www.aspeninstitute.orgDecolonization Can’t Happen Without the Input of Indigenous Communities - The Aspen InstituteTrue decolonization means genuinely listening to Indigenous community members and creating shifts in the power dynamics."True decolonization means genuinely listening to Indigenous community members and creating shifts in the power dynamics."
Reading this article was a delight because the author put into words everything I have thought. Anybody involved in learning about decolonization knows the basic stuff like America was built on the backs of slaves or that this land was stolen from the same Native Americans who welcomed the first pilgrims with open arms but what we don't focus on how to truly decolonize by decentralizing white people in this country. White supremacy and their 'Americanhood' that even Indigenous people can't seem to achieve is exactly the issue here. It's why we have instances of white people telling Native Americans and other immigrants to go back to their countries despite themselves being descendants of immigrants and not truly owning this land. This land thrived under the care and rule of Native Americans. I believe that without question they should be involved in all levels of authority in this country. It just makes sense. We need to understand that inviting indigenous people to have a seat at the table isn't enough; they own the table, the chairs, and the room. We stole it from them.
To truly decolonize a space, one must embrace the knowledge systems created and honored by Indigenous peoples. Oliver’s article Decolonization Can't Happen Without the Input of Indigenous Communities refutes the idea that decolonization is a metaphor because of the way it disregards Indigenous peoples, specifically "the sovereign nations and urban communities who were forced, relocated, and displaced from aunt where such institutions are now housed.” This process is perpetrated by higher education institutions that preach decolonizing methodologies and further the cycle of intergenerational trauma experienced by Indigenous students and communities. This article advocates that true decolonization work means genuinely listening to Indigenous community members and creating shifts in the power dynamics. The lack of reciprocity within Western education highlights the uneven power dynamic embedded within both universities and settler colonial society at large. Institutions, including both universities and government systems, need to provide more than seats at the table for indigenous peoples. Indigenous people and communities need to be at the forefront of strategic planning and equitable decision-making processes. The very first step to actual decolonizing work and not just performative work is reaching out to Tribal communities.
"True decolonization means genuinely listening to Indigenous community members and creating shifts in the power dynamics that uplift Indigenous ways of connecting with the lived environment." I completely agree with this statement, I believe the school system needs to make it a priority to have classes about indigenous experience and to have those classes be taught by indigenous people. We are living on indigenous people's land and yet so much of our history, U.S. history, breezes by this. We learn about Native American's in a way that makes it seem as if they are mythical figures and not real people who were traumatized by colonizers who refused to treat indigenous people as anything more than subhuman. Making sure that Native American history is appropriately communicated is the responsibility of the school board, there are no shortage of people in general looking for teaching jobs, there is no excuse to not have more diversity within our school systems.
I think articles and research make decolonization seem so easy but in hindsight, the act of removing colonialism from history books and out of the minds of Americans is extremely difficult. For some of us, it is quite easy to recognize that America was built on the backs of slaves and the land we live on is stolen for Native Americans but for others, these concepts are hard to grasp because of the European ideology that white people created this land. As the article mentioned, to take true steps forward it is important to recognize the history behind North America and credit and accept the Native American and Canadian people who were on the continent far before Christopher Columbus. "True decolonization means genuinely listening to Indigenous community members and creating shifts in the power dynamics that uplift Indigenous ways of connecting with the lived environment."
The issue with decolonization is that it has been white washed over the generations. America always speaks on decolonizing the nation; however, indigenous voices are constantly being left out. It is impossible to truly decolonize without the acknowledgement of the indigenous people and indigenous culture. The history of the original people of this nation are constantly left out of decisions and the education program, and when they are included a false narrative always arises. In order to achieve a decolonized nation, we must first embrace indigenousness. There should be more Native American teachers and classes revolving around the magical, magnificent culture. “The lack of reciprocity within western education highlights the uneven power dynamic embedded within both universities and settler colonial society at large.” As Americana’s we need to aid the Native Americans and hear their voices and ideas to make a more inclusive and safe space for their existence.