Settler Colonialism: The Creation of Amerikkka
This essay was written by Celine Qin on the 25th of November, 2021.
Settler colonialism is the violent process in which an invasive settler society replaces an Indigenous population. It is enacted through a variety of means, from the bloody and relentless depopulation of original inhabitants of the land, to the violent laws and policies that continue to put Indigenous lives at risk and perpetuate the colonial framework.
Amerikkka was built through violence. The attainment of land, wealth, and natural resources by white European settlers could only been achieved through settler colonialism and white supremacy, enforcing grave repression and dispossession upon societies that have thrived in the land for over thousands of years. As the oppressors sought to uplift their material wealth and, therefore, their power to continually access wealth, they also sought to diminish and eliminate the Indigenous inhabitants who have cultivated and depend on the wealth and land.
The creation of the “United States” was, at the same time, the destruction of numerous Indigenous societies and countless lives. The entirety of Amerikan history is the history of settler colonialism, genocide, and white supremacy. In order for settlers to establish Amerika, a state built for the favors of wealthy white men and their liberty to accumulate wealth as the emerging capitalist class, the invasion of Indigenous civilization and the mass-slaughtering of colossal Indigenous populations was required. European colonizers created wealth through stolen land and violence.
The traumatic aftermath of the colonial era still heavily impacts Indigenous peoples today. As a matter of fact, the violence, colonization, land theft, and more, are rampantly ongoing. Simultaneously, it has protected the wealth and resources for a small group of elites who continue to uphold this violence for profit’s sake, just as it did since the beginning of Amerikan history.
As soon as the first settlers arrived on Native land, Amerika has been a violent episode of land theft.
During the era of “Manifest Destiny” (the idea that the United States had the “irresistible destiny” and “essential duty” to expand across North Amerika) in the 1800s, then-President Andrew Jackson enacted the “Indian Removal Act” that forced the mass removal of Indigenous peoples from their original territories. On the Trail of Tears alone, thousands of Native lives were lost. This genocidal policy was all to open up land for white businessman who aimed to expand further West.
“Wealth is based in finite resources. Wealth, even what’s based in the stock market, is ultimately tied concretely to land. ‘Land’ here means all the world’s resources and ecosystems that keep us alive and well — water, vegetation, food, minerals, buildings, and more. The life-blood that flows from land is finite, tangible, vital. It is currently, especially in the U.S., almost exclusively privately controlled by individuals or corporations whose ownership the law is designed to protect. Land is controlled this way because of European colonization. The historic and ongoing theft and control of land, real estate, and resources has led to the extreme concentration of wealth among a small group of people that exists today.”
— Resource Generation for Land Reparations & Indigenous Solidarity
Since 1492, the control of Native land by white settlers has lead to a destruction of the climate and environment, as native people who have cultivated and allowed the land to thrive for countless generations had been forced to lose control to their own territories. Capitalism and colonialism is responsible for the complete deterioration of the world’s ecological deterioration. Invasive practices on Native land have brought diseases, negative impacts on plants and wildlife, and a dramatic damage on a once-prosperous terrain.
It is for this exact reason that Indigenous peoples are the forefront of climate justice.
The people need the land, and the land needs the people. The Land Back movement strives for political and economical control by Indigenous peoples over land that belonged to them before colonial Amerika. It is crucial for the people’s liberation to fight for Indigenous sovereignty and their right to operate the land as they did for countless generations. At the same time, this can allow for ethical uses of the land and its resources, leading to environmental restoration and justice overall. Indigenous peoples establishing their nationhood is essential to revolution, and combating the colonial framework requires amplifying and listening to the voices of colonized subjects.
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