- A Queer Indigenous Manifesto
Wander with me a bit as I tack between my moving locations, grounded intersectionalities, and activist theories and practices to name and claim forms of queer resistance, inspired by Indigenous knowledges of life and land. Let this move mobilize a manifesto of queer Indigenous futurity. I feel it like moving between inhale and exhale: inhaling, I share experience of my engagement with queer family across recent Trump protest activities; exhaling, I reflect on the settler consciousness that informs forms of resistance. The breath is the constant reminder that we are literally constituted through our relations as with every breath we are “becoming-other.”1 We inhale particles of dust, earth, stone; oxygen from trees and plants; the breath and bodily scents of humans, birds, reptiles, four-leggeds; exhaust from vehicles and industry. We exhale our selves, our particles, water, our CO2 that become part of “all our relations,” those connectivities that “in Native thought, place and the four elements of life—water, fire, earth, wind” as “relatives to the Indigenous human world.”2 This observation about breath intends to set an Indigenous frame on this writing and invite readers to join me in breathing and becoming-in-relation, through the pulp of the page, the glow of the computer, and an engagement with the animacy of the life within and around you.
A manifesto is a “published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of . . . an individual, group, political party or government,”3 which [End Page 93] draws on previously published documentation to promote changes and state the commitments of a community. I call this writing a manifesto with the intent that the queer QED community declare its intentions to align our vision, actions, and interventions with Indigenous struggles for life and land. QED, the journal’s editors explain, references “that which had to be demonstrated”4—a connotation that accentuates the journal’s commitment to praxis. In creating a queer Indigenous manifesto, I merge theory and activist practice to mobilize such an emphasis on praxis that sees reversing the ongoing processes of Indigenous erasure—and foregrounding Indigenous theory and activism—as its central project.
What kind of decolonial politics might we imagine and mobilize at this historic juncture, in which we find the mask of the U.S. settler nation state torn from its hinges? I want to expand the metaphorical and material grounds of a queer Indigenous politics that works through radical and alternative forms of relationality, land, and family. This work, in part, entails interrogating and remaking our various relationships to land and its dis/possession. As I reckon with my identity as a queer settler indigenous-identified Xicana, I wrangle with the incommensurate forces, affective and material investments, and commitments that shape all-my-relations. This labor leads me to practice ways of being in the world that are organized through alternative relational structures and in aligning my political praxis with Native political projects and sensibilities.
When we stepped onto the Metro with 100,000 others to protest this regime of hate under Trump, the passengers began a round of Woodie Guthrie’s, “This Land is Your Land.” It was January 23, 2017, the day a Million Women Marched in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Chicago, New York—and countless medium and small cities around the country. And this doesn’t even count the actions around the globe, like the thousands who poured into the dusty streets of Granada, Nicaragua, where our queer kin live. The song rose and then faded, like a passing gust of wind. It might have become a more sustained gale, like the Santa Ana winds that sweep through the Los Angeles basin; instead it just tickled the hair of my five-year-old daughter, who heard it and tucked her head into the wing of my neck and hair. “This Land is Your Land, this land is my land, from California to the New York Island. From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters. This land was made for you and me.” Perhaps the song lost steam because of its vexed history as a protest that was revised to acquiesce to the...