Monday, March 19, 2012

The Arrow of Tenamaztle

By Colin Bossen
March 15, 2012
Over the two years that I have been in dialogue with the folks who work out of the NAHUACALLI, Embassy of Indigenous Peoples they have repeatedly provoked me in my thinking about the construct of "white" identity, colonialism and the relationship between the indigenous peoples of North America, our Mother Earth and the values of human and civil rights.  Nahuacalli's March 12, 2012 communiqué to the Arizona Superintendent John Huppenthal is no exception. In it Nahuacalli responds to the ongoing assault on ethnic studies in Arizona by challenging state officials to look at the roots of racial and racist constructs they are using to attack ethnic studies.
In particular, the Nahuacalli communiqué draws attention to the Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny and the belief that "the Anglo-Saxon 'race' [has] historical right in the territory [of what is now called Arizona] that supersede all others." By doing so Nahuacalli offers a reminder of at least three important truths.
Ancestral Indigenous Corridors of Culture and Trade
First, the United States as a nation state, and the state of Arizona, is a social construct imposed by force upon the indigenous peoples of North America.   In fact the geographic terminology of “America” itself is a colonial imposition over the ancestral name for the continent, Abya Yala.  This imposition is a continuation of more than five hundred years of colonialism, a practice which has been declared illegal by the United Nations.
Daughter of Zeus
Second, colonialism harms all who are involved with it.  As Nahuacalli asks "Is it not the "white people" themselves who have lost the most, by fomenting ethnic and political identity... based on a 'melanin deprived' physical characteristic that is unscientific and racist, not to mention horribly dehumanizing?'"
Third, it is only by questioning colonialism, and its accompanying construct of whiteness, that we can begin to live as one human race.  Humanity is one. Constructs like "whiteness" divide us from ourselves and, in doing, allow us to harm our brothers and sisters, and ultimately, the planet.
We are children of the same mother, Mother Earth, but when we forget this and separate ourselves by creating racial castes we also forget that we are interdependent and connected to each other and the natural world.

Rev. Colin Bossen
Minister, Unitarian Universalist Society of Cleveland


Arizona State Capitol - House of Representatives
Friday March 23, 2012

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