american colonization

the Indians are dead, they said

They took us on a field trip to the Everglades
Where we visited big cypress reservation
Most of them died out, teacher said
Precious few left on the rez

I remember marveling at the beadwork and artifacts in the museum
And the chickees amongst the cypress trees
wondering why these things were locked up behind glass,
Why this was “just history”, relics of the past
Reading the words on the museum plaques;
the Seminoles and Creeks
were once one people

Something in me lit up,
That’s me! That’s me,
Wayward Indian without a culture,
forced by the whiteness of public education to view colonizers as explorers,
My own people as savages
Well, the word creek was said
But still, “those Indians, they’re dead”

In fourth grade we had to pick a conquistador to do a project on
Picking a Native American was not an option

Pick your favorite Spaniard,
Who civilized this stinking swampland
And saved it’s savage people
So I picked desoto
That fabled hero who brutalized us
Hungry for the riches of our land

This is what my education taught me;
That my people no longer really exist,
savages swallowed up by European refinement
That our land is not ours, and never again will be
That an Indian is an Indian is an Indian,
Until the white man decides the Indian is white enough that their Indian blood is meaningless

That our culture can be summed up in a museum plaque,
That no one among us was ever great, when held up next to the blessed colonizers

I grew up thinking that my indigenous blood was meaningless,
that whiteness had even won the war within my own body

The Indians are dead, they said
Except for the few who run the museums
and hog our tax dollars

The Indians are dead, they said
And if that’s true,
I must be dead too

- kelsie marina (2017)

Did Europeans “civilize” the Americas? Actually, anthropologists tell us that “hunters and gatherers were relatively peaceful, compared to agriculturalists, and that modern societies were more warlike still. Thus violence increases with civilization.

[…] Textbooks cannot resist contrasting "primitive” Americans with modern Europeans.

[…] Europeans persuaded Natives to specialize in the fur and slave trades. Native Americans were better hunters and trappers than Europeans, and with the guns the Europeans sold them, they became better still. Other Native skills began to atrophy.

[…] because whites “demanded institutions reflective of their own with which to relate,” many Native groups strengthened their tribal governments… New confederations and nations developed.. The tribes also became more male- dominated, in imitation of Europeans.. [there was] an escalation of Indian warfare… [the slave trade helped] to deagriculturize Native Americans. To avoid being targets for capture, Indians abandoned their cornfields and their villages.

[…] "Europeans did not “civilize” or “settle” roaming Indians, but had the opposite impact.

[…] According to Benjamin Franklin, “All their government is by Counsel of the Sages. There is no Force; there are no Prisons, no officers to compel Obedience, or inflict Punishment.” Probably foremost, the lack of hierarchy in the Native socieites in the eastern United States attracted the admiration of European observers. Frontiersmen were taken with the extent to which Native Americans enjoyed freedom as individuals. Women were also accorded more status and power.. than in white societies of the time.

[…] "Indeed, Native American ideas may be partly responsible for our democratic institutions. We have seen how Native ideas of liberty, fraternity, and equality found their way to Europe to influence social philosophers such as Thomas More, Locke, Montaigne, Montesquieu, and Rousseau… Through 150 years of colonial contact, the Iroquois League stood before the colonies as an object lesson in how to govern a large domain democratically.

[…] John Mohawk has argued that American Indians are directly or indirectly responsible for the public-meeting tradition, free speech, democracy, and “all those things which got attached to the Bill of Rights.” Without the Native example, “do you really believe that all those ideas would have found birth among a people who had spent a millennium butchering other people because of intolerance of questions of religion?”

[…] Indian warfare absorbed 80 percent of the entire federal budget during George Washington’s administration and dogged his successors for a century as a major issue and expense… [in many cases] the settlers were Native American, the scalpers white.

