The brothers Kevin and Graig Settee from the Anishinaabe/Cree nation in Canada were at the Barcelona Summer School on decolonizing knowledge, power and the mind. They told the DIN-newsletter about the struggle of the indigenous youth in Canada.
Graig: “When they talk about us in Canada they use the four D’s: dead, drunk, drumming or dancing. But we are much more than this.”
Kevin recounts how the idea started for a journal called Red Rising: “A group of us had been at Water Wednesdays, where we had stood outside and raised awareness about Winnipeg’s water source. One day we were on our way back and thought that it might be a good idea to create an Indigenous-themed magazine. Some of the discussions that we had that day revolved around us having gone through media interviews this past year and having our stories skewed by the interviewer to fit their narrative. This is our opportunity to showcase our voices as a collective. We made a list of things we wanted to write about, such as ceremonies, music, architecture etc. We wanted to tell our stories from our perspectives without the filter of a censor. We drew up a list of people we wanted to contact: leading thinkers and writers of our communities, artists, activists and academics. We don’t make this journal for white people, for settlers, who have taken our land. We don’t seek recognition from others. We make it to inspire a new generation of Indigenous artists, thinkers, writers, and leaders in the community.”
The journal has published three issues until now. The first issue had a run of 2,000, the second of 3,000 and the third of 5,000.
Kevin: “We don’t set a price for the journal, people give whatever they feel and can give. We don’t look and ask for funding. ”
The collective that produces the journal has several committees to do the work: a selection commission that selects articles, a design committee to do the design and a distribution committee for the marketing and distribution. The collectives do presentations in the communities, but also in universities and class rooms.
Every issue is presented with a launch where authors talk about why they wrote the articles and artists do performances. The first launch was held in a community center, the second in a restaurant and the third in a the office of a progressive publishing house, Vinwood Publishers.
Two issues come to the front in the conversation with Kevin and Craig: the issue of land and the issue of identity.
Craig: “Our land has been stolen from us. Our land is being exploited by white people for their benefit. Those parts of the land where our communities live have been contaminated by the industry. So the question of how to deal with our land rights is a major question for us.”
Kevin: “The whites have instituted racism to such an extent that at one time in history it was forbidden for us toe perform our traditional ceremonies. You could go to jail, if you perform the ceremonies. So we were forced to hide our identity. We were forced to Christianize. Many young people now try to regain their indigenous identity. They ask our elders to teach them about the ceremonies. The same goes for our indigenous knowledge systems. Our people have developed concepts of nature and societies. We need to learn about these concepts. An example is the concept of wealth. In western knowledge wealth is the accumulation of material property. In our knowledge system wealth is the redistribution of material property. If you capture 30 horses and live in a community, t does not make sense to keep al the horses. The benefits is for you and the community if you keep what you need and give the rest to those who need it in the community. Giving is part of wealth, because you make important contributions that earns you the respect of the people you are living with.”
Website of the magazine: http://redrisingmagazine.ca/