[TW: medical abuse]I was born with a Blue Spot. Here is the story of what it is, and how a white man stole it.
The only time I ever met me father was an hour after I was born. He took one look at me and said, “this is my child.” When my mother and her family wondered how he was so certain, he showed them my Blue Spot. All of his family had been born with Blue Spots; some of my mother’s family knew of them because of Roma heritage, but I only child in at least a generation who’d been born with one.
Also, my Spot was permanent like my father’s. When I turned 12 and the Spot stayed, my mom told me the full story of my heritage and who my father had been, what he was like, and how they had met.
In my 20’s I went to a white dermatologist for an unrelated reason, and he completely flipped out over my Spot. He was utterly convinced it was some kind of skin cancer. I explained to him over and over what it was and why it was there; I’d seen a Chinese dermatologist in my childhood and an Indian dermatologist in my teens; none of them had even bothered to mention the spot other than to comment that it was there, and permanent (unlike some congenital Blue Spots that fade away with age.)
This white guy threatened and browbeat me until i finally agreed to let him biopsy it. I made him promise that he wouldn’t take it, I kept telling him that I liked my Spot, it was important to me. He really was saying to me that if I didn’t let him do this I would die. He promised that the biopsy would only take a tiny piece of skin, and it wouldn’t make any difference in its appearance.
When I got home and took the bandage off, I saw two stitches holding together the wound where my Blue Spot had been.
I cried and wouldn’t get out of bed for days.
As time passed, i noticed the skin around the scar was showing blue where the redness was fading. As more time passed, the blue color spread out more and now I have an irregular scar on my lower back that is surrounded by a blue color.
All I have of my father is one blurry photo and my scarred Blue Spot.
It is a reminder to me that white people will always try to steal my heritage and who I am.
It is a reminder that no matter how hard they try, they can never take it away from me.
"Chief Joyi railed against the white man, who he believed had deliberately sundered the Xhosa tribe, dividing brother from brother. The white man had told the Thembus that their true chief was the great white queen across the ocean and that they were her subjects. But the white queen brought nothing but misery and perfidy to the black people, and if she was a chief she was an evil chief. Chief Joyi’s war stories and his indictment of the British made me feel angry and cheated, as though I had already been robbed of my own birthright.
Chief Joyi said that the African people lived in relative peace until the coming of the abelungu, the white people, who arrived from across the sea with fire-breathing weapons. Once, he said, the Thembu, the Mpondo, the Xhosa, and the Zulu were all children of one father, and lived as brothers. The white man shattered the abantu, the fellowship, of the various tribes. The white man was hungry and greedy for land, and the black man shared the land with him as they shared the air and water; land was not for man to possess. But the white man took the land as you might seize another man’s horse.
I did not yet know that the real history of our country was not to be found in standard British textbooks, which claimed South Africa began with the landing of Jan Van Riebeeck at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652. It was from Chief Joyi that I began to discover that the history of the Bantu-speaking peoples began far to the north, in a country of lakes and green plains and valleys, and that slowly over the millennia we made our way down to the very tip of this great continent."
Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
… sounds super familiar.(via adailyriot)
I have a close friendship with an Aboriginal person, who feels that the concept of ‘otherkin’ is like the use of spirit animal. Aboriginal concepts like spirit animals and the people who can take the form of animals in Ohunkakan (from Lakota) are regularly appropriated. The first you see often being used by white people everywhere, and the whole concept of otherkin, she feels, is like taking the concept from the Ohunkakan stories.
She says she feels weird about posting this, so I’m posting on her behalf. She doesn’t feel like she has anyone to talk about it, because of the way it played out when otherkin first became popular on tumblr, and because she doesn’t want to disrespect identities…but at the same time, when that identity itself is stepping on cultures and partaking in appropriation, that makes things interesting.
I know there were comments of otherkin appropriating trans people’s language and terminology, and I don’t know the resolution of that, but this is a whole other thing entirely.
How do the rest of you feel?
