Occupied Piscataway Lands (Washington, DC) — As thousands of white nationalists stormed the Capitol building, we were amazed at the relative ease with which they accessed this pinnacle of U.S. order. Though, we were not at all surprised or shocked by the convulsions of western chauvinists and neo-fascists, or the tacit collusion of the police.
The tension behind this escalation has been mounting for years, with pseudo and outright fascists like Milo, Spencer, Bannon, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and others vying for the limelight on an archaic stage of xenophobia that Trump and his posse have re-manufactured and rebranded to “protect” cis-hetero “western civilization” and “white heritage.”
Trump has been playing with the fire of authoritarian nationalist politics with his pyrrhic rhetoric for years. In this way, we see the actions that occurred on January 6th as a self-inflicted wound, as one of many acts in the death pact that is the colonial project of what they call “America.” We see this not as an exceptional “attack” on democracy but the live-streamed slip ‘n slide of a social order established on violence against black and brown bodies, the land, and non-human beings. It’s not a downward spiral, in the context of colonialism it’s full circle.
What occurred at the Capitol was written on the walls as part of the “stop the steal” battle cry for their fantasy of an “American civil war.” We’re not concerned so much with the conspiracy theories or fixation on “stolen” elections or placing the sole responsibility on one demagogue. White supremacy is a conspiracy that designed this project of so-called democracy in the US that is predicated on the annihilation of Indigenous bodies and mass-scale theft of lands. So to really stop “the steal” on stolen lands, the stones of the Capitol building would have to be returned to the earth and the land welcomed back by the Piscataway.
That the state is casual about policing a white settler led riot and heavy handed when BIPOC resist and rise up, is an argument that exists to validate liberal feelings, it’s not at all a radical charge to state what has been obvious since 1492 in these lands.
Though we make some of the same observances as our relatives who see hypocrisy in the way state violence was wielded against Indigenous water protectors at Standing Rock or the Black led revolts against police violence, we find little use in these moral comparisons and political condemnations. When repression and violence is and always has defined the politics of “America.” Pointing out the contradictions, or moralizing some kind of false equivalency between good or bad forms of protest and dissent, ultimately serves to reinforce state violence as a whole and implies a liberal suggestion that the state can be reformed for equal enforcement of the law. When “The Law” itself is violence. That the state is casual about policing a white settler led riot and heavy handed when BIPOC resist and rise up, is an argument that exists to validate liberal feelings, it’s not at all a radical charge to state what has been obvious since 1492 in these lands. Policing in “America” started to maintain “white property.” Its original function was to catch stolen Black lives and defend stolen Indigenous lands. The state and its so-called “democracy” is a project of white supremacy and as such will always collude with its beneficiaries.
Liberal left and centrist pundits, including some voices from the right, have strongly condemned the siege on the capitol and urged towards a “healing” of democratic order. Throughout the world a chorus of neo-liberal politicians have called for a “peaceful transition of power.” Yet there has never been anything peaceful about the existence of the US for Indigenous Peoples who have desired to protect their lands, people, and ways of being. Further, US policies throughout the world have fomented political instability of those it opposes since its inception. From outright destruction and manipulation of Indigenous cultural societies to funding coups and insurrections to invasion and war throughout the entire world, from Big Mountain to Palestine and literally everywhere in between.
The notion of “peaceful means,” most especially by those in the legislative arms of the state, its literal agents and representatives isn’t simply hypocritical it is blatantly and intentionally misleading. It flagrantly aims to deflect and obfuscate not simply the existence of the state whose maintenance is derived from violence, but that the very role in which the political apparatus and its politricks plays is that of an orchestrated institution of violence. Regulated through the facade of legitimacy, as “the law” or did we miss the many months of the states abject indifference to the plight of its own citizenry, throttled by an economy in freefall, gripped in an inescapable pandemic, while simultaneously the largest military budget in U.S. history is put forth, and every proviso around climate change, environmental, resource and personal protection is attacked and undermined? Was there a formula of violence we didn’t see running roughshod over the masses? Were the disproportionate impacts of firestorms, heatwaves, cold spells, hurricanes, and mass flooding not violence? Yet simultaneously preventable if only those who now claim governance is peaceful failed to act?
