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Dec 24, 21

Tending Sacred Fires: Make Colonizers Afraid Again – Part 3

A new editorial from Indigenous Action looking at the current terrain and what lessons various forms of resistance have informed our struggles.

Although the white supremacist contortion of the “alt-right” has largely met its end, its urge persists with varied strategies towards social-political legitimization. We can see its trajectory clearly from the post-election convulsions on January 6th, 2021 and subsequent cheerleading, to the Rittenhouse verdict and in-between every corporate (social media) channel. With some of the more prominent neo-fascist gelded in the aftermath of Charlottesville legal battles, settler colonizers are live-streaming the demise of their social order.

It’s terrified that its prejudices and xenophobia are being “cancelled.”

It’s hysterical over “medical tyranny” so it’s pumping horse dewormer into its veins. It’s brutally gotten ideals of “freedoms” matter more than the well-being of those most vulnerable (as they’ve always mattered more than our lives).

White supremacist con artists are playing the victims of a “culture war” that they’ve been waging against our lives and lands for more than 500 years. We have resisted and survived generations upon generations of this “culture war” called colonization.

Colonizers are reacting predictably, as they’ve always feared what they can’t dominate and control. To this extent, perhaps they’re so fearful of “wokeness” because those who remain unconscious are easier to control and exploit. No conscious being will willingly choose an existence of suffering induced by someone else’s nightmares.

Yet the (stolen) ground gained in the streets during the George Floyd rebellions has largely been ceded by liberals contracting into their electorally induced delusional safe(r) terrains. But what was to be expected from those so readily willing to kneel with cops and performatively “decolonize” their lifestyles?

Post-election liberal decelerationism has emerged in all its reactionary and pacifying glory.

Liberals have a predictable tendency to rest on their votes and so resign their energy to those who represent them. But theirs are the politics that should be called for what they are: “MAGA-lite.” Their moral denouncements rarely broach on root causes, and when they do indict the State and white supremacy, it is always within the well-mapped binary geography of left versus right. They fail to recognize that making and maintaining of the idea of “America” is really what the problem is (recall the settler colonizer myopia of the chant, “We’re a nation of immigrants?”).

Migrant children are still in cages under the same brutal policies just with different political faces, drone bombs are still circling like imperialist vultures over the geopolitical transcontinental region of the Middle East, and in his first few months behind the desk Biden signed more oil and gas leases than his demagogue predecessor.

When they’re not policing movements, if there’s one thing that is consistent about liberal MAGA-liters, it’s that their theatrical spurts of outrage must be contained within the realm of “legitimate” politics. They rest on reforms in hopes that the State will solve the problems that it is structurally built from and cannot exist without. Whether the tactics are holding signs for “visibility” or are escalated with lock-boxes and tripods, they’re still begging the politicians they voted into office for scraps from the rotting carcass of an imagined ideal called “justice.” They hold onto the most pitiful of political handouts of recognition by colonized tokens like Deb Haaland. They remain rapt with attention and offer their patriotic ovations during the magic act called “climate justice” where the illusion of an industrial system built on destroying the Earth can magically solve the crisis that it thrives off of.

In response, liberals are either investing more in their team (which is really just another side of the same colonial polity), and hyper-focused on pumping the “harm reduction” breaks with “solutions” to make capitalism and settler colonial occupation “green” with economic restraints on policing.

Behind this are the non-profit capitalists engineering “leftist” social and ecological justice wars for their own gain.
 Making settler colonialism and capitalism more sustainable means the death of Indigenous existence. Just look to the mass lithium mining rush targeting Indigenous lands at Thacker Pass, Big Sandy River Valley, and beyond.

In the midst of this pandemic of pandemics, neo-fascists rally and prepare to escalate towards the next major election cycle and beyond, fracking wells and oil pipelines poison sacred lands and waters, Indigenous womxn, girls, trans, and two-spirit relatives are stolen, families are ripped apart, deported, or left to die seeking refuge across colonial political lines, relatives on the streets go without shelter in the cold, we’re locked up and killed by State forces with impunity, all while the existence our ancestors dreamt is being reshaped in the obscene nightmarish billionaire funded selfie-driven theater of trading post “decolonizers ™“ waving “land back” flags cashing-in to “decolonize wealth” with their wokest hipster (and celebrity) settler allies.

