Monday, April 8, 2013

The role of Indigenous researchers whose communities are targeted in the post 9/11 re-colonization

Margo Tamez: An Indigenous Perspective on the United States' human rights violations against Indigenous peoples from the bifurcated Texas-Mexico border region and the uses of the UNDRIP by Indigenous peoples, academic researchers and human rights legal teams.

See the vimeo by Social Anthropologist, :  "Intervention by Margo Taméz, Lipan Apache, during the 5th session of the Expert Mechanism of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the UN in Geneva."
Margo Taméz: An Indigenous Perspective upon the Texas-Mexico Border from Melanie Nielsen Emonet on Vimeo here:  .

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Indigenous Embodiment of Governance--From Margins to Center: At the conclusion of a final exam in the INDG 302: Indigenous Perspectives of Governance, Indigenous peoples integrated Indigenous pedagogical and ontological practices into the Indigenous Governance classroom putting complex theory into action.  After a  three hour exam, conducted as a traditional Indigenous council and decision-making council, which included sharing food, stories, and emotional testimonies, the lighting of sacred sage and smudging the space to purify the room of any negativity that might harm future persons occupying the room was conducted. In doing so, Indigenous peoples integrated a founding pillar of Indigenous knowledge systems deemed a core tenet of Indigenous epistemological and ontological systems.  In doing so, Indigenous peoples may have set off a number of micro to macro reactions of fear, bias, and ignorance among individuals and groups within the university system, who perceive Indigenous peoples' educational needs for cultural safety, expressed through integrating Indigenous methods, as a hazard, burden, an imposition and even a violation against British Columbian and Canadian rules of conduct.

This context of the tension between Indigenous Indigenous Knowledge and Methodologies and the western culture and institutional realm, is well known by practitioners and activists alike.  The context of the occurrence during an Indigenous Governance final exam, on the same day when the Inquiry on the Missing and Murdered Women had a press conference to present and discuss the multi-volume findings and recommendations related to the gross bias against Indigenous peoples (broadly) and Indigenous women (specifically) in both the RCMP, the judiciary, and BC society can not be ignored. Nor could the context of the mass confrontation by Indigenous Chiefs against the federal government resulting from the Parliament leaders refusal to allow AFN Chiefs to enter and submit their perspectives on Omnibus Bill C-45, and the resulting Idle No More viral movement.    

In an offering of peace, humility, and compassion for Indigenous and the settler society, the Indigenous peoples in the Governance course unintentionally set off fears of a fire amongst staff and faculty members in the building.  With cause, as last year, a fire in the basement of the same building caused harm to the health of certain faculty members, and subsequently a documentation effort by the harmed set off a number of tense interactions between them and administration.  A very complex history is involved, though much of it boils down to certain claims by key faculty that their health issues have not being taken seriously and have been swept under the rug.

Though, yesterday, Indigenous Students re-claiming and recovering their dignity, educational history, and educational systems took steps toward integrating Indigenous governance inside the institutional walls in a building with a long history of air quality challenges.  However, the wall which confronts Indigenous peoples on the path and journey of decolonization and indigenization of the academy, is the wall of western rules of propriety and order, a culture which even the most progressive and critical thinkers will uphold when the choice is framed as 'either the collective respiratory health' OR 'Indigenous educational values and beliefs'.  By framing Indigenous educational rights and rights to conduct Indigenous knowledge systems as "values and beliefs" the system (and its defenders) will incorporate the majority.  By regulating and reducing Indigenous knowledge and methods of enacting knowledge to 'values and beliefs' the system deploys the logic of discipline and dominion.  Meaning, the system launches the argument of cultural superiority and paternalism to rule over Indigenous Knowledge in university buildings. 

Which is a point of debate and argument.

Isn't the university admittedly standing on unceded territory of the Indigenous nation as iterated in the MOU, MOA, and ceremonial introductions (such as the annual convocations)?

By regulating Indigenous pedagogy, ontology, and epistemology to 'values and beliefs', this innate bias and tactic of the western system uses the logic of 'harm' (i.e. the smudge stick is an agent of harm in the building because it uses fire; the smudge stick can be used outside, not inside; we will accept the smudge stick outside, in a parallel multicultural domain [the mall], but not in a parallel intellectual domain [the classroom].  In this mode, the dominion pushes Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous peoples outside the center, where knowledge requiring the use of 'hazardous implements' necessitates certain kinds of architecture, infrastructure, and superstructure.

The setting off of the 'public health hazard' reaction, (immediately being set into motion after the smudging began) sets the wheels in motion by system defenders and promoters to reduce and to discipline the Indigenous peoples enacting Indigenous Knowledge, to the colonial artefact, museum relic, and heritage group, not peoples, nations, and social actors.

Yet, there is still another possibility.


The event may open minds to the level of the teachings of the 4 Rs.

Respect, Reciprocity, Responsibility, and Relevance are the four underlying principles of the Indigenous Governance model used throughout the course, and are a useful guide for analyzing and making predictions about other possible outcomes between the key actors.

After more than 6 years of lip-service, it seems appropriate for key actors to promote the dialogue and decision-making on the establishment of the Indigenous House of Learning to promote the health, well-being and success of Indigenous university students and Indigenous university faculty members.

