Friday, November 06, 2015

White people and "Indigeneity"

What is going on? You'd think after all these years of effort there would be improvement. But it seems every year we get a new batch of white noobs jumping on the ridiculous, offensive,  "Become Indigenous" bandwagon.

Look, of course "Indigenous" sounds weightier and more credible than "pagan" or "polytheist" or "animist" (or what the people doing this really are: Newagers).  Of course the terms in our own languages are hard for outsiders to understand. You know what? Too bad.

Colonizing Indigenous identity is racist.

Anyone can connect with the Earth. We all have ancestors who sang to the spirits and felt the power in the land. But we aren't them.

Yes, many of us follow revived traditions in the diaspora. But we have only been able to do that after several decades of hard work at that revival and reconstruction. We are in no way the same as people indigenous to a landbase who did not go through hundreds (if not millenia) of cultural disruption the way the European ancestors did.

Those of us who are born from colonizers, or who have even gone so far as to colonize traditional communities, Are. Not. Indigenous. Our religions, no matter how animistic, polytheistic, and earth-honouring, are not Indigenous, either.

As someone committed to preserving the ways of my ancestors*, who has taken the message of finding my own roots to heart, it angers and disturbs me to no end to see white nuagers plagiarizing our hard work and trying to use it to hide the fact that they are pretendians. (And thieves.)

So, for the record: Síla na Géige.
Published in hard copy ©1998 KPN, updated regularly on the web since then. Copyrights on file.

More detailed writings on our creation stories and The Spirit Women Who Shape the Land:  p.30, The Gaol Naofa FAQ   Copyright ©April 2012 in all printed and electronic media.

We have chosen to offer these things for free on the web, because we are opposed to commodifying the sacred. Feel free to be inspired by them and share them, with credit, in community. BUT, this has never been an invitation to plagiarize us, to use our words, our research, our personal experiences, or our creations without credit. Even worse, and shocking, is for nuagers to rip us off and then try to use our work to set themselves up as some kind of fake "Celtic Animist" or "Indigenous Celtic", pray to pray operation. If you see someone doing this, confront them. We appreciate it. And if we have to, we know some excellent copyright lawyers if retractions are not forthcoming.

And of course: Colonists, Descendants of Colonists, and "Indigenous" Identity

And: On Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous Identity

*Note on ancestry: My ancestry is way more diverse and rich in melanin than I knew for certain growing up. There really wasn't much to say about it until I reconnected with relatives in the tribes and they checked their records. My ancestry from Turtle Island (as far as we know, Catawba, with confirmed blood relatives among the Cherokee, Choctaw, and possibly the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho), the Sámi, the Roma/Sinti, South Asia, Central Asia and West Africa) is pretty distant, and really isn't apparent to the casual observer. While I admit it has been life-changing to find relatives in diverse communities, the family culture and in-person community I was raised in is overwhelmingly Irish-/Scottish-American, and as I pass as white to anyone who looks at me in person, I have white/passing privilege. Those of use who are descendants are not the same as fully Indigenous people, and it is not our right to represent for tribes we are not enrolled in. The tribes/nations set their own criteria. And if we are truly working for Indigenous Sovereignty, it is imperative that we respect their definitions and boundaries - a primary right of which is their right to declare their definitions on citizenship criteria.