The amount of violence that has been handed down from the US Capitol institution as law to be enforced against Indigenous bodies and sacred lands is incalculable. Politicians denouncing political violence from the dais at the Capitol and the liberals nodding their heads in agreement are that much more culpable in that ongoing brutal legacy. Incredulously, cries for justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn, Girls, Trans, and Two-Spirit relatives have been made to the same lawmakers that have written the very laws that precipitated the conditions for so many of our relatives to perish.
We reject any overtures to heal this colonial order, we seek its total abolition.
January 6th laid bare the vulnerability and fear of an empire consuming itself.
We see this current volatility, this demise, no matter how momentary, as an offering of possibility, or the strategic opportunity of settler on settler violence.
By the end of the so-called “Indian Wars” the U.S. had perfected its strategy of conquer and divide using both overt and covert “scorched earth” tactics to perpetuate genocide and mass scale land theft. As unwilling students of this legacy of brutality, we see the same possibility of division and destabilization: seizing all opportunities to propagandize division utilizing whatever corrosive devices, whether narrative or practical, to creatively employ and destabilization of critical infrastructure through asymmetric above and below ground direct actions. This economic and political system has been scorched by this pandemic. The heat is rising with the industrially induced warming of earth. In this way, perhaps this compounding of crises can be an anti-colonial tactical opportunity to precipitate instability while simultaneously building, stabilizing, and proliferating scaled collective efforts towards healthy and just communities.
January 6th laid bare the vulnerability and fear of an empire consuming itself.
We anticipate the authoritarian response to the actions on January 6th to hit across the political spectrum. We have no illusions that the business of vilifying those organized against fascism and racism will cease. And so we must continue to brace ourselves and by increasing and adapting security culture practices and support for those targeted by the state in this escalating political environment.
Even though the state is seeking to prosecute those who stormed the Capitol, we also anticipate that those fascists will become emboldened in their direct strikes against those most vulnerable in our communities. We are more concerned about organizing collective defense and building out our own capabilities and infrastructure for conflict. This is a proposition of survival, liberation, and renewal so long as it is grounded in actions that restore Indigenous autonomy, Black reparations and centers queer, trans and two-spirit BIPOC forces. So long as it is decentralized, anti-authoritarian, and fiercely intersectional.
This is a strategy of ruins, which is the natural trajectory of empires. There is a tendency towards ash for those who play with fire and although the flames engulfing this empire were not set by our hands, we’ll be pouring more gasoline and fanning these flames.
Do “We keep us safe”? Notes on Action Security & Some Resources
“We keep us safe!” is an abolitionist assertion that the state or some paternalistic organization will not protect us from colonial, fascist, white supremacist, queerphobic attacks, so we must organize and defend ourselves and those we are in community with.
We cannot leave this slogan to be an empty gesture or posture. It must be conveyed with the necessary training and organizing to address the hyperpoliticized and conflictual environments that we organize in.
While we cannot anticipate and prevent all fascist assaults, if we pronounce that “we keep us safe,” we can and must do what we can to organize and be prepared. Liberal and “radical” non-profit managers constantly decrying the “inactions of cops” does not keep us safe, it only invokes further police violence. Additionally, calling on colonial politicians to respond to fascist violence as a “hate crime,” is really a call to further the carceral state and its institutional violences (courts, prisons, more policing, etc).
On September 28th, 2023 Jacob Johns, an Indigenous persn was shot by Ryan Martinez, a colonial invader and MAGA fascist at an action called to confront the re-establishment of a monument to the genocidal colonizer Juan de Oñate in so-called Española, New Mexico. This shooting occurred under the same watch of an organization that hosted a previous anti-Oñate monument action in 2020 where Scott Williams was shot and severely injured.
From Heather Heyer, Joseph Rosenbaum, and Anthony Huber to many more who have been injured or killed while resisting authoritarian nationalism (aka fascism), these deadly attacks are occurring within a context of historic, ongoing, and escalating colonial violence.
