“We can’t all be in Standing Rock today, but like our friends who have made the journey, and our friends who have been there for months, we are not tethered to any colonial mythology as we share space today. So I would offer to anyone feeling conflicted, or who simply wants to push back against the legacies of harm that are embedded in this holiday: Talk about Standing Rock today. Talk about what you can do about it. Encourage those you break bread with to donate if they can. Talk about what Native sovereignty and collective liberation might look like. Talk big. Because our gratitude doesn’t have to be bound up in a harmful nationalist mythology. Our connectedness and our gratitude can be transformational, today and every day.” – Kelly Hayes, Thanksgiving and Native Struggle: Why It’s Okay to Be Grateful
Folx like Kelly have been doing incredible work in the wake of white people electing Trump, offering up ways to move, and move collectively (for more, Hoda Katebi at JooJooAzad has collected 6 Ways to Support Standing Rock for Thanksgiving, including Learn, Donate, Don’t Shop on Black Friday, or Shop and Support Indigenous Brands, Call. Agitate, and Talk (especially with your Fam). And Here are 7 ways to donate collected by Indian Country Today.)
Last weekend, The Chicago Warrior Caravan (Indigenous water protectors and accomplices) did a report back on their experiences with the Standing Rock occupation as they prepared for their Thanksgiving journey (you can still fund them). They reminded us that part of the work of fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline is building and maintaining the camp as an autonomous zone, which requires skills like installing solar panels, building and winterizing structures for people to sleep in, facilitating peace circles, providing healing and medicine to each other, working with folks’ mental health, having the capacity to eventually grow food for ourselves, taking care of children, and more. Zé, a member of the Chicago Warrior Caravan, told us that one of their main takeaways from their last trips was a feeling of urgency around deepening their own hand skills — for instance, they’re enrolling in the upcoming 9-month Windy City Harvest Urban Agriculture Apprenticeship Program (there’s also weekend workshops ). Zé predicts that these spatialized resistance zones will continue to rise up in the struggle against white supremacy — the Tohono O’odham Nation has already vowed to not let Trump divide their land to build his wall — and it is imperative that we all bring as many skills as we can to these conflicts. The time to prepare is now.
How do we prepare? The Freedom Square occupation in Chicago (a “laboratory for the politics of abolition”) taught us that “We are all we need.” We have everything we need to take care of each other. Following that, we wanted to share the seeds of a resource list. The one we have is heavily weighed toward hand skills because it comes from the generous knowings of the teachers at Fielding Camp, a camp that teaches girls, young women, femmes, and gender non conforming folks to to design and build structures and use woodworking tools, both hand and power. But it is clear that to sustain ourselves and have self determination we need to collectively build up skills of ALL kinds.
So: PLEASE add to the working document on Google Docs Autonomy Requires Skills: a Resource List with resources you know + your own skills, and form groups to go to things together!
We’ve put everything that is on the (much more organized) Resource List on this page, but go to the doc instead!!
Tools, Materials, and Shop Space and/or Classes in Chicago: Fielding Resource List as a PDF (especially exciting is Make! Chicago, and all the other Spaces on this list actually! If you want it visually, scroll down this post!!)
Pretty Pit Skillshares has an events calendar for their skillshares, which aim to share knowledge with femme/trans/women in Chicago, including in music, art, tech, culinary, practical life skills, crafting, machinery, etc.
Self Defense classes: a facebook group called Dumbledore’s Army was created under the auspices of self protection for queers and trans people, it seems to have become more generalized, but email email@example.com if you wanna be added, there’s a ton of events coming up, like one in Logan Square on December 4th!
Raul the Carpenter does Carpentry 101 classes (we think by donation) every first Saturday of the month at 35th and Racine. Phone number for this to come!
Manifold Chicago has welding classes . They’re expensive but maybe could be negotiated with a big group?
In love and rage,
E + X/H