Land Defenders Take Streets Rejecting ‘Empty Declaration’ of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in ‘Flagstaff’
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Report issued by the Ad-hoc Anti-Colonial Agitation Committee of Occupied Flagstaff
Photos by Ed Moss & anon
OCCUPIED FLAGSTAFF, AZ — On Monday night, more than 45 people gathered at “Heritage Square” in occupied so-called “Flagstaff” to rally and call for indigenous liberation on Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Speakers at the rally strongly rejected the recent “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” declaration by Flagstaff politicians as a hypocritically symbolic measure, as Indigenous people in the area continue to face cultural genocide, disproportionate incarceration, homelessness, extreme racial profiling and state violence.
The rally centered voices of Indigenous womxn and two spirit relatives, speaking to their stories of resistance to hetero-patriarchy and state violence. The crowd donned red bandanas with the hashtag #MMIW to honor Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), a movement which confronts the fact that one-third of Indigenous womxn in the so-called “U.S.” are either missing or murdered.
Nicole Joe, who was part of the local Indigenous unsheltered community, died on December 25, 2017 after her boyfriend, Vaughn Seumptewa, beat her and left her outside in the cold for several hours before dragging her inside an apartment, where she later died.
The crowd called for justice for Nicole Joe, Loreal Tsingine (who was murdered by police in Winslow in 2016), and Vanessa Lee, who was recently found deceased in Flagstaff with no cause of death known at this moment.
“If communities are to put an end to missing and murdered Indigenous womxn, there must be better supports for womxn to leave abusive relationships, as opposed to turning to the current system that is inherently racist against Indigenous womxn, often not believing their stories or put on waiting lists for the same supports non-Indigenous folx receive,” stated Bonn Baudelaire.
Bonn further stated, “We have been resisting this narrative for 500 years. And that’s why we are here today, to see the future reimagined by the hands of the feminine. So what does it mean when we say Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn? That’s what we mean, we’re reimagining the future, in our own hands. What happens when womxns’ bodies are assaulted? That’s just the same thing as assaulting Mother Earth. Womxn literally recreate life on this earth and when we’re assaulted, we’re assaulting the very core of what it means to be alive.”
Vulnerable stories were shared at the rally from people who are directly suffering from state violence, I.C.E. raids and detentions, and white-supremacist heteropatriarchy. The rally connected the many different struggles of violence against womxn, racial profiling and incarceration, desecration of sacred land, and of unsheltered relatives, with banners that read “No justice on stolen land” & “Before 1492, no one was unsheltered.”
City of Flagstaff politicians have refused to repeal their notorious “Anti-Camping Ordinance” which has previously earned the city the 10th spot of The National Coalition for the Homeless’s report on “meanest” cities in the so-called “U.S.” Capitalists in Flagstaff continue to outright discriminate and deny services to unsheltered Indigenous Peoples.
Ale Becerra, a representative of the Repeal Coalition stated, “We’re talking about the same issue: which is state violence against communities, Indigenous communities, undocumented folks who are here without proper documentation. We have the same struggle. The State is what we’re up against. We need to learn to recognize that.”
The Repeal Coalition has been demanding an immediate end to the City of Flagstaff’s collaboration with I.C.E. attacks on the undocumented community.
The rally eventually escalated to a march in the streets, blockading various intersections in downtown Flagstaff. A heavy police presence throughout the night, including cops physically grabbing people and pushing them, demonstrated that the City of Flagstaff is only committed to “honoring” Indigenous people symbolically, but will still unleash state violence on them even on “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”.
This treatment came as no surprise as the disproportionate number of Indigenous People arrested in Flagstaff demonstrates a severe issue of targeted policing of the Indigenous community. According to the most recent census, Indigenous Peoples comprise 10% of the population but account for nearly half of all the annual arrests each year. That one in every two Indigenous peoples living in Flagstaff, regardless of age, faces threat of arrest is a serious problem. (Source: Flagstaff Police Department Annual Report 2009-2017)
Chanting “Boycott Snowbowl” and “No Columbus, No KKK, No Fascist USA”, the crowd took to the streets. The sound carried throughout downtown, drawing passersby in to join the marchers. The march lasted for more than an hour, occupying multiple different intersections and stopping traffic throughout the night.
