Land-back and Indigenous Sovereignty

Submitted by adri on July 2, 2024

I'm curious, what's with socialists getting behind groups like the NDN Collective (who are just complete bourgeois reformists, if anyone ever bothers to read any of their materials) and others who are calling for the "return of indigenous lands back to indigenous hands"? Do they not realize that tribal governments, along with the Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood that many reservations in the US use to verify one's indigenous ancestry, are all going to vanish under a socialist society? Do they also not have any issue with the fact that that same document is issued by a government agency? This ancestry verification has also led to some Natives refusing to intermingle with non-Natives in order to preserve their children's "indigenous purity," so that they and their descendants can remain part of their particular indigenous tribe. I mean, is there some socialist vision of "land-back" that I'm missing here that doesn't include all of these abhorrent elements?

It's also truly amazing to read about how the NDN Collective considers themselves to be similarly "oppressed" as Palestinians are, simply because the US government refuses to "destroy Mount Rushmore and hand over the Black Hills to the Lakota people," which are just two of their modest goals in connection with their particular "land-back" campaign. Just read this absolute drivel (published before the current Israeli war against Palestinians, not Hamas):

the NDN Collective wrote: The Right of Return and LANDBACK are both promises that harbor the same meaning - that we will outlast colonial governments and laws imposed on us and our Relatives, and live in right relations back where we are from. How land is stolen in Palestine is no different than how land is stolen here.

It's also ridiculous to repeatedly read about how oil/drilling companies are currently "stealing" resources or lands from Native Americans in the US; that's simply not true. The Navajo, for example, are actually leasing their lands out to oil/drilling companies themselves, partly due to the impoverished state of the Navajo reservation, which is also the case for most other reservations. The Navajo Nation and Ute Indian Tribe in fact both condemned the Biden administration's decision to halt oil and gas drilling on federal and tribal lands, arguing that it interfered with their indigenous sovereignty and economic development. In any case, it would be nice if leftists actually tried reading about Native American history, and the current situation among indigenous peoples in the US, rather than simply parroting indigenous activists out of a sense of remorse for the historical wrongs perpetrated against Native Americans.

Steven.

4 days 19 hours ago

Submitted by Steven. on July 9, 2024

I'm reluctant to reply to you in good faith here, because this doesn't look like a good faith query.
Your post is a bunch of chauvinist bullshit, and it's patronising and rude, not to mention containing numerous falsehoods and insults.
If you actually have a serious question to ask, then you can go ahead and freeze it in a serious manner.
If you want to post colonialist nonsense and lies, then you can leave this website and go somewhere else.
Given that you lied elsewhere on here about Ukrainian people not being able to speak Russian, then it definitely seems that you just have a bit of a hardon for colonialism.
Still, I would be happily proved wrong, if you can ask a respectful question devoid of insults and falsehoods.

adri

4 days 7 hours ago

Submitted by adri on July 9, 2024

Steve wrote: I'm reluctant to reply to you in good faith here, because this doesn't look like a good faith query.
Your post is a bunch of chauvinist bullshit, and it's patronising and rude, not to mention containing numerous falsehoods and insults.
If you actually have a serious question to ask, then you can go ahead and freeze it in a serious manner.
If you want to post colonialist nonsense and lies, then you can leave this website and go somewhere else.

Do you maybe want to retract all of that, Steve? I promise I'm not motivated by chauvinism, first of all, and I assure you I also did not lie about a single thing in that entire post. I'm not sure which parts you're referring to as "falsehoods," but if you're talking about Natives feeling reluctant to form relationships with non-Natives owing to a fear of their children losing their tribal status, that's an actual thing that's been written about quite extensively, including by tribal members themselves. For the same reason some indigenous groups have also switched to different enrollment methods, such as (quite questionably in my opinion) allowing people without any indigenous ancestry at all to become part of a tribe. See this interview with a member of the Chickasaw Nation for example (the quoted parts are from the interviewer):

If you're Native American, there's a good chance that you've thought a lot about blood quantum—a highly controversial measurement of the amount of "Indian blood" you have. It can affect your identity, your relationships and whether or not you—or your children—may become a citizen of your tribe.

Blood quantum minimums really restrict who can be a citizen of a tribe. If you've got 25 percent of Navajo blood—according to that tribe's blood quantum standards—and you have children with someone who has a lower blood quantum, those kids won't be able to enroll.

