Draft Program for Native Liberation
The people present at Native Liberation I, the first Native Re-evaluation Counseling Workshop, agreed on the desirability and necessity of evolving a program for liberation around which all Natives could unite and which all other groups of people could be asked to support.
The first draft of this program was put together from the discussion at the workshop, and was printed in the journal Heritage No. 1. This version is varied somewhat, largely with suggestions from Phil Lane.
We Native members of the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities proudly and confidently proclaim our pride in our heritage as Native peoples. We remind ourselves and all other peoples:
•that the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere are and always have been strong people with rich cultures;
•that the oppression we have endured was inflicted upon us through armed conquest by foreign oppressive societies who possessed more advanced technologies, greater numbers, and vastly superior armaments.
We are proud that we have survived, endured, and increased our numbers in the face of extermination and genocidal campaigns, in spite of being ravaged and decimated by alien diseases to which we had no acquired immunities, though our cultures were forbidden and destroyed and though we were driven from our lands and often imprisoned in bleak and unfavorable surroundings.
We remind ourselves and others that our deep love and care for the land and the environment is today coming to be recognized by all people living as vastly superior to the exploitative policies of the dominant materialistic cultures and an attitude to which all people must now turn if they wish to survive.
We call on all Native peoples to join us in working out a rational program for our liberation around which all Native peoples can unite and which all other honest and thoughtful people can support. We ask other Native peoples to investigate, consider, and use the tools of Re-evaluation Counseling to assist us in achieving our goals.
We call on all other members of the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities and, in particular, all members of other liberation groups within the RC Communities to join us in mutual support of each other’s programs.
1. We assert our pride in our heritage and proclaim with dignity the excellence of all Native peoples, nations, tribes and individuals. We propose the use of the “complete self-appreciation” techniques of Re-evaluation Counseling at all levels of our activities to help remove from each other the last traces of the discouragement, defeats, and humiliations forced upon us in the past.
2. We call upon all Native persons to extend full support to every Native person in every situation in which we relate. We ask that it become a conscious goal to end every expression of jealousy, competition, rivalry or conflict between ourselves that the oppressive materialistic structure constantly seeks to foment and take advantage of. We propose the use of “relationship” techniques of Re-evaluation Counseling to end difficulties and restore unity and strong mutual support in every situation where problems arise between indigenous peoples.
3. We call on all Native people to unite and work together as one strong people, setting aside all differences of tribe or nation, of language, or of culture. We ask that all our sisters and brothers realize that the differences and conflicts that sometimes occurred between our tribes and nations in the past arose out of situations that no longer exist and have not existed for a long time, and deserve no place in our present attitudes, when all of us urgently need each other’s support and strong unity between all groups.
We also call upon all Native people to recognize that the primary source of any destructive disunity between us has been encouraged and utilized by our oppressors as a tool for oppressing us.
We propose that all existing inter-tribal organizations be supported and strengthened, that their programs be reviewed and improved, that competitions between them be eliminated, and that any of them that have the same general functions should begin public discussions leading to agreements for joint action and possible eventual mergers.
We propose that all of us active in organizations learn and master the Re-evaluation Counseling techniques for resolving conflicts between groups and organizations and make these techniques available to the leaders of all Native organizations, bands, and tribes.
4. We propose, as we work out a liberation program in consultation with all indigenous peoples, that we begin to contact all the other groups of people who face oppressions and mistreatment similar, in some respects, to those we deal with, and propose that all such groups agree and act to support each other’s programs. We propose that these other groups that we seek mutual support from shall include, but not be limited to, the Chicanos, the blacks, the Asian-Americans of all backgrounds, the Puerto Ricans, the French-speaking Acadians and Quebecois, the Jews, the women’s movement, the young people’s movement, and the organized labor movement.
We propose that we confer with the members of the Re-evaluation Counseling Community from these other liberation groups and caucuses as a first step to such wide unity and mutual support, participate in general Re-evaluation Counseling liberation workshops and Third World workshops, and plan with these other groups of Re-evaluation Counselors how to attain wider unity of all oppressed groups outside of Re-evaluation Counseling.
