A Letter To Palestinian Supporters Tempted To Co-Opt Native American Struggles
Gramma, don’t read this and just as an FYI this is unedited, and filled with strong language. I give no f***s tonight; if you don’t like swearing, don’t read this. I am straight up f***ing done with people who would steal my peoples’ tragedies and encourage us to define ourselves by them and remain victims rather than survivors.
Dear Pallywood asshats,
I think perhaps you people do not understand the depth of my disdain for those who piggyback off my peoples’ sorrows and misfortunes in order to gain credibility. I don’t usually denigrate the issues of other people but when they consistently try to compare themselves to my people I feel like someone needs to set that s**t straight.
First, let me enlighten you about the situation that North American Indians face, especially in warm, safe Canada. Perhaps you will understand better if I start there.
If you are an Indian woman in Canada, you are more likely to have been the victim of sexual assault, more likely to have been the victim of common assault, are more likely to be murdered, more likely to be the victim of theft and more likely to have endured poverty. You are almost 4 times more likely to be incarcerated, and 3 times more likely to have your children taken away from you by the government.
If you are an Indian man, you are 5 times more likely to have been the victim of a violent crime, 4 times more likely to be incarcerated, 3 times more likely to have been sexually assaulted as a child, and 3 times more likely to be the victim of a murder.
Those stats are a couple of years old now because I haven’t done any in-depth study of them in a couple years: it’s too damn disheartening.
I grew up on a reservation (rez), no power, no running water and believe me, it’s not easy. I watched as familocracy ensued and the morons running our Metis Settlement signed terrible agreements and signed away our hard earned rights. It wasn’t until the 1990’s when Merv (my father) and a few others stood up to the government that we started to turn the tide. But that’s just on a macro level.
On a personal level, I have been denied a job because I was either “too Indian” or “not Indian enough”. I have been pulled over by a cop for driving while iIndian; I have been arrested after fighting someone who attacked me with a knife in front of witnesses while the attacker was taken to the hospital and never even arrested. I spent the night before writing my final exams in high school, sitting in a jail cell, with band-aids on cuts on my hands while my attacker was in the hospital.
I have lost friends and family to suicide, addictions and murder. I myself survived some pretty heavy abuse at the hands of my stepmother, something I almost never speak about because it’s still pretty raw. I have had people say to me “No offence, you aren’t like those OTHER Indians Ryan, you are a GOOD Indian.” I have had people say “I had no idea you are an Indian, you don’t act or sound like those other Indians.”
I need to be very clear here – I am not a victim, I am a survivor. I don’t succumb to the pity party and I neither want nor need your pity. I am simply telling you this in the hope that you will understand why I am so fed up and angry, not just with the evil pieces of human effluence who would steal my story, but with the morons calling themselves Indians who would not only enable them to steal my story, but help them to steal credibility on the back of my suffering and my families suffering. It’s not all about the Jews, don’t get me wrong; I don’t like that my people are being weaponized to use against the Jews, but this runs deeper than that. This is personal.
My family has been on the front line of Native rights advocacy for decades. We believe in the dream of Canada, a Canada where native and non native are equal partners who work together to build a better future for all of us. Not this – not two separate laws for two separate peoples.
I have never been afraid to go against the grain. When I was growing up, Merv used to joke that if someone yelled FIRE!, Ryan would be the one person who ran towards the person yelling. I never really worried about what the majority thought or whether or not something was popular; I just did what my heart told me to do, and it rarely led me astray. My morals have never been based on the majority’s beliefs. I don’t trust anything that I haven’t examined myself. This is why I am immune to your bulls**t.
I am angry because I am more than a little fed up with people like Steven Salaita who write articles and “books” comparing Arabs to Indians in order to demonize Jews. I am even more tired that nobody seems to want to stand up to this guy or his friends. They don’t think its that big a deal. Maybe because he is just lying to Indians, and everyone knows, that’s not exactly new. I have been speaking up against him for a couple years now and what also annoys me are the dumbass Indians who actually think that clown is right and don’t even look at the actual history before speaking up. I can understand why he does what he does – his own struggle has no truth and needs the truth of my peoples to gain credibility, but why are some of our own are helping? I cannot understand.