Steve wrote: Given that you lied elsewhere on here about Ukrainian people not being able to speak Russian, then it definitely seems that you just have a bit of a hardon for colonialism.

Would you like to retract this part as well, Steve? I never claimed that Ukrainians are not able to speak Russian; you're again taking what I said out of context. I was talking about Crimeans not just sitting around awaiting their supposed "liberation" by the Ukrainian government, which has passed discriminatory language laws against Russian speakers following the 2014 overthrow of Yanukovych. The majority of Crimeans also support Russia, speak Russian as their everyday language, and are ethnic Russians themselves—if one's not influenced by Western war propaganda and can analyze things/statistics objectively. This discrimination against Russian speakers is also a large part of the reason for the tensions between the various post-Yanukovych governments and the more Russophilic regions of Ukraine. The fact that you don't know this, and think that I was claiming that "Ukrainians don't even speak Russian at all" (which is just absurd) when I was talking about Crimeans not being too eager about being "liberated" by a government that has passed discriminatory language laws against them, says more about you than it does about me.

https://libcom.org/article/anarchists-support-self-determination-ukraine-wayne-price

Submitted by Steven. on July 9, 2024

Steven. wrote: Given that you lied elsewhere on here about Ukrainian people not being able to speak Russian, then it definitely seems that you just have a bit of a hardon for colonialism.

adri wrote: Would you like to retract this part as well, Steve? I never claimed that Ukrainians are not able to speak Russian

Right well since you are continuing to insist that you didn't lie about Ukrainians not speaking Russian, you are demonstrating that I was right in thinking you have no intention to engage in good faith.
Your exact quote was that you called Ukrainians "a people who don't even speak their language [Russian]".
I responded and pointed out that the majority of Ukrainians did speak fluent Russian, many of them as a first language.
Rather than admit that you said something that wasn't true, you have discontinued to double down on this complete lie.

Do you maybe want to retract all of that, Steve? I promise I'm not motivated by chauvinism, first of all, and I assure you I also did not lie about a single thing in that entire post.

So you claim you don't like, but you don't dispute being patronising, rude, and insulting, at least, because you clearly were.
So that also makes me doubt your claim not to be motivated by chauvinism.
It's clear you have no intention of engaging in good faith, and you do seem to have a bit of a bee in your bonnet generally from other comments about people fighting colonialism.
So I will respond to this one post, but after that I'm not going to engage any more. And if you want to post more anti-Indigenous nonsense and you can do it on another platform.
So to start off, here's a whopping lie:

It's also ridiculous to repeatedly read about how oil/drilling companies are currently "stealing" resources or lands from Native Americans in the US; that's simply not true.

You state it's not true that oil/drilling companies are "stealing" resources on Native lands, because you claim that some Native bodies lease land to energy companies.
Firstly, the oil and gas industry in the US has around 36 million acres of land. Whose ancestral land is that? The total amount of Indigenous land remaining in the US today is only around 50 odd million acres.
Even supposing that US-recognised Native American local governments are legitimate representatives of the views and positions of all Native Americans (which of course they are not in any case), the idea that those industries got hold of that land with the complete permission of Native Americans is absolutely preposterous.
In terms of arguments you make, you seem pretty clear that the white population of a country is different to the government. But when you speak of Native Americans, you are considering them a monolith.
Of course the Navajo Nation has some oil leases – they are essentially a local capitalist mini government, having to survive in a colonial, capitalist economy, with massive hardship and poverty. And that is one of the few ways they can make money.
However, many Diné people are opposed to the fossil fuel industry. Both in the Navajo Nation and elsewhere.
Indigenous opposition to fossil fuel industry exploitation has been so massively well-publicised, for example at Standing Rock, that I don't think there is anyway you haven't heard of it. So you are just deliberately airbrushing it out, and presenting a racist picture of hundreds (or thousands) of Native peoples as a homogenous group.
It's also very easy to see that in general, even within a global capitalist economy, Indigenous peoples are still able to much better protected environment than others. Indigenous peoples inhabit around 5% of global land, but protect 80% of global biodiversity. And protests and resistance by Indigenous peoples in North America, has prevented 12% of all combined carbon emissions from the US and Canada, with current resistance attempting to hold up another 12%.
While you are happy to claim that a couple of colonialist-recognised Native local administration bodies are somehow legitimate, I somehow doubt that you do the same for European enclosures. Enclosures of common lands in Europe were done legally, with the permission of, and at the behest of, governments. But I somehow doubt you would see this theft of communal land as legitimate. So why is it different when it applies to people who aren't white?
You also make the error of conflating individuals within a group, with the whole group, with your nonsense about race mixing.
While you apparently see fit to criticise Native Americans supposedly refusing to intermix, I have never noticed you criticise any other group for doing this, like white people. For example, in the US, around 9% of white Americans marry outside their race. Whereas Native Americans are the group most likely to marry outside their race – with well over 50% doing so. So, according to you, the group of people most likely to race mix, is "abhorrent".
You also get angry with Native Americans, because their tribal documents have to get "issued by a government agency". Just what the hell are you talking about? Land back advocates want to abolish the US colonial settler state. It is not the fault of Native Americans, that a settler state was established on their land, and claim sovereignty over them, and now oversees local Native administrations.
As for your claim that an article, which correctly compares the ethnic cleansing of and theft of Native American lands with the ethnic cleansing and theft of Palestinian lands is "absolute drivel" – that just shows that you are both being a colonialist chauvinist and an imbecile.

