Immigration and Indigenous solidarity and how they intersect

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Michelle
Immigration and Indigenous solidarity and how they intersect

Recently, I helped out at a No One Is Illegal event that was held last weekend in Toronto.  There was an amazing line-up of speakers, and one in particular really clarified some things for me around the issues of immigration and Indigenous rights.

I've occasionally wondered whether there is a disconnect between advocating open immigration, and also advocating Indigenous rights in Canada, in particular, land claims.  It seems to be contradictory: colonizers from outside Canada stole land from the First Peoples here, and are now treating them like unwanted guests on their own territories.  The first invaders could be considered "immigrants" - so how is it that immigration wasn't okay then, but it is okay now?

Here is the line-up of speakers at the event that just passed in Toronto.  But I want to particularly highlight Lee Maracle, who was the first speaker at the Friday evening event (the one I attended).

She's pretty amazing in general.  I could listen to her talk for hours.  But at this event in particular, I learned so much from her about reconciling "no one is illegal" with "no colonization".

She started out with a history lesson, about how the Europeans came to Canada, particularly the British, and decided to claim all the land in Canada.  Vast tracts of land are now considered "crown land" in Canada.  Vast tracts of land back then were also given to corporations like the Hudson Bay Company.  Vast numbers of Indigenous people were killed by invasion and disease, and those who survived were subjected to cultural genocide.

This is what she described as the colonization.  She then went on to talk about how colonization has continued through corporatization.  Corporations owning huge amounts of land, running governments, and making the rules friendly to their pillage of Canada.  And almost all of the people who run those corporations are - you guessed it - white men of European, many British, descent.

She said that there was an Indigenous custom of not owning land, and of welcoming anyone who wanted to build a home, and that they would not stop people who want to build a home then, and that tradition still holds.  She said that the quarrel is not with newcomers who are trying to build a life here.  The quarrel is with corporations and colonizers who are trying to take all of the land away, give it to "the crown" or to corporations to raze.  The quarrel is with the original invaders, and their like-minded ancestors, who not only want to build their home here, but take everyone else's space and resources and possessions too.

It really clarified things for me.  It seems to me that conflating the original colonizers with "immigrants" now is problematic.  There is a difference between a colonizer and an immigrant.

It makes sense, too, because newcomers have so much more in common with Indigenous people than they do the colonizers.  They are also treated like outsiders by the colonizers.  They are made to feel unwanted.  Their labour is exploited, when they aren't being denied jobs due to racism.  (One thing Lee said is that one of the reasons our immigration system is the way it is, is because they need a way to let in just enough immigrants to exploit, since, she said, the Indigenous peoples didn't turn out so well as a cheap source of labour.  I'd be interested in hearing more background on that, actually.)

Anyhow, I'm not sure I've seen this discussed on babble, beyond a couple of unfortunate exchanges that got heated in other threads, so maybe we can talk about it here.  I wasn't sure whether to put this in the anti-racism forum or the Indigenous Issues forum, so I flipped a coin. :)  Mods can move this if they like.

Michelle

I wish I could have seen what Clayton Thomas-Mueller had to say at the other No One Is Illegal event listed on that weekend.  Did anyone else here go? 

There have been ties between Indigenous land rights activists and No One Is Illegal in the past as well, when No One Is Illegal was one of the many organizations who endorsed and sponsored the Gathering of Mother Earth Protectors at Queen's Park in Toronto.  They are also standing with Grassy Narrows by raising awareness at this upcoming event if anyone in the Toronto area is interested in going.

And in No One Is Illegal's list of demands in their "about us" section, they include recognition of indigenous sovereignty:

Quote:

We Demand:

• An end to all deportations and detentions
• The implementation of a full and inclusive regularization program for all non-status people
• Access without fear to essential services for all undocumented people
• The recognition of indigenous sovereignty
• An end to the exploitation of temporary workers
• An end to all imperialist wars and occupations
• An end to the use of Security Certificates and secret trials


 

Unionist

Those who mistake potential allies for enemies invariably are proven correct.

 

remind remind's picture

Seeing as how Michelle apparently has decided to ignore a link given to her in another thread about this, and has put forth a view point, that does not match the greater voices of First Nations across Canada, I will again link to the AFN's policy developed upon immigration 5 years ago now, that white people, supposedly allies have failed to be in solidarity with..
 

