s 17: Decolonizing the Mind

April 5-June 21, 2017 (12 weeks)

Wednesdays 6-9 PM PST

In accepting the premise of colonization and working towards decolonization, we are not relegating ourselves to a status as victims. On the contrary, we are actively working toward our own freedom to transform our lives and the world around us. The project that begins with our minds, therefore, has revolutionary potential.

Waziyatawin & Michael Yellow Bird, “Beginning Decolonization”

Course Description

What do contemporary processes of decolonization, self-determination, and sovereignty look like? How can we literally decolonize social justice and revolutionary movements? And all of the spaces and places within this imperialist settler colony, for that matter. This is one of the most important learning edges of our time. The very health and continued existence of the Earth and all our relations depends upon on our immediate attention to this matter. This course centers Indigenous voices, cosmologies, and social and political movements in order to begin to answer the above questions. Through film, poetry, news clips, music, essays, and other forms of storytelling, we will develop tools for understanding major issues and current controversies involving the struggle for the self-determination of Indigenous peoples within the territorial U.S. and the land bases effected by the reach of U.S. empire. Overall, this course offers a site to get your mind right. Let the unlearning, remembering, and imagining begin.

Note: You might not ‘get’ everything we cover this season. That’s both okay & to be expected. We’ll try to honor cultural & other forms of incommensurability (i.e. that not all meaning is translatable). Also, not every resource will likely be as evocative or as impactful to you as all the others. After all, this season invites us into a solidarity practice with integrity. So it’s not all about any one of us. Indeed, we shouldn’t each be the intended audience nor center of every resource. If you feel like a piece doesn’t ‘speak to you,’ please take this as all the more reason to try to learn from it. With this possibility in mind, let’s try to expand our horizons together.

Schedule: (subject to change)

1: Introduction to season

2: Unsettling Ourselves: Reflections & Resources for Deconstructing Colonial Mentality p 1-11

3: Hawai’i vs. US ImperialismJourney to Justice: A Conversation w/ Dr. Haunani Kay Trask (videos)

4: Unsettling Ourselves 42-46, 54-56

5: Decolonizing the Colonizer Sakej Ward (video)

6: Unsettling Ourselves 90-92, 104-106, 117-118

7:  Radio Bikini & 13 Things I Learned at Kaho’olawe (videos)

8: Unsettling Ourselves 152-155, 157-158

9: The Psychic Landscape of Contemporary Colonialism Dr. Taiaiake Alfred (video)

10: Unsettling Ourselves 119-127

11: Red Skin, White Masks. Unsettling Conversations, Unmaking Racisms & Colonialism  Dr. Glen Coulthard (video)

12: Decolonising the Mind Intro Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (audio)

decolonize-oakland poster

artwork by Dignidad Rebelde (with permission)


Liberation Spring is exactly what I was looking for before I dared let myself imagine it: a space where my full self is welcomed, nourished, necessary. A place to unlearn and learn that centers indigenous women and women of color’s genius and is fiercely decolonial. A community dedicated to healing from violent paradigms that would have us separate our minds from our bodies from our spirits from each other. A project whose aim is nothing less than our collective liberation. An invitation to step into my/our power, grow my/our knowledge and skills, and set my/our imaginations wild and free. Because we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. So what are we waiting for?

― T.A.