(Note: This statement will be read to the G.A. on Saturday, Nov 26th for approval, please comment below to further workshop it before then.)
Occupy Portland recognizes that the land now referred to as the Willamette Valley is already occupied. It was stolen from the people who speak the many dialects of the Molallan, the Kalapuyan and the Chinookan languages. This is their land.
Before colonization the people were integrated into the ecology, gently pulling abundance from the rivers and trees and reaping nourishment from the soil of the floodplains. Trade networks extended from as far away as the big lakes we call Superior and Michigan and the deserts the Spanish called Mojave and Sonora, converging in this place as a flourishing, diverse and wealthy economy whose health was measured by the entire community. Everyone was cared for and there were no banks, foreclosures or evictions.
Occupy Portland recognizes that our economic woes are a result of the displacement and destruction of integrative cultures across the world. In North America it started with Columbus’ invasion of Arawak land more than five hundred years ago. This invasion has never been something to celebrate. It is a genocide against many peoples and the biodiversity of the landbase that sustains us all, and it continues to this day.
The United States has become the wealthiest nation in the world through practice of the extractive and predatory mindset known as “Manifest Destiny”: the belief that settlers are entitled to all land and resources by God’s decree. This mindset continues as the US further exploits lands and peoples around the world. We recognize that indigenous peoples still provide the Earth’s first line of defense, and many have been criminalized and imprisoned for their efforts.
Occupy Portland recognizes that the injustice of colonization — whether by militarism, settlerism, statism or corporatism — is a wrong that must ultimately be righted. We know that to do this, we must stand in solidarity with these struggles: not only with the people whose land we now stand on, but with struggles of all indigenous cultures around the world.
In 2007, one hundred and forty-four nations signed onto the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Four countries voted against it: The United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is time to stop the destruction of indigenous peoples and cultures by these governments. It is time to hold our governments accountable for repairing all damages done to the original people. We, Occupy Portland, demand that the US government sign this document and act on it in order to begin addressing the crimes that the US has perpetuated since its inception.