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Challenge to Unsettling America Collective, re: allyship

This post was sent to unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com today. Since they’ve never replied to anything i’ve posted (and often don’t publish my comments), i’m deciding to go a little more “proactive” in my views. Of course, i welcome dissent, and will join anyone in dialogue either here or on the forum of your choice (www.firstnations.com/forum anyone?)

Specifically, this post is responding to the following text:

entitled “Allyship and Solidarity Guidelines”

i think your collective is foolish to seek subordinates from the anti-authoritarian (a.k.a. anarchist) crowd –or anyone else you aim your otherwise crucial excellence towards. Isn’t that the underlying truth of some of these points you put on your site?

As guidelines (like Tai Alfred pointed out about what Indigenous traditions are meant to be), yes, crucial. But when it becomes rigidized? When it becomes absolutist? Anti-authoritarians that i find inspiring have challenged this difficulty. For example: Ron Sakolsky writes in his article “Mutual Acquiescence or Mutual Aid?”
( http://modernslavery.calpress.org/?tag=critique-of-ideology )

An excerpt:
“…an analysis of how mutual acquiescence prevents and immobilizes individual and collective forms of direct action allows for a more nuanced model of domination and resistance than can be afforded by merely referencing the devastating effects of conformity imposed from above.”

Of course, you all are seeking to create the best possible energy for a generalized group of outsiders to enter into decolonizing work, but i wonder, are your assumptions caught up in dominator logic too much, yourselves?

When i think of decolonizing excellence, i think of all as equals (while optimistically expecting elders’ praxis to be possibly deeper than my own), all as champions (of our lives, of seeking our bests, with what we’ve found around us). i think of ALL having crucial importance in the power of villages which can speak freely and deeply with each other. i also think of places made for we who do not have our excellence “up to snuff” (because we have been kept separated from tribal powers, and largely have had to teach ourselves). i think of places (in community) where differing levels of awareness are encouraged to go through their processes, in ongoing ways (i.e. rituals and ceremonies which communities design together which allow our power to become together).

Okay, so you have a mix of Indigenous champions whom have organized y’all; but do they get to be forever “more equal”? iT seems to me that WE ARE ALL in this together, ultimately. So what do you do if a non-Indigenous champion comes along who has been able to see deeper or further than the Indigenous champions you have been able to amass? Do you drum her/him out????

So, yes, i think your collective is missing something in its push towards creating what feels to me like a “cadre” or “conscript class” of unsettling settler champions. Maybe this is a first step kind of thing, with intended provocations meant to instigate people such as myself? Or maybe it is what happens when an entire collective isn’t thinking things through enough (and continually).

iT is my prayer that your collective will think about what i am saying today. i am age 47 and have stood up many times, putting my life on the line for truths that have to be spoken and heard. i will continue to do so. It would be great to be able to come together with some of you somewhere. Or maybe i will see you out in the proverbial “field”.

To conclude, i’ve likely forgotten if i’ve responded to this text before. Maybe i have. And maybe it’s a good thing that you all get multiple responses from me.


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