Since 2020, groups based in occupied New Mexico organizing anti-monument actions have been directly challenged for putting people at serious risk. Calls that have been made for more organized security have been denounced by inexperienced organizers in these groups.
These issues and considerations are not new, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense and AIM initiated armed patrols and armed resistance in the face of state, white supremacist, and colonial terror. Amorphous entities such as Antifa and Bash Back have continually mobilized street warfare in defensive and proactive ways. These groups have long recognized that we cannot merely rely on “safety in numbers,” (though numbers do help) our enemies are more organized than that, so why aren’t we?
We cannot pronounce liberation without simultaneously preparing and mobilizing defense.
As everyone should be doing mutual aid, everyone should be prepared for mutual defense. We cannot depend on any organizers or organizations to simply do this for us. If “We keep us safe,” we better fucking mean it.
As Goldfinch Gun Club stated, “Community defense has to be about solidarity and uplift mutual aid, not just arming vulnerable peoples. By the time someone starts shooting, everyone has already lost. The best defense is a better world. It’s possible. We have to believe that.”
Support Jacob Johns, his family and community by contributing to the gofundme: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-jacob-johns-recover-from-terrorist-shooting?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer
1. Organize and attend street medic trainings. Check these resources:
A Demonstrator’s Guide to Responding to Gunshot Wounds https://crimethinc.com/2020/09/24/a-demonstrators-guide-to-responding-to-gunshot-wounds-what-everyone-should-know
An Activist’s Guide to Basic First Aid https://www.sproutdistro.com/catalog/zines/direct-action/activists-guide-to-basic-first-aid/
2. Organize armed self defense. Check these resources:
Three Way Fight: Revolutionary Anti-Fascism and Armed-Self-Defense https://itsgoingdown.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/three_way_fight_print.pdf
Organizing Armed Defense in “America”
https://www.john-brown-gun-club.org/about (Note: their founder and a lead organizer of Red Neck Revolt/JBGC is a known abuser).
3. Develop and maintain clear security protocols and presence (if not visible at least organized).
A note: By security we don’t mean leftist police, we mean skilled warriors who are identified to respond and protect, not police actions. Beware of cis-heteropatriarcal and other oppressive behaviors, substance use, & abusers, etc.
Being prepared can be an escalation in and of itself, it also can be a powerful deterrent. Do what makes sense for your operating environment.
Forming an Antifa group
Check out all these great resources on Security Culture:
These ‘zines particularly address cop tactics but have great info for overall security:
Defend the Territory
Warrior Crowd Control & Riot Manual
Dangerous Spaces: Violent Resistance, Self-Defense, and Insurrectional Struggle Against Gender
Ox Sam Camp Raid Update: One Arrested as Prayer Tipis Are Bulldozed and Ceremonial Items Confiscated
Thursday, June 8th, 2023
THACKER PASS, NV — On Wednesday morning, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s department on behalf of Lithium Nevada Corporation, raided the Ox Sam Newe Momokonee Nokutun (Ox Sam Indigenous Women’s Camp), destroying the two ceremonial tipi lodges, mishandling and confiscating ceremonial instruments and objects, and extinguishing the sacred fire that has been lit since May 11th when the Paiute/Shoshone Grandma-led prayer action began.
One arrest took place on Wednesday at the direction of Lithium Nevada security. A young Diné female water protector was handcuffed with no warning and loaded into a windowless, pitch-black box in the back of a pickup truck. “I was really scared for my life,” the woman said. “I didn’t know where I was or where I was going, and I know that MMIW is a real thing and I didn’t want to be the next one.” She was transported to Humboldt County Jail, where she was charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest, then released on bail.
Just hours before the raid, Ox Sam water protectors could be seen for the second time this week bravely standing in the way of large excavation equipment and shutting down construction at the base of Sentinel Rock.
To many Paiute and Shoshone, Sentinel Rock is a “center of the universe,” integral to many Nevada Tribes’ way of life and ceremony, as well as a site for traditional medicines, tools, and food supply for thousands of years. Thacker Pass is also the site of two massacres of Paiute and Shoshone people. The remains of the massacred ancestors have remained unidentified and unburied since 1865, and are now being bulldozed and crushed by Lithium Nevada for a mineral known as “the new white gold.”
