Colonialism is a system that requires collaborators in order to perpetuate itself. This fact has become increasingly apparent in recent days. While major news corporations would cover the smallest Tea Party get together, Occupy Wall Street was ignored by the Media until the level of collaboration with corporate interests became so ridiculously obvious as the scope of the movement spread that they were forced to acknowledge the its existence. Every colonized people has had a select few handpicked for slightly better treatment as long as they worked to advance the interests of the empowered and try to stifle the voices of dissent.
I have seen a lot of feedback about indigeny and the forging of alliances and the awakening of a pan-indigenous consciousness…and much of it centers on a fear of being perceived as radical or of alienating the dominant group. This begs the question: why are we so concerned with appeasing Christians when they are praying for our disempowerment and destroying our sacred items? Why are we so afraid to appear upset about the disenfranchisement of indigenous peoples? Which side are we on? And can it even be called equality if we achieve it by silencing our own voices and stifling our narratives as the price for inclusion?
There is plenty of lip service given in the larger neo-pagan community about wanting to be inclusive and wanting to connect and be friendly with indigenous polytheists practicing their ancestral ways. I’ve heard some bemoan the fact that the indigenous people are standoffish or suspicious of neo-pagan motives. Well, here’s an excellent reason why: as we speak there is at least one pagan news source that will rush to cover almost any pagan event no matter how small scale…and they have outright refused to cover the Turtle Island 42 initiative and I have to wonder why that is. It certainly sends the message that indigeny isn’t important for Pagans, which might come as a surprise to some of those self-same Pagans. So, if, at the end of the day, indigenous peoples do not trust the larger neo-pagan community, perhaps it is because we fear that they may be too attached to their white privilege to risk pissing off The Man. Perhaps too many of us with tans have had our conversations about race and conquest shut down by people who were concerned that we were “living in the past” or “angry” or “militant” or somehow oppressing white Christians by our failure to ignore our pasts and our present realities in order to accommodate their sensibilities. We may have been told that talking about conquest, genocide and slavery (particularly in interfaith settings) upsets the descendants of our conquerors. The message is that it is more important to pander to the dominant group than it is to be true to ourselves. Yet one cannot and should not talk about reclaiming indigeny without also talking about why it was lost in the first place, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.
Diversity is not about people of all colors and ethnicities being tolerated as long as they look, think and act assimilated. True diversity respects the multitude of experiences and faith and cultures being expressed to their fullest potential and celebrates the existence of difference even while asserting our common humanity. This is what the DC-40ers don’t get. And those who would ignore or silence the segments of the pagan or polytheist or indigenous population because “they might make us look bad to the Christians” are collaborators. And if they think the likes of the DC-40 are going to accept them, no matter how nice they play, they are also deluded.
We are at war. It is not a war we asked for or wanted. Indigenous people have been on the frontlines for centuries. It isn’t a war for commodities or for money, but for cultural spiritual (and often physical) survival against a colonial machine that would eradicate us. The DC-40 has openly declared spiritual warfare on everything and everyone who does not conform to their Dominionist Christian worldview. The time has come to awake, rise up and choose a side.