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Uprooting Colonialism: The Limitations of Indigenous Peoples’ Day



Fall 2017 (v1.0)

Edits and contributions by
Indigenous Action Media Collective & friends

Downloadable PDFs | Readable | Printable (zine format)


The first Columbus Day celebration reportedly took place in 1792 in occupied Lenape lands aka “New York” when colonizers marked 300 years since Columbus’ brutal invasion of Taino lands in 1492. It wasn’t until 100 years later in 1892 that “U.S.” colonial forces officially celebrated the genocide of Indigenous Peoples. 1907, in occupied Ute lands, the state of Colorado created a law to make Columbus Day the first state holiday.

In 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt established Columbus Day a national holiday, largely as a result of intense lobbying by the catholic group “Knights of Columbus.” Originally observed every October 12, it was fixed to the second Monday in October in 1971.


In 1968, then “California” governor Ronald Reagan signed a resolution calling for a holiday called “American Indian Day,” to be held the Fourth Friday in September. In 1998, the California Assembly passed AB 1953, which made “Native American Day” an official state holiday, observed annually on the fourth Friday in September. The law states, “An emphasis on freedom, justice, patriotism, and representative government have always been elements of Native

American culture, and Native Americans have shown their willingness to fight and die for this nation in foreign lands.” It further states, “Native Americans have given much to this country, and in recognition of this fact, it is fitting that this state returns the honor by recognizing Native Americans for all of their offerings to this beloved land through the establishment of a state holiday referred to as ‘Native American Day.’”


In 1977, a delegation of Indigenous Peoples proposed replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IPD) at the United Nations “International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Amerikas” that was held in Switzerland.


In 1982, Spain and the Vatican proposed a 500-year commemoration of Columbus’s voyage at the UN. The African delegation walked out of the meeting in protest.


In 1989, the Transform Columbus Day Alliance was formed by Colorado AIM and more than 80 organizations to directly resist cultural imperialism in the form of an annual Columbus Day parade. The alliance also called for the abolition of Columbus day in occupied Ute lands aka “Denver, Colorado.”


In 1989, the South Dakota legislature unanimously passed legislation proposed by republican governor George S. Mickelson to proclaim 1990 as the “Year of Reconciliation” between Indigenous Peoples and white settlers and to change Columbus Day to “Native American Day.” Since 1990, every second Monday in October is celebrated as “Native American Day.”


In July 1990, representatives from more than one hundred Indigenous Nations from throughout the Amerikas met in Ecuador in preparation for the then upcoming 500th anniversary of Native resistance to the European invasion of the Americas. A resolution was passed to transform Columbus Day, 1992, “into an occasion to strengthen our process of continental unity and struggle towards our liberation.”


In 1991, after the formation of a committee called Resistance 500 in occupied Ohlone lands aka “Berkeley, California,” the city council became the first in the “U.S.” to declare October 12th Indigenous Peoples’ Day.


In 1997, the state of Nevada declares the Fourth Friday of September as “Native American Day.”


In 2014, Indigenous organizers pushed the cities of “Seattle” and “Minneapolis” to pass resolutions declaring IPD. These declarations started a watershed movement, since then more than 60 cities, Indigenous Nations, states, and counties have passed IPD resolutions.


Declarations, Disconnect, & Decolonial Recuperation

As momentum has accelerated for occupying forces to issue declarations of “Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IPD),” we can’t help but feel disconnected from the revelry.

Aside from psychic solace, if the state dismantles these statues and proclaims Indigenous Peoples’ Days, what do we actually achieve if the structures and systems rooted in colonial violence remain intact? Is it merely political posturing or window dressing to diminish liberatory agitations? Our senses are heightened as most re-brandings of Columbus Day into IPD appear to whitewash ongoing colonial legacies.

The statistics are all too familiar: Indigenous Peoples in the “U.S.” are the ethnic group that faces the highest police murder rate, the highest rates of incarnation, homelessness, and sexual violence.
So yes, we have very good reason to be skeptical of symbolic gestures.

