While in Flagstaff I caught up with the very busy Klee Benally who was gracious enough to sit down and discuss, among other interesting things, the subtle and not so subtle differences between decolonization and anti-colonialism.
Klee Benally is a long time activist and is engaged in the ongoing struggle for indigenous liberation. He is also the former lead singer of the punk rock band, Blackfire, which he co-founded with his siblings in 1989.
excerpt from the audio:
Klee Benally: “…within anarchist scenes and communities I see people reject identity politics, but identity for indigenous people means something else than it means to non-indigenous people who have been stripped of their culture for thousands of years in some cases. Identity for us is very much a politicized thing, it’s very much something that we take very seriously because it’s the basis of our relationship to our natural environment and to Mother Earth. So, we’re deeply interconnected on that level, and not to say that that’s exclusive because everyone who is indigenous from wherever can express that understanding and embrace that. But again, to [clarify] what anti-colonial struggle can look like and where I think there’s some points of confusion: it can help if people could distingish what decolonization looks like to them and then what anti-colonial struggle could look like, and where there are points of intervention and where people can assert themselves and take initiative rather than sitting on their hands and waiting for the word from some token person… Looking at the tar sands issue I think that’s a perfect example of where people are engaged in anti-colonial struggle and also supporting decolonization at the same time.
click here to listen to the interview. (Deep Green Philly is not affiliated with Deep Green Resistance)