Since May 11th, despite numerous requests by Lithium Nevada workers, the Humboldt County Sheriff Department has been reticent and even unwilling to arrest members of the prayer camp, even after issuing three warnings for blocking Pole Creek Road access to Lithium Nevada workers and sub-contractors, while allowing the public to pass through.
“We absolutely respect your guys’ right to peacefully protest,” explained Humboldt County Sheriff Sean Wilkin on May 12th. “We have zero issues with [the tipi] whatsoever… We respect your right to be out here.”
On March 19th the Sheriff arrived again, serving individual fourteen-day Temporary Protection Orders against several individuals at camp. The protection orders were granted by the Humboldt County Court on behalf of Lithium Nevada based on sworn statements loaded with misrepresentations, false claims, and, according to those targeted, outright false accusations by their employees. Still, Ox Sam Camp continued for another week. The tipis, the sacred fire, and the prayers occurred for a total of twenty-seven days of ceremony and resistance.
The scene at Thacker Pass this week looked like Standing Rock, Line 3, or Oak Flat, as Lithium Nevada’s workers and heavy equipment tried to bulldoze and trench their way through the ceremonial grounds surrounding the tipi at Sentinel Rock, and water protectors put their bodies in the way of the destruction, forcing work stoppage on two occasions.
Observers stated that Lithium Nevada’s head of security was directing the Sheriff’s deputies where to go and what to do during the raid.
Lithium Nevada’s ownership and control of Thacker Pass only exists because of the flawed permitting and questionable administrative approvals issued by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). BLM officials have refused to acknowledge that Peehee Mu’huh is a sacred site to regional Tribal Nations, and have continued to downplay and question the significance of the double massacre through two years of court battles.
Three tribes — the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Summit Lake Paiute Tribe, and Burns Paiute Tribe — remain locked in litigation with the Federal Government for permitting the mine. The tribes filed their latest response to the BLM’s Motion to Dismiss on Monday. BLM is part of the Department of the Interior which is led by Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo).
On Wednesday, at least five Sheriff’s vehicles, several Lithium Nevada worker vehicles, and two security trucks arrived at the original tipi site that contained the ceremonial fire, immediately adjacent to Pole Creek Road. One camper was arrested without warning, and others were issued with trespass warnings and allowed to leave the area. Once the main camp was secured, law enforcement then moved up to the tipi site at Sentinel Rock, a mile away.
There is a proper way to take down a tipi and ceremonial camp, and then there is the way Humboldt County Sheriffs proceeded on behalf of Lithium Nevada Corporation. Tipis were knocked down, tipi poles were snapped, and ceremonial objects and instruments were rummaged through, mishandled, and impounded. Empty tents were approached and secured in classic SWAT-raid fashion. One car was towed.
As is often the case when lost profits lead to government assaults on peaceful water protectors, Lithium Nevada Corporation and the Humboldt County Sheriffs have begun to claim that the raid was done for the safety of the camp members and for public health.
Josephine Dick (Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone), who is a descendent of Ox Sam and one of the matriarchs of Ox Sam Newe Momokonee Nokutun, made the following statement in response to the raid:
“As Vice Chair of the Native American Indian Church of the State of Nevada, and as a Paiute-Shoshone Tribal Nation elder and member, I am requesting the immediate access to and release of my ceremonial instruments and objects, including my Eagle Feathers and staff which have held the prayers of my ancestors and the Ox Sam camp since the beginning. There was also a ceremonial hand drum and medicines such as cedar and tobacco, which are protected by the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
In addition, my understanding is that Humboldt County Sherriffs along with Lithium Nevada security desecrated two ceremonial tipi lodges, which include canvasses, poles, and ropes. The Ox Sam Newe Momokonee Nokutun has been conducting prayers and ceremony in these tipis which are also protected by the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. When our ceremonial belongings are brought together around the sacred fire, this is our church. Our Native American church is a sacred ceremony. I am demanding the immediate access to our prayer site at Peehee Mu’huh and the return of our confiscated ceremonial objects.