We’re all for removing colonial symbols and nationalistic myths, so long as structures such as colonialism and racism go along with them. Problem is they are not. These edicts are readily embraced by their advocates as “steps in the right direction” for Indigenous interests, yet—as we’ll assert here—only serve to calcify colonial rule. What else are we to glean from superficial declarations handed down by occupying governing bodies?

Decolonial aspirations are stunted with liberal cosmetology if nothing concrete is done to address historical and ongoing anti-Indigenous brutality. This is an insidious conciliatory process of decolonial recuperation that is rooted in cultural and symbolic change primarily fixated on transforming social stature. It fails to meaningfully confront and transform social power.

To illustrate, nearly all recently passed IPD declarations use the same template with some minor variations:

Reaffirmation of “commitment to promote the well-being and growth of _____’s American Indian and Indigenous community.”
Recognizing “that the Indigenous Peoples of the lands that would later become known as the Americas have occupied these lands since time immemorial; and
– ________recognizes the fact that _______ is built upon the homelands and villages of the Indigenous Peoples of this region, without whom the building of the ________ would not have been possible; and”
– Valuing “the many contributions made to our community through Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge, labor, technology, science, philosophy, arts and the deep cultural contribution that has substantially shaped the character of ______; and
– __________has a responsibility to oppose the systematic racism towards Indigenous people in the United States, which perpetuates high rates of poverty and income inequality, exacerbating disproportionate health, education, and social crises; and
– __________ promotes the closing of the equity gap for Indigenous Peoples through policies and practices that reflect the experiences of Indigenous Peoples, ensure greater access and opportunity, and honor our nation’s indigenous roots, history, and contributions; and
so forth…

IPD traces its roots back to 1977, when a delegation of Indigenous Peoples proposed replacing Columbus Day at the United Nations “International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Amerikas” in Switzerland. (see time-line above)
The momentum picked up in July 1990, when representatives from more than one hundred Indigenous Nations gathered to organize for the “500th anniversary of Native resistance to the European invasion of the Americas.” A resolution was passed to transform Columbus Day, 1992, “into an occasion to strengthen our process of continental unity and struggle towards our liberation.”

1992, March in Ohlone lands

One year later, after the formation of a committee called Resistance 500 in occupied Ohlone lands aka “Berkeley, California,” the city council became the first in the “U.S.” to declare October 12th Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The resolution called for a day of “ceremonies, cultural events and speakers, participation from the schools and an informational procession.


In the “global south” our relatives elicited a C.I.A. threat advisory stating that, “The U.S. intelligence committee assess that there is an increased potential for terrorist violence in selected Latin American countries in conjunction with the October 12 observance of the 500th year of Columbus’ arrival in the New World.” Attacks included bombings of U.S. targets such as churches, banks, and the U.S. ambassador’s house in Chile. The United Press International office in Peru was liberated for a radio broadcast denouncing Columbus’ invasion.

Contemporarily in the “U.S.”, IPD –at its worst– has absorbed decolonial tendencies and transformed them into annual state-sanctioned cultural marketplaces. With non-profit or self-appointed managers holding it down: it’s all pow-wow and no rage, with zero mention of accountability or liberation. We’re all too familiar with the machinery of these kinds of “celebrations” as “Native American Heritage Month” is already marked with dances, sales, and a range of other essentialized commodities. This is just an expression of the intimate structural partnership of capitalism and colonialism, it’s IPD(tm) with all rights reserved. A holiday on stolen land.

To focus on abolishing one day that celebrates genocide of Indigenous Peoples is to ignore the 364 others that are also entrenched in the ongoing occupation and exploitation of Indigenous lives and land.

Amrah Salomon J., Mexican & O’odham, states, “The practices of naming and celebrating are important ways of normalizing genocide and colonialism. Naming places and days of celebration after horrific killers like Cristoforo Colombo, (Columbus), is a way of creating social acceptance for his crimes: rape, torture, invasion, genocide, and being the architect of mass incarceration and the chattel slave trade (that carried Native American slaves to Europe and African slaves to the Americas). Seeing these names celebrated around us elicits deep historical trauma for Black and Indigenous peoples and functions as a form of racial microaggression.”

