Gaels United

“Ná téir i bhfolach laistair de cheo na bhfocal. Táimid caillte sa cheo chéanna sa bhfaill os cionn an locha, tabhair so lámh dom is treoraigh mé ón bpholl.”

And we lowly tribes fight each other? Make each other the Other? Have we ceased to be colonized, you and I? From one savage shore to another?

Deir tú ‘neamhspleáchas,’ a rá liom ‘fuascailt.’

AN SIONNACH FIONN

From “Driving A Wedge Within Gaeldom”, an article on the post-Medieval history of Ireland and Scotland featured in the magazine History Ireland:

“From earliest times Gaelic Ireland and Scotland, united by the sea, formed part of the same cultural, linguistic, religious, economic and political ethos. The cultural and linguistic homogeneity, together with the political instability of this North Channel World, alarmed central government. For the monarchs and their ministers—whether in Dublin, Edinburgh or London—regarded the economic, political and cultural distinctiveness of its inhabitants as ‘uncivilised’ and potentially corrosive to the English and Scots-speaking polities. They classified them as barbarians, rebels, and subversives intent on de-stabilising the peripheries of the Tudor and Stewart monarchies.

…contemporaries from the king down continued to regard the Gaelic Irish and, to a lesser extent, the Highlanders, both mentally and culturally as a lower form of humanity. They were savages and barbarians who had…

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is géilliúlacht bás. is féinrialach saol.

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I do not have the language for it.

But I will not give up or give in.

I offer no resistance.

I need no defense.

I have fired every round in my clip.

But my heart is still loaded.

An cuimhin leat?

Le chéile san fhoraois.

Ros Comáin.

An croí an fód ar an oileán.

Cé go bhfuil na Ghallaibh feall dúinn.

An bhfuil a croí buille fós laistigh tú?

settler futurity, cascadian bioregionalism, and those bastard irish

Tlingít Aani.  Haida Gwaii.  Sécwepemcul’ecw.  Chinook Illahee.  Nch’i-Wana.  Wy’east.  Ti’swaq.  Hisc’akwaleeas.  (4 homelands, 1 river, 3 mountains; respectively.  7 different languages)  And as the rainforest coast crawls down the map from Kayak Island to Usal Creek, all of the watersheds that flow out West from the continental divide have been vandalized by scrawling English, French, and Spanish ink.

Sécwepemcu'lecw

This place already has names.  So why do some of us call this place Cascadia?

I’ve been willing to defend the name before.  Right now, I only feel like defending the place.  That being said, a recent article, ‘Oh Cascadia…!  What are you, exactly?‘ is prompting me to explain why “Cascadia” means so much to some of us.  There is more to this place than meets the eye, and I’m still curious as to why some of the old bioregionalists have not been more forward and open in regards to their understanding of this place.  So for what it’s worth, I will explain the converging elements that have inspired the bioregional vision of this place: geomorphology, watersheds, ecological interdependence, and anti-globalization.

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Geomorphology.  The Cascadia Subduction Zone literally pushes Cape Mendocino(sic) up into the sky, and fractures northwards past Vancouver(sic) Island into the “Queen Charlotte(sic) Triple Junction” which shatters against the Continental Divide at it’s intersection with the Aleutian trench in the neighborhood of Galyá x Kwáan and Laa xaayík Kwáan at the Northern tip of Tlingít Aani.

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This uplift from 60˚N down to 40˚N creates the worlds largest, and dare I say most magnificent, temperate rainforest all along the Northeast Pacific Rim, rain shadowing the Great Plains of Turtle Island.

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To this living geological phenomenon has been attached a name from a dead language.  To this name has been attached the wildest dreams of it’s native born and refugees alike.  And to the chagrin of these dreamers, to this name has been attached opportunistic marketing schemes and cheap politicizing.  And now a pseudo-nationalism that is beginning to trudge ignorantly forward in a way that certainly risks a neocolonial invisiblization of Indigenous People and place names, as if the primary colonial invisiblization wasn’t bad enough.  (notice in the picture below Hawai’i and Kodiak Island randomly added to so-called Cascadia.  WTF?  Go back to playing D&D or Settlers! of Catan.)

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So why do we Cascadian’s take this risk?  It has become a term loaded with connotations of settler futurity and re-colonization.