Our mental, spiritual, physical, psychological well-being and health is crucial to our success in the university.  Indigenous pedagogies enacted in the university setting are central to emplacing our existence, consciousness, and being side-by-side with the settler society.  Our knowledge systems must do more than merely co-exist, because our knowledge systems have been deeply integrated for centuries.  Through our shared history, and our shared conflicts, Indigenous and settler knowledge systems must move beyond the parallel and into engaging one another in meaningful, respectful, responsible, and relevant ways.

Our modes of integrating the recognition of Indigenous tools of addressing harm and tools for repairing soul wounds incurred whilst in the academy is a mode of resistance to the chilling effect of the university environment on the human spirit of not only Indigenous peoples, but of all humanity.

Margo Tamez

Saturday, June 2, 2012



Dagotee gozhonihii (Nde')

Joy all around you (English)

Deseo a usted lo mejor y alegria (Spanish)
  •  Citizenship
    Nde' ('Lipan Apache'), Goschishnde' (Lightning Clan) Lower Rio Grande River (El Calaboz Rancheria)
  • Suma-Nde' ('Jumano Apache'), (Red Painted People), Middle-Upper Rio Grande River, West Texas (El Polvo, El Mesquite, El Conejo, El Mulato Chihuahua)
  • Contact

    Current and On-Going Interests
  • Human Rights, Militarization, UN DRIP, Indigenous Women, Indigenous Governance, Doctrine of Discovery, Indigenous Autonomy & Self-Determination Movements
    Lipan Apache Women Defense

    Research Partners
    Teresa Leal
    Lori Riddle
  • Currently Revising Manuscript
  • Nádasi’né’ nde' isdzáné begoz'aahi' shimaa shini' gokal
    Gową goshjaa ha’áná’idiłí texas-nakaiyé godesdzog
    [Translation: Returning Lipan Apache Women’s Laws, Lands, & Strength in El Calaboz Ranchería, Texas-Mexico Border]

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Quote of the day: (or archiving of a historical cluster of words)

"there is no singular epiphany"...

"it’s more than a dream, actually. It’s been realized. It will be a new standard that, I hope, will apply to every intellectual work, a consistent way of naming every piece of intellectual creation"

JA: That’s right, and the idea is to create an intellectual robustness. So if you think about citations when using URLs, if we make an intellectual work, we stand on the shoulders of giants, which we all do, and we cite our influences in some way—not necessarily in a formal academic sense, but we simply refer to them by linking to the original thing you were looking at. URLs are an example of how we become intellectually dependent on this citation mechanism. But if that citation mechanism is actually like plasticine, and it is decaying all around us—if oligarchs and billionaires are in there ripping out bits of history, or connections between one part of history and another, because it interferes with their agenda—then the intellectual constructs that we are building up about our civilization are being built on something that is unstable. We are building an intellectual scaffold for civilization out of plasticine.

"HUO: So in that sense it’s actually regressive compared to the book. No dictator can remove parts of a published book in the same way.

JA: Exactly. So this new idea that I want to introduce to protect the work of WikiLeaks can also be extended to protect all intellectual products. All creative works that can be put into digital form can be linked in a way that depends on nothing but the intellectual content of the material itself—no reliance on remote servers or any organization. It is simply a mathematical function on the actual intellectual content, and people would need nothing other than this function."

From, "In Conversation with Julian Assange Part I"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

DECOLONIZE U.S. BRDR PRZNZ : #4, SERIES, FROM indigenous brdr narratives after the wall

To experience the community lands in the current period is to merely peer through and above the narrow gaps of thick steel bars. Indigenous peoples are being prevented access and movement to, from and across customary lands, and cultural property by U.S. legislation. Indigenous peoples’ concerted efforts to challenge the legality of U.S. deathscapes and settler ecologies/economies of war:

“i.e.: a technology-saturated ‘roof’ of militarized airspace,

filled with satellites,

space debris plummeting down

and being vaporated by

NASA Space Engineers in Florida

stadium lights,

and agents stalking indigenous women

under cover,

in the dark,

infrared radar,

watch towers, drones,

unmanned spy

aircraft, and cyber information

sharing crackdowns, spearheaded

through the “Virtual Border

Neighborhood Watch Program”,

“border radio interoperability”,

the “Texas Data Exchange” programs,

and “K-9 units”[1]

demands a critical genocide analysis in the context of indigenous peoples’ challenges to maintain safety, protection, and self-governance in our communities.[1]

[1] Ibid, 4.

[1] Margo Tamez, “decolonize u.s. brdr prznz: #4,” from indigenous brdr narratives after the wall, open access cyber-e-collection, Indigifem Blog, at.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


nobody can hear us
by this wall

History and Memory
Twin Monster Slayers
Twin Dons
Twin Patrons
Twin Caciques
Twin Chiefs
Twin Mischiefs
Twin Mister Chiefs

Palpable containments

Carceral aspects

Punative suspects

Research assets

Nde' pain

Compressed, stolen,




enclosed her

Memory and Repression

doesn't even leave pulp behind
when it consumes us

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Human Rights, Indigenous Women, Re-Making Memory

RAVEN EYE, book review, by William Arce


"The emphasis on "revolution" and "women" is at stake throughout the whole text. ... the women in the "rez" find themselves under the dual oppression of their men and of white society."

"The last poems are especially moving in their range and scope. Elements of lost history, forgiveness, spirittual healing and the omnipotent power of memory ore resurrected: "Raen knows/Raven breaths"...