitate their ruin? What further provocations, interventions, and attacks can be devised to undermine and destabilize the settler-colonial social order?

The answers are certainly complex, varied, and purposefully incomplete because in many ways it’s what we’re already doing with radical education and interventions, mutual aid (not the non-profit or liberal co-opted shit), community defense, and autonomous (conflict) infrastructure projects. In this way some of our responses are more oriented towards the questions of how do we stabilize and sustain radical projects. How can we proliferate and grow these liberatory possibilities?

In “Black Seed: Not on Any Map,” a new book (mostly) about Indigenous Anarchy, these questions leads to the task one of our Indigenous Action crew members proposes of Indigenous anarchy (or autonomy if you prefer to drop the colonial political identifier), which is to replace the principle of political authority with the principle of autonomous Indigenous mutuality. 
This is not at all theoretical, it’s the urge of our ancestors and the continuity of ways of being that exist with, not against Nature.
This power is something colonizers could never fully understand or control and so they’ve committed everything to annihilate it. From Ghost Dance massacres to the systematic spiritual violence of boarding schools, to the outright banning of spiritual practices until the late 1970s, to the ongoing specific and intentional desecration of sacred sites, the power of Indigenous prayer and ceremony has always terrified colonizers to their core.

We study the contours of our emergence hxstories. We trace the lines in the hands of our elders who guide and shape the frameworks for our actions. We trace footsteps back to gather sacred medicines. We patiently watch the light and the way the rains flow and collect so we know where to gently place seeds. We listen intently when the earth shifts and the moon is covered by the sun.
We warm our spirits on the sacred fires on front lines throughout these occupied lands.
From those tended by
Gidimt’en land defenders to those lit by elders resisting forced removal in Winnemucca, and those tended by Indigenous trans and two-spirit youth at Camp Migizi. The sacred fire of Black rage that burnt down the Third Precinct police headquarters in so-called Minneapolis. The sacred fires that made ashes of churches responsible for boarding schools.

We are still tending sacred fires.

To live a life in conflict with authoritarian constraint on stolen land is a spiritual, mental, and material proposition, it is the negation of settler colonial domination.
This is our continuous ceremony of resistance and restoration.

As autonomous anti-colonial agitators we’re not vying to appeal to the sympathies and charity of settler allies. Anti-colonial solidarity means attack.

Make colonizers afraid again.

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