[…] All the textbooks tell how Jefferson “doubled the size of the United States by buying Louisiana from France.” Not one points out that it was not France’s land to sell–it was Indian land… Indeed, France did not really sell Louisiana for $15,000,000. France merely sold its claim to the territory… Equally Eurocentric are the maps textbooks use to show the Lewis and Clark expedition. They make Native American invisible, implying that the United States bought vacant land from the French… [Textbooks imply that the Indians were naive about land ownership, but] the problem lay in whites’ not abiding by accepted concepts of land ownership.

[…] The most important cause of the War of 1812.. was land– Indian land… The United States fought five of the seven major land battles of the War of 1812 primarily against Native Americans… [a] result of the War of 1812 was the loss of part of our history. A century of learning [from Native Americans] was coming to a close… until 1815 the word Americans had generally been used to refer to Native Americans; after 1815 it meant European Americans… Carleton Beals has written that “our acquiescence in Indian dispossession has molded the American character.” … destroyed our national idealism. From 1815 on, instead of spreading democracy, we exported the ideology of white supremacy. Gradually we sought American hegemony over Mexico, the Philippines, much of the Caribbean basin, and, indirectly, over other nations… We also have to admit that Adolf Hitler displayed more knowledge of how we treated Native Americans than American high schoolers who rely on their textbooks. Hitler admired our concentration camps for Indians in the west “and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination–by starvation and uneven combat” as the model for his extermination of Jews and Gypsies.

[…] Yet we “still stereotype Native Americans as roaming primitive hunting folk, unfortunate victims of progress.


Excerpts from  Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong 

by James W. Loewen

[Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada] argues that ‘any time Hawaiians—or any other native people, for that matter—come out in force to push for more respect for our culture and language or to protect our places from this kind of destruction, we are dismissed as relics of the past, unable to hack it in the modern world with our antiquated traditions and practices.
—  David Malie, Science, Time, and Mauna a Wākea: The Thirty-Meter Telescope’s Capitalist-Colonialist Violence, Part II

What’s difficult about being from Hawaii is that everyone has a postcard view of your home. Hawaii lives vividly in people’s minds as nothing more than a weeklong vacation – a space of escape, fantasy and paradise. But Hawaii is much more than a tropical destination or a pretty movie backdrop — just as Aloha is way more than a greeting.

The ongoing appropriation and commercialization of all things Hawaiian only makes it clearer as to why it is inappropriate for those with no ties to Hawaii, its language, culture and people to invoke the Hawaiian language. This is uniquely true for aloha – a term that has been bastardized and diminished with its continual use.

Most who invoke the term aloha do not know its true meaning. Aloha actually comes from two Hawaiian words: Alo – which means the front of a person, the part of our bodies that we share and take in people. And Ha, which is our breath. When we are in each other’s presence with the front of our bodies, we are exchanging the breath of life. That’s Aloha.

—  Janet Mock

guess what? native identity is not governed by a tribal enrollment card. you don’t need a piece of paper issued by colonizers to identify as native. if you have native blood you are native. non natives will always question your identity, especially if you don’t “look” or “act native” by their standards.. go by the standards of your OWN people, not the people who stole our land, murdered our people, and continue to oppress us.


American colonization of the Philippines

After the Philippine-American War, America had brought and enforced English in the Philippines. Contrary to popular belief the British did not bring English to the Philippines. Because after the British came to the Philippines the use of the English language did not remain. America had forced the Filipino people to learning English through the educational system exactly like the academic system of the United States. 

Being White-passing and Native in America

I am a white-passing mixed white/native nonbinary individual living in Indiana, USA. I am bisexual and nonbinary. My mother is Eastern Cherokee and white mixed, and my father is white. There are three main federally recognized Cherokee tribes: the Cherokee Nation, the Eastern Band, and the United Keetoowah Band. We are Eastern. 

Daily struggles: Being white passing, people don’t normally know that I’m mixed unless I tell them – and then they don’t believe me when I say so. I feel insecure about reclaiming any part of my culture, due to my white-passing-ness. Cultural appropriation is abundant in America, and it sucks. 

