Spring 17: Decolonizing the Mind

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


As I sit and reflect on my favorite aspects of our Liberation collective…Consciousness raising. Love. Positivity. Awareness. Sharing. Nourishing. Consideration. Powerful. Soulful. Openness. Safe. Dedication. Helpful. Knowledgeable. Supportive. Information. Connection. Revolution.  Awakening. United. Accountability. Community. Uplifting. Respect. Liberating. Diligent. And Effectiveness are a few characteristics that flow through my mind. We are new wave feminist. We are activist. We are artivist. We are environmentalist. We are on a path of spreading righteousness. I deeply feel this is just the beginning…

I feel utmost grateful for the resources and personal experiences that are constantly exchanged during our gatherings. From the care we put into nourishing one another to a member intentionally initiating our spark of the evening, each session is truly therapeutic. Meeting with these lovely folks is the highlight of my week. We are jointly deepening our understanding of systemic oppression, the hurtful effects of colonialism, capitalism, imperialism, and removing the layers of mental slavery.

Our main facilitator is a breathing and high vibrating collection of encyclopedias. This phenomenal woman’s wealth of knowledge is as deep as Badwater Basin, high as Mount Whitney, and wide as the Milky Way. Anjali’s dedication to educating is a blessing and inspirational. She is deeply in touch with her existence and ancestry; superbly supportive in our individual awakening journeys as well as collectively. She has been a pivotal partner in my journey of uncovering and relearning the history of my ancestry and my power. I feel eternal gratitude for this collective.  – Tyler Morgan

tyler