On October 2, 2018 the City of Flagstaff hastily passed a resolution to recognize “Columbus Day” as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. However, this resolution does nothing to change the continued cultural genocide of Indigenous people which the City remains complicit in and profits from. The City of Flagstaff refuses to cancel their contract to sell treated sewage for snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks, which are held holy by more than 13 indigenous nations. The ongoing fight to protect the Peaks has lead to precedent-setting legal cases negatively impacting all Indigenous Peoples religious freedom.
There were cops waiting at the rally site before the organizers even arrived, and after the march ended, approximately 20 uniformed cops circled around the remaining crowd, surveilling and trying to identify people. Cops followed people to their cars and took pictures of their license plates.
Despite the intensity of police intimidation and aggression on this night, the marchers held their ground and ended the march with singing the AIM song while occupying the intersection of Beaver St. and Leroux.
As calls for next steps and ongoing actions were made, an “American” flag was set-alight and someone in the crowd stated, “Indigenous resistance will never be state sanctioned. Everyday is Indigenous Peoples’ Day and everyday we have to continue to fight for our existence.”
Organizers call for these immediate actions:
- continued boycott of Arizona Snowbowl and for the City of Flagstaff to cancel their contract with the ski resort,
- end to racial profiling & I.C.E. collaboration and further work to abolish police in our communities by establishing community support networks and transformative/restorative justice options,
- repeal the anti-camping ordinance and all anti-homeless policies
- donations of sleeping bags and winter clothing for unsheltered relatives at Táala Hooghan Infoshop (1704 N 2nd St),
Add your comments (racist, sexist, & trans/homophobic comments will not be published)
Indigenous Peoples’ Day of Rage 2022
This is a call for an Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage Against Colonialism on Sunday, October 9, 2022, everywhere.
We heard that mass actions are a bit out of fashion this season & lone wolfs or affinity groups are all the rage.
Counter the spectacle of the “good, respectable Indian” and their mundane celebrations of assimilation. Your ancestors invite you to embrace the veracious criminality of anti-colonial struggle and be smart (don’t get caught).
A banner drop? An attack on colonial symbols, monuments, etc. Spray paint? A broken window here, a burning xxxxxxx there? Be fierce and fabulously unpredictable and strike in the darkest part of the night (points if you use glitter). Even the smallest Indigenous dreams of liberation are greater than the settler nightmares we live everyday.
We won’t be making any lists or asking for emails this year due to a heightened sense for the need of greater security culture. Though we will post any securely and anonymously sent reports and pics in the aftermath.
In the spirit of Jane’s Revenge, abort colonialism. Colonizer (c)laws off our bodies!
– The insurrectionary anti-colonial invisible council of IPDR.
Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage 2021: Action Report
Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage 2021: Action Report
(More pics and info to be added as reports come in)
From up north in so-called Edmonton, AB down to “Tampa, Florida” and spanning Turtle Island from Sacramento, CA to Washington D.C. – resisters everywhere threw down on Sunday, Oct. 10th, 2021 (plus few days before and after) for Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage (Against Colonialism) – Round Two.
We saw banner drops, militant marches, paint attacks on settler institutions, and a lot of discomfort on colonizers faces before the day even began. Apparently, the politicians including mayors of cities hit hard by last year’s IPDoR actions penciled in overtime for their thinning blue lines while members of the clergy peeked out of windows with trepidation as they sat in round-the-clock vigils anticipating their comeuppance. It was indeed a good day to be Indigenous – not so great of a day to be a colonial relic, as evidenced by Washington DC’s statue of the infamous genocidal maniac Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park which had “EXPECT US” spray painted on its base in reference to the classic slogan of Indigenous resistance, “Respect us or expect us.”
As monuments to colonizers around the globe have been vandalized, smashed, and/or ceremoniously thrown into rivers over the past couple years – it was great to see Andrew Jackson inducted into the club! Along with the Columbus statue in Tampa, FL and Abraham Lincoln’s statue in so-called Bennington, Vermont (not pictured).
