Today’s guest blogger is Clayton Thomas-Muller: A member of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, Clayton Thomas-Muller is also known as Pukatawagan in Northern Manitoba, Canada. Based out of Ottawa (ON) in Canada, Clayton is the co-director of the Indigenous Tar Sands (ITS) Campaign of the Polaris Institute. Clayton is involved in many initiatives to support the building of an inclusive movement for energy and climate justice.
He serves on the board of the Global Justice Ecology Project, Canadian based Raven Trust and Navajo Nation based, Black Mesa Water Coalition. He has been recognized by Utne Magazine as one of the top 30 under 30 activists in the United States and as a “Climate Hero 2009” by Yes Magazine. For the last eleven years he has campaigned across Canada, Alaska and the lower 48 states in support of grassroots indigenous communities to defend against the encroachment of the fossil fuel industry. This has included a special focus on the sprawling infrastructure of pipelines, refineries and extraction associated with the Canadian tar sands.
Clayton is an organizer, facilitator, public speaker and writer on environmental and economic justice.
This article is republished with permission from the author, Clayton Thomas-Muller.
Historically, Capitalism has been and is the motive for the Colonial and Imperialist policies that have disempowered and dispossess Indigenous people around the world. It generally happens in three big phases in this country: Genocide, Removal/Termination, and Assimilation. Systems of Oppression were used as a means of justification for exploiting people, the earth, and its resources. You know the rest …
Colonialism: European Nations exploiting native people and natural resources in order to make European Nations and European people rich.
Colonization: The process of devaluing and dehumanizing native people in order to justify exploiting them and their homelands.
Colonial Mind: The mindset the colonizer(s) must create amongst indigenous people in order to enable, force, and trick Indigenous people to allow and or participate in exploiting themselves, other indigenous people, and mother earth.
SYSTEMS OF OPPRESSION
Classism/Capitalism: The system in which rich people get richer at the expense of poor people
Racism/White Supremacy: The system that gives white people power and privilege at the expense of people of color.
Sexism/Patriarchy: The system that gives men power and privilege at the expense of women.
Homophobia/Heterosexism: The system that gives heterosexuals power and privilege at the expense of gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and transgender people.
Oppression affects us on three different levels…
THE 3 I’S
Internalized: Within ourselves when we believe the lies and misconceptions about our own group
Interpersonal: Between people…of the same oppressed group, of different oppressed groups, or of an oppressed group and a non-oppressed group.
Institutional: By institutions such as governments, schools, prisons, corporations, etc.
BRAINSTORM AND DISCUSS
What does the Colonial Mind look like Historically? What sent this cycle into existence?
What does the Colonial Mind look like today? What is not so clear-cut and overlooked?
Where does the Colonial Mind exist?
How does this affect us? Brainstorm affects and their purpose… revisit colonization… dis-empower, dis-possess…
How can we combat the colonial mind? Brainstorm what is and what we want i.e.: schools, curriculum…etc.
De-colonization? The conscious process of unlearning the colonial mind that has been forced on Indigenous people.
Why it is important…
*Environmental racism is a human rights violation and is a form of discrimination caused by government and private sector policy, practice, action or inaction which intentionally or unintentionally, disproportionately targets and harms the environment, health, biodiversity, local economy, quality of life and security of communities, workers, groups, and individuals based on race, class, color, gender, caste, ethnicity and/or national origin.