Quote:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AFN call on the federal government at the November 2005 First Ministers Meeting to freeze all immigration coming into Canada until the federal government addresses, commits, and delivers resources to First Nations to improve the housing conditions, education, health and employment in First Nations communities and that the federal government acknowledge and agree they are bringing immigrants into our lands and using our resources without our consent; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the AFN call on the federal government to provide resources for AFN to participate in joint development of policies and legislation on immigration.

http://www.afn.ca/article.asp?id=1946
It would seem some white people are willing to listen to a solitary voice, as long as it meets with the standards they want to impose, or hold to themselves.

Unionist respectfully, there is no effort by Michelle to be an ally, or she would not have started a unbalanced thread knowing full well what the position of the AFN is, as I gave her the link in the other thread. As such, had she been acting in good faith she would have mentioned the position of the AFN. She didn't. She, a white settler, slanted a thread on First Nations positions knowing full well her position was not that of the majority of First Nations.

 So...one can only see her actions as  trying to be divisive of those who are allies and are trying to stand in solidarity with the majority of First Nation  peoples across Canada, and indeed she shows a great dismissiveness to the AFN's  5 year long standing resolution, which also indicates no ally being present.

In fact, it would also appear she is being divisive towards First Nations people's by putting forth a solitary voice and presenting it as the only voice. When indeed she knows full well it isn't and that the majority see immigration differently.

 

Stargazer

You are way over the top, attacking Michelle like that. I have no clue what the hell has made you so unbearably nasty remind, but it sure as fuck isn't pretty.

YOU do not speak for me, and E, Tamaran, if you believe she speaks for FN's, you better give your head a shake. Remind has been pissed at Michelle and I ever since the Cheri DiNovo incident. This is her way of giving Michelle the FU. Real classy.

 

Michelle

It's okay, Stargazer.  I've discovered that Fidel's ignore script works great.  You should try it. :)

remind remind's picture

No actually stargazer, what isn't pretty is Michelle's actions and your attacking of me because I called Michelle on her slanted actions, I did not in in fact attack her, unlike yourself, you are jumping in unwarrantedly.

And actually, I never  attempted to speak for any First Nations. I linked to the AFN words FFS. Which is no damn different, and in fact much solider than Michelle's linking to one persons voice. So...you really need to stop putting words/actions in my mouth, like you are always doing.

BTW, not that I need say this, but I will just to set the record straight, a record that you are trying to falsely create, I am not pissed with Michelle, especially not over the CDN thread, so also stop pretending like you know what my  state of mind is, as you also always do.

 It is getting very tiresome.

 

ETA ROTFLMAO @ Michelle, tff we were just agreeing earlier today in a different thread. Hypocrisy at best abounds......

Michelle

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the opening post, Stargazer.  I respect your opinion.  What do you think?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

We actually had a thread on this subject in the old babble, now lost to history. Maysie started it with an article that basically changed everything I ever thought I knew about First Nations rights and struggle and the dominant anti-racism discourse. I think the thread was probably called "Decolonizing Anti-Racism," because that is what the superb article by Bonita Lawrence and Enakshi Sua was called.

It's available here with a link to the pdf.

It's difficult to quote selectively from this spectacular, fascinating and deeply personal article, but the following neatly lists some of the challenges they see in the intersection of Immigration and Indigenous rights:

Quote:
International critical race and postcolonial theory has failed to make Indigenous presence and colonization foundational in five areas. First, Native existence is erased through theories of race and racism that exclude them. Second, theories of Atlantic diasporic identities fail to take into account that these identities are situated in multiple projects of colonization and settlement on Indigenous lands. Third, histories of colonization are erased through writings on the history of slavery. Fourth, decolonization politics are equated with antiracist politics. Finally, theories of nationalism contribute to the ongoing delegitimization of Indigenous nationhood. Though often theorizing the British context, these writings have been important for shaping antiracist/postcolonial thinking throughout the West.

I'm so glad to have found this article again. Hopefully I'll read it again this weekend.

Michelle

I think it's Enakshi Dua - she was a prof at Queen's while I was there although I didn't have her myself.  I did have Bonita, though, for Women's Studies!  Thanks for the article - I'll try to wrestle my way through it. :)

P.S. Just started reading it now, and no wrestling necessary - it's written in relatively plain English instead of academese.  Thanks so much for this!

Just having read the first third of it, I'm interested in the way they talk about how decolonization has been missing from anti-racist theory.  I think that's true, at least back when I was in university a decade ago.  I'm wondering if this has been changing even just over the past few years.  Because even in the last six years or so in Toronto, I've seen change in the activism on the ground.  Or maybe it was here before and I personally hadn't noticed - but I think there's a tangible change too.

