I was moved when I heard my friend Stella deliver this important message at the Albuquerque Trans March. As a New Mexican I have had the wonderful opportunity to interact with many Native people and call them friends. I know that had European’s chosen to learn from their neighbors, who were the indigenous peoples of this country, much of the prejudice and fear around sexually and gender would be nonexistent. Instead Europeans imposed their religion and values on indigenous peoples, often at gun point, while stealing their land and forcing them to leave their homes.
Here’s a quote from the History News Network that looks at the shocking inhumanity and genocide endured by the indigenous peoples of North, Central and South America:
Thus, according to Ward Churchill, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado, the reduction of the North American Indian population from an estimated 12 million in 1500 to barely 237,000 in 1900 represents a”vast genocide . . . , the most sustained on record.” By the end of the 19th century, writes David E. Stannard, a historian at the University of Hawaii, native Americans had undergone the”worst human holocaust the world had ever witnessed, roaring across two continents non-stop for four centuries and consuming the lives of countless tens of millions of people.” In the judgment of Lenore A. Stiffarm and Phil Lane, Jr.,”there can be no more monumental example of sustained genocide—certainly none involving a ‘race’ of people as broad and complex as this—anywhere in the annals of human history.”
Here’s are some interesting links followed by Stella’s remarks: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/7302 and http://endgenocide.org/learn/past-genocides/native-americans/
by Stella Martin
This speech was originally given at the Albuquerque Trans March on June 9, 2016, just three days before a gunman murdered 49 (mostly Puerto Rican and Latino) people at a gay club in Orlando, Florida. Stella Martin is from Gallup, New Mexico and is a healthcare worker whose focus is HIV-AIDs and LGBTQ advocacy. She is also an organizer with The Red Nation.
The sun gleams itself down upon us, and the earth brings us stability and life. Across its beautiful existence we stand; brown coffee skin to beige golden bodies. We are beautiful as ourselves, my sisters and brothers of color.
Yet all around us whiteness pervades and dominates our world, our homelands as indigenous people, our relationships with service and a mask of goodwill.
As indigenous people we were not supposed to be here, but we are. As transgender, unidentified, naadleeh, winkte, llahmana, and all…
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