Directions: Find moments during this week when you can start a conversation with your mom/dad/abuelx. It may take you a couple of times to get through this. The idea of the Maruchan Interview is that we’re not trying to get all up in your family’s biznezz but we’re opening up a conversation to learn some basics about their travel here to Chicago. There is a lot we can still learn from their responses. Please come to our next meeting on Saturday, December 10th with this assignment done.
Gracias- Philámayaye (Lakota) – Tlazohcamati Cenca tlazohcamati (Nahuatl) – A dupe (Yoruba) – yupaychani (Quichua)
- In what year did you come? Do you know the exact date?
- What time of the year was it? What did you think about your new city?
- Where in Chicago did you first come to live in?
- What surprised you most about Chicago?
- Can you tell me about your first job here?
- Did you feel welcomed in Chicago? Can you tell me something about that?
- Besides family, what simple thing did you miss about home?
*********Take a photo or bring one of them to the next meeting ****************
We hustled stories over fires and peeped drones over head.
I haven’t written as much as I’d like to about our short but powerful visit to Standing Rock, ND this October. I feel overwhelmed by this historical moment and incredible people out there each day facing down guns. But I want my friends to know and I want other Latinxs to know–this is all of our struggle. If you’re considering it please go up to Standing Rock now!. They need us right now. We need them even more. (Or support however you can).
For me, it was both powerful on the macro/movement sense and meant so much to me as a Latinx with indigenous roots. Movement wise– this is it–it’s the answer to the chaos sparked in 1492, it’s ground zero for decolonization. Ecologically and economically people are calling for the end of vulture capitalism that values profits over all life.
As a Latinx with roots in Ecuador and Puerto Rico it was the meeting of my relatives, literally folks were interested in us finding out Latin American “tribe” while we were out there, our delegation was welcomed with ceremony, we were smudged and greeted by the camp elders. If you can go, you should. Of course I danced–learned to do the owl and rabbit. If I’d stay longer we woulda been dancing salsa at some point. I earned a camp nickname: “Boricua!”
We stayed at the main camp “Oceti Sakowin” and it felt sacred–all day and night you can hear drumming and singing– you feel this beauty there–I mean all these flags and all these people and all these stories in one place. So many have sacrificed so much personally to remain there for weeks, months even–pulled in by the weight of this moment.
You don’t have to sleep outside –some folks book a room at the casino and drive down the road to camp. You don’t have to get arrested–only those who want to go to the front lines are prepared to do so. But our water protectors need us to come up and phyically be present to stop the encrouching machines from drilling underneath the sacred waters and earth.
There is so much other work to do–I helped cook in the Lower Brulé Sioux camp where all the guys hang out who do security. Made a camp version of arroz con gandules. (Lol with “game meat” bc there was no salchichon). If you have questions, hit me up. ❤️
*this is history yall*
#NODAPL #waterislife #LatinxIndigenx #NoDAPLcarajo#Chicago2StandingRock
By Juliet de Jesus Alejandre
Fifteen hours on the road. Our bodies and spirits were anxious to arrive to this place that’s been calling us for the last few weeks. We met our guide Mike Klonsky at the Prairie Knights Casino lobby in order to ride together into the campgrounds just outside of the Standing Rock Reservation. Slumped into the hotel lobby sofas, protestors sat charging their phones and laptops. The temperature outside was about thirty degrees colder than in Chicago—they looked so cold. We didn’t care, we were ready to go join the Water Protectors.
As we soaked up the people, the smells and sounds, an elder, turned to our group and asked, “Where you all from?” We heard a couple of others answer this question reciting names of reservations and tribes. We paused and felt the weight of her question. On the one hand her question assumed we were relatives, fellow members of the ancient peoples of the Americas. That familiarity felt good—like a welcoming. We also felt loss. Our silence spoke of colonization. Spoke of broken family stories. Partially we were here to recover a part of ourselves, of our past in this fight for a future that centers our humanity and relationships to the earth and to one another.
Through the Brown in Chicago Project, Latinx youth are sitting down with family to document our family migration stories and to explore the role of race and racism in our lives. With great care they are recording the names of their ancestors, the towns they lived and migrated from, the dates they walked the earth. DNA test results show that our Mexican students have between 60-90% Native American ancestry. Though because of colonization none of our young people have thought of themselves as a part of the indigenous diaspora before now.
We also traveled here because in this fight to stop oil companies and the government from decimating the homes and sacred burial sites of the Standing Rock Sioux, we see our own fight. In Chicago, our young people are waging their own battle against the further displacement of Latinx families from the gentrifying neighborhoods of Logan Square, Humboldt Park and Hermosa. Capitalism is killing our communities, exploiting our natural resources and disregarding our ties to the land and one another. The resistance put up by the community at Standing Rock is spiritually and culturally fueled as well as legal and political, and so is ours. We met our people at Standing Rock.
