What if we celebrated Interdependence Day instead?
There are many good reasons why July 4th is a day for many to display their dissent against the colonial government and its “birthday”. Plainly, the protest is in response to the contradiction of celebrating “freedom for all”, while that sentiment couldn’t be further from the historical truth or present-day reality.
For Black, Indigenous, migrant, undocumented, and other marginalized communities, July 4th being “Independence Day” is a blatant lie. It’s just another Hallmark holiday for the wealthy to capitalize on, while really the holiday is a celebration of genocide, imperialism, and a continued legacy of both, packaged and sold in star-spangled branding. They even got kids donning red, white, and blue, attending parades to bookend their “pledge of allegiance” first learned in elementary school. It’s just nationalism, right? No big deal? I mean, who doesn’t love a good barbecue or excuse to get out in nature?
The 4th of You-Lie is The Farce of July.
And I won’t waste my precious breath trying to convince anyone otherwise. Google is free, and if you’re privileged enough to contest my declaration of dissent, I’ll bet you can educate yourself on why nationalism is a bad thing, why it’s gross to have children (inherently unable to consent) participating in it, and why celebrating the colonial settler state during the active genocide of marginalized people isn’t worth the sparklers, burgers, or freedom fries.
If the current state of the world has you concerned. I suggest you choose different moving forward.
Instead, I invite you to envision…
What would a celebration of Interdependence look like instead?
Imagine Land Back happened, and now tribal nations have sovereignty over the land in “the Americas” instead of the US government. Our lands are stewarded by experts of Indigenous knowledge, and communities are being guided by Indigenous people who live and breathe being in right relation to all our relations. Indigenous and First Nations people have lived in harmony with nature since their origins by having an ecocentric, animistic and interdependent relationship and approach to life and the natural world.
Instead of the “Amerikkkan Dream”:
-” Independence” (separateness, me, mine, myself, me first, me last, my profit, my success, my gains etc)
-capitalism (resource consumption, human exploitation & degradation to keep the poor, impoverished, and dying)
-hierarchal power structures
-anthropocentrism (man vs. animal, man separate from nature, man above all else)
-exploitation of the working poor (work, pay bills, breed more workers, and die pathline)
-ownership, private property
-systemic oppression (racism, classism, ableism etc)
-genocide, femicide, ecocide
-the climate crisis (also see: ecocide^)
-punitive justice systems
We could have communities and cultures centered on interdependence. Interdependence mirrors nature and the ecosystems that have self-maintained harmony and balance since the beginning of time.
The fact is, imperialism has existed for only < 1% of the time Earth has existed, and yet we are set to destroy all of the ecosystems that keep balance on this planet, sentencing every living being to perish in the foreseeable future.
The good news is that we live at a pivotal time where we can change our trajectory before the damage caused and our coinciding fates become irreversible.
But we cannot do so by employing the same colonial thinking and destructive mechanisms that got us here. We have to use what worked pre-colonialism to guide us toward post-colonialism. I’m talking Indigenous wisdoms and sciences, ways of being, communicating, and living. Indigenous values and stewardship.
Interdependence would celebrate:
-Rematriation of society (nurture in place of conquering)
-The sacredness of ecosystems
-The inherent worth and value of all beings (no “bad” or “pest” people/animals)
-Autonomy and natural consequences
-Our role as stewards of the environment
-Our place within the balance of all things
-Harmony with all our relations, communal responsibility
-Heart and spirit-driven cultures
-Acceptance, not desire
-Ecocentrism (centering the whole instead of the singular, not above or apart from nature, being within nature’s design)
-Communal resources, personal property
-Interdependence (we, us, our, togetherness)
People always ask me “what can we do instead?”, because I’m light-skinned, Black, Indigenous, and multi-marginalized. There are many things we can do instead. I encourage you to follow other Black and/or Indigenous organizers and activists too to see their calls to action, and I doubly encourage you to listen and follow through, especially with what our dark-skinned relatives have to say and are asking of the community… as their voices are the least respected or amplified. But since you all always ask:
I personally (am only one Black and Indigenous person, I can’t speak for us all) believe the most important thing we can do is begin shifting our consciousness to one of interdependence, intersectionality, and ecocentrism. If no reason else matters to you, then because our lives, liberties, and futures depend on it. And we must act on it, every chance we get, starting NOW.
I don’t know if we will see an Interdependence Day in my time nor a society that values Indigenous intelligence, but I hold on to that vision for our future relations and ancestors, be they plant spirits, animal relatives, or others because they and we deserve it.
Wholeness. Reciprocity. Harmony. Are our birthright.
How to begin? Study Indigenous wisdom, you may start with my favorite book, Braiding Sweetgrass. Challenge your colonial lens, habits, rituals, and ways you uphold its existence. RESIST. Change your relationship with all your relations to one that is centered in ecocentric interdependence.
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