The rubble that is the 3rd Precinct, burned to the ground in last years George Floyd protests, was decorated with an “Avenge Indigenous Children” banner to acknowledge the thousands of lives lost in boarding schools and residential schools across the continent during late 1800’s through mid-1900’s.
The Southwest saw militant marches demanding No More Stolen Sisters on behalf of the MMIWG2ST campaign and a rally calling out the mascotization of Native images used by a long-time racist ass business in Durango, CO. In occupied Kinłani (“Flagstaff, Arizona”), a rally and march led to the shutting down of major intersections for a radical round dance that ensnarled traffic. A colonial statue was vandalized and smoke devices were set off throughout the downtown for some anti-colonial mayhem.
Meanwhile, over on the West Coast, freeway overpasses hosted banner drops from occupied California and up through KKKanada. Folx in occupied San Rafael demanded that the city drop the charges of Protectors/Defenders (check out https://ip5solidarity.org/) while roadways in Sacramento declared “Columbus Was Lost,” “Indigenous Sovereignty NOW!” and, “No Justice on Stolen Land!” Our relatives to the north, in Amiskwaciwaskahikan (“Edmonton, Alberta”) reminded drivers that there is “No Pride in Genocide.”
Speaking of stolen land, this year seemed to hold one very resounding cry. Whether it was splashed across barriers in public spaces of so-called Las Vegas, Nevada, or etched brazenly on a wall under the gaze of the ever-present eyeball surveilling “Asheville, North Carolina’s” city hall, done in the colorful handstyle in a more urban setting as submitted by anonymous, or dressed up with the good ol’ circle A in flat black out on Diné Bikeyah (“The Navajo Nation”) – the writing on the wall is clear: LAND BACK.
Signage at colonial institutions were not spared. In Portland, OR, Lewis & Clark College had “CHANGE NAME” not so subtly suggested. And the recently opened Tesla dealership and service station in Nambe Pueblo, NM didn’t escape the rage at the betrayal of the Pueblo’s decision to climb in bed with Elon Musk and become green capitalists.
Understandably, there were many other actions that went down that couldn’t or wouldn’t be documented, such as sabotaged rail lines in the so-called Pacific NorthWest, excavators threatening sacred lands in the “Midwest” that were rendered useless, the Catholic Church in “Denver, Colorado” that allegedly had their truths displayed for the world to see with bright red paint on their walls, and the relatives up in “Portland, Oregon” who struck like ghosts in the night, leaving only the footage of clean up crews sweeping up glass and colonial tears the following day in their wake. Some of the strongest statements are made quietly, as some of our actions have become a silent warcry–an ever present threat–making colonizers clutch their pearls and pocketbooks, in recognition of an Indigenous resistance that is alive, untamed claws-out, rabid and growing. It cannot be neatly confined to one designated calendar day, our anti-colonial agitation is year-round and we celebrate that ANY WAY we damn well please.
This year the justifications for our rage felt more acute, particularly in the so-called US with the colonial authority proclaiming “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” We’ve seen the farce of this politics of recognition for what it is and this is why we rage; to undermine their co-optation and white/redwashing. We emphasized that arrests weren’t the point this year especially considering how performative Non-Violent Direct Actions have fed so many of our people into the hands of the police state. We don’t want our people and accomplices locked up ever, especially during a pandemic. We’re not out to beg politicians, negotiate treaties, and we will not make concessions – we fight for total liberation. To radicalize, inspire, empower and attack – this is what anti-colonial struggle looks like and we are everywhere.
With Love & Rage –
May the bridges we burn together light our way.
Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage Round Two – Kinłani Report Back
Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage Round Two – Kinłani Report Back
As the sun set on Sunday, Oct. 11 a crowd of Indigenous folx and accomplices gathered outside Flagstaff City Hall and pitched three tents for unsheltered relatives. The cops came to intimidate but no-one from what we could see was listening to whatever it was they were attempting to convey.
A contingent of a liberal Indigenous group called “Indigenous Circle of Flagstaff” attempted to communicate what the police could not. Something about “change coming from policy,” about not wanting something “bad” to happen to the demonstrators. There was some sort of debate but we weren’t close enough to hear what was happening and decided to ignore the clear attempt at movement policing. After all, the night was emerging and we weren’t there to debate hang-around-the-fort Natives.
