as i read social media posts of water protectors being detained from yesterdays arrests, i think of the need for this reading list to get out into the universe. we all know settler colonialism and its many tentacles are at the root cause of the arrests. with corporate consumer capitalism, neoliberalism, racism, and now fascism, the ill likes of it all, it goes way back.
it started in 1492 for Indigenous Nations.
its just a small thing, however i believe this reading list includes readings that can effect and influence long term results. its imperfect and a work in progress. i also used APA format. as nations we have readings we could benefit from and reflect on while this administration begins to aggress itself on Indigenous Nations. the same ol’settler divisive tactics that is hundreds of years old is still at it. however, today, we also have warriors who have learned the ways of the settler world. some resist it vehemently, others coalesce, and some are apathetic. this reading list is just a beginning as we start to look at ways we can begin to grow and learn our youth’s knowledge base within our Rez communities.
what may seem like nothing, especially to big city folk who might relate to us as country, or as one former colleague would differ to ‘city mice and country mice’ i guess i’m just a country mouse. however, my small little country is what is left of the strong holds of Indigenous nations and many of us who come from warrior societies, we will not be erased. while that word ‘warrior’ is debated and used loosely, some of us are born into it whether we like to accept it or not. settler colonialism painted a hyper-masculine male who was violent and conquered every pathway ‘he’ was on. however, for true warrior cultures that is not how we understand what a warrior is. a warrior is first and foremost a protector of peace. the interior of the warrior is the most sacred space. honoring the sacred 7 directions, a warrior protected not only her/his heart, mind, and spirit, they also protected the very things they were responsible for family, home/community, and nation. this is something so many men have defined from settler colonial views of the role of women and today, we realize that is no longer the case. women the sacred keepers of the fire are rising.
in that understanding, women were valued and centered because leaders were born of these women and women birthed nations. not displaced or removed to the margins of a culture, as in settler society, but centered. today, we see many versions of a warrior that are settler based that need to be decolonized. women in their roles as mother, daughter, sister, wife, niece, aunty, grandmother, and friend are stepping up to restore balance, maintain peace, and protect what is sacred, our children. in that circle, we also have men who are reclaiming their rightful place as involved citizens reclaiming their mental, emotional, and spiritual roles in this decolonizing process. as children to our first mother, Unci Maka, Nahazdhaan bikah… Mother Earth we Indigenous nations are standing up for what we believe in and in there is much to hold onto and not let go of despite the erasure that continues to pervade our cultures.
the following is a list of readings from Indigenous and settler scholars who worked against the academic industrial complex and created space for emerging scholars such as myself and warriors from throughout Indian country. warriors of both female and male gendering, where i also realized for myself Rezilience. in these readings, i learned of Indigenous scholars who are reclaiming everything settler colonialism tried to steal and erase from us. readings that helped me see what i was participating in and not critiquing the way i could have been. these readings reclaim Indigenous spaces where once there was none.
the following is a compilation of program readings i worked through in the last eight years. i willingly signed up for a doctoral program and they were needed to help me work through the often times dense and challenging settler scholarly works. there are a few that were absolutely helpful for me especially because i was struggling with the settler stuff. readings like Karl Marx, Spivak, Butler, Hall, Derrida, and Foucault to name a few were not easy for me.
as i look back on my formal education, when i graduated from undergraduate studies in 1999, i had no idea of any other Indigenous scholarship but that of the godfather of them all, Vine Deloria (Sicangu) and grand matriarch scholar (in my opinion) Elizabeth Cook-Lynn (Crow Creek). plus Devon Mihesuah (Comanche) were all i believed i needed for my undergraduate research studies. **tsk tsk, my-oh-my, how naïve and ignorant to the ways of Indigenous scholarship i have been.
since that time of course i also completed a graduate studies program from the years of 1999-2001. in that time i learned of Angela Cavender-Wilson (Dakota) and Rebecca Tsosie (Pascua Yaqui) who surfaced on my radar at an American Indian Legal Symposium hosted by Arizona State University School of Law <– one of the most powerful places where i started learning about scholar-activism. please note, post graduate studies my plans were to gain life experience and take a break for a year. (trust me, i really did not understand the concepts of time)
so there i was on another trail and trajectory. i leaned away from scholarship and found executive management and programming for a stint in my career pathway. during that time, i learned what working outside of an academic program entailed and encountered life lessons that were humbling. it wasn’t until i found work with an American Indian Studies program and returned to what i truly love, teaching and learning.
