Oct 5, 2015 - Rise and Decolonize: Abolish Columbus Day by Nahaan
PRESS RELEASE OCTOBER 4, 2015
For Old Growth Alliance a piece of paper, or a politicians stamp of approval does not mean change for all of us. Change begins to grow when the people themselves are able to carry and embrace a more responsible way of looking at our shared history and working together because of it, and that certainly does not only apply to K-12 students in what is now called “washington state”.
We cannot and must not thank the colonizer or their established government for re-naming “columbus day” to Indigenous Peoples Day in Seattle. christopher columbus should never have been honored in the first place and the fact that he was celebrated in an often so called “progressive” city speaks to the true nature of this city. Why would the city of Seattle have a statue of a man like christopher columbus on Seattle’s famed waterfront? Why would there even be a day to honor a man who represents a genocidal process that inspired Adolf Hitler in his approach toward the Jewish people? The answer is this: the city, state and federal governments all want to make sure that Indigenous lands stay stolen.
They want us to continue believing the notion that we must not resist the forceful and authoritative approaches of the colonizer, and that the so called “United States” is a permanent and irreplaceable structure. They want us to believe in the illusion that voting for wickedness is a better option than creating balanced and reciprocal opportunities for jobs, housing and access to healthy food as well as preventative physical and mental health care. They don’t want us organizing, empowering ourselves, re-establishing our own monetary system, our own military and education system and actively resisting the detrimental structures that have tried to surround and suffocate us.
They instead want us to assimilate and write legislature in their invasive language and through their hierarchical methodologies they want us to ask them for help or mercy or permission for change and we ain’t about that. We’ve never gotten a permit to have our rallies and marches, for the past 8 years have only asked permission and gave acknowledgement to the Duwamish people and by doing so have helped to reinstate the true recognition and responsibility to original inhabitants of this once pure land. We as Old Growth Alliance recognize that we are only doing our portion, running our leg of the 523 years of Indigenous resistance, and we are honored and humbled to hold the torch until the next next generation is equipped with enough know how and resource to carry it on.
The passing of new bills can be seen as attempts to make Indigenous people silent now that the city has changed the name. The thought is that passing the bill instantly redirected the course and experience of Native Peoples, and maybe on some level it has. Maybe changing the name will help stop the high percentage of Native Youth who take their own lives at such an alarming rate, maybe changing the name will help ensure western practices of capitalism and dehumanization of our people stop. Maybe changing the name will help stop the appalling rape and abduction rate of Indigenous Women across what is now called “north and south america”. Maybe.
What we have noticed is that changing the name of the day within city limits has also created the misconception that the entire state or federal government changed the name as well, when in fact a majority of “states” including the so called “washington state” still honor the wicked holiday. Don’t get us wrong, we celebrate Indigenous Peoples day instead of columbus day just like every other informed native should, but we also know not to celebrate for too long, there is plenty more work to do, and that while we celebrate our victory, the colonizers are plotting another way to take more resources and take our little senses of freedoms away from us.
We have a long road to walk together to change what many accept as un-changeable, to do what many say is not possible, but we know we were put here to tend the very same fires our Ancestors kept burning for us, that we must not stop marching. We must not stop fighting. We must ensure that our languages, place names, and ways of thinking are forever and always alive and well. We may have won a battle locally, and credit should go to the Indigenous people who made that happen, but we must in fact also recognize that the larger war still continues every single day. Until there are no statues or holidays of columbus, no structures of the colonizer state, until there are no oppressive or racist governments, until there are no racist and corrupt enforcers of “law” in existence, will we stop speaking out, and resisting the colonial oppression that has entreated upon us and our lands. May truth prevail on behalf of Indigenous people in order to initiate reparation and accountability, that our Ancestors are honored and our Descendants empowered and proud.
For more information on Seattle’s 8th Annual Abolish Columbus Day March go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/1704813743080847/1712961502266071/