Food: My dad is the cook in the house, so what we eat is mostly influenced by him. But I will say that Native Americans are largely lactose intolerant. It’s a thing. My mom and little sister don’t drink milk, and I’m lactose intolerant too but I drink it anyway.

Holidays: We celebrate Christian/American holidays, for the most part. Yes, even Thanksgiving. We celebrate it at my Cherokee grandma’s house. She has a figurine of a stomp dancer placed in the dining room, and every Thanksgiving she replaces it with a statue of two white pilgrims. I don’t think the white side of my family notices.

Home/Family life/Friendships:

My grandma has all of our heirlooms, papers, and family history concerning our Nativeness kept away somewhere. “Upstairs in a box somewhere” is her verbatim, I think. She’s ashamed of our history, and what we’ve been through, and therefore has never shared anything with us, good or bad. This is cultural assimilation still at work. I am angry that I’ll never know what my family house was; that I had to Google what “tsalagi” means; that slowly, my family history will die out, and it’s not even my grandma’s fault. I understand her. 

My mother is abusive. This is hard to process, because on the one hand, she’s awful to me; but on the other hand, I have a strong desire to connect with my culture and my heritage, and one of the only ways I know how to do this is through her. 

Identity issues: I have considered using the term two-spirit as an identifier for my gender, since I don’t identify strongly with any other term, and it helps me connect with my heritage. However, since I am white-passing, I feel like I don’t deserve this title, and therefore I don’t identify with it.

I also usually don’t use the term “POC” for myself. I’m blonde, for fuck’s sake. I usually just say “mixed” or “part native american” when identifying myself.

Things I’d like to see more of: Natives in love! Natives not doing Stereotypical Native Things©! LGBT Natives! Natives travelling, natives with families and young natives!

Tropes I’m tired of seeing: The Unholy Trinity: native savage, holy savage (spirit man), native princess. Avoid these three tropes, y'all. Thanx

Vintage Postcard 1930′s

The postcard is from the 1930′s. It dates back to a time when Europe disregarded ethnic and tribal boundaries to divided Africa up into colonies where land and people were exploited.

More adult oriented postcards from the era that were distributed privately among like minded individuals were more risque than the above card. In their depictions of same-sex behavior, typically shown were African males with huge sexual appendages dominating willing European males. In gay mainstream and general mainstream media, there is a phobia of showing men of African descent romantically involved with one another; and, few are willing to challenge the phobia.

The postcard above is evidently different in what it shows. The card is non-erotic. All the subjects in the card are African. In the midst of largely heterosexual couplings, one gay couple is featured prominently holding hands as they lovingly look at one another without so much as a disapproving glance from the straight couples.

Same-sex relationships in Africa is nothing new as anthropological and ethnographic observations predating European colonialism reveal. There once was a time when same-sex behavior was accepted as part of the larger arc of human expression and not frowned upon. Same-sex behavior could be accepted and even valued in Africa’s many ethnic tribes. Under the intellectual and Judo-Christian influences of a Europe claiming to have only the best interest of the people always in mind, much of this acceptance and valuation disappeared. .

After the colonial powers left, much of Africa chose to keep foreign customs or laws morally frowning or criminalizing same-sex desiring folk. Observed and oral histories that were evidence of a tolerance or an outright full embracing of same-sex desiring behavior became largely denied and forgotten to be replaced by the intolerable homophobia that make for today’s headline news around the world in a now “free” Africa.

one thing about being a radical lesbian out of the english speaking imperialist countries is that most of the the time we educate ourselves in a foreign language and/or in translations, even when we do read in other languages it is still translation.. the translation to our reality, a colonized one, a latin american one, an indigenous one, a non-usa black one, the list can go on

it is a major step to actually start writing, start making our own theories

for me it has always been a mine field, in the past every time I went on a frenzy to decolonize I ended up deradicalizing my politics, I am still looking for some balance

