Hello mysterious readers, both friends and strangers!
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, or even moderated any of your comments—Sorry about that! I still exist, and there’s still all sorts of stuff I’d like to share. An explanation for my absence: Around the time of the G20 I came to understand just how intently my blog was being surveilled. It’s one thing to be aware on a hypothetical/theoretical level about surveillance, and the fact that cops might possibly be reading/watching/studying one’s words. It’s quite another to come to know exactly how one’s words are being recorded, used, and manipulated… An all over skin crawling sort of feeling…It kinda discouraged me from posting quite so often. On the bright side, it also provides a really useful visceral example when trying to explain Foucault, discipline, the panopticon, and all that sort of stuff to the students in my tutorials. So thanks, I guess? Yay, teaching tools and more complicated material to think through. Linking experiential and theoretical learning has definitely been productive, on the plus side.
I’ve come back around to making peace with the realities of skeezy cops and crown attorneys reading my words, and deciding I can deal with that. So, dear blog readers, what do I have in store for you? Well, more of the usual anarchist academic sorts of thoughts—I’m keen on telling you about my plans for my first comprehensive exam, regarding the production of colonial silences, likely mixed with some fun sci fi examples to jazz things up a bit. Oh, and probably some knitting patterns. And gluten-free baking inventions, ‘cause that’s what I’ve been into lately.
Thanks for reading! I look forward to connecting with y’all.
Love & rage,
7-9 @ Corktown HARRP (187 James St. South)
Join us to learn about struggles to stop the sludge plant at the Headwaters of the Grand River and how to support Six Nations activists who are being criminalized for defending their land. Speakers from Six Nations and Dundalk share their experiences, followed by an opportunity for discussion.
STOP THE SLUDGE!
How would you like to eat food that was fertilized with hazardous human waste? What if that same waste leaks into our local rivers?
In the lead-up to a July 7th walk in Dundalk, Ontario, to show the growing and united opposition being mobilised against these dangerous developments at the headwaters of the Grand and Saugeen rivers, we will be joined by James Cooke of citizen groups Stop the Waste Park (http://www.stopthewastepark.com/) and the Southgate Public Interest Research Group (http://opirg.org/southgate/home.html). During this public info night we will learn about the unfolding events and struggles against a dangerous project to build a new waste processing (‘sludge’) plant at the headwaters of the Grand River, as well as resistance to this project from those at the frontline of this environmental struggle.
The story on the sludge plant:
In February 2012, residents of Southgate township and the town of Dundalk, Ontario drove their vehicles onto the access road leading to a construction site. The so-called “eco-park”, located near a school at the edge of town, was to be developed into a sludge-to-fertilizer processing plant.
This land protection action, 145km northwest of Hamilton, Ontario at the head waters of the Grand River (O:se Kenhionhata:tie), has stopped construction of the plant which would have processed the human sewage, industrial and medical waste that would be shipped in from Toronto. The out-sludge would then be sprayed on fields as fertilizer for our food.
With the support of Haudenosaunee land defenders, and a mobilized and highly knowledgeable local community, the blockade’s energy and strength continues to grow and there is grounds for optimism about the impending court date in July which would see the zoning rules disallow further development.
Check out the AW@L Radio interview with Ruby Montour (Haundenosaunee elder, land defender and Grandmother) and Dundalk resident James Cook (Southgate Public Interest Research Group), who have been blockading further development of the site, in a bold and brave land protection effort: http://rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/awl/2012/05/stop-waste-park
For more information on the proposed sludge plant, and to hear plans of ongoing and upcoming actions on this water issue, visit:
SUPPORT SIX NATIONS LAND DEFENDERS!
Francine “Flower” Doxtator is a Haudenosaunee Land Defender, grandmother and a member of the April 28 Coalition from Six Nations. She will be in court on June 26 in Cayuga to continue dealing with charges stemming from a February 18 incident at Kanonhstaton, the Six Nations reclamation site near Caledonia, where she and others confronted racist agitator Gary McHale’s planned incursion onto the site known as “the Protected Place.” She was later recharged for allegedly breaching unjust bail conditions when she attended the April 28 walk for “Peace, Respect and Friendship,” where people from Six Nations marched with allies under the banner, “We Are All Treaty People.” For more information on Flower’s case see: april28coalition.wordpress.com.