Salomon continues, “So yes, it is important to remove these offensive names from our everyday geographies, end holidays, and remove monuments that celebrate slavery, colonialism, and genocide. But addressing public representations that glorify colonial and racial violence is not enough, we must also end ongoing acts of colonial and racial violence for these representational measures to have any kind of lasting social significance. If the statue of Columbus and the genocide celebration of Thanksgiving are gone, there is still a myriad of other acts of colonial violence happening every single day that need to be addressed. Rectification with colonialism can only be achieved through decolonization. Rectification with racism can only be achieved through the abolishment of white supremacy as a structuring institution and social system, not only as a practice of individual bigotry. Rectification with heteropatriarchy can also only be achieved through abolition.”

Beyond Recognition

2015, “Detroit, MI”

As Charlie Sepulveda, Tongva from occupied lands of “Los Angeles” states, “Changing Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day, while appropriate, is nothing more than a politics of recognition. It isn’t justice. It doesn’t give land back. It doesn’t move the Tongva toward decolonization or strengthen our ability to be sovereign. It allows L.A. to recognize Indigenous people without having to do anything to radically affect the hegemonic order of settler colonialism. Sorry to rain on your parade.” Sepulveda further adds, “I am grateful to those who worked on abolishing Columbus Day. It is important. Yet, Tongva desperately need more than a symbolic name change. And it is Tongva land, not ‘Indian’ land. – I hope that was clear [with the declaration of IPD]? If not, then why not? We are still here.”

The politics of recognition are important to understand in terms of strategy & tactics. If the goal is for Indigenous autonomy, liberation of the land, people, and other beings, than why plead with our oppressors to merely acknowledge or recognize our existence?

Glen Coulthard, Yellowknives Dene, states in his essay Indigenous peoples and the politics of recognition that,”…colonial powers will only recognize the collective rights and identities of Indigenous peoples insofar as this recognition does not obstruct the imperatives of state and capital.” Coulthard further asserts in his book Red Skins White Masks that, “…in situations where colonial rule does not depend solely on the exercise of state violence, its reproduction instead rests on the ability to entice Indigenous peoples to identify, either implicitly or explicitly, with the profoundly asymmetrical and nonreciprocal forms of recognition either imposed on or granted to them by the settler state and society.”

This is not to state that attacks on Indigenous identity regarding racist mascots, stereotypical depictions in movies, in advertising, hipster appropriation, and so forth, are not at all damaging.

As Charles Taylor notes in the book Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, “…often by the misrecognitions of others… a person or a group can suffer real damage, real distortion, if the people or society around them mirror back to them a confining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves. Nonrecognition or misrecognition can inflict harm, can be a form of oppression, imprisoning one is a false, distorted, and reduced mode of being.”
Understanding how the politics of recognition functions can elucidate pitfalls of cooptation and pathways of greater resistance. 

Event the practice of “recognizing the Indigenous Peoples whose lands we are on” disembodies Indigenous identities. It is extremely different to stand with and honor protocols and customs for being a visitor or guest on Indigenous lands, than to merely recognize their existence. Putting this into perspective: most all current movements to establish IPD have originated in urban settings without meaningful engagement of the original peoples on those lands. This re-colonization perpetuates the very erasure that IPD is scripted to address, this is a glaring example of lateral violence.

Coulthard emphasizes how “the politics of recognition in its contemporary liberal form promises to reproduce the very configurations of colonialist, racist, patriarchal state power that Indigenous peoples’ demands for recognition have historically sought to transcend.”

Dehumanization can be mitigated by actions that reclaim and re-assert Indigenous identity, but we’re urging to go beyond recognition towards what Frantz Fanon offers in the Wretched of the Earth: “…it is precisely at the moment [the colonized] realizes [her] humanity that s/he begins to sharpen the weapons with which s/he will secure [her] victory.”

Liberalism or Liberation?

While it has been argued that IPD “is a step in the right direction,” we ask, “but what direction?” 
To claim Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an act of decolonization is a failure of liberal assimilationists. Symbolically ending Columbus’ legacy while continuing to perpetuate and benefit from the violence of the “doctrine of discovery” is just one more dead-end direction of Indigenous liberalism. If we understand that colonization has always been war, then why are we fighting a battle for recognition and affirmation through colonial power structures?

