Emboldening Native Peoples to step into their role as hosts of the land (Interview with Mark Charles, 2020 Independent Presidential Candidate, Part 2)
This is a conversation on Green Dreamer with Kamea Chayne, a podcast and multimedia journal illuminating our paths towards ecological balance, intersectional sustainability, and true abundance and wellness for all. This preview has been edited for clarity. Subscribe to Green Dreamer Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or any podcast app to stay informed and updated on our latest episodes.
Mark Charles (@wirelesshogan) is a dual citizen of the U.S. and the Navajo Nation who is running as an Independent candidate for President of the United States in 2020. His 2020 campaign vision is to build a nation where 'We the People' truly means 'All The People'.
Mark is also a speaker, writer, and consultant on the complexities of American history, race, culture, and faith. He is the author of the blog Reflections from the Hogan, and his book, Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery, is set to be released in November 2019.
Mark was the Washington, DC, correspondent and columnist for Native News Online and has served on the boards of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) and the Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA).
In this podcast episode, (which is PART 2 of this interview—make sure to listen to PART 1, episode 179, first!) Mark sheds light on what it'll take for us to be able to truly address the systemic injustices embedded into our culture and society; his primary motivations to run for President of the United States as an Independent candidate; and more.
To start, get a glimpse below into the conversation between Mark and Green Dreamer Podcast's host, Kamea Chayne.
On pausing to understand the fundamental roots of injustice:
"When you have a house that's built on a crumbling foundation, you're going to get cracks in your walls, your floor is going to be uneven, and your windows are going to become misaligned.
This is what's happening to our house. Our binary two-party system is screaming at each other about what color paint to paint over the cracks in the wall, what kind of carpet to lay on the floor, and what kind of windows to put in the crooked window sills.
But nobody is going down to the basement to examine the crumbling foundation and to make an assessment of how that needs to be fixed."
On the need for a national dialogue on race, gender, and class:
"I am advocating that the United States of America needs a national dialogue on race, gender, and class.
This conversation, I would put on par with the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions that happened in South Africa, Rwanda, and Canada
I would call our conversation ‘Truth and Conciliation,’ because ‘reconciliation’ implies there was a previous harmony, and clearly that's not accurate. And I think we need one sooner rather than later."
On emboldening Indigenous peoples to step into their role as hosts of the land:
"One of the things that I keep on the forefront of my mind in everything I do, especially in regards to race, gender, and class (and this is my message to native peoples everywhere I go), is that we are not the helpless victims of an oppressive, colonial government; we are host peoples of the land.
Our nation needs us to step into our role as the hosts. It's not that we're better or more moral; it's that we have a role in this land because we have a relationship with this land."
Final words of wisdom:
"So much of the struggle regarding the environment is about understanding, knowing, and having a connection to the land, which, for people who are not Indigenous, is going to come from a connection to the Indigenous peoples of this land.
I highly encourage people to not just learn the names of the tribes of peoples who lived on the land where they now live, but whenever the can, to meet with and interact with and build relationships with that Indigenous community.
There is a website, native-land.ca, that is a good place to start. You can enter your city or zip code, and it will give you a place to start researching the tribes that were ethnically cleansed from the land that you live on.
Some of what I'm talking about is changing this worldview of 'discovery' and getting this nation to acknowledge and remember: You cannot discover lands that have already been inhabited; there are stories here and there are histories here that pre-dates what you read in the history books.
The key to unlocking that, to changing your paradigm, and to having a deeper connection to this land and therefore, a deep emotion, relational, and historical investment in living here more sustainably, is going to come from the relationships you are able to build with the Indigenous hosts of the land.
As much as you can, learn whose land you're living on and do whatever you can to begin building relationships with the people of the land. That will have benefits for not just yourself, but for your family, your communities, and the nation as we find a way to move forward."
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