Watersheds.  The violence instigated by colonial mapmakers cannot be overstated.  And this recognition has lead to the poetic dream of “el mundo sin fronteras” – a world without borders.  After a number of remarkably unpleasant experiences with “international” border pigs, I am more than sympathetic towards the abolition of the current global police state.  However, there is something to be said about ‘healthy boundaries’, and isn’t that borderless world also the fulfillment of the neoliberal globalist’s ultimate violation imperative?  Catch 22?  Or is there a way to respect local communities and their place-based values without relying on the militarization of colonial chalk marks?

I see two options and I advocate for both.  Indigenous Nationhood and watershed autonomy.  Now first, these two acts of boundary defining must be seen as incommensurable.  I have seen some interpretations of Cascadia by well-meaning bioregional activists that amount to colonial equivocations, specifically “Cascadia=Chinook Illahee.”  Sorry.  Bioregional Cascadia is defined by watersheds created through geomorphological processes.  The homeland of the Chinook Nation should not be equivocated with a regional description from a trade language (chinuk wawa- which is now evolved and living as the Native tongue of a confederated Tribe), let alone a plurinational bioregional vision of an ecologically integral land base that far exceeds the Chinook homeland geographically.

The purpose of defining watersheds as interdependent and autonomous is to decenter both state sovereignty and anthropocentrism  in order to facilitate the process of ecological restoration.  From a Cascadian bioregional perspective, this broad-based restoration work is needed as the material basis for Indigenous Nationhood to supplant state sovereignty.  This place has been devastated, and the responsibility of putting the mess back together should not fall on the shoulders of Indigenous Peoples alone.  The bioregional vision of Cascadia has been based on restoration since the beginning.  This is not about reconciliation.  The restoration work needed has already begun, and must be carried out on a bioregional scale if it is to be effective.

Indigenous Nationhood is none of my business.  Irish Nationhood is.  However, practical solidarity, Nation-to-Nation, is necessary to create that “500 mice” scenario that can confront the ‘United Global Empire’; call it capitalism, totalitarian socialism, universalism, or neo-whaterverism.  It is on this basis that some of us are theorizing  decolonial bioregionalism that would reflect the Indigeneity of each particular place, centering the Indigenous People of each particular place, replacing settler law with Indigenous governance.  Bioregional decolonization is a practical process and a theoretical construct that describes the relationship of a settler population to Indigenous governance.  Without this narrative, Indigenous Nationhood faces unnecessary challenges and runs the risk of becoming ethno-nationalism.

Am I advocating some form a settler futurity?  No, but I feel such a risk needs to be confronted directly.  If bioregionalism cannot be theorized in accordance with the Indigenous laws and epistemologies of each particular place, it will further settler colonialism and is a form of re-colonization.  Bioregionalism must therefore be a construct wherein, following Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, settler populations become “immigrant populations beholden to the Indigenous laws and epistemologies of the the lands they migrate to.”  Or in many cases, that their ancestors migrated to as settlers years ago.  This vision of Cascadian bioregionalism is seen as promising by Indigenous and settler folk alike, and is the basis of the collaborative project Autonomy Cascadia: A Journal of Bioregional Decolonization

Herein, a watershed can be seen as a self-defined common ground, used to confront colonial borders without breaching the boundaries of Indigenous Nations.  If the watersheds of Cascadia were mapped, and the Indigenous Nations of Cascadia were mapped, they would be incommensurable, but potentially complementary.  Maps have been made that mix these two views, and I feel they are overtly neocolonial.  Cascadia, in it’s most basic definition, is simply a handful of watersheds that are connected ecologically.

Ecological Interdependence.  One of the most compelling reasons to embrace a bioregional view of Cascadia is the recognition that no watershed is an island.  And for that matter, nor is any Nation….just kidding!  At least in Cascadia, the ecology of this place has always fostered a plurinational interdependence.  Call it the “grease trail.”  The dams on the Deschutes(sic) river flowing just down the street from where I am typing these words are part of the reasons why the fishery has collapsed off the coast of Vancouver(sic) Island and my Nuu-Chah-Nulth friends have been deprived of their livelihood.  Ecologically, dam removals within the Columbia(sic!) watershed benefit all the West Coast Indigenous populations to the north, as the Salmon migration flows along the Pacific rim.  Technically speaking, this would be of no benefit to the Lakotah or the Arapaho east of the Continental Divide which demarcates Cascadia.  Nor does it help anyone in the Great Basin, which further demarcates Cascadia.  In this way, we can see Cascadia defined as being ecologically autonomous to a large degree by itself, and profoundly ecologically interdependent within itself.  We Cascadian dreamers see this as a way for ecology to triumph over colonial borders and neoliberal economic models.

