A native perspective on shared political resistance and force

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 5:36pm

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Graphic by Hibah Chugtai

With the tribal erasure of the sovereign Native state we saw the beginning of a long series of United States law infringing on the basic human rights of Black and Native Americans. It is fitting that this conversation starts from a place of shared resistance. The concept of civility must be deconstructed and the illusory security of the American police force must be illuminated. 

Now and in the upcoming weeks, I intend to frame the police state as a continuation of Black and Native American genocide and enslavement. I hope the intertwining histories can help to tell a story which weakens the foundation of the white institution and propels the correct narrative of Black and brown lives. 

Don't talk of the success of civility in the same breath as genocide and murder. 

The loss of Black lives is an afterthought second to the vehicles of protest, so since when was it a priority to take the moral high ground? Why is it that the oppressed are expected to be passive at the hands of brutality? When history has only given result to those who have a greater capacity for violence than the oppressor.

White institutions continue to run productively and efficiently despite nonviolent resistance. Institutions such as the police force, prisons, and universities work to dismantle Black power out of fear that the white grip on enslavement will loosen along with the position of white supremacy. These institutions operate under systems that grew from the colonial history of violence, looting of sacred objects, ransacking of lives and the stripping of physical and psychological dignity. Institutions of the sort must be destroyed along with all functions that uphold them. As for people shifting the focus off of murder and onto the destruction of goods, understand these goods are symbols of violence and oppression, the capitalism which killed and destroyed livelihoods without ramifications. Police stations and luxury stores have become mocking symbols of the material interest of the white institution, and have been protected at the expense of Black lives and Black and brown liberation and equity, their destruction holds incredible political weight. 

Don't talk about the success of nonviolence. 

It is few and far between the reckless and excessive displacement and war on Black and brown lives. 

I come from the Lipan Apache tribe of Texas. My people died warriors, fighting in defense of the land and ideals we grew from. My people were murdered, their country lazily blundered to build white industries stained with Black blood on the bones of the Indeginous.

We are alive today because of  the revolutions that came before us and because of the blood lost fighting for the honor of the land pillaged by white colonizers or mass murderers. The fact of the matter is the United States was designed for things to operate on oppression - the system is working as it was intended to, it is not broken, the goal is to break it. Issues we see now have endured hundreds of years of movements and have cost the lives of millions upon thousands. This is obvious and those extreme numbers must be answered with extreme action. 

As consequences to enduring oppression Benjamin Ginsberg explains how, “looters deviate from the norms [of white violence] because they have reached the limits of their endurance and in giving bent to their normally suppressed rage strike out indiscriminately”. It is horrific to see a normalization of state violence while criminalizing the suppressed anguish of Black and brown communities, but we must not be deterred. 

The battle takes place on the ground and virtually. Linked are organizations accepting donations to release freedom fighters and support the Black Lives Matter movement. Crowdsourcing is being matched by major companies and has the potential to make a major impact in continuing the momentum towards liberation and a just state. Your dollar holds an influence as does your vote and both are integral efforts. Email the Minneapolis Police Department and demand George Floyds murderers be charged to the fullest extent. Sign as many petitions as you find productive, such as the Justice for Floyd petition. No one is asking for everyone to take the stance of getting on the front lines protesting, risking bodily harm, but in order to avoid scattering the reach of efforts it's important to remain unified in resistance. Validate and uphold the efforts of other freedom fighters. Fight whether it be physically, virtually or both, find a vehicle to join efforts and press the gas full speed.

As a culmination of the cries of the warriors that came before us, we are a million souls on fire, a fire that courses through our veins, a fire we must light the streets with - hopefully this fire burns the path to justice. 

Some people may just want to watch the world burn, some are upset to see their communities destroyed, the bottom line is people are angry for one reason or another, and tired of explaining why everyone should be. I see current events as a predictable response to 400 years of injustice and disregard for Black and Native lives. Somehow surviving genocides and mass efforts at disseminating or enslaving our ancestors. 

Now they have got to answer to us and our creators and with them there's nowhere to march but forward.

Defeating force with force. 

Ana María Sánchez-Castillo can be contacted at castilan@umich.edu