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"Decolonization is Not the Endgame, It is the Next Now"


At the moment my favourite book is “Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education: Mapping the Long View” (2019) by Smith, Tuck & Yang. I have read as much as I can by each of these authors but I am especially drawn to Tuck. I think it is the “call it like it is” attitude that comes through the writing at times that I really appreciate.


One of my favourite pieces in this book is by Eve Tuck titled “Losing Patience for the Task of Convincing Settlers to Pay Attention to Indigenous Ideas”. Tuck reminds us that #decolonizationisnotametaphor that can be delinked from “the #rematriation of Indigenous land and life” (p.13). (NOTE: rematriation!) She goes on to address the way Indigenous scholarship is taken up in the settler academy through the statement: “I feel that I have spent much of my time in education encouraging people to take just a short journey on a subway, or at least check out a map…I find myself less willing to do this now. I am weary after so many conference presentations in which Indigenous scholars present work and then someone in the audience asks them a question and expects them to do more work" (p.15). What I love about this message is that it is a reminder of how extractive settler culture is and how we have so many Indigenous communities, activist, scholars, leaders, students trying to engage with us if we stopped and took the time to listen.


Tuck then goes on to say that “I spent almost all of my career, up until recently, believing that if white settlers would just read Indigenous authors, this would move projects of #Indigenoussovereignty and land rematriation in #meaningfulways. I underestimated how people would read Indigenous work extractively”. This again is a much due call out for settlers to recognize that the movement to decolonise and reconcile demands an #ethicalcorelationship, which is not based in extraction. Finally, Tuck remarks that what she is “coming to now fully understand is that the question of “What will decolonization look like?,” when posed by settlers, are a distraction to Indigenous theorization of decolonisation. They drain the energy and imagination of Indigenous scholarship—they pester, they think they are unique, and they are boring. I want time and space to sketch the next and the now to get there. #Decolonizationisnottheendgame, not the final outcome of a long process, but the #nextnow, the now that is chasing our heels (p.16)”.


I offer this piece as an opportunit for each of you to read this last passage and ask yourself if you understand what the next now is and how as a settler we can move from distraction to true allyship. It is a question I ponder in learning circles and within my own research interviews often.


Sources

Smith, L., Tuck, E., Yang, W. (2019). Introduction. In Smith, L., Tuck, E., & Yang, W.

(Eds.). Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education: Mapping the Long View (1-

23). NY, New York: Routledge

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Su-san Koch
Su-san Koch
Apr 02, 2019

Thanks Korrie — re BORED —that is the European artistic perspective — a much more harrowing one, of course, comes from First Peoples— in the form of the book “The Marrow Thieves” in which non indigenous hunt First peoples for their DNA— their ability to dream, sing and imagine. Lee Miracle also references this book and its concept in her “Conversations with Canadians” ...

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Korrie Grant
Korrie Grant
Apr 02, 2019

Ann: Exactly! It is difficult to learn which space to fill and when to fill it and when to step back. I think (HOPE!) I am getting better at it but I very much need and appreciate guidance. It is also embedded in general academic thinking too! I see this so much as I keep attending talks and workshops and any community events I can manage and I absoutley LOVE when stories are told and I can learn that way and it is so different than how we learn or research in the classroom. Often we are simply reading the text to find "the answer" and that in itself is an extractive and possibly not learning at all.

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Korrie Grant
Korrie Grant
Apr 02, 2019

Su-san: BORED: as much as I hate what it means I really like how you put that and how you speak to the little/no imgination and WHY we settlers would have that outset.

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ann rogers
ann rogers
Mar 31, 2019

This is a great post, thank you! "Extractive" is a good way to think about it. I think we're here at 2rowflow because we realize we have to do the work. At the same time, we also know we need to be guided if we aren't going to just take up spaces that need to be filled by indigenous voices - so we lean on them. Grateful for their writings. So thank you for a great lead, i will add this to my summer reading ambitions.

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Su-san Koch
Su-san Koch
Mar 31, 2019

So true, your words, thanks for sharing them. A lot to consider. For me it is a lack of imagination that creates this impasse --- as the system of Capitalism -- based on Colonialism and Imperialism has been going on in the lives of Europeans and any nations that they/we colonized for the last 150 to 500 years.... IN spite of struggles to overcome the system -- and there have been pockets of resistance --- we everyday citizens, are and have been embedded in a system of DEBT that is 5,000 years old (as told by David Gerber in his book Debt: the First 5,000 Years) Hence, you have a culture clash here in so called Canada with Indigenous Peopl…

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