A jail support number was shared with the message that “We’re not here because we want any more of our people locked up in the system. Our plan is not to get arrested and if they try, to make sure we don’t let that happen.” Some words were said on a megaphone but we’ve learned to tune that frequency out after years of marching, somehow the megaphone ends up in the same hands and our ears are tired of the cheer-leading.
A bright orange banner led the way with the words “Avenge Indigenous Children” referencing the brutal legacy of boarding school violence that has resurfaced with powerful calls for accountability throughout the so-called US and KKKanada. The crowd started a quick march on the sidewalk. Cops on bikes tried to heard us but we were swift. We pushed passed them and quickly with a chant of “Whose streets? Our streets. Whose land? Native land” took the intersection of Route 66 and San Francisco St., which is the busiest intersection in the downtown area. Cop cars rushed around. Traffic downtown was fully stopped. The drummer started a round dance song, and at first it seemed some of us weren’t sure do dance or stand there with banners. But we took our time. The beat was steady and echoed off the walls of this colonial settlement that our great grandparents are older than. Banners reading, “Colonialism is a Plague,” “Indigenous Resistance,” “Land Back,” and many others were carried in the dance that was held for about 20 minutes or so. At some point the crowd gathered around an obnoxious and controversial statue of a white railroad worker (which obscures the reality of forced Chinese labor and the advancement of waves of colonial invaders via the rail system).
The statue was enhanced with red paint. Some in the crowd used banners to provide tactical cover then moved on. Cops followed and tried to get ahead of the crowd. A series of massive smoke devices were set off by someone. The streets of downtown “Flagstaff” looked overrun by angry ancestors emerging from the smoke chanting “Fuck Columbus, fuck the police!” It felt like the nightmares of colonizers coming to haunt the futures they have stolen. By pumping millions of gallons of recycled shit water on the sacred San Francisco Peaks. By attacking Indigenous unsheltered relatives and leaving them to freeze in the winter months. By arresting what amounts to half the Indigenous population every year. By doing absolutely nothing when Indigenous womxn have gone missing or were murdered, Vanessa Lee. Ariel Bryant. Nicole Joe. We screamed their names and asserted our rage. We weren’t there to debate, plead, or negotiate as the pacified Natives who tried to make rooms in their chains for us. We were there to celebrate our dignified rage (as the Zapatistas have so beautifully named this anger that is a powerful component of the centuries of resistance against colonialism). Another busy intersection was taken and a round dance ensued. Some colonizers yelled something and we’re quickly told to “Fuck off.” There was a moment when the marching stopped in a central part of downtown, a relative who had been there every fierce step of the way spoke, (pieces of her words from memory here): “Ariel Bryant was my best friend. She went missing and the cops told me not to look for her. She was found dead and nothing has been done. I’m here for all missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, trans, and two-spirit relatives.” Another relative who said they were from Tsé Bit’ a’í spoke about a Diné elder named Ella Mae Begay who has been missing for months now. “No one is taking this seriously except her family and some community members.” They said stepping out into the streets to rage for missing relatives was a powerful experience. Last year there were more numbers out (less people due to protest burnout? Fuck activists anyways). But this year the spirit and fire was just as fierce. We had friends not come out ‘cause they got cases. We had other friends who just are done with protesting and focus on direct underground actions. (Which we were inspired to see the colorful redecorating occurring in other spaces throughout the town).
Overall the politicians, cops, settlers, and sellouts were all afraid of how fragile the facade of their colonial structures really are. The officially recognized and formal Indigenous Peoples’ Day proclamations and “celebrations” lets them off the hook for accountability and the reckoning that is long overdue. Sometimes its the alchemy of catharsis that keeps us going through the despair of colonially induced trauma and the spiritual and physical brutality we (and the land which also hold trauma) face everyday. What we felt was healing. What we felt was anti-colonial struggle. When monuments (and the systems of violence that uphold them) fall, our people can only come up. Let’s tear them all fucking down. Fuck movement police and “Indian scouts.” Fuck Biden’s proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
– An anonymous hashké Diné
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October 10, 2018 at 8:17 AM