Photo Cred: Arely Morales
Our group of 11 young people and 3 “old heads” from Chicago got back on the afternoon of “Indigenous People’s Day.” We are not the same people who left last Thursday. The stories and the people we met, the way were welcomed by elders, participating in traditional dances, the drums and prayers, the smoke rising in air, the incredible spirit of community and vision for a future that respects all people and all of life–all of it changed us. We will be posting some more, but here are some reflections our young people posted about our trip to Standing Rock, ND! #NoDAPL
LSNA in North Dakota! Chicago solidarity #nodapl. This trip was so amazing for us in various ways. We were welcomed with a ceremony, danced in inner circle, were called and treated like brothers and sisters. So much learning from this. Thank you to all who donated money and supplies. Capitalism kills, water is life! 💙
18 hrs · Instagram ·
Staying with the Lower Brule tribe at the camp in North Dakota was a life changing experience. The stories shared and the lessons learned will be something I will carry with me forever. I will always be thankful for this opportunity and for the warm welcome of all of the indigenous people in North Dakota ❤️ #lsna2nodak #nodapl
October 9 at 3:44pm · Instagram ·
Going to Standing Rock was an amazing experience, something I’m going to always remember is being welcomed and meeting everyone with a traditional dance. Definetly going to also remember seeing and hearing all of the traditional singing, dancing, and drumming. And the puppies/ wolf that were at the Lower Brule Sioux camp where we were welcomed to camp with.
Photo Credits to Arely Morales
Watch the Full Speech Here
It reminds me of how beautiful we are.
“We survived everything this world threw at us. We survived wars, survived dictators, survived torturers and violence endless violence and borders all the damned borders and hunger and the loneliness of the newcomer to a new land. We survived the loss of home, the loss of family, the loss of languages. We survived no one knowing how to say our names and we survived not knowing how to say our own names. We survived our parents suffering and their silences and their scars that speak louder than the bombs that put them there, we survived our confusions about who we were in a country that only seems to speak black and white, and we survived not speaking English, not speaking Spanish, not speaking and the paperwork all that damn paperwork we survived that too. And we survived the ingratitude of the nation where we settled, the nation we help build and for whom we always die. We survived the infinite heartbreak that is the true story of immigration and we survived the agony of not knowing how to bear witness to that story and to our selves. And we survived the hate—the hate that never seems to die—that hate that pretends to be patriotism, that pretends to be security, that pretends to be leadership, the hate that won’t listen to reason, to morality, to compassion. We survived it all; we are the people who survive—We survived everything, survived even the surviving which is one of the hardest survivals of all and in the middle of all that surviving some of us even learned to live. Our story is an epic, a saga, an odyssey. We crossed continents, we crossed oceans and every time there was no way we made a way. We are the children of bridges –bridges made from our backs our tears our sacrifice and from all the ones who never made it across with us.”
With the Logan Square Neighborhood Association
LSNA’s youth organizing work is founded on the values of racial justice. Youth are vital leaders in the push for both policy and cultural responses to the violence of displacement. Displacement destroys culture. Youth leaders find themselves in a neighborhood experiencing swift racial and economic transition that feels violent and painful. They no longer feel welcomed in their neighborhood hangouts or feel secure that their parents (working-class immigrants) will be able to keep pace with the rising rents and property taxes. For our youth the fact that gentrification is a racialized process is common sense. They see the buying power young white people have in their community, and LSNA’s organizers help deepen their analysis through workshops that emphasize the historical housing policies in Chicago that created the Black and Latino ghettos of our city.
This July a group of seventeen youth leaders with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association started a journey to fight the erasure of displacement by documenting their families’ migrations from Latin America to Chicago. Youth leaders were also commissioned by their abuelitas and parents as they submitted DNA ancestry kits to see where their families’ journeys actually started. Our ancestry results capture the mixing of people’s brought violently together in 1492. Our Mexican students –the great majority of the group–carry between 60-90% indigenous ancestry. Africa is also present with us—all of our youth came back with some African ancestry. And our young people from the Caribbean have between 15-35% African ancestry. We suddenly feel ancient and feel the weight of the loss of our indigenous and African identities–colonization is also erasure of one’s stories.
In partnership with the Genealogy and Storytelling Project LSNA youth will:
- Uncover the history of migration and displacement and the impact they have on their lives today;
- Boldly claim their own place in history as part of the Latin-American and Pan-African Diaspora;
- Dismantle the dominant narrative of white supremacy within the specific process of gentrification and more broadly;
- Engage more Latinx families to celebrate their place and histories in the community as one weapon against displacement.
 In the past year, 110 youth have been involved in LSNA’s anti-gentrification work taking significant roles in outreach efforts to residents, developing actions, introducing new strategies and concepts, and meeting with local officials about the need to create policy solutions to address rising displacement.
 Latinx= The “x” makes Latino, a masculine identifier, gender-neutral. The “x” also encompasses genders outside of that limiting man-woman binary. Pronounced “La-teen-ex.