I seriously wouldn’t put this past them. At all. To be ‘inspired’ by Ohunkakan stories. And just steal it. For their already blech IDs.
If the children are of African or Native American descent, they learn that their ancestors lost badly and ingloriously, but that was all for the best anyway. The historical record often does not agree with these kinds of conclusions. The English newcomers sent to Roanoke Island in 1584 by Sir Walter Raleigh are a case in point. What these pioneers did was self-destruct over their own love of possession. When a silver cup allegedly disappeared, the Roanoke men roared out of their tiny enclave, muskets, and torches in hand, to destroy their Indian neighbors’ village and crops. This blazing display of European possession-mania cut the colony off from the one local source of help.
When the Spanish Armada severed the settlement’s connection to British ports, it withered and died. Roanoke Island became famous as”the lost colony”.
In light of this unacceptable object lesson for children, school texts prefer to begin US history with another colony, Captain John Smith’s Jamestown, Virginia, founded in 1607. Captain Smith was sent out by a London joint-stock company seeking profits from colonization. Smith sailed with an overload of failed aristocrats and settled on land owned by the Algonquin Confederacy.
Trouble began when the newcomers refused to plant, build, or exert themselves. Iron pistol in hand, Captain Smith ordered his lazy gentlemen to “work or starve.” Time and again the English were rescued from starvation through the generosity of the Algonquin Confederacy, which provided corn and bread. The foreigners responded by refusing to share their advanced agricultural tools with the Indians and violence soon broke out.
At Roanoke Island colonization proved a total failure. At Jamestown, what collapsed was the European “work ethic.” No wonder some scholars decided that US history did not begin until the arrival of the hard-working Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower in 1620. Leaping over events can avoid some unpleasant conclusions about early European motives, character, and success."
William Loren Katz, Black Indians, p. 20-21 (via alostbird)
I do not like images or quotes by native peoples that say how the whites killed natives or took lands away. Yes, it happened. Yes, it was tragic. But now is the time for us to set aside our hate and accusations, despite what may have happened. The reason we are so scattered and separated from our own culture is because we’ve allowed these events to infect our minds and defeat our love. We must find it in ourselves to forgive the whites of their transgressions and find peace within ourselves. That is the only way for us to mend the sacred hoop and become a proud, powerful nation once more.
No more anger, my friends.
Which nation specifically is this addressed to?
The reason we are so scattered and separated from our own culture is because we’ve allowed these events to infect our minds and defeat our love.
So. If someone steals your house the reason you’re homeless isn’t because they stole your house, but because you got upset about your house being taken?
Genocide and forced re-education seems to be the reason colonized societies around the world end up separated from their own cultures, but maybe this particular, unnamed nation is different or something. Guess I didn’t know The Secret was an NDN nation…
I mean, not acknowledging history would seem to be the opposite path to reconnecting to your heritage…
TW: Racism, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexism. When people say that mistreatment of Indigenous folks in America was hundreds of years ago.
No. Just no.
The Indian Child Welfare Act, is not reparation for events that took place 300 years ago.
The reason is it NOT OK to dress up like this or like an Indigenous culture, is not because of events that took place 300 years ago.
Indigenous cultural appropriation is not offensive because of events that took plea 300 years ago. It is offensive and racist because the colonization of Indigenous cultures has spanned decades and continues to take place in violent and racist manners.
A study released by the General Accounting Office in November of 1976 reported that Native women were being sterilized without their consent. 25% of Native women of childbearing age were sterilized without their consent. Some reservations had sterilization rates as high as 80%.
Depro-Provera was used on Native Women during the 1980’s, BEFORE it was approved by the FDA in 1992. Disabled women were administered depro-provera at particularly high rates to keep them from having their periods, and therefore “cleaner” for their caretakers. It was also used to regulate their emotions. One doctor, Raymond Jannet stated “Depo Provera turned them back into their sweet, poor handicapped selves.”