Bettina Castagno, mixed Kanien’kehá:ka, states, “Those in all good intention think they are helping but don’t know that these ‘holidays’ are still a dominant culture deciding what is to be celebrated. Those days eventually become a consumer capitalist driven celebration, taking on the value system of the dominant greed cultures with christian euro-centric values and behaviors.”
Castagno further states, “In this day and period of ‘U.S.’ hxstory, no it is not enough to throw us a holiday. Revisit hxstory: after throwing warm blankets, commodity foods, poison hidden in alcohol bottles, sterilization of Indigenous women, uranium poisoned land, substandard medical care and education, broken treaties, stolen land, a mere holiday is insulting. We are not free because we are told we are free, we are not free because it is printed on paper or stamped on coin, we are only truly free when there is not a dominant entity or other culture making the decisions for our people, our land, our medicines, livestock, food, water, education and health.”

Consider that their constitution still does not guarantee Indigenous Peoples protection for religious freedom relating to sacred sites. Sacred places are our shrines or “monuments” of the relations we have maintained since time immemorial and integral for our continued existence. Yet they are constantly profaned and attacked by the very political forces that now decry select facets of their past transgressions. The sacred Black Hills in occupied South Dakota—which celebrates “Native American Day” not Columbus Day—, have been desecrated by resource extraction and the blasphemous monument to slave owning genocidal presidents, were fiercely fought for and reclaimed multiple times by the American Indian Movement in the 1970s. There are telescopes, ski resorts, pipelines, mines, skyscrapers, and other effigies of oppression that are either desecrating or threatening to violate countless other sacred places right now.

In 2015, riding the wave of IPD declarations, the City of Flagstaff in Arizona proposed to follow suit. Due to their role in maintaining a contract to sell millions of gallons of wastewater to Arizona Snowbowl ski resort for desecration of the holy San Francisco Peaks, a group of folks shut the process down. The group asked “how does this action stand to benefit Indigenous people more than appease white guilt?”
They issued an initial statement that expressed how, “We desire to see Columbus Day abolished in all of our lands and can see how others would jump at the opportunity to support this gesture, after all, trust and healing are needed and many other communities have struggled hard with their own campaigns to change the name. Perhaps a meaningful process can be brought forward that includes; addressing historical trauma from settler colonialism, that operates from an understanding that Flagstaff is not a ‘border town’ but occupied stolen Indigenous lands, that immediately ends the Snowbowl contract, that ends racial profiling, police violence, and criminalization of our relatives on the streets, that protects Mother Earth and nurtures healthy and just communities. A process that moves beyond re-branding how our oppression is recognized and restructures our power relationships towards abolishing white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, capitalism, and settler colonialism.”

Alternately the group proposed a comprehensive process to materially address the social and political conditions due to ongoing anti-Indigenous policies maintained by the City. While the framework was promising, ultimately the initial process was co-opted by liberals who allowed the accountability and community power-building components to fall by the wayside. 
In becoming a liberal project that served to improved the functioning of the occupying governing forces, it became a process perpetuating colonial violence.

When the City of Phoenix declared IPD, Alex Soto, Tohono O’odham, stated, “If the City of Phoenix really recognized Indigenous peoples, it would have also motioned and passed a resolution against the South Mountain Freeway.” Alex further adds, “The politics of settler recognition (IPD) in no way ensures our existence. If anything it re-enforces the notion that we are a conquered people. I rather put my energy into burning the table if insincere gestures of acknowledgment and respect are offered by settler colonial institutions. Basically, whatever effort we put into IPD should be at the least be put into actually campaigns that protect local Indigenous culture. If not, what’s the point?”

“The politics of settler recognition (IPD) in no way ensures our existence. If anything it re-enforces the notion that we are a conquered people. – Alex Soto

As Phoenix readies to celebrate its first IPD, the echoes of dynamite blasting through the sacred South Mountain will most likely be drowned out by the revelry.