The desecration that Humboldt County Sherriffs and Lithium Nevada conducted by knocking the tipis down and rummaging through sacred objects is equivalent to taking a bible, breaking The Cross, knocking down a cathedral, disrespecting the sacrament, and denying deacons and pastors access to their places of worship, in direct violation of my American Indian Religious Freedom rights. This violation of access to our ceremonial church and the ground on which it sits is a violation of Executive Order 13007.
The location of the tipi lodge that was pushed over and destroyed is at the base of Sentinel Rock, a place our Paiute-Shoshone have been praying since time immemorial. After two years of our people explaining that Peehee Mu’huh is sacred, BLM Winnemucca finally acknowledged that Thacker Pass is a Traditional Cultural District, but they are still allowing it to be destroyed.”
Josephine and others plan to make a statement on live stream outside the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office in Winnemucca on the afternoon of Friday, June 9th around 1pm.
Another spiritual leader on the front lines has been Dean Barlese from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, Barlese led prayers at the site on April 25th which led to Lithium Nevada shutting down construction for a day, and returned on May 11th to pray over the new sacred fire as Ox Sam camp was established.
“This is not a protest, it’s a prayer,” said Barlese. “But they’re still scared of me. They’re scared of all of us elders, because they know we’re right and they’re wrong.”
Thacker Pass is located in northern Nevada near the Oregon border, where Lithium Nevada Corporation is in the first phase of building a $2 billion open-pit lithium mine which would be the largest of its kind in North America. The lithium is mainly destined for General Motors Corporation’s electric car batteries, which the corporation laughably claims is “green.” Mine opponents call this greenwashing and have stated that “it’s not green to blow up a mountain.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has granted Lithium Nevada corporation and all other business corporations a whole variety of constitutional “rights” that were never meant for business entities. Without these special so-called corporate “rights,” the mine owners would never have been allowed to construct this mine.
Three Native American tribes filed a new lawsuit against the Federal Government over Lithium Nevada Corporation’s planned Thacker Pass lithium mine on February 16, 2023, the latest legal move in the two-and-a-half-year struggle over mining, greenwashing, and sacred land in northern Nevada.
The Tribes notified the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on May 19th that they mean to appeal their Motion seeking a Preliminary Injunction which was rejected by a lower court in early March. Four environmental groups which lost their case in January have also appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and are expected to be heard in June.
O’odham Executed by Border Patrol: Statement by Raymond Mattia Family
Raymond Mattia of the Tohono O’odham Nation was executed by US border patrol agents on May 18th at his home. He was reportedly shot 38 times.
A peaceful gathering to support all victims of the
unmonitored violent actions of the Border Patrol and other agencies will be held at The Border
Patrol Station in Why, Az, and Tucson on Golf Links Road this Saturday, May 27th, from
For more information please visit: https://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2023/05/us-border-patrol-shoots-tohono-oodham.html
Statement by Mattia Raymond’s family:
We have been trying to find the strength to write this statement. This tragedy is so
grievous because it is apparent what had happened. Raymond called for help and, in turn, was
shot down at his doorstep. Raymond’s rights were violated by the authorities whom we trust to
protect our Nation. Improper and unprofessional actions of the agencies involved were witnessed
by family members present near the crime scene. Loved ones sat in agony, not knowing of
Raymond’s condition until they were told that he had passed hours later. Raymond lay in front of
his home for seven hours before a coroner from Tucson arrived.
In our eyes and hearts, we believe that Raymond was approached with excessive and
deadly force that took his life. He was a father, brother, uncle, friend, and an involved
community member. Raymond always fought for what was right, and he will continue to fight
even after his death. This is not an isolated incident, but it should bring awareness of the
oppression our people live through.
We want to thank so many of you for your condolences and support. A GoFundMe for
defense funds will be available soon. A peaceful gathering to support all victims of the
unmonitored violent actions of the Border Patrol and other agencies will be held at The Border Patrol Station in Why, Az, and Tucson on Golf Links Road this Saturday, May 27th, from 10:00am-Noon.
Contact for support: firstname.lastname@example.org
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