Unsettling America

By Waziyatawin, Unsettling Ourselves

“Colonial relations do not stem from individual good will or actions; they exist before his arrival or his birth, and whether he accepts or rejects them matters little.” -Albert Memmi

Colonization v. Oppression

Many oppressed people around the world identify with the oppression experienced by colonized people. Often, if they live in a colonized society, the poor, oppressed, disenfranchised, and marginalized individuals or classes have difficulty identifying with the colonizers and thus seek to identify with the colonized. Because they live in a society in which colonization is ongoing, they begin to see themselves as colonized.

This discussion is designed to help differentiate between oppression and colonization, and to clearly demarcate colonization as a distinct historical, political, social, and economic relationship between the colonizer and the colonized. In our volume For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook (Santa Fe: School of Advanced Research Press, 2005), Michael…

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