Defenders of the land: Indigenous survival and liberation in times of collapse

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Waziytawin is a Dakota writer, scholar, and activist, who urges Indigenous people as well as non-Indigenous people to think seriously about the threats of collapse and the need for land defence.

She is from The Place Where They Dig for Yellow Medicine, also known as the Upper Sioux Reservation in southwestern Minnesota. She also holds the Indigenous Peoples' Research Chair in the Indigenous Governance program at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. She is the author of numerous books on the Dakota nation and decolonization, and has been a strong community activist working on truth-telling initiatives in the Minnesota/St. Paul area. You can learn more about her at

Recently Waziyatawin has been intertwining her interest in decolonization and Indigenous liberation with research around climate collapse and peak oil, and believes that we can't simply wait for an end to the extreme destruction caused by industrial civilization - we need to take action and help bring it to and end, so that our chances for future survival are the greatest.

Waziyatawin offers something very important with this interview, by connecting a recognition of the great changes upon us with an anti-colonial perspective as an Indigenous woman.

Industrial civilization now threatens not just our individual landbases, but the entire earth, and more than ever we are in need of people who are willing to be defenders of the land. Waziyatawin talks about some of the cultural myths that colonialism has infected all of us with to varying degrees, myths about the legitimacy and permanence of the US and Canadian governments, myths of technological prowess, myths of passivity to authority, and myths of the moral purity of non-violence. In a time of such dire need, she urges us to re-consider all of these and seriously consider how we can best serve our landbase, and best prepare our community for an end to an industrial way of life.

As an action plan to base a community's preparation on, she has put forth several steps:

having a spiritual and cultural foundation,
building a culture of resistance,
arming yourself and your community,
building lifeboats of skills, tools, and knowledge to be self-sufficient,
taking back land,
halting the industrial infrastructure that is destroying the land, and
defending the land at all costs.

She asks questions that need to be asked and answered. I hope you enjoy this interview and are able to give it some serious thought.

Learn more at


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