Jibaro, My Pretty N@#&

Se trata de un poema clasico de Felipe Luciano, co-fundador del Capítulo de Nueva York de los Young Lords.

Esto es para todos mis hermanos de piel clara y hermanas que niegan su identidad negro.


We are who we are...

Our ways & actions reflect our perceptions, of people, places, things, and most importantly, about "self". What many do not know, or do not want to know, is that often times our perceptions are not our own. They do not belong to us. They are shaped by the education we recieve from family, friends, and most importantly society (school, media, etc). When we come in contact with a perception differ from our own, we naturally become defensive and deny that which we fail to understand.

Here is a wonderful poem about the so-called "Latino" identity. While the poem is centered around the "Puerto Rican" identity, the message rings loud as many of our "Latino" brothers & sisters deny their African roots & heritage due to systematic conditioning.



Quien es usted en realidad?

This video was put together in celebration of our Indigenous history, roots and identity. Although, many so-called Latinos will not identify as "Indigenous" because of the colonization and conditioning we've been subjected to over the past 518 years. Because of this, any assertion of an "Indian" or "Native" identity has been ridiculed and written off as a form of extremism or revisionist identity. We have been told that there's Indian in us, but that we are not Indian. We are told that Africa is in us, but that we are not African. This is far from the truth, as our cultures, history, and DNA bear witness.

Este video fue elaborado en la celebracion de nuestra historia indígena, las raices y la identidad. Aunque, muchos latinos llamada no se identifican como "indigenas" debido a la colonizacion y el acondicionamiento que hemos estado sometidos a los últimos 518 anos. Debido a esto, cualquier afirmacion de un "indio" o "nativos" identidad ha sido ridiculizado y tachado de una forma de extremismo o de identidad revisionista. Se nos ha dicho que no hay indio en nosotros, pero que no son indígenas. Se nos dice que Africa esta en nosotros, pero que no son africanos. Esto esta lejos de la verdad, como nuestras culturas, historia, y el testimonio de "DNA" soportar.




I apologize to all for the lack of posts within the past few months. I have a lot I will be sharing in the coming months, so please stay tuned. Life experiences endow us with understanding, as we continue on the road of growth & development. I will continue to share my understanding with you, for the education and upliftment of our people.


Blaxican: The Skeleton in Mexico's Closet

"Mexico's Forgotten Black History"
by griselda

For decades, he revolted against the Spanish crown. He lead an autonomous community of hundreds whose existence panicked the ruling classes from Mexico City to Veracruz. In 1609, his band survived a devastating incursion from the Spaniards, paving the way to an eventual negotiation - one that would make his community one of the first semi-autonomous communities recognized in the colonized Americas. Had an indigenous chief, rebellious priest or mixed peasant accomplished such a historical feat, it would not be hard to imagine their name still proudly spoken or recognized among Mexicans and Chican@s on both sides of the border. Gaspar Yanga, however, was brought to Mexico in chains. His original homeland is said to be what is now the African nation of Gabon. Aside from a lonely statue and yearly festival in what is now the town of Yanga, Veracruz, his legacy remains largely unknown.

This February, while reading articles on African-American history for Black History Month, I found myself contemplating my own history, and the part of Mexican history that was all but erased following the call of Vicente Guerrero (another Mexican of African descent) to abolish slavery during his short time as Mexico's president. Even though there were periods in which the African diaspora in Mexico greatly outnumbered Spanish colonialists, the modern narrative of Mexico is of a people and history shaped by the blending of two cultures - one European and one indigenous. Any mention of Mexico's "third root" is usually confined to a few scholars or various darker skinned communities in Mexico where African diaspora (many times alongside indigenous communities) were able to hold on to traditions and community.

The majority of Africans that came to Mexico were integrated - by force or social incentives that granted privilege based on race caste - into the post-colonized ambiguity of Mexicans, even as their existence was being conveniently forgotten. Under the influences of white supremacy and its lingering effects, it's not difficult to understand how generations have forgotten or obscured Mexico's African roots.

Sadly, though, even as Mexican or Chican@ nationalism confronted this colonial legacy, the mention of historical Black Mexico seems to offend those who think such expressions are a denial or rejection of Mexican's indigenous past. To this day in Mexico, those who identify as Afro-Mexican are waging a battle with the government to be officially recognized in the Mexican census.

The story of Gaspar Yanga, of the many Mexican "marooned" townships, of Black Seminoles and freed former slaves from the US in northern Mexico, and the eventual blotting out of Black history in Mexico are in my thoughts lately - while I assess the situation of my community north of the border, in this century. US capitalists may have replaced Spanish colonialists, but Blacks and Mexicans still find themselves as commodities, laborers, often used against one another. The divide and conquer tactics the conquistadors first used to split black/brown/white were modified and modernized and now apply to all workers of the Americas. This is partly why, as Mexicans and Chican@s, we should look at Black History not only as allies or students but because it's a part of our own history. And it must be a part of any future if we hope to accomplish what all of Mexico's defeated revolutions were not able to.

To honor Mexico's forgotten revolutionaries, as well as the celebrated ones, we need solidarity in the face of a common oppressor and socialism over a form of nationalism that doesn't engage or recognize all who struggle. We need to reclaim the dreams of those who gave and are giving their lives in struggle throughout the centuries on Mexican soil, and hear Yanga's grito along with Zapata's.

{Although stories of Black-Brown unity projects may not get the media attention, say, of Black and Latino gang rivalries in Los Angeles or disgruntled unemployed workers blaming immigrants, they are popping up in different parts of the country. This month in Georgia, I'm glad to say the Trail of Dreams - mostly undocumented students walking for immigration justice from Miami to DC - is being welcomed and hosted by traditional civil rights institutions as well as Black churches and community members/organizations.}

Original post: http://solidarity-us.org/current/node/2704


Hip-Hop for Haiti

Peace! I want to thank everyone who came out to support the "Hip Hop for Haiti" benefit show that was held at the August Wilson Center here in Pittsburgh last night. It was beautiful to see our communities rallying behind our universal struggle & oneness. The event featured several conscious artists from the city of Pittsburgh and was our way of extending support & solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Haiti, in light of the tragedy and ulterior political motives taking place as the result.

It is integral that those of African and Indigenous descent do what we can to show our support. We are our greatest resource and it is only through us that we will see the change in the world that we desire to see.

Haiti and it's history stand as an example and inspiration for all oppressed people's, especially those in the Western Hemisphere. The Haitian revolution, an extension of the Indigeneous struggle against colonialism & imperialism waged by Hatuey, Anacoana and others, laid the foundation for the Latin American revolution and liberation from Spain.

As well, it is import that we are Original people and of Indigenous descent extend our selves in solidarity with our Haitian brothers & sisters because of our common origin in the universe. Haitian's are an Afro-Taino/Afro-Indigenous people. Haiti, like Jamaica, retains it's original name "Ayiti" from the Taino, after the lush mountains in the region. Although the majority of the Caribbean Indigenous resurgence movement has been taking place in Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, we must be careful to not project exclusivity behind the reclaiming of our identity. This only further the deeply imbedded white supremacy that we've all been working against. Haiti, Jamaica, Cayman Islanders, Barbados, Turks & Caicos, are all "Taino" as well, despite their predominantly "African" phenotypes and the like. Likewise, despite the phenotypes of many lighter skinned so-called Latinos & Creoles, our cellular memories and DNA reveal our Africanness, in the face of our miseducation.

We are the Original people! We are one!

Algonquin Activism & Hip-Hop

Peace! As struggle continues to be a universal language amongst all people, "Hip-Hop" music continues to be the most relevant contemporary vehicle our youth have in speaking about this struggle.

Hip-Hop was born of resistance and continues to be the voice of resistance for youth around the world. Many elders dismiss Hip-Hop as "black american music" or as some musical monstrousity that corrodes away the values and culture of people. Yet, beyond the images of exploitation projected on televisions and radio by the corporate slave masters, Hip-Hop has remained as much more. It is the voice of our future generations, the children, the wealth of a nation and is one of the greatest tools we have in promoting solidarity amongst our people, and with the global community, in the name of struggle and revolt against the oppression and exploitation that persists in burdening the ressurrection of our mentally dead brothers & sisters.

Indigenous Rap

by Stefan Christoff

Samian: Algonquin alert Algonquin hip-hop artist Samian rants for reservesAlgonquin hip-hop artist Samian raps about the realities of life on First Nations reserves in Quebec. With a growing following on reserves and in Quebec's cities, he's also struck a chord in hip-hop communities everywhere.

Exploding the classic political binary of Quebec's two solitudes, Samian raps about indigenous people and their history in the province. His chart-topping hit La Paix des braves, a duet with Quebec hip-hop crew Loco Locass, appeals for solidarity between Québécois and indigenous people. Samian's recent collaboration with Sans Pression on Premières nations helped cement his role as a key voice in the Montreal contemporary hip-hop scene.

Hour sat down with Samian to discuss contemporary hip-hop in Montreal and the ways the genre is increasingly speaking to, and representing the struggles of, First Nations communities in Quebec, in Canada and throughout the Americas.

Hour: Hip-hop's origins in New York City were rooted in rhymes that addressed social injustices, especially the racism and social exclusion faced by African-Americans. Today in Canada, indigenous people face similar systemic social exclusion: racism, incarceration, substandard housing and medical options and poverty. Hip-hop is increasingly used as a response to this reality and artists are rapping about the social injustices faced by indigenous people. Can you talk about how your work relates to the history of hip-hop as a socially conscious art form? How do you connect your work to hip-hop history?

Samian: Hip-hop has always been an art form through which people have made demands, appealed for change and denounced the social injustices faced by African-Americans in U.S. ghettos. Certainly the history of African-American struggle in the U.S., like we saw with the Black Panthers, is tied to hip-hop music [and] culture.

Indigenous people in Quebec, in Canada, have lived through a history of oppression like African-Americans. Today we are still calling for justice, and hip-hop is a vehicle to call for this change. As an artist, I love hip-hop because it allows for free expression: You can talk about whatever issues are important to you. Hip-hop is a space for me to express myself on many subjects, to denounce injustices. It's also a space to propose positive solutions for social ills, and to reflect on the world around me.

Hour: What are you trying to make people more aware of through your music?

Samian: Our reality, the life on the reserves, the fight to retain our culture, the fact that we are struggling to keep our language. Also I want to make people aware that indigenous people have a rich history and culture that is ignored by the mainstream.

Through hip-hop we are opening people's eyes to our culture and also to our long, long history on this land. I want to speak to youth in Quebec who don't always learn about real indigenous history in the school system. Québécois and indigenous people's history in Quebec are interlinked. This relationship between our cultures has shaped what we know to be Quebec today, and who we are. Sadly our indigenous history is often shoved to the side because it shows an underlying brutality in the national narrative.

Hour: Many Montrealers don't know about the situation facing indigenous people on the reserves here and in Quebec. In this context, how do you see hip-hop as a way to educate people about the indigenous reality here? How do you address these issues in your music?

Samian: I think my music has the biggest impact on the reservations. The music sparks the spirits of the new generation on the reserves, and gives youth pride in our culture, and in our language.

But for everyone in Quebec, I hope my music inspires a more open spirit towards the realities faced on reserves, because people need to wake up to the difficulties and poverty we experience. The mainstream media don't address our situation thoroughly, so I am trying to communicate our reality. Simply put, there are two different realities, two different worlds, two different experiences of life in Quebec - one on the reserves and one off the reserves.

In Quebec, we have a national slogan: Je me souviens. But really, what do we remember in Quebec? In Quebec we forget some of the biggest parts of our own history. How was Quebec and Canada founded? What ever happened to the people who originally lived here? Why does the world forget that there are over 500 languages spoken across Canada, and not just English and French? So much about our history has been hidden or erased, and so young people never learn about the first peoples. These are all questions that - incredibly - aren't well answered in our schoolbooks. The government is also directly responsible for the lack of knowledge about our history, because indigenous culture and history is not a priority, and not taught seriously within the public school curriculum.

Recently, I looked up "Algonquin" in the dictionary and was shocked. The definition read something like "a people that don't exist." I was shaken to the core after reading this - how absurd. I am an Algonquin artist today in Quebec, I exist and my people exist. Today, after thousands of years, we are still on this land as indigenous people. We are still here and are gathering strength; my hip-hop verses express a pride for indigenous people in Quebec.

Hour: As an artist, your hip-hop is unique and has struck a chord in Quebec. What do you think makes your work compelling to so many different audiences?

Samian: I wrote poetry before ever thinking about rap. I eventually fell into rapping almost as an accident. Today I work with amazing musicians who are able to complement my verses with music. I think the relationship between my verses and the musicians that I collaborate with has become richer with time.

My second album is much deeper musically than the first album, and now it feels like things are constantly developing for me in exciting ways as an artist. All my first songs weren't written with, or for, specific music, so now that I work with musicians in developing my verses, the creative process has changed a lot.

At the root, I am an artist, not a politician. My songs are about real issues, but I address those issues as an artist. Many people say that my work is really political, but actually I know nothing about the political world. I address issues that are important to me.

Hour: ...But you are linked to grassroots political movements. Do you mean you aren't tied to the world of politicians and government?

Samian: I am interested in speaking out against injustice and trying to build towards solutions that solve those injustices. I'm not at all interested in official politics or political parties. Actually there hasn't been a major politician in North America, in the U.S., or in Canada that has proposed something really good for First Nations people. No proposal deals with the historical injustices we faced and the contemporary situation.

Hour: Perhaps we could look to Evo Morales in Bolivia as an example?

Samian: [Laughing] Today Bolivia is an exception in the Americas, because Morales is an indigenous president! In Bolivia, indigenous people are the majority, while in Canada we are such a small minority today.

In Bolivia the government of Evo Morales signed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into the national constitution. Here, Stephen Harper refused to sign the letter or even vote in favour of the charter at the UN. Harper made that apology for residential schools, but he voted against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The government in Canada wants us to remain in an unequal position and as a minority, with no political power. Indigenous people live in Third World conditions right here in Quebec and throughout Canada. So, is Canada progressive? In the U.S. there is an African-American president; could you ever imagine a First Nations prime minister in Canada? Indigenous people in Canada should take inspiration from the African-American struggle, which won many rights for black people in the U.S. Actually, we need to wage a similar struggle in Canada, a civil rights struggle.

Hour: Can you talk about the concerts that you've given in indigenous communities across Quebec? Do you feel different about the concerts that you give on reserve and those in the city?

Samian: Actually my concerts on reservations are really, really special for me. I feel that the most meaningful impact from my music is on the reserves. To meet youth on different reserves and to connect with youth, to talk about their realities - this is a big source of inspiration for me.

I can connect strongly with this, given that my own experiences are linked.
My work tries to project the true voice of First Nations people: Those on the reserve that I meet who are always struggling to survive, struggling for justice... I hope my music inspires youth to dream louder and create a better future.

Samian: For more info: http://www.samian.org/

Stefan Christoff is a Montreal-based community organizer and journalist who regularly contributes to Hour. He can be contacted at christoff@resist.ca.