prior to that, (and before) i returned back to academia, i had memories of working with students and helping them find their way along the academic journey. i had come to value, in a round about way, a job working for a federal contractor as an education specialist.
the path led me to education as a discipline and one i had long denied. formally trained as a historian and cultural museum studies i was looking at University of Vancouver B.C. or University of California Los Angeles for my program and i had never considered education for formal training.
during this time was when i met some of the movers and shakers of Indian Education and where i immediately found my purpose. having come from a background and up-bringing that was Rez and urban, i found working with students from those experiences was a thread to my work. to this day it has (and continues) to be one of my favorite stories of how i began as an emerging scholar.
growing up started out on the Rez for me in a little community. and family life took me to border towns where the urban experiences of mainstream society and culture, music, entertainment, education, racism, bigotry, acceptance, and tolerance were all a significant part of what also made me. while the formal education process evolves with the individual, as one advances from one grade and program to another, the ever evolving process does not stop upon graduation. it is life long.
as Indigenous people, the mixed blend of formal education and training, woven with roots of cultural knowledge, ceremony, and language are a deepening experience. one can find meaning in life’s work within our home communities before living solely in a settler society.
this reading list helped enhance my doctoral program experience where i was able to work through the issues of internalized and lateral oppression, the ills and pains of lateral violence, internalized racism, self-hate, and the plethora of emotions related to unresolved historical grief and trauma to name a few that i work through continually. it was a slow progression and the most influential readings happened when i was struggling with trying to find myself in the readings. almost every reading that was required in my program was settler based. from social theories to practice and applied concepts it was not easy for me. at all. what i need to share in this is that what also helped me, as an Indigenous woman, was family teachings, elders, and faculty mentors who had completed doctoral programs.
although i did not include every article, book, or journal, keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list. i am a teacher-educator so i have been trained with a specific foci and thus, the exclusion of some technical readings was intentional. i included decolonizing works by Indigenous scholars who helped move me through stages of my learning. it was a process to find these readings as well. they happened as i read through popular (settler) social theories and when the universe sent them my way, as i look back, honestly, i believe it was by my creators omnipotence that guided and directed me to some of these readings. they certainly weren’t in my required program readings and i literally had to search for them. at times i felt like dropping out of my program.
with that being shared, as i enclose, if any reader out there would like to suggest others and add to this, please do. these are readings that personally struck chords in my formal education and they were, 1. what i needed to grow intellectually, and, 2. are required for me in order to work within the academic industrial complex.
as stated earlier, i struggled many times throughout the last 7 years. most of that struggle was with why i had not found myself in the “other” required readings (which i left out because well, settler colonialism never loved us) and because being the first Indigenous woman to go through a cultural studies program came with work and sacrifice. i understand today it was intended for me to learn about these readings and to share with my colleagues that there are indeed other ways of knowing, in particular Indigenous Ways of Knowing. we all learned and are continually learning to this day.
*in the same fashion as how Malcolm X honored his identity, i use the concept of X for this reading from my worldview and understanding that learning is life long and and if any reader wishes to add to this, by all means, please do. as an emerging scholar, i have work to continue and finish. in that process i also believe knowledge is free and you can download some articles. i also believe knowledge should be used for the liberation of our people. with many kinds of warriors out there in Indian Country, from both north and south of the Medicine Line, and across continents, this list hits on only a small segment of the many classics and righteous Indigenous scholarship out there. we have many warriors out there such as language warriors, education warriors (teachers, administrators, para-pro’s, parent volunteers, etc.) scientists, lawyers, medical doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, athletes, social workers, writers, and artists. the list is extensive in thinking about the all work that is happening out there in Indian Country. as we move towards a future that promises to challenge every last one of our treaties and land rights, as Indigenous nations, we must also be well read. each one of us has the same spirit of our ancestors, and being well read, especially in a tumultuous time, is a must. as nations one notion we often forget to teach our children that in their learning there is also freedom. my hope, in creating this warrior X reading list, is that one of these readings might liberate at least one mind. one mind. one heart. one IndigenousX nation.
**bold print are works that I think are paramount to understanding settler colonialisms choke hold on our communities and offers ways we can begin to reclaim our Indigeneities and ways of being.
Readings and Indigenous Scholarship, mixed in with a few settlers who were equally righteous in decoloniality and the intersectionality of race, gender, and all the things that can oppress non-white communities who are often marginalized and the outliers of work.
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