First off, the Arabs are nothing like us. They are descended from colonizers and imperialists who conquered the entire Middle East, much of Africa and Europe and were not gentle with indigenous people. They force converted people, stole language and culture and basically were every bit as bad if not worse than white people in North America. So don’t ever compare my people to them and expect some of us not to speak up. Just because you read some piece of c**p book by Edward Said or Steven Salaita that is more fiction than truth, doesn’t make you an expert. In fact you will probably say something stupid if that’s what you base your opinions on. They are the very definition of Imperialists; just because they aren’t pale skinned doesn’t make them any better.
Second, my people had an actual genocide perpetrated against us. Our population drastically declined, our languages were stolen, our cultures decimated and our people either displaced or ethnically cleansed from our ancestral lands. Our sacred sites were desecrated, and our people damaged spiritually and physically. Compare that with Arabs who not only did not have any of those things happen to them, but who actually did them to other people; ask the Kurds, Circassians, Persians, Copts, and Arameans (you don’t have to ask the Jews).
Now Edward Said and Steven Salaita would have us believe that the Jews are white and the Arabs are brown, but in the same breath say they aren’t antisemitic because both Jews and Arabs are semitic people! Pick one. They also would have us believe that indigenous people returning to the land of their ancestors and living with their brothers who never left is settler colonialism, while the Arabs who conquered the whole damn place in the seventh century, forced converting and violently assimilated indigenous people, is not.
I am done being polite about this, I am done using flowery white man words.
Awass, tuguy (this is cree for f*** off you prick). I am not going to stand here quietly like a good indian while you offend me. This ain’t 1930 and I don’t need to ask someone’s permission to “go off the reservation” and you cannot simply kill me when I do. I can say what I want, so I am saying it.
Basically for people like Steven Salaita, I am not an academic. I would debate you asshats anywhere and anytime even with your moderators, but you know better. The cool thing about not being an academic or working for anyone is that I can say what I want, so here it is a**hole…
MY STORY IS NOT YOURS, YOU CANNOT STEAL MY PEOPLES STORY ANYMORE. WE ARE TIRED OF YOUR BULLS**T, WE DON’T WANT YOUR “SOLIDARITY” THAT ALWAYS COMES WITH A PRICE TAG OF BETRAYAL OF OTHER INDIGENOUS PEOPLE. IN FACT, WE DON’T WANT YOUR PERPETUAL VICTIM BULLS**T EITHER. FOR 67 YEARS YOU HAVE WHINED AND CRIED WHILE F***ING WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLE. WHILE THOSE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE WERE REBUILDING THEIR COUNTRY, YOU WERE TARGETING WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN THE NAME OF “RESISTANCE.”
DO YOU HONESTLY THINK WE NEED SUCH ALLIES? WHAT WILL YOU TEACH US? HOW TO BLOW UP CHILDREN IN A PIZZARIA? HOW TO SKIM AID MONEY?
YOU WERE OFFERED A STATE OF YOUR OWN AND YOU REFUSED. YOU DON’T WANT FREEDOM YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS, WITH YOU ON TOP AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ON THE BOTTOM SAYING AND DOING WHATEVER YOU WANT BECAUSE YOU ARE IN POWER AGAIN. AND YOU ARE ALL PISSYPANTS BECAUSE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE SAID F*** YOU AND TOOK THEIR LAND BACK.
I AM NOT SORRY. YOU DON’T GET TO KEEP OPPRESSING JEWS AND CHRISTIANS. BOO F***ING HOO. NOW YOU ASSHATS WILL HAVE TO MAN UP AND DECIDE IF YOU ACTUALLY WANT A STATE. IF YOU DO, YOU WILL HAVE TO HONESTLY NEGOTIATE WITH THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE YOU HAVE BEEN TRYING TO KILL SINCE THE 7TH CENTURY. YOU ARE LUCKY THEY ARE NICER THAN WE ARE, BECAUSE WE WOULD TELL YOU TO GO F*** YOUR HAT.
An actual Indian
P.S. F*** you