anonymous said:

I am an Indigenous women, and I am an activist. Why am I an activist? Because it hurts me to see the injustice in this world. It hurts me to see all the families grieving for the MMIW. It hurts me to see the bodies pulled from the rivers. It hurts me to see the fetishization. It hurts me to see objectification and misogyny. It hurts me to know that 1 in 3 Native women will be raped at least once in her lifetime. It hurts me to know that society just doesn't care about us. I fight because I hurt.

I can sympathize with you. I am a female member of LRI. I was raped as a teenager and have seen other Native women I love brutalized and abused. That hurt stays with you. I don’t know if it ever goes away but I think it gets better with time. If we must hurt and if we must rage, let us use it to create positive change. They cannot defeat us unless our hearts are on the ground. That’s why they attack the women, because we are the foundation of the people. We birth Nations. We are the strongest. So we will never give up. Have you gone to ceremony? I’d like to suggest it. You can be healed there. That sacred wowakan will wipe away all your tears and make you whole again. Lets keep fighting and keep praying.

Indigenous Feminism Without Apology
by Andrea Smith

We often hear the mantra in indigenous communities that Native women aren’t feminists. Supposedly, feminism is not needed because Native women were treated with respect prior to colonization. Thus, any Native woman who calls herself a feminist is often condemned as being “white.”

However, when I started interviewing Native women organizers as part of a research project, I was surprised by how many community-based activists were describing themselves as “feminists without apology.” They were arguing that feminism is actually an indigenous concept that has been co-opted by white women.

The fact that Native societies were egalitarian 500 years ago is not stopping women from being hit or abused now. For instance, in my years of anti-violence organizing, I would hear, “We can’t worry about domestic violence; we must worry about survival issues first.” But since Native women are the women most likely to be killed by domestic violence, they are clearly not surviving. So when we talk about survival of our nations, who are we including?

These Native feminists are challenging not only patriarchy within Native communities, but also white supremacy and colonialism within mainstream white feminism. That is, they’re challenging why it is that white women get to define what feminism is.

DECENTERING WHITE FEMINISM

The feminist movement is generally periodized into the so-called first, second and third waves of feminism. In the United States, the first wave is characterized by the suffragette movement; the second wave is characterized by the formation of the National Organization for Women, abortion rights politics, and the fight for the Equal Rights Amendments. Suddenly, during the third wave of feminism, women of colour make an appearance to transform feminism into a multicultural movement.

This periodization situates white middle-class women as the central historical agents to which women of colour attach themselves. However, if we were to recognize the agency of indigenous women in an account of feminist history, we might begin with 1492 when Native women collectively resisted colonization. This would allow us to see that there are multiple feminist histories emerging from multiple communities of colour which intersect at points and diverge in others. This would not negate the contributions made by white feminists, but would de-center them from our historicizing and analysis.

Indigenous feminism thus centers anti-colonial practice within its organizing. This is critical today when you have mainstream feminist groups supporting, for example, the US bombing of Afghanistan with the claim that this bombing will free women from the Taliban (apparently bombing women somehow liberates them).

CHALLENGING THE STATE

Indigenous feminists are also challenging how we conceptualize indigenous sovereignty - it is not an add-on to the heteronormative and patriarchal nationstate. Rather it challenges the nationstate system itself. Charles Colson, prominent Christian Right activist and founder of Prison Fellowship, explains quite clearly the relationship between heteronormativity and the nation-state. In his view, samesex marriage leads directly to terrorism; the attack on the “natural moral order” of the heterosexual family “is like handing moral weapons of mass destruction to those who use America’s decadence to recruit more snipers and hijackers and suicide bombers.”

Similarly, the Christian Right World magazine opined that feminism contributed to the Abu Ghraib scandal by promoting women in the military. When women do not know their assigned role in the gender hierarchy, they become disoriented and abuse prisoners.

Implicit in this is analysis the understanding that heteropatriarchy is essential for the building of US empire. Patriarchy is the logic that naturalizes social hierarchy. Just as men are supposed to naturally dominate women on the basis of biology, so too should the social elites of a society naturally rule everyone else through a nation-state form of governance that is constructed through domination, violence, and control.

As Ann Burlein argues in Lift High the Cross, it may be a mistake to argue that the goal of Christian Right politics is to create a theocracy in the US. Rather, Christian Right politics work through the private family (which is coded as white, patriarchal, and middle-class) to create a “Christian America.” She notes that the investment in the private family makes it difficult for people to invest in more public forms of social connection.

