We’re on our way to Seattle tomorrow, then on to UBC for the Decolonizing Cascadia? conference (we’d better remedy those beer bottle borders! When did Tlingit Aani fall into the sea?). I’ve been thinking long and hard about this decolonization business, and it is quite staggering how this word is thrown around so lightly. But how can an autonomous bioregion be a colony? It can’t! No way! So it’s interesting that Bioregional Decolonization is now on the wikipedia (wasn’t me!?). I can hardly think of a more fruitful combination, and after spending the past few days pouring over maps of traditional territory and comparing those with the best maps of bioregional Cascadia, I’m kind of floored at how the bioregion matches Indigenous inhabitation with about 95% accuracy (assuming we wanted to build a wall around the place, we’d only have 5% Indigenous Cascadian “East Germans”. Good Lord, do people really do things like that?)
I’m finishing up an essay for a new Cascadia zine from Portland all about such things. And it seems a print journal exploring bioregional decolonization is in the works. The story of this place as a whole makes the words “genocidal bloodbath” seem weak. It’s no “hippie” exaggeration, and I’m not just talking about smallpox. But the one thing that is for certain is that this place will have the final say. Even if it’s the earthquakes and tidal waves that beat us all to the punchline, the Empire will die in this land. We’re out of patience, and they are out of gas.
I doubt that most of the things we take for granted will still be such an influence a decade from now, so stepping out of the box and letting ourselves be “visionary” is probably the wisest thing we can do, even if we sound naive or idealistic. I think our future is going to collide with ancient history soon, and that will be a game changer.
I don’t know. Sometimes history leaves me speechless. The beauty of this land is so completely opposite of the nightmare that has befallen it. And they say everything happens for a reason? Well, I’m looking forward to finding out what that is.