Indigenous Mutual Aid Collective Statement
This statement is a collective response by various Radical Indigenous Mutual Aid organizers to the current pandemic and uprisings.
(email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if your Indigenous-led Mutual Aid crew would like to sign on)
We assert and reinforce our relationships with our human and non-human relatives of occupied Turtle Island. We are calling to stabilize and proliferate anti-fuckery Indigenous-led mutual aid networks to support and defend our communities and embolden resistance towards total liberation. This is a call to relatives and accomplices who are committed to repairing, reestablishing and (re)building reciprocal relationships, together.
COVID-19 is not the first pandemic we’ve faced as Indigenous people, Afro-Indigenous, and Black people, our communities have been systematically poisoned for generations through the destruction and theft of our lands, water, air, bodies, spirits, and minds. What has often been called a “health disparity,” we know as colonial violence through 400 years of biological warfare, forced removal, elimination, assimilation, enslavement and genocide. COVID-19 has only intensified what has been referred to as “underlying injustices”. However, these so called “disparities” are not underlying; they were strategically created and are systematically normalized by colonizers for the sake of extraction, exploitation and occupation of these sacred lands, resources, knowledge and labor.
Throughout this pandemic, we continue to witness and combat the horrors enacted by settler states and corporations so that they may continue to sustain their existence. We feel rage, grief and sadness for the many that have lost their lives, relatives and parts of themselves due to the systemic catastrophe created by capitalism. While corporate media, nonprofits, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), tribal, state and federal governments try to dictate the narrative, we refuse to be dehumanized and stripped of our inherent power. Instead we choose to honor autonomy and rage alongside our relatives acting in defense of their sacred lands and bodies. Our mutual aid knows no borders.
As Black and Afro-Indigenous relatives rise up, we join their fight against white supremacy and state violence and commit to confront and end Anti-Blackness in our communities and within ourselves.
In reality, our struggles for liberation have always been guided by our deep connection to all of creation. We have always combated oppressions by caring for our communities through tangible and intangible support and the distribution and redistribution of resources, knowledge and skill sharing through our kinship relationships. Our collectives are currently attempting to emulate this long hxstory of radical Indigenous resistance through mutual aid.
As Indigenous, Afro-Indigenous and Black communities we define mutual aid as our way of existence. Mutual aid is defined as a relationship between so called human and non-human kin that is reciprocal, horizontal, communal, and autonomous. Because this relationship stands outside settler institutions and borders, it is inherently a long-term commitment to anti-capitalism and is “decolonial” in nature. We acknowledge that Kropotkin may have observed and named this mutuality for anarchists, however, cooption of its praxis by white europeans has been used to erase our hxstories while Indigenous expressions of mutual aid have been destroyed and criminalized. Indigenous people from all over the sacred Earth have used mutual aid in their reciprocal relationships with their relatives since time immemorial.
There has been rhetoric in corporate media about returning to a time where everything was, “normal.” However, normalcy of genocide, the destruction of land and bodies is what we cannot return to.
We have always looked to our collective futures and reject any notion of “going back to normal”; Normal was/is racism, transphobia, resource extraction, capitalism, and predatory assimilation. We practice interdependency from the state, and urge folx to participate in community continuity. The practice of that interdependency includes abolishing the police, military, and militarization of relief response on the state, federal level and tribal level. Independecy and self determination from the state includes abolishing prisons, all carceral systems, and de-stigmatizing those who have been incarcerated. In this process, we embrace the discomfort, as we are learning, growing, and moving together.
We do not ask tribal governments or any other forms of settler governments for permission to advocate for and support our own communities — we do the work because it must be done.
We urge towards an organizing that is based on our cultural knowledge systems, that is anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, anti-heteropatriarchal, that abolishes white supremacy and that extends our ways of mutuality towards a future that honors our ancestors and coming generations.
We also call for support for food sovereignty projects and infrastructure that ensures our ability to provide directly for communities. We know starvation because the government has been rationing our food since we were forced onto reservations. This rationed food has been processed and degraded to a point where it makes our people sick. We recognize food as a medicine because it can provide essential nutrients and even heal when it is natural. We know that replenishing the land with native plants benefits everyone in the long term. We will no longer be dependant on a system that was conceived to destroy us.
What is anti-Blackness and why must it be rooted out of our communities?
We further call for direct support for donations to these and other Afro-Indigenous led Mutual Aid efforts:
Mesiah & Little Wind
Native American Inter-Tribal Student Alliance
Kinłani Mutual Aid
Camp Red Sleeves Mutual Aid
Mothers Against Meth alliance
Two Rivers Mutual Aid