As for Mount Rushmore, the fact that you seem to oppose the return of this land, seems to really show your pro-colonialist position. There is no serious justification at all for the theft of Mount Rushmore. Literally the whole area of the Black Hills was promised to the Lakota people in perpetuity by the US government in a written Treaty of 1868. Tunkasila Sakpe Paha (6 Grandfathers Mountain, the original name of Mount Rushmore), was particularly important and was a sacred site to the Lakota people.
Despite the written promise and treaty, this whole area was stolen by force by the US who openly fought a "war of extermination" against its inhabitants. They then destroyed the sacred site and carved the faces of a load of genocidal enslavers and white supremacists into it.

I mean, is there some socialist vision of "land-back" that I'm missing here that doesn't include all of these abhorrent elements?

The internet and social media is literally full of socialist, communist and anarchist Indigenous people who support the idea of land back, by which they mean the revolutionary destruction of settler states, and the reversion to collective stewardship and ways of living of some Indigenous peoples.
The fact that you haven't bothered to read or learn from any of them before posting this ignorant shite just shows that you have no intention to actually engage in a serious and reasonable fashion.
I hope that you grow out of this, soon.

adri

4 days 2 hours ago

Submitted by adri on July 9, 2024

Steve wrote: Your exact quote was that you called Ukrainians "a people who don't even speak their language [Russian]".
I responded and pointed out that the majority of Ukrainians did speak fluent Russian, many of them as a first language.
Rather than admit that you said something that wasn't true, you have discontinued to double down on this complete lie.

Right, here's what I actually said:

adri wrote: Do we really think Crimea's ethnic-Russian majority is just "itching" to bring the war down South (crossing Putin's "red line") in order to be "liberated" by a people who don't even speak their language? Do we really think Putin/Russia is going to acquiesce to giving up their Black Sea Fleet or naval base in Sevastopol?

and like I said—for the hundredth time—you're taking what I said out of context. Who on earth would claim that Ukrainians, such as in the Russophilic regions like the Donbas, don't understand Russian!? Are you a complete moron? (You called me an imbecile so it's only fair to ask.) Why on earth would I be talking about discriminatory language laws in Ukraine if everyone spoke Ukrainian and there wasn't anyone to discriminate against? Really, I don't understand why you're so fixated on this point—unless you're just that desperate to find something I said about Ukraine that you can portray as a falsehood.

Steve wrote: It's clear you have no intention of engaging in good faith. . . .

Says the person whose replies in this thread have been entirely emotional and who hasn't engaged with any of my actual points up until now.

Steve wrote: and you do seem to have a bit of a bee in your bonnet generally from other comments about people fighting colonialism.

???

Steve wrote: You state it's not true that oil/drilling companies are "stealing" resources on Native lands, because you claim that some Native bodies lease land to energy companies.

Steve wrote: Of course the Navajo Nation has some oil leases – they are essentially a local capitalist mini government, having to survive in a colonial, capitalist economy, with massive hardship and poverty. And that is one of the few ways they can make money.
However, many Diné people are opposed to the fossil fuel industry. Both in the Navajo Nation and elsewhere.

No, it's not just tribal governments like the Navajo Nation who are leasing their lands out to oil and drilling companies. Individual Navajos are also leasing out some of their allotments to these companies in return for monetary compensation, and if you were to have actually read about this topic before jumping on me and accusing me of "chauvinism"—you absolute wanker—then you would know that. I've also pointed out elsewhere that there is some indigenous resistance to these extractive operations, such as the group Dine Care and loads of other Natives.