But I've noticed a lot more recognition and inclusion of indigenous issues within other activist issues.  I'm not sure if I'm explaining this well.  What I mean is that I've noticed that there is more inclusion and recognition at events and protests that are not specifically about indigenous issues, to draw the lines across, to recognize at the beginning of the event that we're on unceded land, to have Indigenous speakers talk about the issue from their perspective and to make the ties.

I'm not saying we're there yet.  Definitely not.  I guess I'm saying that I've seen things changing a lot, even though I've only been in Toronto for a few years.  I've seen the change, not only in the events, but also in my own awareness.  I was just asking radiorahim whether he's noticed that, and he thinks he's seen a definite rise in awareness, and in solidarity links over the past few years between struggles against racism, class, and war to decolonization at home.

I think there is still a long way to go, though.  

One thing I've been wanting to do is to take a course that Corvin Russell teaches, called "Indigenous Solidarity 101".  He started teaching it a couple of years ago to help non-Indigenous activists in Toronto to learn more about indigenous issues and to "decolonize" their activism and learn the basics (and probably more) of what they need to know in order to stand in solidarity with Indigenous struggles.  I should ask him when he'll be offering it again.

E.Tamaran

Unionist wrote:

Those who mistake potential allies for enemies invariably are proven correct.

 

 

You're no ally. You live off the rape of Turtle Island. If you were an ally you'd advocate that all invaders and their descendants return to wherever they came from. You have no fucking problem advocating that with Jewish settlers in Palestine. Suddenly tho when it's close to home you're all quiet about returning Turtle Island to its original inhabitants. Disgusting!

Polunatic2

Quote:
If you were an ally you'd advocate that all invaders and their descendants return to wherever they came from. 

Whose position is that anyway? Where should I go? I was born in Canada. So were my parents. The last known address of most of my European ancestors was Auschwitz. 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Michelle wrote:

Recently, I helped out at a No One Is Illegal event that was held last weekend in Toronto....

It makes sense, too, because newcomers have so much more in common with Indigenous people than they do the colonizers.  They are also treated like outsiders by the colonizers.  They are made to feel unwanted.  Their labour is exploited, when they aren't being denied jobs due to racism.  (One thing Lee said is that one of the reasons our immigration system is the way it is, is because they need a way to let in just enough immigrants to exploit, since, she said, the Indigenous peoples didn't turn out so well as a cheap source of labour.  I'd be interested in hearing more background on that, actually.)

It is a kind of secret that there were many, many FN people in the early economic development of BC, for example. Secret, I say, because at the time there was - and is, to this day - an ideology of the "lazy Indian". The ideology serves to justify exclusion from economic opportunity and advancement for FN people. So, I would suggest reading much more on the topic, get some more background yourself. Of course, I should also follow my own advice and I can say that I am doing so in a P/sec institution right now.

Sidebar: The Passionate Eye is showing "Reel Injun" at 10 pm this Sunday. It covers the Holleywoodization of FNs, etc.

Different examples of colonial settlement provide different examples of colonialism. In South Africa, with an indigenous majority that wasn't about to go away, a system of "mock" states/countries called Bantustans were established to "offload" the social costs onto the majority and still provide a working class/farm labourers for the white minority. This is contrast to Palestine/Israel where the Israeli regime has, in the last few decades, adopted a policy of making it more and more difficult for the Palestinians to work in Israel and participate in social life. This is ethnic cleansing as the Israeli scholar Ilan Pappe calls it.

Canadian colonialism was many things: straight genocide, theft of land and pushing FNs onto inferior land, followed by less direct methods of cultural genocide and assimilation.

The "enemy" is colonialism, whether its means is the bourgeois state or corporate capitalism. Since FNs are, currently, only a 1% minority in Canada, the neccessity of allies in the struggle is essential and rather obvious. But it is not obvious to some babblers, apparently.

E.Tamaran

Polunatic2 wrote:

Quote:
If you were an ally you'd advocate that all invaders and their descendants return to wherever they came from. 

Whose position is that anyway? Where should I go? I was born in Canada. So were my parents. The last known address of most of my European ancestors was Auschwitz. 

 

Yeah, the sympathy card. Unionist tried it as well talking about his grandmas being shot or starved by nazis. Don't for a second think that it gives you pass from escaping the crimes committed by settlers every single day. If anything it should make you more aware of your oppression of the original inhabitants of Turtle Island. And I guess, if you are Jewish, you have the right to return to Israel, no questions asked. Must be nice. Too bad the Palestinians don't have that right. But I digress.

