Unpacking Whiteness, Settler Colonialism, and Working Towards Acting in Better Allyship

Great Lakes Commons (GLC) is hosting a Living Great Lakes gathering at the Five Oaks Retreat Centre near Paris, Ontario, this October (11-13).

For white accomplices planning to or thinking about attending the gathering, GLC is organizing a two-hour online meet-up on Tuesday, September 24th (from 5-7pm ET) to unpack whiteness, settler colonialism, and the commons so as to teach each other how best to show up for this vital work on behalf of our human and nonhuman family. 

If you are interested in attending this online meet-up, please read the invitation description below and respond with questions, concerns, or an enthusiastic YES!

RVSP with this link or the one at the bottom.

Throughout 2019, GLC has been hosting a series of curious conversations about water personhood and emergent strategy. Together, we have been working on a living document of decolonial and emergent water governance principles to help guide us in our work towards connecting waterbodies across political boundaries and healing our collective yet disconnected relationship with water as a sacred living being.  

This fall we will be hosting a 2-day gathering which will consist of ceremony and wisdom circles to collectively reflect on and shift the rules and protocols for reciprocal water authority. It will be non-human centred, Indigenous-led, and non-Indigenous  supported. 

As a network of people committed to a radical vision of justice for everyone, we are striving to make this Living Great Lakes gathering as strong and diverse as the Great Lakes themselves. This is why, as part of the inner and outer preparatory work for this gathering, we are calling for a “white caucus” to help unpack whiteness and settler colonialism to to discuss the ways white people’s positions, varying experiences, and intersecting privileges impact our shared responsibility for decolonial Great Lakes water governance.

In September, there will be an intimate online dialogue before the fall gathering for the white caucus. We would like for this discussion to illuminate challenging and uncomfortable truths and realities that the settler colonial state and the mainstream environmental community has largely steered away from discussing and addressing in a meaningful way. While everyone has inner work to do on unpacking our varying intersectional privileges, this specific invitation is to unpack white supremacy before our in-person Living Great Lakes gathering in October. 

This includes the harm that Whiteness has caused and the disconnection from the natural world that has transpired as a result of centring settler colonial narratives and institutions. Once we acknowledge this, we can begin to ask ourselves questions that can allow for an emergent strategy and transformative water governance to come to fruition, a strategy that involves the dismantling of historically white supremacist institutions and policies. We understand that water justice can only occur when all other forms of intersecting oppression are acknowledged, understood, and meaningful addressed. 

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It is with humility that we extend this invite to folx who resonate with and are interested in this shift in decolonial water governance. It is also with gratitude for the water and its sacred life-giving force that we extend this invite in the hopes of building a long-term strategy and movement that transcends backgrounds and political boundaries, while being mindful that we each enter this work with unique and intersecting experiences. We also acknowledge that it is important for folx to take time to reflect and discern if they are interested in pursuing this conversation and movement further after attending the gathering and getting more of a sense of what Great Lakes Commons and the folx involved, are all about.

We hope that you will be able to take some time to join us for an honest and vulnerable conversation about what a shared Great Lakes vision will look like and the ways we each can help in moving it forward. 

RSVP here and we will send you the connect information for this Zoom conference (using your computer, smart phone, or phone). Email us with any other questions or comments.