I find an odd mix of reactions when I write anything about indigenous rights but especially if I have the temerity to speak about the indigenous rights of other non North American peoples. It smacks of colonised attitudes
“What would some dumb Indian from the bush know about the Middle East?”
“Why is that Indian lecturing me about somewhere far away?, Indians don’t know about the world. They just sit around the fire chanting in their loincloths.”
Umm, some Indians read books and have the internet, and some Indians have actually traveled outside the rez in 2015. We are not all ignorant darkies who need white people to tell us what to do.
I think the reaction I find most odd is the whole “Well Ryan must be a traitor to his people because he stands up for another group of people.” This would amuse my family to no end, as I used to take flack for being an extremist in Metis circles for believing that we should not abjugate ANY of our inherent rights.
I stand up to people who perpetuate colonialist nonsense, because I honestly believe that too much of the world has thoroughly colonised notions about everything. Colonised thought permeates our very existence. For instance,
“Everything White is better than anything Brown”
“The world is always white vs dark”
“We should try hard to be more White because being White is the pinnacle.”
Even the attitude that Israel is European, is quite colonized.. nobody who has ever driven in Israel or who has dealt with Israeli “customer service” would ever say that Israel is European! Hell, try standing in line for an hour waiting to get a slushee before learning that in Israel, lines are a suggestion not a rule.
I fight these notions because they are harmful even when you don’t know it.
Ask yourself, why else would it even be acceptable to tell me, a Metis man, that I am simply a “half breed” as though that mitigates anything else I might say? As if being “half” marginalizes the experiences of my family who suffered greatly for standing up to the Government when it denied our basic human rights. I am an Indian – there is no “half” anyone who carries Indian blood and who is even remotely visible who can understand when I say “an Indian, is an Indian, is an Indian.”
This Indian has in fact read a lot of books. He tends to swear a bit but he is comfortable debating almost any subject against anyone because he is comfortable in his knowledge levels and world experience. What this Indian is not comfortable with is some ridiculous racist making ridiculous comments about how this Indian “went off the reservation” because he had the temerity to stand up to people who are trying to steal his peoples’ credibility and struggle.
Richard, do you even understand how offensive that is to someone whose father needed to get written permission to “go off the reservation”? Seriously, Dick, do you know that the term “going off the reservation” was used for years as an excuse to kill Indians with no penalty? I suppose I shouldn’t expect much from a guy who told a young black woman she was an “Uncle Tom.” I should expect even less from someone who hides behind his Jewish blood to attack Jewish people all the time.
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