E.Tamaran

N.Beltov wrote:

Since FNs are, currently, only a 1% minority in Canada, the neccessity of allies in the struggle is essential and rather obvious. But it is not obvious to some babblers, apparently.

How do you suppose that FNs went from 100% to 1%? You expect FNs to gladly grasp the hand offered by the settlers who did and continue to do the genocide? Are you FN? Are you even human?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

mods notified.

remind remind's picture

what for?

wonderful how only "some" First Nations voices are tolerated here, as  really do you think you should report a First Nations person for speaking their mind about allies and such?

E.Tamaran

N.Beltov wrote:

mods notified.

 

Great. Notified them about what exactly? That settlers reduced FN numbers by 99%? That expecting people to then accept friendship from settlers who did the genocide is outrageous? That wondering how on earth anyone could be so callous?Help me out here?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

That this isn't your discussion board to crap all over. How's that?

E.Tamaran

N.Beltov wrote:

That this isn't your discussion board to crap all over. How's that?

 

Oh, so when a FN disagrees with a settler like you suddenly I'm craping on the board? FN POV aren't really tolerated are they? Or they have to follow a strict settler narative? Which is it?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

COuld you maybe put some more of your abusive remarks here? It's easier to make a case to have you take a forced holiday. You know what I'm talking about? Like when you asked me if I was human. Like when you made Pulunatic2 responsible for the actions of others. And so on.  I'm sure there are plenty more examples of abuse from you - i'm just too lazy to go looking for them.

That would be a waste of time.

 

remind remind's picture

Both actually.....

oldgoat

For anyone who reads this.... I am not ignoring this thread.  I am however thinking.  I like to do that prior to posting in situations like this.  Just sayin'..

oldgoat

I'm closing this for now, and will comment further when I have something to say that isn't merely reactive.  Also, I'd like the time to talk to people who are smarter than me about this sort of thing.  If someone opens another thread somewhere just to keep this ugliness going I'll suspend their accounts temporarily.

 

Also, I have to be away from the computer for awhile.

E.Tamaran

Well, if Oldgoat bans me you'll know how far FN voices can go on this board. Nothing I've said is untrue. Maybe uncomfortable to settlers to hear, but then truth always is.

Bacchus

Um I dont this its closed Old Goat!

oldgoat

That's cause I just reopened my very fast friend!

 


Ok, here we go

 

@remind - You seemed to me, to be endorsing what Tamaran said about FN voices not being tolerated here, and that we only encourage a settler narrative.  As someone who's been posting here with me for 6 years, and has some idea of what the mods have worked to build against all sorts of pushback,  I take a bit of offense at that.  That's all.

 

@Tamaran - You and I don't have a history at all, therefore you have no reason to trust me.  Fine.  I'm whiter than Pat Bonne's ass on a slice of wonder bread and my ancestors were even whiter.  I'm a settler.  There, that's out of the way.

 

Also, unless you start posting links to Money Mart ads, I have no real wish to ban you. If we didn't welcome FN people around here you could have been gone last fall. Ok, you're FN and I'm not.   You are probably lots of things I'm not.  As a human being though, in some ways you are like all other humans.  In some ways you are like some other humans, and in some ways you are uniquely E. Tamaran.

 

So, I'd like to talk to the first part of you, human to human.  You are  argumentative, opinionated  and stubborn as hell.  In short, you could fit in around here quite nicely.   But, ....Fuck, are you ever ANGRY!!  I mean shit,..wow! YES you have a right to be angry.  Yes anger can be can be constructive and energizing.  One person to another though, I personally don't see yours as constructive.  I see it as corrosive.  I really wish you'd take a moment to think about that.  Because for some reason, reason's unique to me, I kind of like you.  I'd still ban you if I figured I had to, but I'm just putting that out there.

 

So, as a moderator I have a job to do, and as a white moderator I've tried to look at this through my best dim anti-racism and oppression lens.  As far as this thread topic goes, you as an FN person have a special voice.  Also, know that most FN persons would disagree with you on a lot of things including that me and my ancestors are going back to Europe or wherever.  Ain't gonna happen anyway.  Also, you have said things to people which are offensive and alienating.  People will react to that.  Some policies are universal here, no matter who you are, or what forum you are in.

 

Your questioning as to whether another poster is even human is not only contrary to policy, but just not right.  Please don't.  Denigrating the lived tragic experiences of others and their families in the way you did with polunatic is crass.  You will get a negative reaction to that.

