Peter d'Errico: 'Buffalo Shout Salmon Cry' takes on colonialism

The cover of Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry. Image from Facebook

Peter d'Errico praises Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry: Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together for its "courageous" critique of Christian colonialism:

Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry: Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together
Every chapter, each written by a different author, confronts truths about the Christian invasion of Indigenous Peoples in North America. The focus is primarily Canadian, but the lessons apply wherever Christian civilization has spread. The contributors—half of them Native, half non-Native—often respond to each other's views, building a dialogue that facilitates and provokes discussion. No contributor pretends to have a lock on the whole story. None claims to provide a guaranteed resolution of the problems caused by religious domination of lands and peoples.

The book opens with an explicit "call to decolonization," premised on the understanding that we face no "Indian problem," but rather a "settler-colonial problem." This is a very bold move for a religious organization rooted in colonial missionary practice. There's no room for "social relativism," whereby a later generation blames its ancestors, but forgives them for not knowing better.

Further, the book frames the settler-colonial problem not simply as "historical," but as ongoing and contemporary. Again, no room for saying "what's past is past." History is now, ongoing. "Colonialism was and is a choice that Canadians make every day."

And more: the contemporary dimensions of the problem encompass the world: "the controlling culture [of Christian civilization] is violently sick, devastating peoples and lands." Colonialism created a system "based on the hyperexploitation of the land and of Indigenous peoples"; it "overwhelmingly promotes greed over creation."

Get the Story:
Peter d'Errico: Christian Colonialism Challenged in Smart, Provocative Book (Indian Country Today 8/9)

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