This blog may be a part of the problem, because I read in english here and write mostly in english, but, at the same time, there is a silence rule all over that I (years ago when this started) only felt free to talk in disguise, a triple one: anonymity, language and virtual world 

but way before I had a tumblr account I looked for feminist involvement where I was, in Campinas, I enrolled in “gender” courses and went to the university soon to be dead feminist collective.. it was disappointing

I got deep into internet reading and it was then that I start meeting other brazilian lesbians that were reading the same english radical lesbian stuff that I was.. ok, ohooo, we finally met

but this whole process has a very sour taste on my mouth

An Open Letter to JK Rowling

To the beloved queen of the Harry Potter Universe:

Let me begin by first thanking you for being an inspiration to your millions (if not billions) of readers. Your writing has touched souls across the world, perhaps even saved lives. You have captured the essence of what it means to be human: to have a little bit of light and dark in every one of us. And while we might begin a little biased towards one side or another, it is ultimately our choices and the power of love that define us. We choose who we become, and you have single-handedly whispered that powerful truth into the minds and hearts of countless strangers you will likely never meet. I am one of them, for your universe is truly magical.

But with such accomplishments in mind, I’d like to ask you one thing.

Please stop.

I don’t mean stop writing, forever, because that would cruelly deprive the world of the continuation of your magic that you still have so much to give. But I’d like you to take a step back, stop, and breathe.

As I am loathe to do on sleepless nights, I turned to the newest update on Pottermore, excited to immerse myself again in the Potter-universe, but with a distinctly American twist. Ilvermorny, an intriguing name, seemed a promising treasure trove of new secrets to discover.

The possibilities were endless - the spoilers about the house names seemed to point towards Native American folklore. Would we learn about the magical traditions of the Cherokee or the Apache? Perhaps they would open up a whole new world of creating magic – without the European influence of wands, perhaps their magic would be channeled through sacred stones that had been carefully carved and treated. How could they cast spells through their ritual song and dance? How might they view “No-Majs” differently from European cultural norms? What if instead of disdain, they held the utmost respect for non-magicals – for those people had to be the most imaginative to invent ways to go about their daily lives where magic could not ease their paths?

But while well-written and certainly heart-tugging, I was simply left with another sour-cream-white traumatic orphan sob story (not to trivialize whites, orphans, or tragedies that numerous people face) that was eerily reminiscent to Harry’s orphaned past and defeat of a dark wizard through the power of love.

And I get it, Jo. It’s a theme with you – that despite the thousands of obstacles people face, love and tenacity conquer all.

But why couldn’t we have had wandless healing, channeled through song, dance, and herbology? Why couldn’t we have learned how to identify the magic thrumming in the soil, stones, trees, and animals around us? Why couldn’t we have learned how the Native Americans sought balance in dark and light magic, and performed magic that no European had ever encountered before?

Why couldn’t we have had a narrative about the European colonization of the Americas, where Native Americans had to run to the most isolated parts of the continent, ward their homes with heavy enchantments, and struggle to brew new potions to battle the horrible, foreign, diseases that came with it? Why couldn’t we have seen a population learn from each school of magic, mixing in perfect harmony? Classes could include Transfiguration, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Charms, and Herbology, but with Amulet Creation, Harmonic Healing, Ritual Spell-casting, and Elemental Charms?

Let’s have an openly LGBTQ+ character, not a closeted Dumbledore that is only confirmed after publication and book sales. Let’s investigate the Native American gender and sexuality identities - take a new perspective on what it means to be human. Let’s deal with income inequality in a whole new light - two friends from opposing worlds who constantly find themselves reevaluating what they know to be true. Add some more strong female characters - I want to feel the subtle condescension, passive aggressiveness, and glass ceilings as we watch them struggle through their careers. Let’s see the post traumatic stress of the entire generation that fought a war as children. Let’s have canon (confirmed before, not after the fact), strong, and compelling people of color in your writing, where the characters’ names aren’t two surnames (Cho Chang… really?) and as dimensional as the sad pancake on which someone sat.

