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“Decolonization Starts Inside of You” []


Colonization, at its core, is about creating separation—separation among people and separation from spirit and our connection to the Earth. Humans have been taking more than we need, and we haven’t been giving enough back.

Decolonization starts inside of you. It is a lot about finding compassion and kindness, and less about anger and fear. We should remember that it begins with an internal process of healing and reconciliation. Once we find that peace, then we will be able to move forward and unify as peoples. We must remember that we are all related.

At Standing Rock, we saw a new vision of what it means to be human. The fire and the water were our tools for healing. It was not just a protest; it was an awakening for all of us to return home, back to where our spirit lives in harmony with our past and present. In that way, we can have a healthy future.

The real front lines are within.

[For more on this story by Josué Rivas, go to]

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Decolonization is a process of removing the "other" 's influence in mind, body and spirit. It   is a barrier to racism free living, to be acknowledged as the rightful original people of a particular land space,and the inherent right to be recognized as having  that distinction. As such , the Indigenous peoples of North America have been here since time immemorial, and we embody the memories of our ancestors and know who we are as a collective embodiment of that reality.

Decolonization has to be triggered by something that will and rightfully should make you angry and activated.  Decolonization (complete reconnection to forcibly disowned identity/culture) is an outcome, just as colonization is an outcome in itself.  I read this article in the Decolonization edition of Yes! Mag, and comment here, recognizing that the piece is very much a commentary about the lived experience at Standing Rock, as represented.  The piece also sets a standard/expectation about how decolonization should occur.

As an intentional student of racial identity development, and a person who fully immersed into the identity decolonization process after this decade's public murders of Black folks and our family's personal tangles with race discrimination, I know that the process of decolonizing identity is messy, embittering, and rife with decision points about modulation.  Unless "decolonization" of identity is an impotent dressing of a colonized identity rather than an action-oriented tool toward "complete liberation." Colonization affects beliefs, thoughts, and well as the direction, intensity, and objectives of those three essential aspects of being. With decolonization, one asks questions like How do I really feel about this or that practice/value/behavior that was/is the norm ?  How will I direct my anger/disgust/pleasure?  Where and when will I employ tools of subversion. Should I boycott "this or that," collaborate with its complete destruction, or build something that makes it obsolete, etc? Decolonization is socially messy, chaotic, politically anarchists (getting rid of what doesn't serve well), and decolonization is necessarily intolerant.   There can be peace within from that type of identity process so that, eventually, there can be justice and peace outwardly and in that order. 

Last edited by Pamela Denise Long
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