For example, more investment in the suburban private family means less funding for urban areas and Native reservations. The resulting social decay is then construed to be caused by deviance from the Christian family ideal rather than political and economic forces. As former head of the Christian Coalition Ralph Reed states: “The only true solution to crime is to restore the family,” and “Family break-up causes poverty.”

Unfortunately, as Navajo feminist scholar Jennifer Denetdale points out, the Native response to a heteronormative white, Christian America has often been an equally heteronormative Native nationalism. In her critique of the Navajo tribal council’s passage of a ban on same-sex marriage, Denetdale argues that Native nations are furthering a Christian Right agenda in the name of “Indian tradition.”

This trend is equally apparent within racial justice struggles in other communities of colour. As Cathy Cohen contends, heteronormative sovereignty or racial justice struggles will effectively maintain rather than challenge colonialism and white supremacy because they are premised on a politics of secondary marginalization. The most elite class will further their aspirations on the backs of those most marginalized within the community.

Through this process of secondary marginalization, the national or racial justice struggle either implicitly or explicitly takes on a nation-state model as the end point of its struggle - a model in which the elites govern the rest through violence and domination, and exclude those who are not members of “the nation.”

NATIONAL LIBERATION

Grassroots Native women, along with Native scholars such as Taiaiake Alfred and Craig Womack, are developing other models of nationhood. These articulations counter the frequent accusations that nation-building projects necessarily lead to a narrow identity politics based on ethnic cleansing and intolerance. This requires that a clear distinction be drawn between the project of national liberation, and that of nation-state building.

Progressive activists and scholars, while prepared to make critiques of the US and Canadian governments, are often not prepared to question their legitimacy. A case in point is the strategy of many racial justice organizations in the US or Canada, who have rallied against the increase in hate crimes since 9/11 under the banner, “We’re American [or Canadian] too.”

This allegiance to “America” or “Canada” legitimizes the genocide and colonization of Native peoples upon which these nation-states are founded. By making anti-colonial struggle central to feminist politics, Native women place in question the appropriate form of governance for the world in general. In questioning the nation-state, we can begin to imagine a world that we would actually want to live in. Such a political project is particularly important for colonized peoples seeking national liberation outside the nation-state.

Whereas nation-states are governed through domination and coercion, indigenous sovereignty and nationhood is predicated on interrelatedness and responsibility.

As Sharon Venne explains, “Our spirituality and our responsibilities define our duties. We understand the concept of sovereignty as woven through a fabric that encompasses our spirituality and responsibility. This is a cyclical view of sovereignty, incorporating it into our traditional philosophy and view of our responsibilities. It differs greatly from the concept of Western sovereignty which is based upon absolute power. For us absolute power is in the Creator and the natural order of all living things; not only in human beings… Our sovereignty is related to our connections to the earth and is inherent.”

REVOLUTION

A Native feminist politics seeks to do more than simply elevate Native women’s status - it seeks to transform the world through indigenous forms of governance that can be beneficial to everyone.

At the 2005 World Liberation Theology Forum held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, indigenous peoples from Bolivia stated that they know another world is possible because they see that world whenever they do their ceremonies. Native ceremonies can be a place where the present, past and future become copresent. This is what Native Hawaiian scholar Manu Meyer calls a racial remembering of the future.

Prior to colonization, Native communities were not structured on the basis of hierarchy, oppression or patriarchy. We will not recreate these communities as they existed prior to colonization. Our understanding that a society without structures of oppression was possible in the past tells us that our current political and economic system is anything but natural and inevitable. If we lived differently before, we can live differently in the future.

Native feminism is not simply an insular or exclusivist “identity politics” as it is often accused of being. Rather, it is framework that understands indigenous women’s struggle as part of a global movement for liberation. As one activist stated: “You can’t win a revolution on your own. And we are about nothing short of a revolution. Anything else is simply not worth our time.”

Andrea Smith is Cherokee and a professor of Native American Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and co-founder of Incite! Women of Color Against Violence and the Boarding School Healing Project.

_____________________________

R.I.S.E.:
Radical
Indigenous
Survivance &
Empowerment


https://www.facebook.com/RISEIndigenous
___________________________________________.