At Six Nations, the last six years have seen harsh criminalization of Haudenosaunee Land Defenders. Dozens of people have faced criminal charges and several have served substantial time in jail. In Brantford an injunction was passed making it illegal for anyone from Six Nations to be involved in land claims protest within the city; in Flower’s case we see further criminalization of land defenders with bail conditions that attempt to keep her away from already reclaimed land.
We are reminded of our collective strength and the potential for support within activist communities when over the last two years unprecedented levels of support has been generated for the G20 defendants and some of those convicted and that currently there are massive outpourings of solidarity and support to the legal defense funds of Quebec student associations. It is important to remember that the same level of financial and physical support has not arisen for Indigenous Land Defenders and other front line struggles. This needs to change.
We must continue to build support for Six Nations land defenders and other everyday struggles against colonization. We must also remember that all of us living on the land are treaty people, and we as treaty people must work to overcome these outrageous and heart breaking violations of treaty and human rights by building support for our friends and allies at Six Nations.
This event has been organized by Hamilton members of the April 28th coalition.
If you have questions about other work the April 28 Coalition is doing, please contact: email@example.com
Right now I’m working on my comprehensive exams, which, in anthropology, involves a few big giant papers exploring some theoretical concerns that will be relevant to the eventual field research. My question has to do with looking at how anthropologists and their interlocutors have explored the silencing of colonial/imperial pasts. (to be finalized next week, fingers crossed)
On a related note, last month I rewatched Firefly & Serenity, and I came to realize that maybe the reason I like it so much (besides amazing space-cowboy-pirates, c’mon) is that it resonates completely with the big questions that seem to be at the root of my academic and organizing inquisitiveness. So I wrote a thing, teasing out those connections. I’m hoping it can be part of the introduction to my comp, maybe. Either way, it felt good to write it.
“Half of writing history is hiding the truth.” –Captain Malcolm Reynalds, Serenity/Firefly
“[Where] I Come From, We Believe All Sorts Of Things That Aren’t True. We Call It History.”
– The Wizard of Oz, Wicked (the musical)
Anthropologist Camilla Gibb describes writing fiction as a means for exploring truths that she was never able to express through ethnography—truths about her feelings and experiences during fieldwork in Ethiopia that when left unsaid caused her to become undone. Diane Nelson takes up the use of fiction within her anthropological work, exploring her theoretical concerns through a number of popular culture examples in her examination of Guatemalan postwar politics. She elaborates on the plots and implications of a number of popular films and television shows as “good to think with”, as helpful in allowing her to elaborate on arguments, concerns and theory. It is with this rationale in mind that I beg the patience of the reader as I briefly discuss two fictions that I believe will help to illustrate my theoretical concerns before diving into anthropological theory with respect to the production of historical truths and silences.
Fiction can be a useful tool for disrupting what we think we know, for illustrating truths inexpressible through other means, as well as providing us additional tools with which to think. It is with this in mind that I turn the Wizard of Oz, or, more specifically, to Gregory MaGuire’s retelling of this familiar story through the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West.
Assuming you know the plot of the more familiar version of this story, I begin with questions. What happens we come to understand the happenings in Oz from the perspective of Elphaba? When we come to understand the Wicked Witch as not only the visibly marked (green), subversive (and wicked) Other, but when we come to know her name, feelings, actions, and motivations? What happens when we come to understand how and why it is that Elphaba and her comrades chose to rebel against the dominant order in Oz, or that they rebelled at all? As we read how Elphaba is slandered by those in power in Oz, how her perspective comes to be distorted, depoliticized, and erased, and her very personhood comes to be delegitimized—how does this affect how we understand the process by which a given history becomes the dominant history, and whereby another comes to be muted, or silenced?
