Category: first nations/indigenous people

By Guest Contributor Jorge Antonio Vallejos, cross-posted from Black Coffee Poet

Near the end of my video interview with Daniel Heath Justice (above) for this special week Celebrating Queer Indigenous Voices I asked, “… anything we’ve left out?”

“There’s a lot we’ve left out,” said Justice.


Although we had a table full of books we failed to mention Queer Indigenous writers from around the world. And I’m embarrassed to say that I did not mention an Indigenous, brown, queer woman who helped pave the way for a brown boy like me: Gloria Anzaldua. She was a Mestiza, Xicana who made an impact on the literature world and changed the way Indigeneity is seen, thought, read, written, and lived.

R.I.P Gloria.

Read the Post Celebrating Queer Indigenous Voices Week: Interview with Daniel Heath Justice

March 3, 2011 / / african-american

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

Full disclosure: I met Loretta Ross at a Women’s Media Center’s media workshop for progressive women last summer, and we’re connected through the New York City chapter of SisterSong, which reshaped the reproductive-rights fight to reproductive justice. And I just think she is an incredible activist and living historian.

I saw this clip of her explaining to another generation of feminists where the term “women of color” came from and wanted to share.

Transcript after the jump.

Read the Post For Your Women’s History Month: Loretta Ross on the Origin of “Women of Color”

November 4, 2010 / / art

By Guest Contributor Jorge Antonio Vallejos, cross-posted from Black Coffee Poet

Janet Marie Rogers is a spoken-word poet from Six Nations Territory in Ontario, Canada who started writing in 1996.

Her literary passions are Native heritage, feminism, historical territories, human love, sexuality and spirit.

Rogers hosts Victoria, BC’s only Native radio program, called Native Waves every Tuesday at 2:30 pm on CFUV 101.9 FM.

BCP: Why spoken-word poetry?

JMR: This is easy to answer. I was first exposed to poetry readings at a local pub. And there was plenty of “bad” poetry being shared. People droning on and reading a type of therapeutic poetry which is like masturbating in words. So I vowed then and there that I would NEVER bore my audience. Plus I believe in my words and wanted people to pay attention to my messages, so I began “teaching myself” the spoken word genre and its been growing from there ever since.

BCP: What is your process?

JMR: I wait for the good stuff. Some writers are disciplined and are able to write everyday. Myself, I know when a poem wants to be born. It is a strong energy in my stomach, then the words begin to sound in my head and I’m off to the races as they say. And during the execution of the poem, I keep telling myself to stay true, be honest, go deep, make it interesting and creative. I tell other writers and artists, there is no great crime than to be boring and unoriginal … I live by that code.

Read the Post Culturelicious: An Interview With Mohawk Poet Janet Marie Rogers

June 29, 2010 / / activism

By Special Correspondent Jessica Yee

Video after video, photo after photo, story after story came pouring in this weekend telling us about another friend or another relative who had been unlawfully arrested, beaten, spit on, psychologically, physically, and emotionally abused and relentlessly harassed by the police in Toronto. All this and more unearthing of human rights happened to the people for demonstrating, protesting, taking action and speaking out against one of the most undemocratic and unethical convenings of the world’s largest superpowers – the G8/G20.

Counts of the number of arrests that took place this past weekend are at some 500 or more – with some having now been released – but so many others remain cramped and overcrowded in the mass jails that were erected in what we know were government and state plans to throw people in and violate their human rights – which is of course in line with the entire theme of the G8/G20. Rubber bullets, tear gas, and pepper spray were deployed by police at will and used against people of all ages who yes – were peacefully protesting (and I’m not going into the less than 100 who were not because they were the very small minority) but more importantly, YES IT IS our civil liberty and fundamental right to do so.

Reports also came rushing in about police keeping people cornered outside in the heavy rain for hours, as well as further accounts of violent police brutality directly inside and outside the jails – and I don’t owe them any benefit of the doubt to believe otherwise. This also occurred two intersections down the street from my house in Toronto.

Read the Post The 20th anniversary of Oka and the continuation of unearthing human rights at the G8/G20

April 22, 2010 / / WTF?

By Thea Lim

On Tuesday Racialicious Special Correspondent Jessica Yee wrote a post for the Bitch Magazine blog called “On hipsters/hippies and Native Culture” (scroll down one to see the post itself), which was basically a post listing some of the major cultural appropriation no-nos practiced by hipster and hippie culture.

The Bitch Magazine blog comments section is usually fairly quiet, averaging about 10 comments a post. Jessica’s post got 51 comments (at last count).  While a few comments were supportive of Jessica’s point, a lot of them were angry, obtuse and condescending, accusing Jessica of being combative while they themselves were combative or accusing Jessica of “excluding people” while remaining completely insensitive to the fact that our culture has actively and institutionally excluded the communities Jessica speaks for, for hundreds of years.  A little proportion, please.