Steve wrote: Firstly, the oil and gas industry in the US has around 36 million acres of land. Whose ancestral land is that? The total amount of Indigenous land remaining in the US today is only around 50 odd million acres.

"Whose ancestral land is that?" Oh this is brilliant. Are you suggesting that we should return all of Turtle Island to the various tribal groups and indigenous peoples currently living in the US, as some leftists and indigenous (if we can even call all of them that) activists would like? And how should we do that? Track down people living in the general population who might have some indigenous ancestry and hand them back "their land"? What about indigenous groups who dispute the ownership of certain territories with other tribal groups, such as the Navajo-Hopi land dispute? Steve, I hate to break it to you, but you don't know what you're talking about. Your entire reaction to this thread is also emblematic of the sort of uninformed views leftists/activists have about Native American history and contemporary Native American issues.

Steve wrote: In terms of arguments you make, you seem pretty clear that the white population of a country is different to the government. But when you speak of Native Americans, you are considering them a monolith.
Of course the Navajo Nation has some oil leases – they are essentially a local capitalist mini government [my emphasis], having to survive in a colonial, capitalist economy, with massive hardship and poverty. And that is one of the few ways they can make money.
However, many Diné people are opposed to the fossil fuel industry. Both in the Navajo Nation and elsewhere.
Indigenous opposition to fossil fuel industry exploitation has been so massively well-publicised, for example at Standing Rock, that I don't think there is anyway you haven't heard of it. So you are just deliberately airbrushing it out, and presenting a racist picture of hundreds (or thousands) of Native peoples as a homogenous group.

I never claimed that there wasn't indigenous resistance to oil and gas drilling in the Navajo Nation. In fact I've always pointed out how there are disagreements on whether tribal governments or individual Natives should be leasing out their lands! I was only disputing the idea that oil and drilling companies are simply "making off with indigenous people's resources or lands," which is just not true. This portrayal also obscures the reality of the situation and how the capitalist need for "growth and development" forces many indigenous (and non-indigenous) governments to make such decisions and to attract capital to do business within their particular region. However, leftists and indigenous activists like the NDN Collective never seriously engage with such a systemic critique of capitalism, mostly because they're not anti-capitalists.

I also never portrayed indigenous peoples as a monolith, so I'm not sure where you're coming up with this stuff.

Steve wrote: It's also very easy to see that in general, even within a global capitalist economy, Indigenous peoples are still able to much better protected environment than others. Indigenous peoples inhabit around 5% of global land, but protect 80% of global biodiversity. And protests and resistance by Indigenous peoples in North America, has prevented 12% of all combined carbon emissions from the US and Canada, with current resistance attempting to hold up another 12%.

Besides treating Native Americans as a monolith like you accused me of doing—so all Natives, irrespective of individual differences between people with indigenous ancestry, are protectors of the environment now??—and invoking well-worn stereotypes about indigenous peoples all being in "harmony with nature" (your response reminds me of those TV ads that bourgeois environmental groups like Keep America Beautiful used to air), what do you mean by this post? Are you saying we should preserve Native American governments in the US, which you correctly just described as "local capitalist mini government[s]," rather than attempt to overthrow the entire capitalist order, which is the true culprit behind the rise in GHG emissions and climate change?

Steve wrote: While you are happy to claim that a couple of colonialist-recognised Native local administration bodies are somehow legitimate [my emphasis], I somehow doubt that you do the same for European enclosures. Enclosures of common lands in Europe were done legally, with the permission of, and at the behest of, governments. But I somehow doubt you would see this theft of communal land as legitimate. So why is it different when it applies to people who aren't white?

Ah-ha, so you're now doubling down on your argument that reservation governments are not the true representatives of indigenous peoples? So what do you propose we do in order to remedy the historical displacement and other forms of violence perpetrated against Native Americans in the US? Do you want us to track down people with indigenous ancestry to give them back "their land," seeing as how reservation governments or official tribal groups are illegitimate in your view? How much indigenous ancestry does one need to have in order to qualify for some land in your little reparation scheme? Does it matter if an indigenous person living in the general population is fully assimilated, as most Native Americans in the US are?