Moving away from revised retellings of familiar childhood stories, and into the realm of dystopian science fiction, another example that helps to illustrate my theoretical concerns is that of Joss Whedon’s Serenity/Firefly. The crew of Serenity seeks to discover why it is that the Alliance has, through painful and nonconsensual means, experimented with and altered the brain of a brilliant young girl, River Tam, thereby turning her into a psychic, a potentially dangerous weapon, and leaving her psychologically scarred and fixated on something called ‘Miranda’. [SPOILER ALERT]. Official Alliance histories would have us believe that Miranda, a previously terraformed planet in the outer rim of the universe, had been abandoned due to war or some sort of natural disaster. The crew of Serenity, after a suspenseful and dangerous journey through Reaver territory to reach Miranda, discover otherwise. On Miranda they find a planet in which it appears as though everyone has simply laid down in the midst of their daily tasks, and have ceased moving, breathing, living. There was no war, no natural disaster.
Upon further exploration, the crew finds a recording left by an alliance official before her inevitable demise. In this recording, she explains how an official plan for calming and subduing the population has gone terribly awry. The Alliance had introduced a drug into the air supply with the intent of creating a more calm and compliant population. This drug ultimately caused 90% of the population to stop everything altogether—not just conflict and animosity, but breathing, living. In the remaining 10% of the population, the drug intensified aggression, turning the survivors into the sort of monsters of which myths are made. They became Reavers.
“Half of writing history is hiding the truth,” Captain Malcolm Reynalds observed as they set their course for Miranda, to discover the secrets the Alliance had been so intent on keeping through destroying River Tam and the rest of the crew of Serenity.
These examples are fiction, but in these stories, I see truths. These stories resonate with my own research concerns, and they remind me of processes on this planet that serve to mute, hide, or erase uncomfortable pasts while other histories are emphasized, and become dominant. I think of patronizing ideologies of colonial governing bodies that treat indigenous populations as dependent wards. These stories remind of me official interference with the bodies of colonial subjects. I think of experimental, biological, and pharmacological means of subduing troublesome populations in rarely spoken about histories on Earth. These fictions point me toward truths, truths that have little play in dominant histories in the places that I live, breathe and work. They illustrate the processes by which certain stories become dominant while others come to be silenced.
It is with this in mind that I turn to exploring how anthropologists and their interlocutors have examined processes by which imperial and colonial pasts come to be silenced. (in real life)
[to be written...]
 Dominant interplanetary governing body
 Small pox, tuberculosis, residential schools, enforced sterilization of Native women in Canada and the United States. All those experiments that make up what has broadly been termed ‘scientific racism’ on the bodies of black women. These are the examples that immediately come to mind, though there are many, many more.
Gary McHale and CANACE organized a rally in Caledonia on June 9th, with the intentions of removing the barricades from kanonhstaton, the Six Nations reclamation site. When CANACE arrived, they took some firewood, and talked about how they were “just here to clean up the mess”. I prodded members of CANACE about what they meant by that, and it’s clear that they meant far more than cleaning up physical debris (see the video–Randy Fleming is the most explicit about their intentions/goals).
This CANACE event is just the latest in a long series of rallies organized by McHale, Fleming and others since the reclamation began in 2006. They frame each of these events in ways that obscure the racism and white/settler privilege that is at the root of their rhetoric. See the video for deconstruction of claims of white victimhood, and rule of law. In addition, the video contains images of neo-nazi support.
CANACE claims to want equality through rule of law. Canada has a history of ignoring laws that would inconveniently uphold the rights of Six Nations people, while creating laws that oppress the original inhabitants of this land (specifics provided in the video). Based on my observations, and just a glimpse at how the rule of law has been used to oppress indigenous people in Canada, it seems like what Gary McHale and his supporters really want is the maintenance of a justice system that upholds the rights of non-natives at the expense of the rights and well being of Six Nations people.
This video was created within 36 hours of the rally itself. The voice overs are quiet, but I worked with the equipment I had in order to get it out as soon as possible, rather than waiting and taking the time to produce a high quality video. I plan to make a longer and higher quality version of this video at some point in the future. This future video would also further explore how it is that the messages and aims of CANACE have such resonance with white supremacists, i.e. those on stormfront.org (“white pride world wide”) and the Northern Alliance, a neo-nazi group based out of London Ontario. In addition, the next video will explore in more detail the role of Canadian law in maintaining and perpetuating colonialism. More to come.
