settler

But That's Just Human Nature

Sometimes I’ll be talking to someone and the topic will come around to personal ideals, or where we see technology or humanity in the future, or different political views or something. And I’ll say something about how our infrastructure is moving toward autonomization, or how I want to be one of the first Mars settlers, or how if we used money to further our work, rather than using work to make money (money as a means, not an end), then we could accomplish so much more as individuals and in turn work as a global community to advance society (that’s just how I see it).

The retort to my ideals and values is always “that’s just human nature.” People are greedy, but that’s just human nature. People want power, but that’s just human nature. People will take advantage of other people, but that’s just human nature. People will always believe the politicians or media rather than doing their own research, but that’s just human nature. People will always get angry over stupid things instead of controlling their temper, but that’s just human nature.

To that I say, why can’t we change human nature? Why does it have to be this to be this way? Why do we, as a society, generally accept that this is the way it’s always been done and therefore there is no other way to live? Why must we keep to outdated traditions? Why, when we all joke about money being the ultimate evil, do we not try to change systems that so clearly take advantage of us?

“People wouldn’t work if they didn’t make money.” I would still work. I would still go to school. I would still try to learn and become knowledgeable and advance my life so that I felt fulfilled and happy. I would still try to actively make a difference in the world, still try to inspire and teach others, still try to give the world something I hope is good.

“You might, but most people wouldn’t.” Then the problem isn’t me. The problem is them. The problem is that we willingly perpetuate the disgusting lie that people need to be rewarded with material goods in exchange for their work. That nature does not abide by the laws of our society, that the universe will not wait for us to figure things out.

They say that if the world economy crashed tomorrow, human society would collapse. Anarchy would reign. Where is the sense in that? Why have we let this false notion of material gain determine the stability of our civilization?

There are people out there who work every day to push humanity a little bit farther. People who study diseases and find cures. People who study plants and animals and figure how they live, and how they affect our world, and how we affect theirs. People who build rockets, hoping to send us to Mars so that humanity may realize the dream of becoming immortalized, forever searching the cosmos for other species who may be searching for the same answers as us.

When you say “But that’s just human nature,” what you’re really saying is “People are lazy and violent and greedy.” You give the best of our species no credit for what they have proven to be true: that we are explorers, that we are intelligent, that we are capable of creating great things and inspiring others to do the same. We should be ashamed of the people who refuse to work, be ashamed of the people who use others to their advantage, be ashamed of those who try to hold us back from achieving greater things. We should not ask “Does it benefit me?” but rather, “Does it benefit humanity?”

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m crazy for holding people to high standards and praising the successes of the best of us, of those who work in the interest of our species, of our world. Maybe I should stop trying to inspire people. Maybe I should drop everything I’m doing because I’m not getting paid a lot of money for what I love to do. Maybe I should give up on my goals because they are too grandeur for the reality of the world that others try to make me believe is impossible to change.

But you know what? I’m not going to stop. I’m not going to give up. I’m going to fight this fight every day because I have been what I now hate most and I know that I am human, and I changed. If I could, why can’t I try to change others, too, to encourage unity and education and humble pride in our work, knowing we gave the world a little more good than we ever thought we could bring to it. I want to help foster a world where instead of condemning these ideals, we celebrate them. Where civilization does not hinge on fictional numbers, where resources are used to the benefit of all our species, where genuine knowledge and personal fulfillment are the pinnacles of success, and the entire world celebrates each new step our species takes on its way to discovering this universe.

Because that is human nature.

fundrazr.com
Labrador Land Protectors - Legal Fund (crowdfunding)
We are the Labrador Land Protectors, a group of concerned citizens fighting against the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam. Our fundraising will go towards our legal fees as dozens of land protects face arrests and court summons.

We are a group of concerned citizens fighting against the development of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric megaproject. We are a diverse group and we come from all walks of life. We all bring different experiences, perspectives, and opinions. We are Innu. We are Inuit. We are Southern Inuit/Metis. We are Settlers. And we are all banding together to #ShutMuskratDown.

We are fighting against Muskrat Falls for many reasons.

1. Inuit and Southern Inuit/Metis were never consulted to give free, prior, and informed consent to this project. This projects affects the waterways and lands around Inuit Settlement Areas. That we were not consulted directly violates the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Article 28) .

2. This project has been fraught with racism from the very beginning . Innu workers at Muskrat Falls worksite have faced everything from racist remarks to physical assault on the job. This is unacceptable.

