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Recommended Reading: On colonialism and “Occupy Wall Street”

October 3rd, 2011     by Julia Horel     Comments

“The “OCCUPY WALL STREET” slogan has gone viral and international now. From the protests on the streets of WALL STREET in the name of “ending capitalism” - organizers, protestors, and activists have been encouraged to “occupy” different places that symbolize greed and power. There’s just one problem: THE UNITED STATES IS ALREADY BEING OCCUPIED. THIS IS INDIGENOUS LAND. And it’s been occupied for quite some time now. I also need to mention that New York City is Haudenosaunee territory and home to many other First Nations. Waiting to see if that’s been mentioned anywhere. (Author’s note: Manhattan “proper” is home to to the Lenape who were defrauded of the island by the Dutch in 1626 - see more from Tequila Sovereign). … Colonialism also leads to capitalism, globalization, and industrialization. How can we truly end capitalism without ending colonialism?” - Jessica Yee

Jessica Yee, the founder and executive director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, has written an important post on the colonizing language being used in the “Occupy Wall Street” movement.

Check out the full piece (including a piece of artwork by Shameless blogger Erin Konsmo) at Racialicious or

JonPaul Montano has also written an Open Letter to Occupy Wall Street that offers another voice to call out the colonizing language of the movement, and offers some suggestions:

“1) Acknowledge that the United States of America is a colonial country, a country of settlers, built upon the land of indigenous nations; and/or… 2) Demand immediate freedom for indigenous political prisoner Leonard Peltier; and/or… 3) Demand that the colonial government of the United States of America honor all treaties signed with all indigenous nations whose lands are now collectively referred to as the “United States of America”; and/or… 4) Make some kind of mention that you are indeed aware that you are settlers and that you are not intending to repeat the mistakes of all of the settler do-gooders that have come before you. In other words, that you are willing to obtain the consent of indigenous people before you do anything on indigenous land.” - JonPaul Montano

Read the whole letter here.

Tags: activist report, indigenous

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