 

If you think there's absolutely anything to be gained by isolating yourself, and that allies are not a good thing, then that's up to you.  On the other hand you might find this place stimulating, and a place where you could find allies, and even friends.

 

One more thing, @ polunatic.  From a Eurocentric point of view, the holocaust was pretty much THE defining event of the last century.  That can make it harder to understand that it carries less weight with non-Europeans, especially if they are finding themselves in the middle of their own genocide.  I understand why you posted that though.

 

So, Let's try going again with this in the spirit of the OP.   I can't however let it continue to go as it has been going.

 

Unionist

E.Tamaran wrote:

Yeah, the sympathy card. Unionist tried it as well talking about his grandmas being shot or starved by nazis.

Actually, E.Tamaran, I mentioned it (and I kind of regret it now) in response to you playing the sympathy card asking if we had ever seen an FN grandmother in the street etc.

I am impressed, however, that you remembered that little detail, that my Mum's mother was shot, and my Dad's mother was starved to death.

Like oldgoat, and who knows why, you're starting to get to me. I feel I have a lot to learn from you, but I have trouble listening and you have trouble getting your message through to people like me. Let's give each other another chance.

 

remind remind's picture

Old goat I sent you a email,

al-Qa'bong

I don't feel like a coloniser.  My great-grandparents came to the prairies to get away from Czars, Turks and famines.  They certainly didn't think that their little quarter-sections of land were stealing from anyone, although I can see why First Nations people would think they did.

I've already told this story on babble, but one day while picking stones in a field, in what turned out to be my last spring planting on the farm, I found an arrow-head.  I never saw one before, except in museums.  That little piece of stone is my most prized possession - it's a link between me and everyone else who ever lived off that lost bit of dirt and who was driven from it by far-away unseen forces.

Now I'm an exile in the city, just like the Cree and Métis I see every day. 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

A related point to the one from al-Qa'bong is that a huge number of immigrants to this country and to the US were indentured servants. With such a status, for example, land ownership is out of the question.

Here on Vancouver Island the mines had plenty of such "unfree labour".

j.m.

N.Beltov wrote:

A related point to the one from al-Qa'bong is that a huge number of immigrants to this country and to the US were indentured servants. With such a status, for example, land ownership is out of the question.

Here on Vancouver Island the mines had plenty of such "unfree labour".

Yes, but like my family, after they were done being identured servants they were awarded with land.

I really get this issue of immigrants being categorically different than FNs. Stolen land and resources, racist policies, oppression, cultural delegitimation, ad nauseum are part of FN experience. Have immigrants that come to Canada experienced even half of this in Canada? Are they not given refuge that is comparatively better than FN conditions?

That said, there are shared experiences (especially with indigenous and mestizo South Americans) and alliances that are worth exploring.

querying

an important and apt critique of Dua and Lawrence's piece is Nandita Sharma and Cynthia Wright's "Decolonizing Resistance" in which they argue that Dua and Lawrence collapse various migrations (i.e. the history of colonial trade in indentured Asian laborers and African slaves, as well as contemporary temporary migrant worker programs) into a general "colonizing" position and the political problems with such a stance.  framing migration as "the" problem against a fantasized notion of primodial belonging has serious material consequences for all of those (of us) affected by a post 1492 Columbian exchange (and the possibility for the emergence of global capitalism).  i strongly urge those commenting on Michelle's post to read Sharma and Wright's piece and to re-think some of the problematic arguments and positions put forward here (such as the suggestion that all migration should be "frozen" until the colonial situation of Canada is dealt with -- such a stance totally ignores the fact that many migrants are also "indigenous" people, and misses the opportunities for a politics of solidarity among those of us differentially but commonly disenfranchised by political and affective economies of access to resources and labour).

 

E.Tamaran

j.m. wrote:

I really get this issue of immigrants being categorically different than FNs. Stolen land and resources, racist policies, oppression, cultural delegitimation, ad nauseum are part of FN experience. Have immigrants that come to Canada experienced even half of this in Canada? Are they not given refuge that is comparatively better than FN conditions?

 

Thanks for bringing that up JM. It's true that when modern day settlers arrive in Turtle Island they are given resources and protections unheard of in the FN communities. Things like clean water, job training, legal protections. Speak to any FN living in squalor in the dountown east side of Vancouver or Kash and ask if they have those things. Every single extra immigrant/settler/occupier is slowly strangling the life out Turtle Island.