3. The Muskrat Falls dam will cause significant methlymercury contamination.Methylmercury is a neurotoxin that bioaccumulates in fat as it progresses up the food web. This is particularly harmful to us because we hunt and fish from these waters. By contaminating the food sources of our traditional diet, Nalcor is cutting us off from our culture and way of life.

4. The dam itself is built on quick clay and poses a serious safety risk to the public. Experts have spoken out against the structural problems that arise from building on quick clay and have deemed it “not safe”. Furthermore, Nalcor is passing the buck on their inadequate emergency response plans in case of a breach in the dam.

5. The economic impacts of this project will haunt our province forever. Nalcor’s own CEO called the project a boondoggle ! The estimated costs are up to $11.4 Billion , and rising. This will impact the entire province, not just Labradorians. 

Continue Reading.

Many people misunderstand the nature of the struggle for Palestine. They consider Palestine to be contested land between Israelis and Palestinians. The facts about the struggle are simple: 
1. There was no entity called Israel before 1948 
2. There was no Israelis before 1948 
3. There is no meaningful verifiable connection between modern Israeli and the Israelites of the Bible. Modern Israelis are not Semitic and came to Judaism through conversions.Also, the Hebrew Bible, the only source of the mythology about Israel and the Israelites, is unreliable. 
4. European colonial settlers transported mainly from Europe settled and colonized historic Palestine by force and without the consent of the indigenous population, the Palestinians. 
5. The settler colonists established Israel in Palestine in 1948 by Jews of Jews for Jews with the active support of western colonial powers after ethnically cleansing the majority of the Palestinians, destroying more than 530 Palestinian towns and city sections, and committing scores of heinous crimes against Palestinian civilians to bring about their expulsion. 
6. Since 1948 Israel created an elaborate apartheid system that favors Jews, discriminates against the Palestinians, and is designed to maintain control and dominance of Israeli Jews over Palestinians by using genocidal methods and preventing their return, equality and normal living conditions. 
Palestine is not a contested territory. Palestine has its rightful owners, the Palestinians.Palestine is settled, colonized, and occupied by a foreign population..!

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Israeli settlers - who live illegally on Palestinian land and shouldn’t be there in the first place - regularly destroy and uproot olive trees belonging to Palestinians, often striking at night to go unnoticed.

Olive trees are a livelihood for many families, and a key component of the Palestinian economy. That’s how they are meant to survive. 

These attacks are by no means limited to agriculture. They also burn and vandalize churchesmosques, homescars and… cemeteries

I saved the worst for last. Israeli soldiers escort Israeli settlers to attack Palestinians then stand by and watch, if not join in too. 

According to the UN the annual rate of Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians has almost quadrupled in eight years.

GIFs from 5 Broken Cameras (2011)

Hi y'all! 

I’ve compiled a list of readings that speak to issues of nationalism, indigeneity, colonialism, and resistance/decolonization

The list is of course limited to what readings I’ve encountered at some point. They also come from a variety of academic disciplines and political movements (settler colonial studies, native studies, queer theory, postcolonial studies, feminist studies, trans studies).

And, with a few exceptions, these files were legally uploaded and shared… a lot of the time by the authors themselves, which I feel the need to point out because I love when authors can/do share their work online for free. (I say this not because I’m worried about the sanctity of ‘intellectual property’ but because I’m worried about things being deleted.)

Also re-linking to this list of pdf readings, “Natives Read Too,” from The Yáadihla Girls!

 human rights/war/nationalism/sovereignty 

transnational/native/postcolonial feminisms & feminist critiques: 

decolonization, art, and resistance (not necessarily feminist):  

queer theory/sexuality studies/native studies/trans studies 

*Actually just going to link to this page of Dr. Puar’s work because it’s  great and relevant (and she also has a lot of work on Israel/Palestine).


critiques of humanitarianism/developmentalism: 

[Really wish I knew more about this kind of work.] 

Biopolitics, science, environmental justice 

and…. U.S. politics  

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Thanksgiving was founded on the genocide of America’s indigenous people. Celebrating it is like being thankful for the Holocaust.

“The United States is a nation defined by its original sin: the genocide of American Indians […]. American Indian tribes are viewed as an inherent threat to the nation, poised to expose the great lies of U.S. democracy: that we are a nation of laws and not random power; that we are guided by reason and not faith; that we are governed by representation and not executive order; and finally, that we stand as a self-determined citizenry and not a kingdom of blood or aristocracy […]. From the perspective of American Indians, ‘democracy’ has been wielded with impunity as the first and most virulent weapon of mass destruction.”

– Sandy Grande | Red Pedagogy

Donate to Standing Rock medics here.