When you write your next installments about the other schools in Brazil, in Africa, in Japan, I want you to do some serious research. I want you to try, at least try, to understand and explore the cultural beauty that you’ve allowed yourself the freedom to pioneer. I want to hear about family, not blood-prejudice in Japan, and how honor and a history of ancestors in warring states still hold onto that enmity today. I want you to detail the families that were ripped apart in Africa by the slave trade, and the inventive magical ways that different tribes avoided detection. I want to see the conflict between magic and the religion that Portuguese colonists began to impose on the indigenous people in Brazil, and how somehow they were able to reconcile that religious-magical barrier. I want you to treat each culture with respect instead of white-washing, and even if you don’t get it quite right and you come under fire, you will know in your heart that you tried to understand and that you will learn so much more from what people say is different to your outlook.

You deal with so much prejudice in your books, in gruesome detail outlining the harm it causes to all. Unintentionally or no, are you really doing much better when you maintain the same, incredibly British storyline and try to apply it to other places?

Perhaps this is harsh of me. Perhaps this perfect cultural melting pot is too idealistically American of me, as it will never be the same to tell a story that you have not experienced yourself. But instead of more of the same, why can’t you try?

Stretch yourself, Ms. Rowling. I want you to challenge the world you created, for there is so much possibility and so much room to grow. I want you to challenge your own rules, explore and pioneer and learn because that’s another fundamental truth that Hermione Granger not only knows, but epitomizes. You’ve become too comfortable in your own universe, writing installments that are really just repurposed storylines with characters of different names. Instead of wasting your time taking swipes at Donald Trump on Twitter, grow your universe. It’s time to upend it, throw it in the wash, and look at it again with a new perspective.

So please stop. Why don’t you stop writing for a little bit, and try listening? There are so many interesting and different stories for you to tell.

With much love from a faithful fan,


Learning Tagalog: Intro

I’ll be sharing small lessons I’m using to learn Tagalog, but here is a brief history I have found on the language

Tagalog is considered an Austronesian language. It is a quarter of the Philippines population’s first language, and a second language to the majority. Tagalog comes from the Southern Luzon regions and has been historically spoken in and around Manila.

“Tagalog” originally referred to “river dwellers,” coming from the words taga, meaning “from,” and ilog, meaning “river.”

Before the Spanish came, nearly all Tagalog speakers were able to read and write Tagalog in the baybayin script (a system of writing with influence from Sanskrit). In the late 16th century, the Spanish colonization changed this. With influence from baybayin and the Latin alphabet, Spanish friars Romanized the Tagalog writing system with the first book publication in the Philippines, Doctrina Cristiana (1593). Since then, the Latin alphabet became more prominent while baybayin steadily fell into obsolescence.

Today, about 40% of Tagalog terms are influenced or borrowed from Spanish due to well over three centuries of Spanish colonial rule. English has made its way into the language as well, with more than one century of formal and informal American colonization.

My words will be brushed off by white people when talking about issues like cultural appropriation because they have a say in what they can TAKE from my culture but I do not have a say in what I do and DO NOT want to SHARE.
—  Palenativeblr

The North American colonizers broke the traditional bonds of fealty and feudal obligation but, unlike the French, they only gradually replaced the traditional bonds with bonds of patriotism and nationhood. They were not quite a nation; their reluctant mobilization of the colonial countryside had not fused them into one, and the multi-lingual, multi-cultural and socially divided underlying population resisted such a fusion. The new repressive apparatus was not tried and tested, and it did not command the undivided loyalty of the underlying population, which was not yet patriotic. Something else was needed. Slave-masters who had overthrown their king feared that their slaves could similarly overthrow the masters; the insurrection in Haiti made this fear less than hypothetical. And although they no longer feared being pushed into the sea by the continent’s indigenous inhabitants, the traders and speculators worried about their ability to thrust further into the continent’s interior.

