We have been telling ourselves a story of healing for a long time. But that is not the story the earth has for us to tell.
Ever since meeting them, I have searched for an elusive quality which unites my own artistic (and to that extent, self-destructive) exploration with that of my friend Selena Wellington. For the time being, I have located that quality at Decolonization.
My identity is one which does not exist apart from it's parasitical dependence on other entities. Conversely, blackness and brownness want to suggest that they do indeed exist apart from whiteness, while whiteness only exists after the other two. Maleness likewise only arises in the presence of something else on which to leech. I am stateless, and the art of a stateless identity is ungrounded in proportion. When whiteness and maleness burst unceremoniously into being as Colonization, it is only proves to be our consistent folly that there should be any path out of that Colonization other than through mutual annihilation.
Native roots run deep in Colorado, far deeper than humanity, and far deeper still than any suggested weather in the nature of Violence. Even the quote "Native Peoples" arrived here as aliens to an infinitely more entrenched patriarchy. This objectification is best understood not as antagonist to "nature," but as an undeniable part of it, an understanding which allows us to move beyond simple notions of "moving beyond."
Human domination of this land is a wound which has been festering for unconscionable Millenia, Even at this moment, my internet browser unknowingly attempts to guide me towards the separation. from Colonization, of various forms of ownership, thus to my own separation and eventual annihilation, by advising me to instead discuss "Colonizations."
Colonialism is an illusion which has been in catastrophic free-fall since long before Europeans arrived on American shores. Among the many, many qualities which marks Christianity and Judiasm as bizarre outliers among the major religions of Earths history is a separation from the promised land. While indigenous world views demand paradise as existing parallel to the rest of creation, Judeo-Christianity imagines it as the ugly rock at the base of a hole, already irretrievably colonized.
Colonialism is the umbrella phrase for an armada of forces which never existed but as parasites. Even now, the hardly-subtle death screech of Precolonization cries at being frustrated the chance at effervescent vitality it swears could have been allowed in but the absence of Colonization. The thrashing convulsion of this false promise is barely concealed by the tremendous din of the football stadium literally and figuratively looming over my current meek installation among the irretrievably-colonized corpse of America.
Humans have always arrived as exiled. There is an argument to be made that the species Homo sapien never existed until the departure from the promised land. We have always come as aliens. Those places where humans managed to thrive were those in which they embraced the brutality of ownership: over terrain, over fellow animals, over the seasons. What forsook us from our native lands is what defines us.
Ownership is the fragile premise on which human domination of nature has always been based, and thus upon which the very identity of the human species has been in a never-ending free fall, unthinkably obliterating anything which dare try to exist apart.
My art, unbeknownst to me, has always been a flagging and self-destructive attempt at Decolonization. From the burnt altar of Whiteness and Maleness, understanding demands that we come away knowing that reconciliation is impossible, and simultaneously prevents us from reaching that place. When Colonization attempts to contain itself, it only bursts more noxious into precisely the place that it can consume the greatest sum.
Thus Colonialism, be it Whiteness, Maleness, or otherwise, is constantly in the act of presenting and refuting the opportunity of grace. Conversely, Indigenous thought succeeds to the precise extent to which it accepts Humanity's place in a much longer legacy of ownership. All life on earth arose from a single instance, and then from a second instance preying on the first. Thus begins a fibonacci sequence of Ownership and Colonization without which life literally is not possible. Ownership demands annihilation: the moment something is brought into existence, it only exists for it's potential as prey. Ownership as annihilation is written into my genes as a member of the parasitical fauna (meaning all life forms which only exist to prey on the corpses of Plants), as it is written into the genes of the fruit which now sustains my body. Plant life evolved to thrive in it's own objectification without sparing a thought for any alternative which may appear to exist.
Thus, as they exploded onto American shores centuries ago. Whiteness and Maleness served the vital role of decimating any narrative of Balance which had been allowed to take foot. Colonization has always been rocketing towards annihilation, unassuaged by the suggestions that something may actually exist in the absence of Colonialism, if Colonialism is the agent which takes over in the negative space of Colonization. Modernity may seem to offer new forms of Objectification and Colonization, but to plant life, oppression has always been written into the genes in spite of the apparent potential for it to exist for itself. Herein lies Paradox: Colonialism seeks to create a narrative wherein a Balance exists before being Colonized, but only does so for the sake of Colonizing. The moment anything comes into existence, it falls as prey, and on an on. Thus the promise of extinction-level events in our lifetime is best understood not as some grand conclusion of a short narrative arc describing a departure from Balance and a return to Balance, but as the radical reflection of predatory genetics, including constant and mutual annihilation.
Returning from Standing Rock this week, I am struck by the way in which myself, as a stateless, shoreless product of ownership, might be mislead as to the presence of a narrative of Healing. Prayer is centered at Oceti Sakowin, setting the camp apart from every other form of protest I have witnessed. Everything-other-than-prayer-as-a-form-of-protest is doomed from the immediate fact that it promises a path forward, to the extent that forward implies upward rather than downward. Prayer-as-protest succeeds in proportion to how it accepts futiliy. Regardless of whether or not this Black Snake coils it's venomous way across America's corpse, all parties to the "protest" are guaranteed in annihilation. In the presence of Colonialism, nothing is allowed to exist. The moment a Colonizer takes a step in consuming, the moment it becomes consumed by something larger. The consuming force grows unimpeded towards infinity, and Precolonization thrashes about for the promise that Only in the absence of Colonization, it could have achieved paradise. This protest is thus not about affecting outcomes, but about registering itself as a protest. Indeed, the very moment it exists for itself, it is Colonized beyond recognition.
This is not to say that the people present at the camp do not have hope for affecting outcomes. But these hopes may prove self-defeating. Regarding the elders who could be witnessed lashing out at progressive notions of Gender and Sex, I cannot say for sure what I think they hope will come of the event. However, already, my language shows it's Colonial genes, as to suggest that the Lakota elders have intentions regarding the presence of the camp is to annihilate the reality that they are merely standing where they have stood for the last several decades, always in free fall and always towards annihilation. Conversely, the other forces, which may be loosely categorized in their embrace of the conflict narrative, Us versus Them, offer that ancient promise that our only option, as irretrievably colonized identities, is to die on the barricade of justice, regardless of whether it can possibly hope to affect the constantly impending annihilation.
As a stateless actor, I am caught between the experience of Colonized and the experience of Colonizer because my physical being is incapable of bearing witness to the reality that the two are one and the same. I cannot exist but for life forms which will die trying to convince both of us that they could have done just fine without me.
Like myself, the rats in my apartment can barely be satiated by the full time occupation of feeding themselves on others' labors. Days, weeks, months of meticulous plant growth, utterly unique, disappear in seconds in my mouth, and armed with anything like what would be available to me as a foraging Homo sapien, consumption is a full-time occupation. Our bodies did not evolve to be capable of being satiated.
The moment I successfully decolonize myself is the moment I cease to exist.