It’s clear that some can’t and won’t stop imagining colonial futures.

For many rabid antagonists, catching our breaths between tear gas and pepper spray, taking up our shifts for COVID mutual aid deliveries or anti-state repression work (aka making sure we stay free), we cannot unsee the blood stained writing on the walls of this settler colonial social order.

For many reasons, including a revulsion of the homogenizing propositions found in leftist “revolutionary” politics (especially from authoritarian Indigenous Marxists), we prefer principles rather than platforms, our elder’s teachings rather than those of dead European men, autonomous attacks rather than political campaigns, and we have more questions than answers.

What are we doing? And who is this “we” composed of? What lessons have we learned from years of rolling street battles, autonomous spaces, and frontline blockades? What more effective tactics can we devise? Can cell-based affinity groups and lone-wolf actions be just as or more effective than the idealized mass mobilization? Is it an either/or question or can we dig deeper into diversifying tactics? What opportunities can be made from the predictabilities of law enforcement reactions? What institutions, ideas, and infrastructure can we attack within our means? How can we effectively ensure abusers will be held accountable in our communities? How do we embed those practices into security culture? What are our advantages? What are our disadvantages and how can we overcome or shift them? How can we accelerate internal and external settler colonial social, economic, and political ruptures and precipitate their ruin? What further provocations, interventions, and attacks can be devised to undermine and destabilize the settler-colonial social order?


The answers are certainly complex, varied, and purposefully incomplete because in many ways it’s what we’re already doing with radical education and interventions, mutual aid (not the non-profit or liberal co-opted shit), community defense, and autonomous (conflict) infrastructure projects. In this way some of our responses are more oriented towards the questions of how do we stabilize and sustain radical projects. How can we proliferate and grow these liberatory possibilities?

In “Black Seed: Not on Any Map,” a new book (mostly) about Indigenous Anarchy, these questions leads to the task one of our Indigenous Action crew members proposes of Indigenous anarchy (or autonomy if you prefer to drop the colonial political identifier), which is to replace the principle of political authority with the principle of autonomous Indigenous mutuality.

This is not at all theoretical, it’s the urge of our ancestors and the continuity of ways of being that exist with, not against Nature.

This power is something colonizers could never fully understand or control and so they’ve committed everything to annihilate it. From Ghost Dance massacres to the systematic spiritual violence of boarding schools, to the outright banning of spiritual practices until the late 1970s, to the ongoing specific and intentional desecration of sacred sites, the power of Indigenous prayer and ceremony has always terrified colonizers to their core.

We study the contours of our emergence hxstories. We trace the lines in the hands of our elders who guide and shape the frameworks for our actions. We trace footsteps back to gather sacred medicines. We patiently watch the light and the way the rains flow and collect so we know where to gently place seeds. We listen intently when the earth shifts and the moon is covered by the sun.

We warm our spirits on the sacred fires on front lines throughout these occupied lands.

From those tended by Gidimt’en land defenders to those lit by elders resisting forced removal in Winnemucca, and those tended by Indigenous trans and two-spirit youth at Camp Migizi. The sacred fire of Black rage that burnt down the Third Precinct police headquarters in so-called Minneapolis. The sacred fires that made ashes of churches responsible for boarding schools.

We are still tending sacred fires.

To live a life in conflict with authoritarian constraint on stolen land is a spiritual, mental, and material proposition, it is the negation of settler colonial domination.

This is our continuous ceremony of resistance and restoration.

As autonomous anti-colonial agitators we’re not vying to appeal to the sympathies and charity of settler allies. Anti-colonial solidarity means attack.

Make colonizers afraid again.

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Indigenous Action (IA/originally Indigenous Action Media) was founded on August 25th, 2001 to provide strategic communications and direct action support for Indigenous community’s sacred lands defense. We are a radical volunteer crew of anti-colonial & anti-capitalist Indigenous media makers, designers, artists, writers & agitators that work together on a project by project basis for liberation for Mother Earth and all her beings. Over the years we’ve organized hundreds of actions, marches, banner drops, workshops, conferences, benefits, and much more.

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