Building Responsible Solidarity

You have been directed here because we would like to call you in. This gift has been curated by our team to help further you on your continuum of learning in working with the BIPOC community and decolonizing your practices.

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time; but if you are here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Lilla Watson, Indigenous Elder, activist, educator (Australia)
“Colonialism is both a root and result of racism and capitalism. A primary cause of the racial wealth divide is colonialism: white Europeans’ theft of land, resources, human bodies and their labor. In order to end racial capitalism, we must disrupt and end colonization.”

— From the Resource Generation Indigenous Solidarity Action Guide,

“There is no requirement of sameness or expectation of agreement, rather there is a requirement to recognize and be responsible in all of our relations.”

— Kerr, Jeannie, and Katya Adamov Ferguson. “Ethical Relationality and Indigenous Storywork Principles as Methodology: Addressing Settler-Colonial Divides in Inner-City Educational Research.” Qualitative Inquiry, vol. 27, no. 6, July 2021, pp. 706–715,

“It’s crucial to push back the urge to make every conversation about “self.” It is crucial to move beyond “I am an anti-racist individual” to see oneself as part of an anti-racist community. It is crucial to move beyond just talking, and listen. It is crucial to push beyond the desire to be seen, to be praised, and to be celebrated, to consider instead the ways that we can facilitate justice and equality in ways not seen.” 

—Dr. David Leonard, Associate Professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies at Washington State University

Some questions to consider as you engage with this material (adapted from Resource Generation):

1. What is the history of any land you indirectly/directly have access to/have had access to in your life? What Indigenous people historically or currently inhabit that land, and what is the specific history of how it was stolen? 

2. Going deeper, who are the Indigenous people/communities where you live? What are the locations of Village sites, both present and past? What traditional placenames, stories, economies, and cultural practices exist? What Nations have territories in the surrounding areas? What historical relationships existed between these different Nations? What languages are spoken? What protocols guide good relationships? What laws exist? What is the political landscape of both recognized and unrecognized Nations where you live? 

3. Commit to the slow process of building relationships with Indigenous people where you live. Do not rush this process, and do not abandon or de-prioritize these relationships when things take longer than you expect, or when you encounter conflict. Also keep in mind that you are not entitled to relationships nor to people’s time and energy; strong, healthy relationships are reciprocal and consensual. There is a deeply harmful pattern of non-indigenous people dehumanizing, using, and extracting from Indigenous people; take great care to unlearn these behaviours so you can show up responsibly as you build relationships.

4. What are the visions and struggles of Indigenous people in the area you live? Show up and support the work that is ongoing. This might be fundraising for land or other resources, attending actions/marches, disrupting ignorant or racist comments, behaviours, patterns, holding elected officials accountable, petitioning boards of corporations and nonprofits, and/or helping to improve access and safety for people wanting to utilize their territory. De-commodifying and restitution of land to Indigenous people is the primary goal; we must be working within the visions and struggles of Indigenous people to accomplish this. You may think you have good ideas and intentions, but it is more important and effective to take leadership and direction from Indigenous people whose territory you are living and working in.

5. In what ways have you been a beneficiary of colonialism and white supremacy? What is your family history, how did you and your people come to live where you do? What privileges or material resources, such as jobs, money, land, have you been able to accumulate? In what ways do you intentionally or unintentionally support ongoing systems of oppression? Start brainstorming ways that you could redistribute and share any unearned/stolen resources and privileges. Make a list of actions that you can take, small and large, to unlearn and divest from white supremacy and colonialism. 

Note: strong feelings or reactions might come up during your research and personal reflection time. Responses could include defensiveness, anger, shame, guilt. Practice staying with and exploring these feelings, using emotional self-regulating tools as needed.  

Protocol for being a respectful guest

Shared by ɬaʔamɩn Elder, Elsie Paul, As I Remember It

Resources to disrupt complicity in systems of oppression & inform responsible solidarity work

Calls to Action, policy & legislation primers
101 – Training & Toolkits
From the Territory

Go Deeper

Zines & Graphic Novels
Articles – Exploring nuances of decolonial praxis
Books & Manifestos – un/learning our history
Videos, Podcasts & Interviews