The women were lounging about the houses, some cleaning fish, others pounding rice; but they do not care for work, and the little money which they need for buying cloes they can make by selling mats or jungle fruits.
— 

some English lady who spent 5 weeks in Malaya in 1879 that Syed Hussein Alatas quotes in The Myth of the Lazy Native. The joke practically writes itself, but Alatas says it for us: “We may ask the author what is meant by work here? Is cleaning fish and pounding rice not work? Work here means wage earning outside the home. Are making mats and selling fruits not work? It is clear that work here means that activitiy introduced by colonial capitalism. If the ladies became coolies or servants of British planters or firm officials, she would then have considered them as working.”

So when the settler colonials say Indigenous people are lazy, they really mean “they won’t work for us to help us engineer their economy for our benefit”.

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A list of all massacres of Indigenous Australians that happened in Victoria. I feel this information needs to be shared as people don’t know nearly enough about Indigenous Australians and do not know how horribly we were and still are treated. Nothing else needs to be said as the list tells it all. Click the photos to save a bigger image for reading the list clearly. 

Photo/display credit: Brambuk - The National Park & Cultural Centre.

111516 – last week was rough. in light of the election: stay safe, keep your head up, look out for yourself & your people. remember difficulty is finite.
good things that happened last week: the shows were a big success, made some wonderful new friends, & the ice cream shop i work at has pistachio toffee again. good things coming up: seeing my family for thanksgiving break, getting the book club up & running, reading more discworld.

Here’s What Happened When These Unarmed Native American Sisters Defended Their Land from the Feds

Like the Bundys, the Dann sisters tried a standoff with the BLM. But it ended very differently. 

The double standard in the media’s treatment of Ammon Bundy and his gang at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is shameful, but the case of the Dann sisters underlines even further the disparity in how non-white activists are treated.

Carrie and Mary Dann, two elderly Shoshone women who have defied seizure of their land, have been repeatedly roughed up and harassed by federal officials and mobs of white ranchers for refusing to cede their claim to land that was illegally stolen from them 30 years ago.

In 1863, the U.S. government signed the Ruby Valley Treaty with the Western Shoshone nation, who laid claim to 26 million acres of land in Nevada, Idaho, and Utah. The Shoshone tribe and the U.S. government agreed that settlers and cowboys had access to the land, but not title. But in the 1970s, the federal Indian Claims Commission ruled that the land no longer belonged to the Shoshone nation due to “gradual encroachment” of white settlers and ranchers. The government seized the land and put $26 million into an account meant for the Shoshone nation in 1979, but the tribe turned down the money, saying they never agreed to sell their land.

[IMAGE: Carrie Dann (left) with her sister Mary (right)]

The Supreme Court gave its blessing to the Indian Claims Commission ruling, claiming that the Shoshone had no claim to the land since the tribe had been paid $26 million. Dann sisters stopped paying grazing fees out of protest in 1973, saying they only honored the Ruby Valley Treaty, and the BLM responded by slapping the sisters with a series of fines totalling $3 million in 1998. Federal officials called for the roundup of the Danns’ horses and cattle, saying they were trespassing on federal land.

”Trespass? Who the hell gave them the land anyway?” Mary Dann said in an interview with the New York Times. ”When I trespass, it’s when I wander into Paiute territory.”

In September of 2001, the government sent in the cavalry to show it was serious about its claim to the Shoshone tract:

“The government considers it public land, and to drive the point home, 40 agents from the Bureau of Land Management descended on the Danns’ ranch in September, heavily armed and fortified with helicopters, and confiscated 232 cattle, which were later sold.

The sisters and their supporters argue that their tribe never legally ceded these range lands. Though the federal government controls 85 percent of Nevada, they contend that it has no legitimate title to the land — or the gold, water, oil and geothermal energy beneath it.”

Because the Dann sisters refused to leave their land, the government once again began seizing large numbers of their livestock in 2003, claiming the horses and cattle were grazing at the public’s expense. BLM officials even deputized local cowboys to assist with the livestock seizure. At which point, the sisters were forced to remove over 400 remaining horses from the disputed range, many of them pregnant mares, but they lost track of many in the forced move.

Furthermore, they were caught in a catch-22 regarding these stray horses that ran away in the chaos, wherein even strays marked with the Danns’ brand would be seized and auctioned if not claimed, but the sisters would incur trespassing fines if they did claim these horses.

While Mary Dann died on the ranch in 2005, her sister Carrie continues to protest for Indigenous rights in her old age. Oxfam made a short documentary about the two sisters’ struggle to keep their land. Watch it below: