Notes on the Ideology of the Fourth World
By Ward Churchill
Let me say, before I go any further, that I am hardly unique or alone in adopting this perspective. It is a complex of ideas, sentiments, and understandings which motivates the whole of the American Indian Movement, broadly defined, here in North America. This is true whether you call it AIM, or Indians of All Tribes (as was done during the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz), the Warriors Society (as was the case with the Mohawk rebellion at Oka in 1990), Women of All Red Nations, or whatever. It is the spirit of resistance that shapes the struggles of traditional Indian people on the land, whether the struggle is down at Big Mountain, in the Black Hills, or up at James Bay, in the Nevada desert or out along the Columbia River in what is now called Washington State. In the sense that I use the term, indigenism is also, I think, the outlook that guided our great leaders of the past: King Philip and Pontiac, Tecumseh and Creek Mary and Osceola, Black Hawk, Nancy Ward and Satanta, Lone Wolf and Red Cloud, Satank and Quannah Parker, Left Hand and Crazy Horse, Dull Knife and Chief Joseph, Sitting Bull, Roman Nose and Captain Jack, Louis Ríel and Poundmaker and Geronimo, Cochise and Mangus, Victorio, Chief Seattle, and on and on.
In my view, those, Indian and non-Indian alike, who do not recognize these names and what they represent have no sense of the true history—the reality—of North America.
Of course, I and many Newspaper Rock readers could claim to be indigenists also, even though we're not Natives. I don't know about anyone else, but I try to draw upon Native traditions as I criticize the political and cultural status quo. Whether one is Native or not, I'd say an indigenist perspective is an important and valuable way of looking at the world.
For more on Churchill, see Churchill Trusts a Jury? and Churchill Goes to Trial. For more on the Native perspective, see Why Write About Native Americans? and Culture and Comics Need Multicultural Perspective 2000.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this posting is meant to support any of Churchill's words or deeds except the words noted here.