Racialicious considers Bitch a friend – all year Racialicious bloggers will be guesting at the Bitch blog.  But when Jessica sent out an email to the team with a link to said Bitch post and its comments, we shuddered a long, sad, collective sigh.  This kind of blowback is so depressingly standard, and calls immediately to mind the dozens of times we’ve received these types of responses when we’ve asked for ourselves, our cultures and our experiences to be respected.

The resistance Jessica got is so standard that we can categorise it into three, typical responses that entitled folks make when called out for their privilege.  So here, organised for your reading ease, are some of those soul-scorching comments, and my rebuttals to their nonsense.

1. Why are you so angry? Don’t you know that no one will listen to your cause if you’re angry?

…Her defensive, hostile and generally angry tone does no service to the Indigenous community nor to her own self-claimed authorty as the arbiter of all things Native. Many of her points (Native women were the first to acknowledge that periods aren’t gross?) fail to recognize that these same concepts are fairly universal and are held by the early peoples of pretty much every continent- including Europe. She needs to take a breath and get over herself…

It seems somewhat contradictory to put stickers on your laptop that indicate a Mohawk heritage and then rudely dismiss a stranger who expresses an interest in your advertisement. Perhaps a better way to accomplish your agenda (whatever it is) would be to engage in polite and open-minded conversation with those who mistake your stickers for an invitation.

if you dont like the ignorance people have of you then fix it! teach them the right way! dont get all huffy and upset and tell them to go away!

Note that the second comment suggests that Jessica should take a nicer tone if she wants to accomplish her agenda – without even knowing (or I guess, caring) what the agenda is.

This kind of hey-let-me-help-you-achieve-your-goal-by-suggesting-you-be-more-radio-friendly response totally misunderstands (and appears disinterested) in the anti-racist project, because it assumes that anti-racism is all about convincing white people to be nice to people of colour.   In other words, it assumes that anti-racism revolves around white folks.  Like everything else in the world.

Anti-racism and people of colour organizing is not about being friendly, being appealing, or educating white folks. While individual anti-racist activists may take those tacks to achieve their goals, the point of anti-racism is to be for people of colour.

Anti-racism is about carving out a space for people of colour; decolonising and reappropriating the spaces which have been taken from us by racism.  So sometimes people put Mohawk stickers on their laptops (or wear yellow pride t-shirts or support black music) because that is a way for them to affirm to themselves who they are, within a dominant culture that tries to ignore and erase their pride in their own cultures.

Read the Post Some Basic Racist Ideas and some Rebuttals, & Why We Exist

March 5, 2010 / / african-american

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

(WARNING:  Totally NSFW)

Reader Grace nearly caused a pearl-clutching moment amongst us Special Correspondents with a link to these, ahem, enhanced drawings:

David Lilio and StitchAladdin

I look at these images as I do hentai and plushies:  some people getting off on the frisson of (hyper)sexualized ideals of taboo images and items connoted to belong to the kiddie world, like Disney cartoons and stuffed animals.   So, I do understand the squick with seeing these resemblances of lust-inspiring Calvin Klein and Armani underwear images because it’s like fucking with someone’s childhood.  And childhood, regardless of quite a few people’s realities about their early years on this earth, is held as sacrosanct in its idyllic innocence—especially sexual innocence– in US culture. Read the Post Princely Tails

October 21, 2009 / / colour-face

By Deputy Editor Thea Lim

Well, it’s almost Halloween.  And every day that we get closer to Halloween, the more our intrepid readers point out for us some of the season’s most ghoulish examples of racism. Sigh.

Reader Joel sent us a link to this Illegal Alien costume being sold by Walgreens and Target (though word on the street is that the costume has been yanked after complaints).

Carleandria sent us this link that shows you how to make your own dreadlocks wig so that you can be crafty and culturally tone-deaf at the same time.

And Brooke sent us a link to her open letter to those who would dress up as Natives on Halloween, (illustrated by a dazzling array of exquisitely racism “Native” Halloween costumes):

but when did the Native American enter the realm of Wizards, Fairies, Super-heroes, Goblins, or Ghouls? When did it become ok to reduce the diversity, language, and culture of nearly 500 different Indigenous tribes into a tacky “costume” of cheap suede, colored feathers, plastic beads, and fringe? Who decided that the history, identity, and lineage of Native Americans could be easily put on and taken off like greasy Halloween face paint?

Read the Post The Racialicious Halloween Roundup