Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:
Our family, friends, and colleagues in AZ and the surrounding Tribal Lands have kept us updated throughout the years on the state-sanctioned ideology of hate against them and our brothers and sisters that was leaking out of the minds and into the pens of legislation and law enforcement. Perhaps collectively we ought to have spoken up sooner regarding Joe Arpaio, Jan Brewer, and groups such as ICE. Now that the leaking has burst into recent legislative flooding that essentially declares open-season on brown people, who among us now is not compelled to speak up and to engage in well-informed activity?
The role of the Indigenous intellectual and scholar, while not easy, is clear-cut. Intellectuals expose the lies and tell the truth. This is not a new concept; many of our Tribal Nations traditionally have had individuals who served in this role—and continue to do so. Native intellectuals working in academia are particularly well-suited by virtue of training and easy access to resources to carry out this responsibility.
In May 2010, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association NAISA is scheduled to hold its annual conference at the Westin La Paloma in Phoenix. Unfortunately, they lost another opportunity to hold their gathering on Tribal Lands—as justified by the usual suspects of excuses. In any event, let us be hopeful that their gathering will not result in empty hand-wringing, desultory acts which quickly fade away, or artificial outrage. All of know from experience that these only contribute to justified cynicism regarding the ability of Native academics to be on-call for our communities.
While NAISA is not immune to criticism, this does not mean that any of us want to see it become the academic version of "old-school" BIA. We are rooting for it to be relevant, not just to academics, but for Indian Country and other Indigenous communities. And so I am eager to see its response to this AZ outage of reasoning. NAISA's choice of actions on this can be a watershed moment—and form the basis for its ethical working relationship with Yankton, Kickapoo, and others. And if any Native intellectual is unclear of her responsibilities or were never taught them, please, get a reality-check from the communities, Tribes, and Nations—all of whom our academic discipline owes its existence. Start with the people in Tohono O'odham. Start with one of the Tribal College presidents who tell me about what is occurring in their communities, including the loss of young people.