That's partly the reason why many FN communities hava taken to enforcing strict residency requirements, another issue vehemently opposed by the settler majority, even on this board as a matter of fact.

Stargazer

Look, the three posts above E.T are offensive. I hope you know why guys. Immigrants are NOT indigenous people. Okay? Why posit this when it is not true? There is a massive world of difference between the first people's here and those who come later. It doesn't matter how they got here. It matters how it all ends up. And how did it end up? Well, look at the lands FN people were given. My brother and sister live so far from any city they have to take Aboriginal air to fly into Thompson, and then find a way to get from Thompson to Winnipeg. Such is the case for many FN communities. The prices paid for food and other items are far higher, due to the fact that supplies have to be flown in. Immigrants when here are taught the same shite that we are all taught in school. Endless propaganda about how much opportunity there is. How they can own cars and houses and have great job - all the while omitting at just whose expense all this flows from. Please refrain from the line "we're all indigenous". You're not.

 

E. Tamaran, while I understand the principle behind some FN communities restricting residency requirements, I don't think employing the same tactics  the state uses on us is a good idea, nor workable in reality.

Unionist

E.Tamaran wrote:

That's partly the reason why many FN communities hava taken to enforcing strict residency requirements, another issue vehemently opposed by the settler majority, even on this board as a matter of fact.

And I repeat, again, that First Nations are sovereign, and it is none of settlers' affair to lecture them on how to define residency requirements or any other sovereign issue. FN communities alone will determine whether those are right or wrong.

remind remind's picture

are you lecturing ETamaran unionist? or clarifying your position?

 

 

Unionist

Remind, I'm not "clarifying my position", because I took the position from the very start that it is none of our business how FN manage their residency requirements - while many others here were lecturing them.

Just to recall for your benefit and E.Tamaran's, [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/aboriginal-issues-and-culture/kahnawake-fn-evict... is what I said on Feb. 3[/url], on the very first day this news broke:

Unionist wrote:
Ghislaine, this is an issue which First Nations people must settle and determine themselves. Any interference by others - including "human rights complaints" under a different jurisdiction - would deny the inalienable right of FN to self-determination. I think we've done enough damage, to last an eternity, by trying to impose our so-called "superior" values on them. It's their call.

And that's still my position.

What I was doing is reminding E.Tamaran that not everyone on "this board" was trying to lecture to the FN, because E.Tamaran has a habit of seeing only enemies and not allies.

 

remind remind's picture

Unionist wrote:
What I was doing is reminding E.Tamaran that not everyone on "this board" was trying to lecture to the FN, because E.Tamaran has a habit of seeing only enemies and not allies.

This is excatly what I perceived, however many participants/observers perhaps do not know you as well as they think they do, and we would not want them to get the wrong reality of whom you are, because read in a different than intended voice meant it could have been viewed as lecturing, or patronizing. As such,  given the sensitivity of what has been, and is, occuring I thought that full voice clarity was needed.

 

So thank you for the full clarity as you meant it, as it stands as a good example.

 

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

querying wrote:
an important and apt critique of Dua and Lawrence's piece is Nandita Sharma and Cynthia Wright's "Decolonizing Resistance" in which they argue that Dua and Lawrence collapse various migrations (i.e. the history of colonial trade in indentured Asian laborers and African slaves, as well as contemporary temporary migrant worker programs) into a general "colonizing" position and the political problems with such a stance.  framing migration as "the" problem against a fantasized notion of primodial belonging has serious material consequences for all of those (of us) affected by a post 1492 Columbian exchange (and the possibility for the emergence of global capitalism).  i strongly urge those commenting on Michelle's post to read Sharma and Wright's piece and to re-think some of the problematic arguments and positions put forward here (such as the suggestion that all migration should be "frozen" until the colonial situation of Canada is dealt with -- such a stance totally ignores the fact that many migrants are also "indigenous" people, and misses the opportunities for a politics of solidarity among those of us differentially but commonly disenfranchised by political and affective economies of access to resources and labour).

Thanks for this, querying. I'll definitely check this out. I found a link to the article here.

Quote:

In this article, we would like to respond to two of these arguments. First, we challenge the conflation between processes of migration and those of colonialism. We ask whether it is historically accurate or analytically precise to describe as settler colonialism the forced movements of enslaved Africans, the movement of unfree indentured Asians, or the subsequent Third World displacements and migrations of people from across the globe, many of them indigenous people themselves. (5) Are there particular sets of relationships that make one a "settler colonist," or are all migrants by necessity part of this group? What are the political consequences of seeing various forced, less-than-voluntary or even fully voluntary migrants and/ or their descendents as settler colonists? What work do these ideas do in today's political movements for justice for indigenous people and for migrants? What are the consequences of naturalizing an ethnicized, racialized, and nationalized relationship between people and with land?