Anti-globalization.  Bioregional theorizing is not the property of white men.  This movement is very much alive in the global South, and has evolved along with the world-wide resistance to globalization.  It has been a “fellow-traveler(sic)” with Zapatismo and Indigenous resistance in the global North.  It has stood in opposition to both capitalism and Marxism, anti-globalist ethno-nationalisms, and neoliberal universalism.  Bioregionalism allows for ecology to set up natural boundaries and requires human beings to respect them.  It is no coincidence that Indigenous Peoples have been doing the same thing for millennia, and have described Indigenous ways as being “bioregional.”  If a common ground is needed for humanity to stand up against the global empire and win, then work laid by bioregional movements over the past 50 years may certainly be our best practical option.  I challenge the reader to prove me otherwise.  Bioregional visions truly seek to create that “world where many worlds fit.”  Cascadia is an expression of the bioregional imagination and an observation about ecology, and the ‘beer bottle secessionists’ are appropriative and neocolonial.  Let’s not let them have the final say.

LaAutonomia900

The Fenian Invasions of Canada.

In an attempt to disable the British Empire, the Irish invaded Canada 5 times between 1866 and 1871.  Some say it was this pressure that led to the formation of the Canadian State and a sense of Canadian nationalism.  Oops.  Sorry.  This was at a time before the Irish were granted “white privilege” by the US, but were of course mass cannon fodder for the US military.  These invasions were coordinated with uprisings back in Ireland, that of course were massive failures.  The Irish have been directly, often quite illegally and materially, involved in anti-colonial struggles on most every continent on this planet (ask the Iraqi resistance where they learned to fight).  For a long time now, it has been clear to us the the fight for Irish freedom is inextricable from the liberation and autonomy of all the small Nations of this planet.  And this is true today more than ever.

I bring this up mainly to contextualize why a certain handful of “fellow Irishmen” are so captivated by Cascadian bioregionalism.  It still centers around British(sic) Columbia(sic) and reflects our ambivalence towards the Republican empire to the South which, once we “became white,” many of us benefited from profoundly.  The BC Treaty process strikes an ancestral chord deep in the Irish soul.  And alternatives to this process are something we cannot feel completely disconnected with.  And what can I say about disgust with a failed Republic!?

So when all hope is lost, the Irish take to dreaming.  We’re a Nation of dreamers.  We tried to lure the settlers onto our side in our fight to liberate our Island from colonialism. Why do you think Orange is on the Irish flag?  We said to them “aren’t we all Irish anyhow” and they said they were still Scots.  OK.  Lesson learned.  But even that dream is still alive, and it will never die as long as 26+6=1.  And if those Scots get their own country back in September of 2014….well.

And what you think “Republic” of Cascadia, or Cascadia “Free State” mean to us Irish.  Seriously!  Both notions have cost us buckets of blood, and for what?  WE NEED TO DO BETTER!  We need our dreams to go wild, then dream big or go home(sic).  And the bioregional decolonization of Cascadia is an unwritten future.  Practical enough to return stolen land, and quixotic enough for the Irish to want to join the fight.

So in direct response to Ms. Sally McCoy, Cascadia is a place, not a state of the mind or a State in waiting.  That other Mick will tell you as much.  But I will tell you that this place exists in a context.  One of settler colonialism, global empire, and ecological collapse.  Cascadia is stolen land, and the bioregionalists want to give this place back, both because it’s the right thing to do, and because the fight for our own places has been global for a while now.

I am writing this 1/2 mile from where I was born, just up hill from the river in Bend, Oregon(sic) with a full view of the mountains where I drink water straight from the creek.  “Privilege” is an understatement when it comes to being born in a place so beautiful.  The river meets waters from Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Wyoming, and B.C. (sic, et. al.) where there was once the greatest Salmon fishery in the world.  And if my life isn’t wasted, it will be again.  This just isn’t a webfoot phenomenon.

