At many of the lectures I’m attending regarding ‘race,’ colonization is always part of the discourse. Today I’m borrowing a chart and words from WE are the Seeds post’s contributor Rupa Marya who gave a talk at Bioneers about how the macro connects to the micro. It’s a clear and succinct explanation of colonization.

“To understand the root causes of the pathologies we see today which impact all of us but affect Brown, Black and Poor people more intensely, we have to examine the foundations of this society which began with COLONIZATION.

To me, to be colonized means to be disconnected and disintegrated—from our ancestry, from the earth, from our indigeneity, our earth-connected selves. We all come from earth-connected people, people who once lived in deep connection to the rhythms of nature. I believe it is not a coincidence that the colonization of this land happened at the same time that Europeans were burning hundreds of thousands of witches, those women who carried the traditional indigenous knowledge of the tribes of Europe.

Colonization was the way the extractive economic system of Capitalism came to this land, supported by systems of supremacy and domination which are a necessary part to keep wealth and power accumulated in the hands of the colonizers and ultimately their financiers.

In what is now known at the US, this system of supremacy is expressed in many ways with many outcomes but we will focus on specific ones for the sake of time. First white supremacy, which created a framework that legitimized slavery and genocide. Slavery created cheap labor which is necessary for a functioning capitalist system. And genocide created unlimited access to resources, in the form of land, animal parts, minerals and raw materials which are also necessary for a functioning capitalist economy. And as capitalism functions, it further entrenches systems of supremacy.

We all know that white supremacy looks like scary people with swastikas in hoods. But it can also look like any place where there’s an abundance of white people in exclusive contexts, where power and access is not readily ceded to others.

There’s white supremacy and then there’s male supremacy, AKA patriarchy, which leads to the invisibilizing of women’s labor (you know, like creating the entire human race out of our bodies) or in this context, reproducing the work force and suppressing our wages, which further supports capitalism. Patriarchy also leads to femicide, domestic violence and child abuse, which we see across all groups here.

We also see human supremacy, where people feel superior to the rest of living entities, thereby subjecting living soils, seeds, animals, plants and water to horrific treatment in the name of exploiting resources, which in turn feeds the capitalist need for ever-increasing profits.

While this wheel of domination, exploitation, generation and sequestration of wealth continues, we experience as a byproduct and common pathway TRAUMA and many studies have shown us that chronic stress and trauma create chronic inflammation.”


  1. WPT last night had its Hometown Stories about Sauk Prairie. In telling the early history, they casually mentioned that, “In 1837, the Ho-Chunk were invited to send a delegation to Washington, DC to meet with the president of the United States. After some very forceful negotiations, the delegation was told they would not be allowed to return home if they did not sign the agreement. The leaders did indeed sign the agreement under duress. And it was as a result of that treaty that the Ho-Chunk lost all their remaining lands in Wisconsin.” And then they blithely continue on with the settlement of Sauk City. This is the birth story for many of our communities, but it’s hardly the most treacherous or heartbreaking part of the story. This should be a daily remembrance and the need to atone should be a top daily priority.


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