Firstly, don't read this, read the report: Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. I'm just reflecting through writing, and also trying to help #2RowFlow and Susan track how settlers can use social media as a #decolonization tool by making my practices visible.
Part of the work I’m doing on myself to decolonize is to consciously make space to think on things I spent most of my life in ignorance of or brushing aside. It’s a hard habit to break, so a while back I took on the twitter prod of @delschilling, who daily tweets this:
When it appears in my feed each day, I RT it and for those few minutes I make some space for #MMIWG. Sometimes I find some time to read a little more or add a little content, but in any case it has become a daily nearly ritual. It’s a tiny thing in the universe, but reminds me to do the work.
It has also led me into twitter exchanges with Del and by extension her husband Vince (@VinceSchilling), and I now listen to their podcasts &c. They are warm and funny and post videos of geese, or whatever is going
on around them. So even a small thing like a RT can actually open up to bigger things.
Truth Before Reconciliation - the Tiny House Warriors
Then there are actual bigger things, like official reports. Today the #MMIWG report is released. In my political science classes over the years we’ve looked at the Robert Pickton Inquiry (Forsaken, 2012), the #TRC, and now we have this document to underwrite officially what indigenous people have been saying forever to our closed ears, hearts and minds. These are Truths established to meet our exacting western colonizer standards and we need to deal with it.
#Kanahus Manuel and the Tiny House Warriors have been actively resisting the construction of ManCamps on #Sewepemc territory. She is shrill, she is noisy, she is in your face, and part of me was so glad to see the report vindicates her opposition by finding specifically that there is a violence that is measureable around these extractive processes and the work camps set up to facilitate them. That need for evidence is the social scientist in me - maybe that’s a colonizer habit I’ll never really be free of, and of course it’s my responsibility as an educator to teach students to back up their arguments with evidence. Anyway, now we have "evidence" to support the Truth.
Deedee Brown - murdered
But this is, as I said, about me changing my ways. The face of DeeDee Brown first confronted me as stapled, flapping Missing posters on the telephone poles of #Chemainus, near the Thetis Island/#Penelakut ferry dock - there’s a good Hospital Auxiliary thrift store, an old school bakery, a good coffee shop and book store along that strip and I head over there when I want a change of scenery. This is where I’m most likely to mingle with indigenous peoples up to the same thing, coming off the ferry. If DeeDee had been a missing white 19 year old girl, it would have been a massive deal and our communities would have rallied with search parties and fundraising and public safety campaigns. Talk of the town. Instead, I met Deedee’s story this way, and spent some time thinking about why there this enormous gap in response persists. Some kayakers found her body washed up on a beach a few weeks later. As far as I can tell, the murder is still unsolved.
There are structural walls and personal walls to be torn down and believe it or not, we can use social media to help us here.