Oh, and Paul Schell is neither a bioregionalist nor a Cascadian.

irish blues – an taobh mícheart ar an domhan

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Cé hiad na anamacha créachtaithe a bheadh ​​a chur ar an teanga ó mo bhéal? Éigniú gach duine breá liom mar atá mé adh? Tóg amach mo lámha agus a thabhairt dom arán goidte? Lig mo chroí dul ocras, agus adhlacadh mo corp tuartha i dtalamh goidte? Is é an t-am go luath, nuair a bheidh mo fhírinne adh a bhraith cosúil le céad míle ciorruithe scian ag gach duine a dhéanamh dom a chaitheamh a n-bróga.

Frantz Fanon agus Díchoiliniú

By Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh

‘Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds’- Bob Marley, Redemption Song

Tháinig an líne chlúiteach seo ó amhrán iomráiteach de chuid Bob Marley chun solais dom ag deireadh na seachtaine agus mé ag comhdháil Eorpach i bPáras. Comhdháil ar leith a bhí ann ag déanamh comóradh 50 bliain ar bhás Frantz Fanon. Is mar shíceolaí, teoiricí réabhlóideach agus fealsúnaí is mó atá iomrá ar Fanon a d’imir ról ceannasaíochta sa ghluaiseacht réabhlóideach san Algéir sna caogaidí agus luathseascaidí. D’éag Fanon de bharr Lukemia ag aois 36 agus d’fhág smaointe s’aige rian cinniúnach ar ghluaiseachtaí cultúrtha agus polaitiúla ar fud na cruinne ó shin i leith. Tá clú go háirithe ar an leabhar deireanach a scríobh sé, The Wretched of the Earth, a thug léargas glinn dúinn ar tionchar neamhthrócaireach an choilíneachais agus an chiníochais ar a gcuid íobartach. Níos tábhachtaí, áfach, leag sé fís chumachtach agus radacach amach faoin streachailt dhíchoilínithe atá ag teastáil chun dul i ngleic leis an dídhaonnú a shíolraíonn ón phróiseas choilíneach.  

Dar le Fanon go raibh trí chéim ar leith arbh éigean dul tríd sa phróiseas díchoilínithe. Ar dtús, bhí ar na bundúchasaigh aithint go ndearnadh comhshamhlú iomlán orthu ag an chumhacht forghabhála; sa dara céim, go mbeadh ar intleachtóirí dúchasacha pilleadh ar an stair s’acu agus ar thábhacht an chultúir dhúchais; agus sa chéim dheireanach go ndéantar iarracht mhór chun na bundúchasaigh a hathmhuscailt agus a spreagadh trí athbheochan chultúrtha agus litríochta. Más rud é go n-éiríonn leis an athbheochan chultúrtha seo i gcomhthéacs an choilíneachais, dar le Fanon, spreagfar streachailt níos leithne ar son fuascailte agus neamhspleáchais náisiúnta. ‘To fight for national culture’ arsa Fanon, ‘means first and foremost to fight for the liberation of the nation, that material keystone which makes the building of a culture possible’.

Sa chaint a thug mise ag comhdháil Fanon i bPáras, d’úsáid mé an sainmhíniú ar an díchoilíniú thuas chun cur síos a dhéanamh ar athbheochan na Gaeilge in Éirinn ó Chonradh na Gaeilge go hÉirí Amach na Cásca in 1916. Lena chois sin, le neart samplaí ó dhíograiseoirí a ghlac páirt san athbheochan chomhaimseartha sna blianta i ndiaidh na Stailce Ocrais in 1981, thagair mé don rian idé-eolaíoch atá ag smaointeoireacht Fanon go fóill anuas go dtí an lá inniu. D’éist mé le cainteoirí eile ó Fhrainc, ón Phalaistín, Meiriceá aáidíneach, an Nigéir, An Afraic Theas agus pobal gorm Mheiriceá Thuaidh ag déanamh compáraidí comhchosúla ag baint feidhme as teoiricí Fanon chun stair agus polaitíocht logánta s’acu a chíoradh.

