Moore/Taylor: Start decolonizing by reclaiming Indian traditions

Amy Moore and Mike Taylor say thinking like an Indian is the first step in decolonization:
Decolonizing essentially means to start thinking like an Indian. When you think like an Indian, you get rid of all the colonial brainwashing, you reclaim tradition and go back to our roots. Reclaiming tradition and decolonizing does not mean that we have to give up dressing in jeans and go back to dressing like our ancestors. But it does mean reclaiming our ancestral ways of governance and giving up the systems and procedures we adopted from our colonizers. Decolonizing does not mean we have to go back to living in the woods. But it does mean reviving our ceremonies. It does mean restoring our cultural values. It does mean emphasizing group welfare—the welfare of people in our tribe—and giving up the focus on individual welfare.

Decolonizing does not mean that we stop shopping at supermarkets and go back to hunting buffalo. It does mean embracing Indian beliefs about hunting only for sustenance and giving up the white man's pursuit of hunting for pleasure and sport.

Decolonizing does not mean that we stop seeking modern medical care. But it does mean reclaiming the ancestral knowledge we had about herbs, plants and indigenous medicine.

Decolonizing does not mean rejecting Western education and dropping out of school. But it does mean making an effort to learn our oral histories, our songs, our languages and our coyote stories.

Get the Story:
Amy Moore and Mike Taylor: Decolonizing Means Starting to Think Like an Indian (Indian Country Today 4/12)

Join the Conversation