In 1982 a video game titled “Custer’s Revenge” centered around players gaining points everytime they raped a Native woman, in the form of General Custer. The game’s slogan: “When you score, you score.”
During the Mowhawk Crisis of 1990 in Oka, white mobs forced a woman who had just given birth and was hemorrhaging, to “spread her legs” to prove it, before allowing her to leave the reservation to get medical care.
Two Native women went to Oka to film the crises and were arrested and detained for 11 hours, despite having no charges filed against them. They were held in a room covered with pornographic images, and not allowed to go to the bathroom unless they allowed the male police officers to watch.
These are just a FEW examples of the continual sexual violence and the colonization of Indigenous peoples in the U.S.A. The Justice Department has reported that 1 in 3 Native women experience sexual violence, that is twice the national average.
The near genocide of indigenous cultures, through colonization after European contact is nothing to be forgotten or moved past either. It was a violent, calculated, racist practice. The events that took place were horrific. And do not exist within a vacuum in the past. Indigenous peoples continue to be colonized through forms of media that allows for their continual mistreatment.
Aren’t Native women also more likely to be raped by a non-Native?
Yes. Native women are raped by a non-Native man in 86% of cases. 70% of the time, their rapist is white.
You can learn a lot from someone based on how they react to a POC telling them they’re doing something unintentionally racist.
How someone interested in fighting racism responds:
- “I didn’t know that! I’ll avoid doing/saying that from now on.”
How someone who doesn’t care about racism responds:
- “Who are you, the PC police?”
- “Calm down.”
- “It’s really not a big deal.”
- “You’re just racist against white people!”
- “There are bigger battles to fight.”
- “I don’t complain when someone does (rude but not racist thing against white people)!”
- “My (POC) friend says/does that all the time!”
- “I was trying to APPRECIATE you!”
Fact: If your argument involves any of the following, it’s not an effective argument.
"A colonized mind is capable of seeing ONLY the options laid out by the coloniser […] a colonised mind is trained to be held within the limits set by the coloniser […] solutions have to come from decolonized minds that can see beyond the confines established and enforced by the coloniser […] often colonised minds will side with the coloniser against decolonized thinking and action, that is what the colonized are trained to do, that is part of the colonisation process"
Debra White Plume dropping some truth bombs (via selchieproductions)
Much like the Sámedikkit.(via dolgematki)
"As the first born warriors of the Grand Canyon we refuse to become the next millennium’s world terrorists by allowing mega nuclear industrial complex mining industries to mine in the Grand Canyon."
Damon Watahomigie, Supai, delivering a powerful testimony on the destruction of his people’s homelands by uranium mining, coal fired power plants and oil and gas drilling, during a session with the UN Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Mr James Anaya. (via selchieproductions)
"And the hippies are jingling, jangling, blowing smoke all over Haight Ashbury, and they were letting their hair grow long. To the male Indian, this was a phenomenon, because for an Indian to grow his hair long was a violation of federal policy of 1906. According to the 1906 policy, food was withheld until compliance—in other words (by terms of this policy), we could be starved to death until we cut our hair."
Adam Fortunate Eagle (Red Lake Chippewa)
‘Cause there are some people who need reminding of the huge disparity between the disenfranchised natives and the hippies who continue to appropriate native cultures without a care.(via neetainari)
In today’s ‘No shit, Sherlock’: UN body says that Brazil is violating indigenous rights
© Survival International
The International Labour Organization (ILO), part of the UN, has criticized the Brazilian government for failing to respect indigenous peoples’ rights.
The ILO has stated that by failing to consult Indians about the construction of the Belo Monte mega-dam, Brazil has violated the ILO’s Convention 169 on indigenous peoples’ rights, to which the country is a signatory.
Brazilian Indians have held several large-scale protests against the dam, which will bring devastation to their rainforest. The uncontacted Indians living in the area could suffer the greatest impacts.
Whilst visiting Europe to raise awareness about the dam’s dangers, indigenous spokeswoman Sheyla Juruna said, ‘The dams will bring irreversible cultural, social and environmental damage. We are being treated like animals – all our rights are being violated’.