Mar sin féin, an chaint is mó a chuaigh i bhfeidhm orm, ná an méid a bhí le rá ag saineolaí ar an Afraic Theas a bhain úsáid as rabhadh dorcha Fanon ar chontúirtí an nuachoilíneachais. Scríobh Fanon go raibh baol ollmhór ann go dtiocfadh aicme de ‘náisiúntóirí buirgéiseacha’ chun cinn tar éis do ‘neamhpléachas foirmeálta’ teacht i gcrích a bheadh ag cur i bhfeidhm córas chomh éagothrom céanna leis an ré choilíneach. Léirigh sé gurb amhlaidh atá an scéal in Afraic Theas Nua an lae inniu ina bhfuair daoine an chéad chun vótáil ach ní an comhionannas eacnamaíochta ar gealladh daofa. D’fhorbair aicme shabhir ghorm sa ré úr agus d’ardaigh an t-anró agus bochtánas don chosmhuintir is boichte sa tréimhse chéanna. Is le croí trom a chuir an chainteoir síos ar na círéibeanna fíochmara uisce agus leictreachais in 2005 nuair a chuir rialtas an ANC cos ar bholg ar gach aon fheachtasaíocht ar son ceart bunúsach. Léirigh Fanon go raibh difear idir ‘neamhspleáchas’ agus ‘fuascailt’ agus gur ghá bheith airdeallach ar an fhíric seo. Is cinnte go bhfuil fís dhíchoilíneach chun fuascailte s’aige chomh feiliúnach sa lá inniu agus a bhí ariamh gach aon áit ina bhfuil rian an choilíneachais le mothú go fóill.

nazi scum: your time will come

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Union Jack.  Klan outfit.  Vancouver, B.C.  It all makes sense if you’re Irish.  But the new breed of white nationalist in the PNW is grasping at straws now.  You know who they are.  I will not link to their site, but it rhymes with “Fourth Chest Runt.”  And I know now how sick “cultural appropriation” feels.  I want to puke….in their faces.  If you can stomach it, look up their page called “promotional graphics.”  Ripping off the Irish.  Ripping off the Cascadians.  And that’s all I am.

Are they baiting me?  This hits way too close to home.  I now feel I have license to tear these bastards a new asshole.  But, the voice of Pema Chödrön rings in my ears: “Don’t bite the hook.

“But Pema” I say, “they took the Cascadian rebel flag and the Irish rebel flag, mixed them together, and turned it into a symbol for WHITE NATIONALISM!  They’ve crossed a line with me, and now they have it coming.  Nazi scum deserve nothing but to get their ignorant heads bashed in!”

“Keep breathing and think for a second.  Angry and Irish is a stereotype that you don’t have to fall for every time.” says Pema.  “And besides, they just want attention.  So don’t give it to them.  You know as well as I that no one has even seen one of them, and that it’s more than likely just a cheap counter-insurgency tactic being used by those in power against the Bioregional Movement, because they know it has mass appeal and a legal leg to stand on, because most of B.C. is unceded, stolen land.  They know that racism is as good as dead in the Pacific Northwest, if we ignore the institutionalized racism written into the white supremacist US constitution and the Indian Act, so they’re just using a straw-man to discredit you and your friends.”

“I know Pema” I say, “though I don’t think you can ignore institutionalized white supremacy.  Especially if your skin ain’t the color of talcum.  And racism against the Indigenous people here is alive and well, probably because so many settlers feel guilty for living on stolen land.  You should hear the things that come out of their mouths sometimes.  So don’t tell me racism is dead.  And they have the audacity to appropriate the Irish revolutionary struggles for their fake and pathetic ‘white’ nationalism.  Real Irish people know they’re not white.  Even Sherman Alexie called us ‘the black people of Europe.’  We know how horrible and illegitimate racism is.  The British practically invented racism, and we were their guinea pigs.  They sent us to Barbados as slaves along with Africans, and we had our own Civil RIghts movement in the 1960’s for the same reasons as in the American south.  We were second class citizens, because those bastards invented something called ‘Race’.”

“I know this stuff.  But if you hate these poor fools, you’re only going to feed their martyr complex.  You know as well as I that most people who fall for ‘white nationalism’ are just marginalized people who blame everyone but those in power for their lower-class lives.” Pema says, rolling her eyes.