Like most leftists parroting indigenous activists, you have this image of Native Americans in the US as being these "uncontacted peoples" who are under assault by all types of "colonialists," rather than peoples who have interacted, mixed, and engaged in various forms of cultural/physical exchanges (e.g. horses, which were introduced to indigenous peoples like the Lakota) with Euro-Americans over the hundreds of years since first contact. Nobody is denying how Native Americans were historically displaced, killed (mostly from diseases shipped over from the Old World) or subjected to other forms of extreme cruelty—they absolutely were—but this image has nothing to do with the current situation among indigenous peoples in the US today.

Steve wrote: While you apparently see fit to criticise Native Americans supposedly refusing to intermix, I have never noticed you criticise any other group for doing this, like white people. For example, in the US, around 9% of white Americans marry outside their race. Whereas Native Americans are the group most likely to marry outside their race – with well over 50% doing so. So, according to you, the group of people most likely to race mix, is "abhorrent".
You also get angry with Native Americans, because their tribal documents have to get "issued by a government agency". Just what the hell are you talking about? Land back advocates want to abolish the US colonial settler state. It is not the fault of Native Americans, that a settler state was established on their land, and claim sovereignty over them, and now oversees local Native administrations.

???

I never criticized Native Americans for refusing to intermix! I criticized the entire ancestry-verification structure that the federal government and individual tribal groups use in order to verify whether one belongs to a particular Native American group. As I mentioned, I (and many Native Americans!) think it's abhorrent that this system encourages some people to not form relationships with non-Natives owing to fears of their children losing their tribal membership.

Steve wrote: As for your claim that an article, which correctly compares the ethnic cleansing of and theft of Native American lands with the ethnic cleansing and theft of Palestinian lands is "absolute drivel" – that just shows that you are both being a colonialist chauvinist and an imbecile.

Do you really think the violence West Bankers and Gazans endure from Israel and Israeli settlers, before the current Israeli war on Palestinians (the article was written prior to it), is somehow the same as the "hardships" Native Americans like the Lakota currently face from the US government? To compare Israeli settlers, who regularly come in and set fire to West Bankers' crops behind the cover of the Israeli military, to some Lakota activists who think they're being "oppressed" just because the US government refuses to hand over the Black Hills and close down Mount Rushmore, is frankly just outrageous. Again, you don't know what you're talking about. The people living in poverty on reservations like the Pine Ridge Reservation do face hardships, but those hardships are capitalist hardships, and the sooner we start focusing on that, rather than on "returning all of Turtle Island back to its original stewards," the better off we'll all be.

Steve wrote: As for Mount Rushmore, the fact that you seem to oppose the return of this land, seems to really show your pro-colonialist position. There is no serious justification at all for the theft of Mount Rushmore. Literally the whole area of the Black Hills was promised to the Lakota people in perpetuity by the US government in a written Treaty of 1868. Tunkasila Sakpe Paha (6 Grandfathers Mountain, the original name of Mount Rushmore), was particularly important and was a sacred site to the Lakota people.

I don't particularly care one way or the other whether the land is returned to some bourgeois tribal authority or not; I'm opposed to all bourgeois governments, including tribal governments. As we've also seen, whether someone is regarded as a genuine member of a particular tribal group is also a contested matter. Should someone be entitled to administer the Black Hills if they only have some very small fraction of Lakota ancestry? What about if they have no indigenous ancestry at all? You also critiqued tribal governments yourself, so it's a bit strange that you're now getting on board with the NDN Collective's campaign. I doubt it would happen, but in the event of the Black Hills being transferred over to a tribal government, what prevents them, owing to the need for capitalist "growth and development" like on the Navajo and Ute Indian Reservations, from possibly subjecting these areas to similar commercial endeavors?

Steve wrote: The fact that you haven't bothered to read or learn from any of them before posting this ignorant shite just shows that you have no intention to actually engage in a serious and reasonable fashion.

Please share them! That's what the thread was about, Steve. It would also be nice if you could retract some of the things you said to me, seeing as how you really seem to have misunderstood me.

adri

21 hours 15 min ago

Submitted by adri on July 13, 2024

you can leave this website and go somewhere else

that just shows that you are both being a colonialist chauvinist and an imbecile

On second thought I'll take you up on the offer. I also understand better now why certain people and groups have stopped posting here. I doubt you'll do it, but can you remove all my contributions to the archive, or rather the collection of stolen/liberated materials? I don't care about stuff I edited, but I don't really want my transcriptions and other stuff I've submitted to remain on here; I'll post them somewhere else.

Authored on
July 2, 2024