5. We propose that we all work in every possible way to unite our peoples against the continuing robbery of our lands, our water rights, our minerals, oil, fish, and other resources which acts to take away from our people even the meager economic resources left us by the enforced treaties and reservations. We propose that we act politically, by publicity, by alliances with other groups of people, and through direct action to defend what is ours.
6. We propose that every group begin or pursue the establishment of dependable economic bases, some long-range workable enterprises to provide employment and income for all members of the group, tribe, or band who need or wish such employment or security. We propose that such enterprises be cooperative in nature whenever possible and that they be brought and/or kept under Native ownership, control and management.
7. We propose that women and men join together to eliminate all the disrespect, lack of full equality, and mistreatment towards women that has crept into Native lives and cultures from the dominant culture, and that we restore and practice the full equality, respect, and sharing of leadership by women and men which was traditional in the best of our ancient cultures.
8. We propose that every tribe and group organize effective training programs for both men and women of all ages in effective physical self-defense in order to interrupt at this level the disastrous effects of the continual, unprovoked physical attacks which Native peoples have traditionally been, and continue to be, subject to. We propose that we master, and circulate widely, the techniques of Re-evaluation Counseling for coping with, and overcoming, the patterns of aggressive attacks, both physical and mental, which come at us from the general population.
9. We propose that any drinking of alcohol in any form be declared cooperation with oppression, that alcohol be recognized and branded for what it is, one of the most destructive agents for the oppression of Native peoples that exists, that adequate funding and facilities be demanded from the dominant society to help the large numbers of our people who have fallen victims to the destructive effects of alcohol recover from its effects.
10. We propose that religious freedom for Native peoples be respected in practice, not just theory; that each of our own Native religions be accorded respect as well as any other religions which any of our people have chosen to accept; that Native peoples not be subject to proselytizing by religious groups which refuse to recognize our beliefs as religions equally worthy of respect to any other; there are scores of cherished sets of religious beliefs and practices among Native peoples, each of which must be accorded respect.
11. We propose that all companies and institutions, including the Armed Services, be required to honor and respect the right of Native peoples employed in them to freedom of dress, hair-styling and grooming, including forms traditional to Native cultures, and that persecution, interference, punishment, or discharge over such matters be forbidden by law.
12. We propose that the negative stereotyping of Native peoples in newspapers, literature, movies, television and other media be ended and that the slanderous portrayals of the past be banned from future distribution or exhibition to the public, in movie houses, on television, or elsewhere.
13. We propose that the false picture of Native history and character and the completely wrong, biased, and one-sided account of Native-white relations which has been and continues to be circulated through history books, fiction, and the dominant society’s educational systems be exposed and replaced and that the true history of Native-white relations be presented to all people. We propose that the vilification of our peoples and our ancestors as uncultured, savage aggressors on “righteous” whites be replaced by the accurate picture of our ancestors as highly cultured, innocent victims of the most savage, ruthless, greedy aggression and robbery, followed by exile from their homes and lands and persistent attempt at genocide and extermination.
14. We announce to the world, on behalf of all indigenous peoples, that the reports of our deaths and disappearance have been greatly exaggerated; that in spite of all the cruelty and oppression turned against us and in spite of all attempts to wipe us out, we have survived; that our numbers are greater than they have ever been; that our ancient policies for loving care of the land and the environment are earning new respect from all peoples; that we are determined to right the ancient wrongs done to our peoples and to undo the damaging effects upon us of the oppression which we have suffered; that we will be taking our rightful place in a sisterhood and brotherhood of all peoples and will be speaking with strong voices.
15. We will be taking example of the acceptance and support which we receive from all other peoples in the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities as a model for the wide world and will be using the tools of Re-evaluation Counseling to effectively solve the problems to which we address ourselves.
Reprinted from Heritage #2