We propose a gathering at Judson Memorial Church on the evening of December 29th 2011 that connects the colonial occupation of Manhattan to the occupation of Wall Street— an occupation of already occupied land. We have chosen to take action on this day, on the anniversary of 111th anniversary of the genocide at Wounded Knee, in order to initiate an open dialogue with indigenous Americans, to raise local and national awareness of current Native struggles, and to recognize that the injustices and inequalities we all face are the bricks and mortar of conquest and settler colonialism. Conditions of capitalist exploitation are predicated upon the acquisition of territory and the dispossession and dehumanization of indigenous peoples. Bank of America and Goldman Sachs are the direct descendents of imperial “discovery,” militarism, racism, and the systematic removal of indigenous peoples. The political economy of greed is forever implicated in settler nationalism.
Standing as allies with indigenous Americans, we seek to un-settle our consciousness. Un-settling “occupation” calls us to remain cognizant that our occupation unfolds on land taken by force, and compels us to take action in support of indigenous peoples—peoples for whom occupation has not been a choice, but a lived experience of oppression.
The evening will feature two Oglala Sioux activists and educators, Janice Richards and Jake Little, who will speak to the Massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890, the government siege on Wounded Knee, in 1973, ongoing struggles for sovereignty, and how OWS can stand in meaningful solidarity with Native Americans. Brooklyn-based artist, activist, and elder Gloria Miguel, Kuna, an AMERINDA-affiliated artist, will perform excerpts from her one-woman play, “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.” We hope to be joined by a few additional speakers, and the gathering will allow time and space for a conversation about the radical un-settling of “occupation.” The event will take place at Judson Memorial Church at approximately 5:30PM.
The goals of the event are as follows:
1. To listen to Native voices. As a movement striving to voice the experiences of the 99%, we must make space for those most marginalized by the mechanisms of settler colonialism: the original inhabitants of the land. The meanings refracted through the word “occupation” throw up barricades for many individuals, preventing our sisters and brothers from joining us. It is time to pass the mic, turn up the volume, listen, break down these barricades, and bring down the wall. Listening to indigenous perspectives on “occupation” moves us closer to creating a safe space for indigenous peoples to connect to the moment,and providing a forum for indigenous and non-indigenous peoples to engage in intellectual, emotional, and direct action exchanges.
2. By listening, OWS can move toward a radical un-settling of “occupation”—in vision and in action—and build a movement that is more expansive and inclusive.
3. Ask how OWS can support ongoing Native struggles—locally and nationally—and organize at the margins of power rather than from the center.
4. Pave a path for meaningful and lasting relationships of reciprocity with AMERINDA and Natives in New York. Reciprocity allows us to collaborate, walk together, fight together.
5. Mobilize the media attention we have been receiving and redistribute it to communities underserved by mainstream media, in order to illuminate the injustices that pervade Indian Country and Natives residing in urban centers. We are working to establish a live stream or Skype connection between our gathering and the Big Foot Riders, a group of Oglala Sioux who trace Chief Big Foot’s path in 1890 from the Northern Cheyenne River to the site of the massacre at Wounded Knee on horseback, commemorating the loss of Lakota lives. Working with AMERINDA artists, we seek to call attention to the organization and the concerns of Native residents of the New York area.
Proposed Budget $1000 to cover airfare and on the ground transportation for Jake Little, Oglala Sioux activist $700 to cover art materials, transportation, gas for Gloria Miguel $300 to cover art materials, transportation, gas for Steve Elm, Gloria’s director $500 supplies for refreshments, candles for vigil, sign materials Total: $2500