The American settler-invaders had recourse to an instrument that was not, like the guillotine, a new invention, but that was just as lethal. This instrument would later be called Racism, and it would become embedded in nationalist practice. Racism, like later products of practical Americans, was a pragmatic principle; its content was not important; what mattered was the fact that it worked.

Human beings were mobilized in terms of their lowest and most superficial common denominator, and they responded. People who had abandoned their villages and families, who were forgetting their languages and losing their cultures, who were all but depleted of their sociability, were manipulated into considering their skin color a substitute for all they had lost. They were made proud of something that was neither a personal feat nor even, like language, a personal acquisition. They were fused into a nation of white men. (White women and children existed only as scalped victims, as proofs of the bestiality of the hunted prey.) The extent of the depletion is revealed by the nonentities the white men shared with each other: white blood, white thoughts, and membership in a white race. Debtors, squatters and servants, as white men, had everything in common with bankers, land speculators and plantation owners, nothing in common with Redskins, Blackskins or Yellowskins. Fused by such a principle, they could also be mobilized by it, turned into white mobs. Lynch mobs, “Indian fighters.”

Racism had initially been one among several methods of mobilizing colonial armies, and although it was exploited more fully in America than it ever had been before, it did not supplant the other methods but rather supplemented them. The victims of the invading pioneers were still described as unbelievers, as heathen. But the pioneers, like the earlier Dutch, were largely Protestant Christians, and they regarded heathenism as something to be punished, not remedied. The victims also continued to be designated as savages, cannibals and primitives, but these terms, too, ceased to be diagnoses of conditions that could be remedied, and tended to become synonyms of non-white, a condition that could not be remedied. Racism was an ideology perfectly suited to a practice of enslavement and extermination.

The lynch-mob approach, the ganging-up on victims defined as inferior, appealed to bullies whose humanity was stunted and who lacked any notion of fair play. But this approach did not appeal to everyone. American businessmen, part hustlers and part confidence men, always had something for everyone. For the numerous Saint Georges with some notion of honor and great thirst for heroism, the enemy was depicted somewhat differently; for them there were nations as rich and powerful as their own in the trans- montane woodlands and on the shores of the Great Lakes.

The celebrants of the heroic feats of imperial Spaniards had found empires in central Mexico and on top of the Andes. The celebrants of nationalist American heroes found nations; they transformed desperate resistances of anarchic villagers into international conspiracies masterminded by military archons such as General Pontiac and General Tecumseh; they peopled the woodlands with formidable national leaders, efficient general staffs, and armies of uncountable patriotic troops; they projected their own repressive structures into the unknown; they saw an exact copy of themselves, with all the colors reversed - something like a photographic negative. The enemy thus became an equal in terms of structure, power and aims. War against such an enemy was not only fair play; it was a dire necessity, a matter of life and death. The enemy’s other attributes - the heathenism, the savagery, the cannibalism - made the tasks of expropriating, enslaving and exterminating all the more urgent, made these feats all the more heroic.

The repertory of the nationalist program was now more or less complete. This statement might baffle a reader who cannot yet see any “real nations” in the field. The United States was still a collection of multilingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural “ethnicities”, and the French nation had overflowed its boundaries and turned itself into a Napoleonic empire. The reader might be trying to apply a definition of a nation as an organized territory consisting of people who share a common language, religion and customs, or at least one of the three. Such a definition, clear, pat and static, is not a description of the phenomenon but an apology for it, a justification. The phenomenon was not a static definition but a dynamic process. The common language, religion and customs, like the white blood of the American colonizers, were mere pretexts, instruments for mobilizing armies. The culmination of the process was not an enshrinement of the commonalities, but a depletion, a total loss of language, religion and customs; the inhabitants of a nation spoke the language of capital, worshipped on the altar of the state and confined their customs to those permitted by the national police


Fredy Perlman,

The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism (1984)