News flash


Women Reclaiming Our Physical Power
Teresa Enrico
September 30 or
October 1

September 17-23

Native Liberation

Native people exist

The teacher should do some research about the original inhabitants of the land where the class is held and talk briefly about these inhabitants. If there are survivors, where do they currently reside in relationship to the class site?

  • Three minute each-way mini-session to discharge on the direction: “What does it mean to me to be on (X— tribal lands)?” Indigenous folks can choose to discharge with each other.
  • Another short mini-session: “Noticing my own complete goodness”

Each tribal group has their own distinct language, dress, culture, and spiritual beliefs. The following questions can be go-‘rounds or mini-sessions:

  • What tribes are in your area? Region?
  • What do you know about them?

While it is true that whole groups of Indigenous people around the world have disappeared because of genocidal policies directed at them, it is also true that many, many people have survived.

  • Some groups survived with language, culture, and spiritual ways intact.
  • Some groups survived by taking on the identity of the oppressor but are still aware of their heritage (this group can be encouraged to do the “coming home” work outlined under “suggested readings”).
  • Some groups survived through intermarriage but pass down information to their descendants (this group can also be encouraged to do the “coming home” work).

Relationship to the land

Native people around the world have a direct historical and ancestral relationship to the land they are connected to. They have a deep sense of belonging that is often absent in immigrants, emigrants, or people of a forced Diaspora.

  • Mini-session: “Where do I belong?” “Where do I feel the most ‘at home?’”
  • Go ‘round of thoughts
  • Go ‘round: “How does my family history impact my thoughts about the Native people around me?”

Legal standing

Sovereign people: Most Indigenous groups around the world have a unique legal standing in relationship to the presiding government that is currently occupying their land. Indigenous people assert that they are sovereign people with sovereign rights. Sovereignty has been defined as the right to self-determination for a people who share a common culture, language, spiritual belief, and history. The United Nations has affirmed the sovereignty of Indigenous tribes.

  • Mini-session: “My understanding of sovereignty”

Treaty rights: Many tribes around the world have legal, binding treaties with the governments that occupy their lands. Treaty rights supercede local, state, and provincial laws. Often these treaties are ignored, in violation of international law.

  • Mini-session: “My understanding of treaty law”

Land Rights (including hunting, fishing, sustenance rights): Many tribal peoples, even if they signed away certain rights, kept these rights on their ancestral lands.

  • Mini-session:  “How have these rights impacted my life?”


Explain the difference between racism and genocide.

Racism: oppressing a group of people based on their skin color but keeping the majority of them alive enough to do work for the oppressor. They are told that if they are “good” enough they will some day have the same resources as the oppressor group.

Genocide: an oppressor group attempts to eliminate a group of people because the oppressor group wants the oppressed group’s resources. Native people are targeted by genocide and often by racism, but the key hurt is the attempted genocide.

Many Native people world-wide do not have a color-based identity. Genocide in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Central and South America is most often same color against same color. In North America the genocide is often lighter skinned people against darker skinned people—hence the confusion that the oppression is fueled by racism, not genocide.

Being a good ally to native people

Discharge on the following directions:

  • “How have I personally benefited from the genocide or displacement of Indigenous people?”
  • My own complete goodness
  • “I have suffered; therefore I deserve.”
  • “I am good; therefore I deserve.
  • “How could I possibly deserve anything?”

Marcie Rendon and others

International Liberation Reference Person
for Native Americans

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA



Commitment for Native People

I promise never to forget that as a Native person I belong to this earth and my very special gifts are needed here, that all beings in Creation are my relatives and cherish me as I cherish them, that my people have survived and will survive all attempts to exterminate us, that we are strong and wise and loving, and we will show our children and the rest of the world how to live in love and harmony and care for the earth and all creatures without ever losing our sense of humor.

Suggested reading

1. The Draft Liberation Policy for Native Liberation— a handout

2. The “Coming Home” steps—in Heritage and Present Time—a handout

3. Heritage—for the class to purchase

Last modified: 2023-04-15 09:24:12+00