Indigenous liberation can not be simply relegated to the confines of “history”

I would like to tell you about a very interesting and well written summary of indigenous resistance in early Ohio, aspirating to intertwine it with current struggles. This reader learned a lot!

The Columbus Worker, offers a particularly worthwhile article on a history of the indigenous resistance throughout what is today Ohio and Indiana, beginning some decades previous to its colonization by the United States and extending up to Tecumseh’s departure from this life.

This online magazine is sponsored by a group called the Central Ohio Revolutionary Socialists, who recently opened their formerly internal magazine to a wider readership. Dylan Vanover’s reasons for broadcasting the History of Indigenous Resistance in Ohio couldn’t be said better or more succinctly than his own introduction.

As committed revolutionaries who live in the occupied land of the Shawnee, Cherokee, Erie, Wyandot, Miami and other Ohio Valley tribes, we have a duty to learn the real and often forgotten history of anti-colonial resistance spearheaded by Indigenous people against the U.S. settler-colonial government. At the same time, we must understand that the struggle for Indigenous liberation can not be simply relegated to the confines of “history”, as we must recognize that it is in fact an ongoing and living contemporary struggle.

The first of two installments encapsulates some of the coordination among the indigenous peoples who inhabited this region before the founding of the United States, along with the frictions with those who were being displaced into it by the expansion west of the Appalachian Mountains by the Eurodescendents who established the newly-founded United States. The second installment goes into some detail of the interplay between Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa; they had distinct views over what the expansion by European descendants signified and, thereby, how to combat it. At some conjunctures they collaborated, in others they rivalled. Nonetheless they came to lead the United Indian Nations with thousands of members for several decades, centering on Prophetstown, near present-day Lafayette, Indiana.

The portrayal of Tenskwatawa’s intransigent belief in total separation surprised this reader. Tenskwatawa is reported to have preached a conviction not unlike the Black Power movement of the 1970s which sought some degree of autonomy, or even separation. Tecumseh’s declaration was all too true, “They seize your land; they corrupt your women, they trample on the ashes of your dead! Back whence they came, upon a trail of blood, they must be driven.”

Vanover also asserts that “Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa shared a common hatred for the United States as well as an understanding of the inherent nature of settler-colonialism: its class-basis and its expansionist, exploitative and genocidal tendencies – along with its parasitic and irreconcilable relation to Native societies.” The thousands that participated in the United Indian Nations resisted the genocide resulting from the expansion of United States. Yet did they comprehend its class nature? These brothers are not reported to have spent much time on the other side of the border, so as to have witnessed firsthand the interplay of classes, much less deduce their dynamic a half-century before Marx and Engels.

This reader hopes these articles can be republished with a proper bibliography of works consulted, to be able to see those reports that Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa thought in terms of “classes.” Nonetheless, this article is well worth consulting to learn how to unify the oppressed in fighting nothing less than genocide.

Bringing history to life is a great and honorable vocation.

These are the links to both installments.