This speech was given at the second annual Albuquerque Indigenous Peoples Day on Oct. 10, 2016.
by David Uahikeaikalei‘ohu Maile
The Red Nation formed in November 2014, almost two years ago, to rise up and fight back against the systems and agents of oppression that aspire for our removal, our dispossession, our exploitation, our elimination—for the death of Indigenous life. This is the reality Native people face all over the world, from the streets of bordertowns like Albuquerque where Allison “Cowboy” Gorman and Kee “Rabbit” Thompson were brutally murdered in 2014 to the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation where police continue, even on this very day, to arrest water protectors halting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. What we are up against is the insidious violence of capitalism and colonialism. This is the collision of power, of marginalization, of domination, that The Red Nation came into existence to do battle with, to oppose, and ultimately to abolish. Because, as co-founder Nick Estes has said, “The Red Nation is a movement for life. And for us to live, capitalism and colonialism must die.” Settler colonial capitalism must die!
This is why we are here. This is why you’re here. It is precisely why I, as a Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) off-island away from my ancestral ‘āina and land, joined The Red Nation. I’ve seen how the racialized, gendered, and sexualized violence of settler colonial capitalism echoes on the American continent as it does throughout the Native Pacific. But, The Red Nation has worked tirelessly to interrupt this transit of empire. We’ve organized to free Leonard Peltier, sent a delegation to and provided labor and supplies for Standing Rock, mobilized against bordertown violence in New Mexico and elsewhere, and worked unapologetically for the liberation of all Indigenous peoples—from the racist UNM seal to the Fiestas of Santa Fe; from the Israeli occupation of Palestine to the desecration of the sacred mountain Mauna a Wākea in Hawai‘i; from racist killer cops like Winslow police officer Austin Shipley, who murdered Loreal Tsingine, to the homophobic and transphobic violence done to our LGBTQ2 relatives.
Our struggles don’t simply end by abolishing Columbus Day, as we did victoriously last year in this city. These struggles are ongoing, and we must continue to fight, because today isn’t the only Indigenous Peoples Day. Everyday is Indigenous Peoples Day!
So today, we celebrate and demand: freedom for Leonard Peltier, evict corporate polluters like the Dakota Access Pipeline, and end racist violence against all of our Indigenous communities. Enough is enough!