Brazil’s Public Ministry and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have ordered the government to suspend the dam construction until the Indians’ rights are respected, but the works continue.
The ILO has urged that the Indians be consulted ‘before the possible harmful effects [of the dam] are irreversible’.
Survival is urging all governments to ratify ILO 169, the only international law for tribal peoples.
[Image description: Paul Raffaele said a Suruwaha girl refused to shake his hand because she wanted to kill him. In fact, he was wearing so much sun cream the Suruwaha thought he had a skin disease.]
Outrage at ‘Freakshow TV’ as reporter brands Amazon tribe child murderers
© Survival International
An Australian TV report which branded an Amazon tribe as child murderers; a ‘suicide cult’ from the ‘Stone Age’; and the ‘worst human rights violators in the world’ has become the first target of a new Survival campaign against the racist depiction of tribal people on TV.
The ‘Freakshow TV’ campaign aims to challenge the depiction of tribal people on TV as primitive, backward savages.
The broadcast on Australia’s Channel 7 Sunday Night show featured ‘adventurer’ Paul Raffaele and reporter Tim Noonan visiting Brazil’s Suruwaha tribe.
The Suruwaha have already been targeted by fundamentalist missionaries, who falsely say they regularly kill newborn babies. The missionaries have lobbied Brazil’s Congress to pass a law allowing Indian children to be removed from their families.
The Indians allowed the Channel 7 team into their territory after Mr Raffaele said he wanted to film a ‘positive report’.
But their report has generated a firestorm of protests, with Survival International’s Director denouncing it as ‘one of the most biased, misleading and disgusting reports we’ve ever seen’.
The broadcast described the Indians as ‘a true suicide cult’; a ‘Stone Age’ people; and ‘lost in time’. The tribe is said to ‘encourage the murder of disabled children…in the most gruesome way possible’; take ‘poor little innocent babes into the jungle to be eaten alive by wild beasts’; and to be responsible for ‘one of the worst human rights violations in the world’.
The report’s website is also openly fundraising for an evangelical organization associated with the anti-Indian campaign.
Survival wrote to Channel 7 outlining the many errors and distortions in the report, but the Channel has rejected all the accusations. Australia’s broadcasting regulator ACMA has now opened a formal investigation.
Raffaele, previously a writer for Smithsonian Magazine, has been in trouble before – for a very similar Channel 9 report in 2006, in which he claimed a Papuan boy was in danger of being eaten by his tribe, who Raffaele described as ‘Stone Age cannibals’. The broadcast was widely attacked by experts, with Mr Raffaele reportedly admitting later that he had even misidentified the boy’s tribe.
Web giant Yahoo! is in partnership with Channel 7 in Australia. Survival has written to Yahoo! urging them to remove the report from their website, but has received no reply.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘It’s freakshow TV at its very worst. The Indians are made out to be cruel and inhuman monsters, in the spirit of 19th century colonialist scorn for ‘primitive savages’. It’s clearly designed to have the same effect – to suggest that they don’t deserve any rights. The idea that such nonsense is supposed to help tribal children is breathtaking.’
Survival has written a set of ethical guidelines to help filmmakers work responsibly with tribal peoples. It is also using its Stamp it Out campaign to challenge racist depictions, however unwitting, in the media.
Download a Survival briefing sheet on the proposed ‘Muwaji’s law’, the result of a campaign in Brazil by the fundamentalist missionary organization JOCUM (pdf, 70 KB). JOCUM are the Brazilian branch of the US organization Youth with a Mission.
Download a briefing sheet on what experts and Indians say about JOCUM’s infanticide allegations (pdf, 49 KB).
Download Survival’s letter to Channel 7 (pdf, 217 KB).
Download statements from Suruwaha Indians about the Channel 7 report (pdf, 33 KB).
Download a Survival briefing sheet on the Suruwaha tribe (pdf, 37 KB).