We are in the process of finalizing a printing project called Autonomy Cascadia: A Journal of Bioregonal Decolonization.
This journal is a call out to all those who live in this place who are taking their lives back from the thieves who would control all that is wild and free. You know who you are. The time has come to gather by the fire and tell our stories. There is not one of us here living free from the shadow of the colonization of our ancestors, and the struggle of carrying this weight is coming to an end. The Earth is exhausted and so are we.
There is no doubt that we live in perilous times. From the global economy trembling unsteadily as it forces it’s way into every last corner of the Earth, to the collapsing and shifting ecologies of all the places we call home, we know that the future gives us little to cling to. Even those of us who have fought for our freedom and sovereignty are being displaced again by a system designed to grow like a cancer, giving no one the peace and place to simply live. Nothing can take root when the soil of our communities is plowed over and over again.
But nothing can last forever. It has become impossible to avoid the consequences of the colonization of the whole Earth by a system alienated from it. We are the decedents of 221 years of colonization. 521 years of colonization. 842 years of colonization. Yet we can look back to the forests of Mesopotamia and see beneath today’s deserts that the colonization of the Earth began thousands of years ago. And there must be even more to remember that feels completely lost to us today. But in it’s own way, the entire story of the Earth is living with us still, moment to moment.
This is a call out to the Indigenous of Raven’s Bioregion, the place we call Cascadia. And this is a call out to the displaced of Raven’s Bioregion. Why are we all here together now? What are the reasons? What is your story? Were your ancestors beaten for speaking their language, be it Tlingit, Irish, Nuu-Chah-Nulth, Finnish, Sahaptin, Bohemian, Montana Salish, Yoruba? They were, even if you don’t know it. Did your ancestors starve to death when there was plenty of food to go around? Were they beaten and sent to their deaths for stealing a plum or a loaf of bread? They were, even if you don’t know it. Were the forests they lived in cut down and the rivers emptied of salmon? Are there now fish farms poisoning the waters instead? Yes and yes.
We insist that the bioregional movement here in Cascadia create strength with the movements for Indigenous Nationhood. This land is stolen land, and no ecological philosophy can ignore this.
Are you resisting the B.C. treaty process and feeling isolated from your community? Are you learning the language of your ancestors? Are you blockading a road or living in a tree sit soaked in rain and feeling alone? Are you reading Fanon while sitting in prison? We want to hear from you, because you are not alone and we are all here for a reason.
All of our stories stand in defiance of the lies told by the dominant culture, each one a drop in the flood that can wash away a system dying of it’s own disease. Decolonization is a process that is both unique to each of us as individuals, and it will be a process of creation and destruction that is shared by the people of each place. Cascadia is one place, and what we all do here together will impact other places throughout the world, just as we take heart and courage from the stories of resilience that come to us from Chiapas, Murrawharri, Patagonia, Aotearoa, Cúige Uladh, The Niger Delta, Chechnya. All places with lives of their own, all with a diversity of human beings finding themselves together in a place.
So what story will we tell together here in this land of rain forests and salmon and mountains and wolves and water crashing through us all?
We want to hear your story. We can and will use this journal together as a forum for cutting academic analysis of the ongoing colonialism being perpetrated throughout the watersheds we call home. But it is up to the simple storytellers to bring decolonization to our daily lives. This project is starting honestly and slowly with what we have, and it can grow with time into an expression of the beauty and strength of our lives together here in this place.
We start with stories. Then interviews, critical essays, book and film reviews. And please send us art inspired by this place! We will make most everything available on the digital interweb, but this project is also an attempt to honor the traditions of the radicle printing press. So art! We especially like Raven art for some reason.
If you have a story to contribute about your lived experience in this place, contact us: Autonomy Cascadia