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Introduction to Journal 1

by Melinda Kachina Bige

Welcome to our open access Journal. Like all things, the journal came out of a vision from community minded Indigenous folks. These folks took a community course I offered by donation in the spring of 2018. Coupled with a few classes I was teaching at KPU. Like many Indigenous and POC instructors, I sometimes (quite often) encounter students who are aggressively against anti-racism in the form I choose to teach. Coupled with some incredibly vocal and active students in my class, I find it challenging to bask in the joy of the students who take leadership, because those who decry anti-racism. I wanted to find a way to acknowledge the struggles of the former and continue to pay the appropriate tribute to students doing the work and inspiring those around them. 

In the community course Indigenous students brainstormed about so many things. Joanne Ward brought about the idea of starting a magazine. She brought in one she had found, that inspired her. We spent a great deal of time talking in this community course about what an Indigenous led publication would look like: Amei-lee Laboucan, Alex, Brianna, Thea and Joanne had planned to hit the ground running on this idea and focus almost entirely on Indigenous publications. Our friend Joanne passed that Summer very shortly after the end of the course. This idea sat on the back burner for some time afterward, while we all grieved our friend.

Though this first edition is not the big bolstering idea we had formulated in the beginning, it is a start. The papers collected here were inspired. You will find two themes among this brief 1st Journal. One is of various perspectives on one’s own proximity to the land, and identity. How both of these are tied into one another and the systemic erasure of Indigenous people. The 2nd themes are various critical perspectives on special topics. All of the 6 papers are from hard working academics, all of non-Indigenous backgrounds discussing Indigenous topics. 

The reason I wanted to share these student essays is so that others can see the conversations that are being had in the classroom. Further, how there are people taking responsibility for their ancestral effects of the land they exist upon. My hopes that this leads to not only a conversation about #landback but also to the repatriation of land back to its original owners by invaders and settlers alike. Coming to know that land is not simply a commodity, but something with many spirits, memories, a helper and teacher. I hope this will lead to a deeper responsibility the wider communities come to embody. We can not understand this depth until we know who our ancestors are, what they have done, and what our role is to right historical wrongs, and reset the balance of the planet, beginning by coming to know and then action rooted in accountability.

I hope you enjoy, and I hope you take action.

Hiy hiy, Marsi cho,

Melinda Kachina Bige

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