Thanks for watching.
For more information and background: see 6nsolidarity.wordpress.com
I also highly recommend Dr. Dawn Martin Hill’s documentary about the reclamation, called Sewatokwa’tshera’t (the Dish with One Spoon).
I get to skip lecture and commute to school a bit later than usual since students are watching films I’ve already seen at least a handful of times (I’d definitely recommend them if you haven’t seen them yet though: Stuart Hall and Sut Jhally “Race as a floating signifier” and “The Life and Times of Sara Baartman”)
Very much appreciating lazy mornings at home instead of rushing off to work. 2 extra hours to my day=tasty breakfast, and blogging, apparently. Marzi-pancakes, and they make good crepes too with a slight modification. Gluten & sugar free, of course.
Here’s how ya make ‘em:
First whisk together:
1 3/4 cup ‘milk’ (I tend to use unsweetened almond milk)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Set that aside while it does stuff.
Next mix up your dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of gluten free flour. At least half should be almond flour. Play around with your preferred substitutions. I like a mixture of almond and buckwheat flours for this.
1 tsp guar gum
1/2 tsp salt
Back to wet ingredients. To the ‘milk’ and apple cider vinegar add:
3 tbsp oil (sunflower, grapeseed, light tasting olive oil–NOT avocado, it will taste weird)
1tbsp almond extract
Mix, and combine with dry ingredients
Heat up your frying pan, grease well, and cook on medium heat. Each side takes quite a bit longer that you’d expect. It bubbles up a little when its time to flip, like the pancakes of our past, but doesn’t cook quite the same. Do not flip prematurely! It will be messy. Wait patiently for the delicious pancake. They are far less tasty undercooked.
And then, of course, top with delicious maple syrup.
For crepes: just change the ratio of liquid to thin out the batter and once you add it to the pan, tilt the pan around to spread the batter evenly. They don’t stay together the greatest as crepes I’ve found, but are so yummy with fresh berries and homemade coconut chocolate sauce…. or apples and brie. Maybe adding an additional egg will help with the structure of gluten free crepes. This is my hypothesis, and I shall test it out on my next lazy/decadent morning off.
I came up with this recipe trying to imitate the delicious cheddary muffin things at a coffeeshop near my house. It’s so torturous to walk past all sorts of delicious bakeries everyday, and know that if I succumb to my desires I’ll be poisoned by evil yet delectable gluten. I also can’t do corn. Or sugar. So baking presents some challenges. My housemate assures me, however, that these particular muffins are even MORE delicious than the muffins that inspired them. Warning: they are super labour intensive. Only make them if you’re feeling patient enough for all the chopping, grating and sautéing, as well as the usual measuring, mixing and baking.
Step 1: Sauté veggies
First, you sauté some veggies, which you will then put in the muffins. Onions and garlic are pretty key. Other than that, there’s a lot of flexibility. The first time I made them, I used grated zucchini and chopped up broccoli. The zucchini allowed for lots of lovely moisture, which can sometimes be tricky with gluten free baking—gluten free stuff dries out faster. This morning I made them with kale and sundried tomatoes. Delicious both times. I can’t give you exact measurements for this part ’cause I didn’t measure anything–you’ll have to experiment with what you have on hand, and also with the proportions. I used 1 onion, 5 cloves of garlic, 1 zucchini and about a cup of broccoli the first time.
Step 2: Mix up the dry stuff
1 ¼ cup potato starch
1 cup brown rice or sorghum flour
½ cup quinoa flakes
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp guar gum
1 tsp basil
Step 4: Mix the wet stuff
½ cup oil
1 cup yogurt or sour cream
2 tsp maple syrup or agave
Also, 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
Mix wet and dry stuff together. Scoop into muffin pan. Cook for about 40 mins at 350F.
Consume, adore, enjoy.