Second, we interrogate the claim that decolonization may be secured through the nationalist project. Is it possible for indigenous nationalisms in Canada or elsewhere to succeed where no others have actually secured what can be called "decolonization" without seriously distorting the term? Do efforts at decolonization that rely on ideas of "nationhood," this time centered on autochthonous discourses of "Native" rights, result in a transformation of colonial rule with its particular definitions of territory, polity, and governance, or do they simply reverse (or loosen) the binary of power while maintaining the dualism? Are critiques of naturalized nationhoods and nationalisms tantamount to support for colonialism? Are there other more transformative and more effective paths to liberation than through the national sovereignty project? What are these?

I haven't had time to read the whole article yet, but I'm not sure I agree that Dua and Lawrence are "conflating" migration and settler, but working through how migration narratives are often superimposed on indigenous narratives, and the fact that both narratives are circumscribed and exploited by the dominant white settler narrative. I also question Wright and Sharma's assertion that D&L use an "ethnicized" definition of nationhood. My impression from reading the article was that they quite clearly define nationhood in terms of land, not ethnicity.

Refuge Refuge's picture

This does seem to be quite the mess of a thread.  I think the think that strikes me as I read through it is the narrow way in which an ally is being defined.  The topic started out I think asking about immigration and if new or illegal immigrants or people fighting for said immigrants could be considered allies and what that would look like but quickly seemed to go to no one can be a first nations ally. 

There are a great number of voices that I have come across in the FN community who do consider this a valid stance - that me not being FN means I have never and will never be an ally.  However there are also a great number of voices within the FN community who do see me as an ally.  Do I see myself as an ally?  I don't know.  I personally think what the government is doing with the genocide, with land claims and ignoring the FN duty to protect the land from harm is wrong and am willing, as person who is considered Canadian to tell the government this in whatever way that I can.  And to tell them they need to do something differently.  How I personally choose to get my message across is to support FN groups when they stand up when their rights are being trampled and their responsibilities being taken away.  I do this by showing up with supplies to help them aid in the fight and by talking to my friends and family about what is happening, if I know what is happening, and why it is wrong so that when the media story is played out it is not the only version that is taken as truth.  I also do this by attending as many court dates as I can when FN people I know choose to go to court to let my court system know that they are supported not just from other FN but from Canadian citizens.  

I don't know if I consider myself an ally, I am not a member of a formal group fighting anything, I don't have an agenda of what I want to do and what I don't want to do.  When I show up with supplies if I am invited back I will go back to help I will go back, if I am not invited back to help I will not go back.  I listen to what is asked of me - when there was a blockade across the highway 6 bypass a couple of years ago I was asked not to go stay at blockade at the bypass unless I was brought back by someone but to stay up at the reclamation site instead, and I did.  I have made a lot of friends and consider myself supporting my friends but have no idea if I am actually an ally.

As I mentioned while I am there there are people who say that I am not an ally, will never be an ally and that I should leave Canada.  But there are others who consider me an ally as well as a friend and ask me back to support what is going on.  The one voice is valid and I will not show up or go to events or protests that are being held by the first voice because they will not be inviting me.  But I will go to events or protests that are being held by the second voice because they do invite me.  I will not ignore one voice because the other feels different but I will respect the voice that feels differently.

I have come across different "cross events" between immigration groups like no one is illegal mainly because friends of mine have been invited to speak from a FN perspective or for the group to honour and / or teach new immigrants the true history of Canada over the one that is spoon fed to most Canadians.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I think that it is great they acknowledge what should be acknowledged every day by every Canadian that we are on FN land and need to respect not just that fact but everything that has happened with genocide that has brought us to the state we are in today.  I do attend these events, however, and see that there is a conflict of interest with their fight and with the FN fight.  It can't be helped.  Every group that is fighting for something is taking their fight as a priority over a fight that they stand in solidarity with and if having to choose between two conflicting ideas will invariable choose their fight over the one they are standing in solidarity with.  