Andrew Pedro, Akimel O’odham from Gila River, brings the points home, “Indigenous People’s Day in Phoenix continues to be a facade of Indigenous resistance. Just south of phoenix, Moadag (South Mountain) is being desecrated by a construction of the loop 202 extension. This is 21st century colonization by the state but we should still be grateful that the state changed the name of a holiday? I could support it more if the holiday itself wasn’t the end goal. The name change is a symbolic victory. Use the struggle as a platform to make demands on behalf of our sacred places but this is not what’s happening. It appears that liberal organizing is what’s in the way of any real substance coming out of the victory. Rather than attacking 21st century colonization they choose to celebrate what the colonizers give them.”

These infrastructure threats to Indigenous existence are generated by the very systemic forces that drove Columbus’ genocide of the Taino. 

Defending the sacred is nothing new, it’s as old as resistance to Columbus and other not-so-well-despised colonial invaders, so why celebrate the hollow gestures of politicians? What about supporting and celebrating the ongoing struggles for liberation of our Mother Earth?

Put this into perspective that folks rushed to support #nodapl resistance yet perpetuate erasure of sacred lands and water struggles right where they live. This isn’t to say Lake Oahe (the sacred confluence of the Cannonball & Missouri River) didn’t warrant critical support, but to contextualize the larger struggles to defend the sacred and protect water. Anti-colonial struggle necessitates an understanding that the front-line is everywhere. It measures and calculates how colonial power operates. If we don’t build these understanding into our struggles, we risk the momentum ebbing right where Idle No More left it’s water mark. Without meaningfully engaging in sacred sites defense at once as struggle against capitalism and colonialism (add racism and heteropatriarchy to boot), we risk a not so distant future where we’ll have people driving hybrids through South Mountain (sacred site outside of “Phoenix, Arizona”) on loop 202 to ski on shit-snow at Arizona Snowbowl on the sacred Peaks while wearing #nodapl or “Defend the Sacred” t-shirts they bought at an Indigenous Peoples’ Day event weeks prior. This particular brand of superficial activism and anti-colonial posturing that has become more prevalent post-Standing Rock.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day, as a process of collusion with occupying state forces, risks becoming a colonial patriotic ritual more than anything that amounts to liberation.

Breaking from Anti-colonial Posture

We’d like to take a moment to address what we mean by “anti-colonial posture.”
This position seeks to justify and legitimize itself as loudly as possible, at times purposefully and at others by virtue, drowning out any critical Indigenous voices. Usually with the familiar din of delegitimizing and dismissive rhetoric through one on one in-person private meetings (with no greater accountability), white or academicsplaining (sometimes both) or online statements (which means we’re going to do what we want anyways, we have just “heard” you), or the most used disingenuous tactic of the “invitation to present your concerns.” You want us to present at your event to express how problematic it is yet do nothing to functionally change what it is that you are actually doing, really? There’s nothing anti-colonial about that.

This is the realm of the fascism of settler/white allyship, it is in actuality, anti-Indigenous. This form of radical posturing craves its validation so much so that it aggressively seeks those who are agreeable, and when it finds them it objectifies and capitalizes off their participation. This is no form of solidarity, it is viciously exploitative. This is where the false allyship of settler colonizers intersects with capitalism. To be clear, anti-colonial posturing upholds white supremacy and capitalism.
The most basic attempts at whitewashing anti-colonial colonialism result in a redfaced facade. As it is, there will always be some wolves ready to dance and where there is a chance to gain social position/power by proximity to whiteness, out come the dances with wolves.
Anti-colonial posturing thrives off of lateral violence. Radical posturing and silencing of those disagreeable is how white supremacy navigates the perpetuation of itself. We are familiar with this as radical/anarchist/anti-capitalist/anti-authoritarian Indigenous Peoples as we’ve already been it’s subject and we constantly suffer it’s blows. Of course we continue to face how disposable we are every day. Radical communities and spaces are no exception unless they are our own or the long-term hard work to configure relationships in fight, to truly become accomplices not allies, has occurred. And still, how meaningful that relationship is will never be determined by white settlers. Never.

Uprooting Colonialism

Colonialism is not a static event but a structure built on ideas.