Save Wiyabi Project

"Wiyabi" is Assiniboine for "Women". This project is dedicated to bringing awareness to the epidemic of sexual and domestic violence towards Native American women. In the United States, Native women are more likely to be raped and physically assaulted than any other group. We encourage you to support the Re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act and the SAVE Native Women Act.

You can now follow us on Twitter at @SaveWiyabi and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Save.Wiyabi.Project

6

Native Women: Leading the Fight Against the Tar Sands 

Faith Spotted Eagle, Ihanktonwan Dakota Signatory to the Treaty to Protect the Sacred. Testified at public hearing in Nebraska against Keystone XL. 

Crystal Lameman, Beaver Lake Cree Grassroots activist, organizing in Alberta against tar sands devastation on her nation’s territory. In 2012, she was a delegate to the UN Rio+20 Summit. 

Debra White Plume, Oglala Lakota Organizer with Moccasins on the Ground, which trains Native people an allies in direct action tactics in anticipation of the approval of Keystone XL North 

Winona LaDuke, Anishinaabeg One of the founders of the Indigenous Women’s Network, founder of Honor the Earth. Longtime indigenous activist, LaDuke is (at the time of writing) riding across the length of Enbridge’s pipelines in Minnesota to raise awareness.

Casey Camp-Horineck, Ponca Actress and activist, Camp-Horineck provided important support and guidance to Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance in their work stopping construction of KXL south

Tantoo Cardinal, Metis/Cree Born in Ft McMurray, Cardinal was arrested outside the White House at the massive 2011 sit-in against the Keystone XL pipeline. She has continued to organize against Keystone XL. 

**This in no way encompasses all the accomplishments of these women.**

Comprehensive data released Friday by the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights offers a striking glance at the extent of racial inequality plaguing the nation’s education system.

Analysts found that black, Latino and Native American students have less access to advanced math and science courses and are more likely to be taught by first-year instructors than white students. Black and Native American students are also suspended and expelled at disproportionate rates.

For the first time in history, the Education Department also examined school discipline at the pre-K level, finding that black students as young as four years old are already facing unequal treatment from school administrators.

The Education Department released four papers with the data, analyzing inequality in school disciplineearly learningcollege readiness and teacher equity (pdfs). Here’s a breakdown of some of the key findings, taken straight from those papers. During the 2011–12 school year:

  1. Black students accounted for 18 percent of the country’s pre-K enrollment, but made up 48 percent of preschoolers with multiple out-of-school suspensions.

  2. Black students were expelled at three times the rate of white students.

  3. American Indian and Native-Alaskan students represented less than 1 percent of students, but 3 percent of expulsions.

  4. Black girls were suspended at higher rates than all other girls and most boys.

  5. American Indian and Native-Alaskan girls were suspended at higher rates than white boys or girls.

  6. Nearly one in four boys of color, excepting Latino and Asian American students, with disabilities received an out-of-school suspension.

  7. One in five girls of color with disabilities received an out-of-school suspension.

  8. A quarter of the schools with the highest percentage of black and Latino students did not offer Algebra II.

  9. A third of these schools did not offer chemistry.

  10. Less than half of American Indian and Native-Alaskan high school students had access to the full range of math and science courses, which consists of Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, calculus, biology, chemistry and physics.

  11. Black and Latino students accounted for 40 percent of enrollment at schools with gifted programs, but only represented 26 percent of students in such programs.

  12. Black, Latino and Native American students attended schools with higher concentrations of first-year teachers (3 to 4 percent) than white students (1 percent).

  13. Black students were more than three times as likely to attend schools where fewer than 60 percent of teachers meet all state certification and licensure requirements.

  14. Latino students were twice as likely to attend such schools.

The Department of Education’s civil rights survey examined all 97,000 public schools in the US, representing 49 million students. Explore the datasets, organized by school, state and district, here.

Zitkala-Ša, also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, was the most amazing woman you’ve never heard of.

A writer, editor, musician, teacher and political activist, she was born on February 22, 1876 on the Yankton Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Her mother was Sioux and her father, who abandoned the family when she was very young, was European-American.

When she was eight, missionaries came to the res and took Zitkala-Ša along with several other children to the White’s Manual Labor Institute in Wabash, Indiana, one of many such institutions where Native children were forced to assimilate into white American culture. She studied piano and violin and eventually took the place of her teacher when she resigned. When she received her diploma in 1895, she delivered a speech on women’s rights.