Two groups can share a perspective or understand each other based on commonalities like both facing racism, having their labour exploited etc and this can lend to support of the others group.  But within that they still do have a separate agenda.  What I see is groups that can be allies to a certain extent but it has to be done with the recognition they are both in two separate causes and that there might be a conflict at one point and each has to recognize that the other will be staying within their own fight when that conflict arises.

Does that mean that they can't be allies?  Some say yes, some say no, some say sort of.  I don't think that any is wrong but one voice shouldn't be quieted just because another disagrees.  All voices should be listened to.  That is one thing that I learned from the Haudensaunee, that all voices need to be listened to.  When all are listened to a lot of the time you find that they are really not that far apart or are even saying the same thing, just looking at it from a different angle.

remind remind's picture

Thank you refuge, said much the same in the babble reactions thread about this thread.

 

NDPP

E.Tamaran wrote:

N.Beltov wrote:

mods notified.

 

Great. Notified them about what exactly? That settlers reduced FN numbers by 99%? That expecting people to then accept friendship from settlers who did the genocide is outrageous? That wondering how on earth anyone could be so callous?Help me out here?

NDPP

this is a point which cannot be denied.

j.m.

Stargazer wrote:

Immigrants are NOT indigenous people. Okay? Why posit this when it is not true? There is a massive world of difference between the first people's here and those who come later. It doesn't matter how they got here. It matters how it all ends up. And how did it end up? Well, look at the lands FN people were given.

Immigrants when here are taught the same shite that we are all taught in school. Endless propaganda about how much opportunity there is. How they can own cars and houses and have great job - all the while omitting at just whose expense all this flows from. Please refrain from the line "we're all indigenous". You're not.

 

E. Tamaran, while I understand the principle behind some FN communities restricting residency requirements, I don't think employing the same tactics  the state uses on us is a good idea, nor workable in reality.

I totally agree with the message. There is only one point I would like to make: some immigrants are indigenous peoples from other parts of the Americas and do share very similar experiences as FN people (at least their families and friends back home still do). However, once settling on Turtle Island they are treated categorically different than FN peoples and have a completely different life trajectory here than as colonial subjects in their homelands (even to a degree indigenous-mestizo temporary migrants through the farm program receive a different set of opportunities although they are comparatively worse-off than most other migrants).

Clearly once leaving their homes they become known (by us) as immigrants, "latinos" or "hispanic". I think this is a double-edged sword that both erases their identities (at least here on Turtle Island), enabling them as settlers, and pits them against FNs peoples. First the label provides them distance to stigmas and barriers that FN people face, which enables them more as migrants than as indigenous people. Ironically, these are the stigmas they would have dealth with at home. At the same time these indigenous or mestizo migrants are distanced from the struggles of FNs people here through the erasure of the shared suffering caused by a new identity. These identities find so-called "latinos" (some indigenous or mestizo) in the mix of Canada's so-called multiculturalism and part of this emerging group of minorities that will - in due time- be assumed into the Canadian mainstream (even if partial). This label ultimately pits these indigenous or mestizo peoples against FN peoples.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Quote:
NDPP

this is a point which cannot be denied.

Actually, what can't be denied is that E Tamaran has made all sorts of abusive posts, personal attacks, and divisive garbage for which, so far, he's suffered no consequences.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Unpack your baggage.  No matter how crude ET is right.

Stargazer

No, ET is right about some things but ET is not right in saying that all FN's think all people should be removed from Canada. You'll notice he isn't the only FN on this board. WE all do not think the same eh?

Joey Ramone

"Settlers" and immigrants are not our enemies.  It is and always has been the settler elites who steal, exploit and cheat, and they cheat, exploit and steal from both FNs and the poor and working classes of their own societies.  And they do all of this with the eager support of collaborators amongst the FN elites.  Try looking at the class interests and it all becomes a lot clearer.

I feel much more solidarity, and even kinship, with many non-Aboriginal allies than I do with the FN elites who collaborate in the theft and degradation of our land. 

George Victor

The comprador fits neatly into any situation, eh JR.  Thanks for the wisdom.    I also found Nelson Mandela's position - as made clear in Invictus - instructive.

Joey Ramone

George Victor wrote:

The comprador fits neatly into any situation, eh JR. 

I don't know about any other situations but I have experienced it daily for more than 20 years in my activism on Aboriginal issues.

George Victor

I understand.  And I have seen it at work on the national level since I took up reading.  Do you find any change occurring over those two decades in terms of a growing understanding among those around you of what's afoot?  The liberal economist has always put it down to "human nature", or "rational self-interest". (Which, socially, has always panned out as class interests, eh?)  :D

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