The colonization of our Minds
Today I shared my location on Facebook that I was in Standing Rock, ND instead of sitting neatly on my couch in Columbus, OH. Unfortunately, I’m not in Standing Rock, and I won’t be until at least December. What’s even more interesting is that this CNN article tries to explain the social media phenomenon of why people are “checking” into Standing Rock when they are nowhere near the location. What is more interesting is that this “fact checker” website helps explain why there is no issue with the DAPL, and as the website explains, it is a byproduct of “the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) – a partnership of more than 40 civic, business, labor and agricultural groups who support the economic development and energy security benefits associated with infrastructure projects in the Midwest” (standingrockfactchecker.org). Meanwhile, it is the first website that shows up, and some people even began to share this link that do not know what’s happening in Standing Rock or why it’s happening in Standing Rock to show that it’s a “non-issue” and that no lands are being taken or distributed or used to further the corporation’s interests that would let around 50,000 barrels of oil across the DAPL every day. I received a lot of support from my Facebook friends, but some of them had no idea what was happening, mainly because the mainstream media hasn’t covered the story as you might think they would.
I started thinking about why people aren’t hearing about the issue, and I came to the realization that we are still being silenced as a people. There is still a lot of silencing happening, and it’s taking those that are normal people–just like you and I–to get the word out about Standing Rock. While I’m not actually in Standing Rock, my small contribution does something that I didn’t think it would; it made me feel connected and is making others feel like they’re standing in solidarity from afar. Why are we still silencing Natives’ ability to stand together and create a community of protestors and activists? Why are we not talking about the militarized police force attacking protestors? Why aren’t we discussing the inconsistencies with treaties that were signed years and years ago, but aren’t being upheld even to this day? Are we not talking about it because we’re afraid we’ll be colonized on the other side of America, too?
Martin Niemöller explains it through the eyes of someone that opposed the Nazi Party.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Here, I start to speak out against colonization, the colonization of our media, our words, our actions, and ideas. I won’t allow my thoughts to be dictated by what the media tells me. I will not allow there to be no one left to speak for my people and others. I won’t allow my thoughts to be colonized, too.
Philámayaye ki anákičhiǧoptaŋ
(Thank you for listening)