Friday, February 29, 2008

The Eagle and The Condor Unite: Reports from Natives from the North and the South

The Eagle and The Condor Unite: Reports from Natives from the North and the South
by Mari Villaluna (Poor Magazine)
and Joaquin Cienfuegos (Cop Watch LA GC and Revolutionary Autonomous Communities)

"The cops are at DQU!" the text message showed up on my phone just before I was about to continue walking on the Longest Walk 2. There I stood standing on the Longest Walk 2. I have been walking for the next seven generations, for my descendants. I pray for them with every step I take. On February 22, 2008 at 12:18 p.m. Yolo County Sheriffs arrested three DQU students with alleged charges of trespassing and served with an eviction notice. Students have occupied DQU since January of 2005, demanding the re-opening of DQU and maintaining classes every semester. In my prayers, I pray the hardest for the students who are left occupying D-Q University, which is the only off-reservation Indigenous university in the U.S. It was founded by Natives and Chicanos to reflect an Indigenous education that covered all of the Americas. In 2005, the university lost it's accreditation after the former administration mishandled school funds. The night before, some DQU students arrived to participate in the longest walk. That same night I met a journalist from L.A. named Joaquin Cienfuegos and we talked about D-Q University and the Longest Walk 2 and how they are interconnected. We talked about the importance of collaborating on media, and how not that often you see the North and South Natives coming together on a media tip. That night I knew it was important for him to interview Caske Limon, a DQU Student so Joaquin could understand the spiritual importance of DQU and its connections to the Longest Walk 2. "It's important because it's unique. It highly stresses culture and traditions. It has more hands-on learning experience and environment" said Caske Limon, DQU Student. "It's a place for healing. It's a very sacred place. The name of the school itself was brought to the school by means of ceremony. They used to hold the AIM Sundance at the DQ University back in the day" he continued. Caske continued to talk to Joaquin about how D-Q University has been as a used as a model for self determination and sovereignty for Native people. "It's creating a prototype, a microcosm, of a better society. It's giving a visual example of not polluting healthy life and eliminating diseases by eating healthy" he said. "We want to revert back to the structure of how indigenous societies used to work." DQU is very sacred to the students who are currently occupying it so much so that three of them recently got arrested because they believe in D-Q University. They believe in the vision of North and South Natives coming together to learn as their ancestors once did, without borders but having a epistemic location in a Indigenous traditional identity. I was lucky enough to have a conversation with an elder named Dr. Adam Fournate Eagle, who was one of the Natives to jump over the fence to reposses the former Army Communications center and started a tribal college called D-Q University. He talked about Alcatraz Island, DQU, Longest Walk of 1978, sacred sites, and cracked jokes the whole time. The words that I remember the most is "Its up to the youth to continue the struggles that we once fought for." Those youth at D-Q University are making sure that the next seven generations have an Indigenous University that uses our ways of educating our people.

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