Wild Roots Feral Futures takes place on occupied/stolen indigenous territory, primarily of the Nuutsiu (occasionally spelled Nuciu or Nuchu, aka “Ute”) people, as well as Diné (“Navajo”), Apache, and others. In recognition of this reality and as a first step in confronting it, we seek to establish proactive working relationships with those whose stolen land we gather upon, and open the space we temporarily gather in to the centering and amplification of indigenous voices and struggles. Our understanding is that any community of resistance that doesn’t center the voices of indigenous people and put their leadership in the forefront is a movement that is part of the problem.
HOWEVER, *how* to return such space and amplify such voices without engaging in tokenizing behavior remains problematic, as does (neo)colonial dynamics of further extracting yet more use value from indigenous communities by expecting and requesting their participation in such processes.
We recognize that protocol varies from community to community and Nation to Nation, and we feel that a good first step on our part is to simply reach out and establish contact, as we are doing now.
Please feel free to call us out, send us feedback, reach out to us, offer your participation, etc., at feralfutures [at] riseup [dot] net
We will also be putting together a recommended reading & resource list (coming soon!), but until then, please check out the many amazing decolonization resources at Unsettling America. In particular, please check out these guidelines, many of which WRFF may be adopting as a matter of event policy, as well as these critical texts on cultural appropriation. We also recommend the texts Heteropatriarchy & the Three Pillars of White Supremacy by Andrea Smith, and White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, by Peggy McIntosh, and request that aspiring event participants familiarize themselves with them.
The simple truth is: we cannot avoid facing our uneasy and unsettled relationships to the Indigenous peoples and Indigenous lands that we occupy. If we do not relinquish our settler privilege and grow healthier relationships with Indigenous peoples, life, and lands on their terms, then we will only be skimming across the surface of decolonizing movements, creating the appearance of transformative change, but actually cementing our occupation and theft of Indigenous lands and cultures even more firmly into the continent’s already bloodied ground.
Turtle Island is beautiful but bloodied land, under siege since 1492 and still in active resistance to euro-centric colonization and settlement. She continues to yield the bounty of riches we live on today, derived from the continued thieving and pillaging of Indigenous life forms. And she is ever the storyteller of the genocide begun by our ancestors.
While settlers claim to love this beautiful land – without the vital presence and consent of its Indigenous human peoples, such love is racist and self-serving. If one is going to truly love the land, then that love will embody Indigenous peoples thriving on that land as an integral and inseparable aspect of the cultural and ecological landscape.
But too often, our so-called love is the possessive adoration of “wilderness” and natural places violently emptied of Indigenous peoples through ethnic cleansing. We embrace the racist fabrication of “pristine” nature – the erasure of the natural Indigenous human being from the land we claim to love. We’re content with this human aspect of the land being invisible, relegated to the nostalgic past, being oppressed, being destroyed. Our love reveals itself as selfish and insecure.
Because of this insecurity, it is very difficult for us to accept Native peoples as presently alive and inseparable from the land itself, let alone surrender our entitled claims of presence and authority that would further their natural reintegration into their home places and relationships of freedom.
In making Indigenous human people invisible, we reveal our fear of displacement, denial of shame, and the ignorance of our own stories from a time when we were peoples integral to places. For our grotesque convenience, we disavow our continuing role in ongoing genocidal warfare.
Only through the most dissociative forms of forgetting, can we innocently turn to the beautiful land for solace, pleasure, and connection without feeling some sense of unease. Otherwise, we would feel compelled to take conscious action to reconcile these feelings. But conscious actions upset our bliss. This makes us deeply invested to only see the land we want to see. We do not see what is really there.
The land has many more stories to tell than just the beautiful ones that indulge our innocent pleasure. If we only look around and listen with an open heart, we will see past our short-term love affair with a continent that doesn’t belong to us, and consider all of the stories that may live in the mountains, waters, and wind.