by International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network – Twin Cities
Sing the petition!
On November 8th, 2010, Dr. Waziyatawin a well-known Dakota writer, activist and teacher, was invited and presented a talk at Winona State University concerning the brutal realities of the colonization of this continent’s land, its resources, and First Nations People. She also spoke of a common need to restore our environment and a way of living that is not reliant on capitalism and the destruction of nature. The timing of the speech served to reinforce some of her points. At the time she spoke, members of the Dakota Nation were holding a Commemorative March along the route that nearly two thousand Dakota people were forcibly marched in 1862. The march route passes through Winona on its way from Lower Sioux Agency to Fort Snelling, where, over the winter of 1862-1863, those who managed to survive the march itself faced confinement, starvation, disease, rape and (for many), death. Shortly after Dr. Waziyatawin’s talk, a letter to the editor appeared in the Winona Post accusing Dr. Waziyatawin of making “terroristic threats”. In January 2011, the Federal Bureau of Investigation called Dr. Waziyatawin to question her speech and beliefs. We, the undersigned, see Dr. Waziyatawin’s Truth Telling as an important and honorable step toward healing the injustice of this land. We maintain that targeting Dr. Waziyatawin for this Truth Telling is a continued abrogation of justice. Truth Telling is not only about the past - it is also the present and the future. Truth Telling describes not only the harsh realities that First Nations people faced during the initial stages of genocide against them, but also of the long standing efforts of ethnic cleansing: re-location (reservations); boarding schools; forced sterilization; the illegalization of religion, language and culture; decades-long legal battles for recognition from the U.S. government in order to gain access to sacred lands; theft of land, resources, sacred objects and ancestors (burial sites); domestic violence; drug and alcohol abuse; homelessness, incarceration, and racism. We, the undersigned, also condemn these tactics used by the United States government against human rights as state intimidation. With the Patriot Act today, and the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) before it, government agencies have exploited their power in order to disrupt, disenfranchise and “neutralize” movements that struggle for justice and equality. The recent call the FBI made to Dr. Waziyatawin is not an isolated incident, just as the FBI raids and what is now up to at least 23 Grand Jury subpoenas that have been issued since September 2010 in Minneapolis and Chicago - are all indicative of this government’s continued targeting of social justice movements. We assert that Truth Telling is a necessary step towards reparations, and that reparations are a necessary step towards Indigenous Sovereignty, the healing of our land and all people. We assert that the U.S. government must recognize and be accountable for the hundreds of treaties it has broken with First Nations. We condemn the FBI for targeting members of our community for Truth Telling and for working in solidarity with global Indigenous movements. It is through a united vision of justice for all peoples and a healthier planet that we band together against colonization, imperialism and racism in its many forms. Towards Justice, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network – Twin Cities