“Those in power, who are mostly white!  Idiots!” I blurt.  “I can feel sorry for them all I want, but they took a Bobby Sands quote and replaced it with their racist propaganda.  They need to PAY for that one.  And those bastards had the guts to pervert ‘Tiocfaidh ár lá’ with their ‘our day will come’ and ‘our time is now’ crap.  That’s a slap in the face of my People.  My Nation.  We come from a real place, and we have our own language, our own stories, and an 844 year fight against the same kind of colonialism perpetrated by racist bastards just like these idiots.  And their horse-shit ‘white nationalism’ is a slap in the face of all the Indigenous Nations of the Cascadian bioregion who everyday face REAL struggles to survive as Nations with their languages and their culture’s millennia-long relationship with their homelands.  I can handle a smear campaign against Cascadians, we are a bunch of dreamers.  But don’t mess with us Irish.  These wannabes are the worst of all settler scum!  I HATE THEM, I HATE THEM, I HATE THE, I HATE THEM!!!!!  In fact, I’m posting this picture”:

keep-calm-and-kill-nazi-scum

“Casey Bryan Corcoran!” Pema nearly raises her voice.  “I don’t mean to sound like your mother, but you know better!  They WANT you to hate them.  They are sad and wounded, and all they want is attention.”

“Not to mention pathetic, and completely off their rockers!” says I.

“Sure.  But some people think you and your Cascadian friends are off your rockers.”

“Hey, watch it Pema.”

“My point is, if you Cascadians get all riled up about an opportunistic, nearly invisible minority, you will be the ones making them visible.  And that’s what they want, assuming they actually exist and aren’t just some counter-intelligence front cooked up by the Feds to smear you all as racists.  So do you really want to play into their hands?”

I sigh, knowing she’s right.  “But if we don’t say something, then they will smear us.  We need to stop them, NOW!  And I did that interview with that controversial Keith Preston guy, not to mention the fact that I am an Irish Nationalist.  And so many of my friends are Indigenous Nationalists.  I’m a sitting duck for an ANTIFA smear campaign, or a media smear campaign.  But we have our languages.  We are REAL Nations.  And none of these colonial bastards can erase this or take from us who we really are.  They just call themselves ‘Nationalists’ even though they don’t have Nations to speak of, unless they figure out who their REAL ancestors are, which would show them that ‘white nationalism’ is just one more colonial rape of who they really are.”

“True.”  Pema breathes deeply.  Exhales.  Again.  “Maybe you should drop the word ‘nationalist.’  Nationhood and ‘nationalism’ are two different things.”

“But ‘Nationhood-ism’ sounds stupid.  And Nation comes from the same root word as ‘native,’ and these crackers are NOT native.  Why the hell should these idiots even be allowed to use that word without being publicly mocked for their  laughable use of language.”  I argue.

“Well, this is the English language we’re talking about.  And you’re not Native, so why can you use the word Nation?  Huh?”

I don’t hesitate, “I know my place and my language.  Nation!  I hope that word unsettles you.  Even though the place where I was born is not my place, I remember that the reason I am here now is because my ancestors went through the same colonial onslaught that the Indigenous people here experienced.  And this colonialism is ongoing.  The racist assimilation of settler colonialism cannot and will not erase my Nation.  And we are still fighting colonialism back home.  Ireland was just basically sold to the Germans, and we have capitalism to thank for that.  All of our struggles are connected now.  We’re all fighting the same global economy.  But don’t take me for a Marxist either.  Nothing could be more colonial and illegitimate than their ‘scientific materialism.’  Nazis, Commies, Capitalists.  Our ancestors were none of these.  But all of them were bioregionalists, even thought they didn’t need that word.  And the land I now live on is not my land, and never will be.  So I’m a Cascadian bioregionalist, and an Irish….Nationhood-ist.”

“Breathe,” Pema says, “and quit talking like a bad political propaganda novel.  Get out of your head.”

“You get out of my head!  I’m imagining you for this blog post!” I rightly quip.  “I just want to make it clear that this unsettled Irish….Nationhood-ist has 844 years of pissed off ancestors, and I don’t know how long I can hold them back if they decide to open a can of whoop-ass with these ‘Fourth Chest Runt’ fools.  And the Indigenous people who’s homeland this REALLY is  might not back down from a fight either.”

Give it up fools.  Find out who you really are.  You are not white.  No one is.