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2013 (and a little 2012…) Year End Review

January 6, 2014

It’s been an awesome and humbling 16 months since we launched the first issue of Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society in September 2012. We’ve published three issues full of peer-reviewed articles, poetry, a short story, an MP3 and a book review, as well as the many amazing blog articles that you’ve seen posted in this space. We began with fervent visions of what Decolonization would look like and, while this year has taught us many things and shown us some of the challenges in pursing this vision, we continue to dream and work to make the journal and it’s community something special.

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Volume 2, Issue 2 is LIVE!

December 20, 2013
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We’ve published the most recent issue of our undisciplinary, peer-reviewed Open Access journal and it contains six great articles for you to download, as well as our very first book review, of Centring Anishinaabeg StudiesThe article range from topics of representation in images and films, to Navajo governance, to Michif, to fishing and hunting – it’s a great issue!

You can go read, download and SHARE the new issue here!

On Refusal

December 9, 2013

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Disrupting settler society, and avoiding fatalism, requires a two-fold recognition: of settler colonialism and Indigenous resurgence.

Destroying settler society, and allowing the rise of ethical relations, requires a two-fold active response: destroy the material and discursive foundations of settler colonialism and actively engage with Indigenous resurgence.

At times and in spaces, the destruction and active engagement are one in the same.

At other times and in other spaces, they are distinct. Read more…

#DecolonizeHistory: Storytelling & Resistance

December 2, 2013
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 “I started writing because there was an absence I was familiar with. One of my senses of anger is related to this vacancy – a yearning I had as a teenager… and when I get ready to write, I think I’m trying to fill that.” –Ntozake Shange

#DecolonizeHistory is about storytelling that disrupts space to present narratives that have been actively silenced or neglected. #DecolonizeHistory is a Toronto-based sticker-art project aimed at interrupting space, addressing colonial roots and undoing processes of white supremacy. Historical narratives within mainstream discourse are presented without the context of colonization, slavery and imperialism, despite the fundamental role they play on all aspects of life. Within these erasures, there are narratives we are told at the expense of silencing other narratives that are actively unrepresented. We are taught to honour the anti-apartheid work done by Nelson Mandela, while we are simultaneously huey queen sttaught to disregard Mandela’s continued activism to end the illegal military occupation of Palestine. We are taught to fight for the eradication of gender-based violence yet the stories of countless Indigenous women, women of colour, trans women, queer folks and disabled folks rarely make headlines. This absence of certain narratives has its roots in colonial violence and it has been normalized to the point that stories that diverge from the mainstream discourse are “delegitimized” or presented without “validation.” Nevertheless racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia and other forms of violent discrimination are lived experiences that require no mainstream validation to prove they exist. Existence is resistance and storytelling through art is a part of this resistance.   Read more…

“New World” Settler Colonialism: “Killing Indians, Making Niggers”

November 22, 2013
Photo Erin Sparks

“New World” settler colonialism can be described as a process of “killing Indians, making niggers.” By this I mean that, within the visionary project of building and maintaining a settler state, there are the immediate projects of clearing “virgin” land for industry and settlement (“killing Indians”), as well as constructing a racial category of enslavable and otherwise indentured labor to help cultivate it (“making niggers”). The colonial end game becomes a world where Indigenous peoples are thought of as always dead, dying or inexplicably disappeared. A world where black life is defined by slavability and being made the necessary causalities of capitalist development. In many cases the “killing” or “making” plays out as the literal removal of black and Indigenous bodies: Indigenous genocide and land theft, black enslavement, police violence and incarceration, murdered and missing women, 60’s scoop, forced relocation, temporary foreign worker schemes, deportation etc. In other cases, the “killing” or “making” is more symbolic: discourses of black criminality, rage and sexual danger; or Indigenous drunkenness, barbarism and extinction.  These are just few of the ways black and Indigenous bodies become differently marked for symbolic, but also literal, extermination. Marked for extermination by the law, on the land, and within settler consciousness. It’s further important to point out that the ongoing theft and occupation of Indigenous lands is foundational to all of these things.

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Urban Thunderbirds: Ravens in a Material World

November 4, 2013
Exhibition poster featuring photography by curator Rande Cook

On the day before Bernice A. King, daughter of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., delivers the keynote speech to thousands of residential school survivors and their supporters at the Walk for Reconciliation event in Vancouver, British Columbia, a smaller but no less enthusiastic audience gathers at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria for the opening of the Urban Thunderbirds: Ravens in a Material World exhibition in Victoria, British Columbia.

Both events are landmarks unto themselves, lending strength to the glacially slow shift in western consciousness and validation of indigenous realities. Co-curated by two of the featured artists, Coast Salish lessLIE Sam and Kwakwakwak Rande Cook, the exhibition is a visual truth-telling of the dual cultural existence of a “modern-day, self-proclaimed” native artist and the clumsy but more often time clever ways in which their art helps them navigate both traditional responsibility and  contemporary tradition. The results are beautiful, thoughtful, touching and funny.

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Indigenous Theory from Hawai’i

October 21, 2013

One of the goals of Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society is to bring together scholars, activists, artists and community members who are thinking through and acting out decolonization from their local spaces around the globe. Around the world, Indigenous communities and others are  resisting colonialism and resurging Indigenous cultures as necessary alternatives; though, sometimes these local initiatives operate with little discussion, solidarity, and learning with/from other locations of struggle. As a journal and as a larger project, we hope to provide a space where these discussions can happen to encourage and foster connections.

In that vein, we hope you’ll check out a great new blog started by Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua and her students at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa that brings out some great discussions on Hawai’ian decolonization, settler colonialism, and Indigenous theories. The students bring in a wide array of art, videos and readings to make some great connections between settler colonialism, sovereignty, Indigenous language, anarchism, etc…

Check it out here!

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