She earned a scholarship to Earlham College, where she continued to study music. From 1897-99, she played with the New England Conservatory in Boston and played at the Paris Exposition in 1900. She collaborated with composer William F. Hanson on the world’s first Native American opera, based entirely on Sioux melodies that had previously existed only as oral tradition. She would play the melodies and Hanson transcribed them. The Sun Dance Opera debuted in 1913 to warm reviews, but I can find no recordings of it, and it seems it’s never performed.

Zitkala-Ša also wrote a number of collections of Native American stories and legends. She wrote them in Latin when she was at school and then translated them into English. She was the first Native person to do so in her own words, without a white editor or translator. In addition, she wrote extensively about her schooling and how it left her torn between her Sioux heritage and her assimilation into white culture. Her writings were published in The Atlantic Monthly and in Harper’s and she served as editor for the American Indian Magazine.

Unsurprisingly, most of her writings were political. She was a fierce yet charismatic advocate for Native American rights. Her efforts helped pass the Indian Citizenship Act and the Indian Reorganization Act. Having founded the National Coalition of American Indians, she spent the rest of her life fighting to protect our many indigenous communities from exploitation.

Her accomplishments were incredible- but have you ever heard of her? I had never heard of her either. Just another example of a history-changing woman omitted from the history books.

Inuit tweet 'sealfies' to protest Ellen's Oscars selfie.

After Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscars selfie raised $1.5 million for an anti-seal hunt organization, Canada’s Inuit have started a new viral phenomenon — sealfies.

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Seal hunt proponents tweeted pictures of themselves decked out in sealskin clothes at DeGeneres Thursday.

"I am an Inuit seal meat eater, and my fur is ethical," wrote Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, bundled in a sealskin coat, pants and boots. She also wrote a letter to DeGeneres and posted it online.

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Samsung vowed to donate $1 for every retweet of DeGeneres’ celebrity-packed Oscars selfie to a charity of her choice. She raised $1.5 million for the Humane Society of the United States, which campaigns annually against Canada’s seal hunt.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s website calls the seal hunt “one of the most atrocious and inhumane acts against animals allowed by any government.”

The Inuit have long defended the hunt as a sustainable practice, deeply rooted in Inuit culture, which helps feed people in a region plagued by hunger.

"The meat feeds families, which is important to an area where many households have identified that they face issues of food insecurity," said Sandi Vincent, 26, of Rankin Inlet who posted her own sealfie Thursday.

The pelts also come in handy in the cold northern climate and provide a needed source of income, she said.

She also countered the idea of the hunt as “inhumane.”

"In Inuit culture, it is believed seals and other animals have souls and offer themselves to you. Humanely and with gratitude we accepted this gift," she said, reminiscing about catching her first seal at age 15.

"My uncle placed some snow in the seals mouth when it was dead, so its soul would not be thirsty. If there is one word to describe seal hunting, I would suggest respectful."

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(via canoe)

2

Let’s talk about Prudencia Ayala.

Prudencia Ayala was a woman born in 1885 to a native family in a small town in El Salvador, Central America.

She started going to school at age 10, but had to left her studies because her family was too poor to sustain her, so she became a seamstress. She was an autodidact, and taught herself to read politics and economics, until she developed an opinion. Since 1913 she began publishing articles on feminism and anti-imperialism. She was opposed the dictatorships in Latin America, the North American interventions, and proclaimed the necessity of Central America to join into a federal Republic. 

She tried to be a presidential candidate in 1930, even though women couldn’t vote in El Salvador by then. Her government plan included many feminist points, a law to support syndicates, and the legal recognition of illegitimate children. She entered an intellectual and legal fight to be allowed to be a candidate but the Supreme Court resolved against her.

Prudencia retired from politics after that, and until her death, six years later, she worked closely with workers groups and social movements.

Women couldn’t vote in El Salvador until 1950.

Sorry, I couldn’t provide a source in English, but you can read a bit more about here in Spanish here: http://museo.com.sv/2010/11/biografia-prudencia-ayala-la-hija-de-la-centella/ 

The Senate quietly made history on Wednesday night when it confirmed Diane Humetewa as a federal judge — the first Native American woman to ever hold such a post.

Humetewa was confirmed 96-0 to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. She is a former U.S. attorney in Arizona and a member of the Hopi tribe. She is now the first active member of a Native American tribe to serve on the federal bench and only the third Native American in history to do so.

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