Boston, MA, October 10, 2011 – Occupy Boston ratified a statement of solidarity with indigenous peoples at the Saturday October 8 General Assembly. Recognizing that “we are guests upon stolen indigenous land,” the memo declares the Occupation movement must honor the history and wisdom of Native Americans and resolves that Columbus Day henceforth be referred to as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The memo was drafted by a small working committee of the General Assembly and ratified by consensus after some deliberation. Boston thus became the first city in the broader “Occupation movement” to clearly declare its solidarity with indigenous peoples. Occupy Boston has released one other statement so far – an internal document prohibiting white supremacy, patriarchy, and several other forms of oppressive behavior within the camp (posted October 4 at www.occupyboston.com).
Drafters and supporters celebrated its ratification and see the resolution’s content as consistent with the values of Occupy Boston. Martin Dagoberto declared, “calling this movement an ‘occupation’ without recognizing the historical context of occupation excludes a long-marginalized segment of the 99% – native peoples. ” Referencing Native American critics of Occupy Wall Street, (http://unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/decolonize-wall-street/). Dagoberto continued, “If we’re going to tap into the people power of the entire 99%, we need to avoid the same old systems of deeply ingrained oppression. In this way, we can ‘Decolonize’ this movement, and cast off the colonizer mindset at the root of the very crisis we face.”
“Decolonize Wall Street” has emerged as a critique of the Occupy Wall Street movement. As stated in the #decolonizewallstreet flier distributed over recent days in New York, “colonization continues to this day, with indigenous communities across the globe still under attack. To dismantle corporate greed and imagine a different world we must make connections between the histories of colonialism, genocide, capitalism, human trafficking, globalization, racism, imperialism, ecocide, patriarchy and so much more.”
Activists have been camped out in Boston’s Dewey Square in the heart of the city’s financial district since September 30. Boston is one of hundreds of occupations worldwide, sparked by Occupy Wall Street. Messages and motives vary, but all seem outraged at the fleecing of the silent majority– the 99% – by banks, corporations, and a government beholden to private financial interests rather than the good of the people.
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