Assuming that colonial power structures will bend to moral arguments is a position that accepts the idea that colonial power can absolved, we believe that it cannot be. It must be destroyed and the conditions that precipitate it must also be rooted from these lands. As anti-colonial abolitionists, we seek the total dismantling and systematic erasure of colonial domination and exploitation from these lands.

We desire an unmapping of colonial geography, and see how the dismantling of hxstoric documentation and iconography is an integral part, but we assert that such gains should be wholly in the hands of the people and not the state.

When unsanctioned and unmediated Indigenous and/or accomplice hands strike at or down these statues, monuments, and days of recognition, the process towards destabilizing the colonial death grip on our humanity is loosened.

These kinds of attacks against markers of colonial power can break away at its legitimacy.

Amrah Salomon J., states, “Abolition and decolonization, along with collective self-determination, require concrete actions. Actions that may begin with taking down a statue or ending a holiday, but that certainly cannot end there as removing a monument does nothing to address mass incarceration or police brutality and ending a holiday does nothing to address the disposability of Indigenous life or the desecration of sacred sites. Yes, racist statues need to come down and racist holidays need to be abolished, but the cynical renaming of holidays and statues into some kind of feel good celebration of inclusion (arguments for diversity and inclusion are really about cultural assimilation to settler colonialism, not a deep reckoning with our politics of difference) is being allowed by the state because it can be reduced to a mechanism for settler society to allow the actions of colonialism and racial terrorism to continue while washing their hands of the responsibility to do anything about it. We reject this.”

We can and must simultaneously critically engage and attack the ideas and structures of white supremacy, hetero-patriarchy, capitalism, and colonialism. After all, people in communities from occupied Ute lands in Denver and beyond have been fighting for years to transform Columbus Day and tear down glorifications of conquistadors & other brutal colonizers while simultaneously organizing efforts to heal suffering from historic and intergenerational trauma.

Anti-colonial struggle means attack

K’in Balaam states, “Anti-colonial assaults are decisive strikes that aim to achieve one of three things, 1) expropriate resources for our own survival, 2) materially alter the conditions of power relations and geographic control, or 3) actively sabotage and undermine the continuity of colonial power, resources, culture and control. In short, its something measurable, not simply a sentiment, or word game constituting an agreement in word not deed, easily forgotten and ignored tomorrow. We’re not trying to join in with the settler block party. Or even to take it over.”
Balaam further adds, “To be Anticolonial means to act and attack. Its not just a bunch of solidarity photo-ops and masked up defensive actions with junior settlers driven by their colonial guilt during their weekend warrior adventure. For the Colonized, life is war, we are under occupation and siege from all sides at all times. Even the would be accomplice is and always has been, yet another contingent potential traitor. Just as much so, we the colonized all have the potential to collaborate in our own genocide. The difference is not a matter of what position we take. Genocide is always the situational condition of our struggle and we are forced to respond accordingly. We don’t get a second chance at making mistakes, because fundamentally either we are an existential threat or they are. Its their cabins or our teepees ablaze but one way or another way something is burning.”

Enshrined in genocide & slavery at the brutal hands of white supremacy, is its banks, its skyscrapers, its statues, its names over streets, schools, currency, and other institutions, all standing in monolithic celebration as a physical threat of the violence our violators are still very capable of. Because like many other nation-states the “U.S.” on the whole stands a monument to the ongoing legacy of colonial violence of an entire civilizational order. Our work is to dismantle this order and shatter these monuments of colonial violence, like this one called “America.”

+ + + +

The History of Indigenous Peoples’ Day
The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism
Red Skins White Masks, Coulthard
Wretched of the Earth, Fanon

Resources & links:

Decolonization is Not a Metaphor:

Accomplices Not Allies

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

Columbus and Other Cannibals
by Jack D. Forbes

Neo-Colonialism, The Last Stage of Imperialism
by Kwame Nkrumah

Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat
by J. Sakai
Black Skin, White Mask
by Frantz Fanon
A Dying Colonialism
by Frantz Fanon
The Wretched of the Earth
by Franz Fanon

Red Skins, White Masks
Glen Coulthard

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  1. Christine Prat

    October 24, 2017 at 3:09 PM

    French translation / Traduction française:

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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.


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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)

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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  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.


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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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