By Coya White Hat-Artichoker
I have been enthralled watching what is happening on Wall Street and has spread to other parts of the country and globe. I am fascinated because of the large numbers of people I see in the streets, and the amount of discontent. I appreciate the clarity that they are not disorganized but rather, since we are dealing with 99% of the population with a multitude of issues, you are going to see every different kind of protest and issue.
I also appreciate the critiques brought forth by my other indigenous brothers and sisters, both within and outside the US, highlighting the use of the word “occupy”; asking folks to recognize and acknowledge the colonial legacy and history in using settler language to frame what is hopefully a mass people’s movement for liberation. The words of Audre Lorde echo for me here: “the master’s tools will not dismantle the master’s house”. It’s important to acknowledge that there are communities who have been living under occupation for over 500 years. And when we talk about occupation, why aren’t we also talking about the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Puerto Rico, or Guam?
I love that people chose Wall Street to start these protests, and I love that we are talking about the accumulation of wealth by a small percentage of people and what it looks like for the rest of the people who do not share those resources or can access resources of that type. I also feel that we need to acknowledge the history and legacy of the mass accumulation of wealth within the United States to begin with, and therein lies the ability to talk about colonization and capitalism. The United States became one of the richest countries in the world because they slaughtered First Nations people for land and imported slaves for labor. It’s really easy to build the wealth of a nation, when you have stolen land and imported labor that is completely exploitable.