Making My Own Post™️ because im not indigenous, and because the post that spurred this on was about Palestine as well, so i don’t want to derail it. that said, it does have me very emotional because i grew up in the central valley of california, and i do my best to pay attention to the land i’m on and the people who know it best. i think that anybody who really cares about the land that america encompasses and learning about what it was like before it was devastated by the arrival of white people would be able to understand my frustration.
i love the valley now, even in its dry and wounded state, because it is where i grew up, but it is obvious that the land was far, far healthier when it was in the care of the indigenous people of the area. that is because the ecosystem was maintained by and for those people.
i’m not indigenous, so i don’t presume to have any better knowledge than what was shared in the other post (which you really should check out before reading on), but what @omusa-inola and @dojense shared was the same as what i learned in my own personal research. the valley used to be home to black oak forests, which were maintained by the indigenous people that live there. black oaks are huge trees which provide essential shade from the intense central valley sun. black oaks also build a root network that nourishes other plants that the indigenous people of the area (including the miwoks, but also other tribes) relied on prior to the destruction of the oaks.
there is a very small black oak grove near where i used to live (that is now being threatened by kudzu, sadly) and standing underneath the cathedral-like shelter of a black oak’s sprawling branches and seeing what grows in their shadow really contextualizes the struggle of the valley. it’s obvious if you open your eyes and look. things grow easily under the black oaks. they don’t elsewhere. meanwhile, white people struggle to grow non-native crops under the direct sun, in huge monocultural fields, by dousing them with water daily. white people call the valley a desert now, but it doesn’t have to be. it wasn’t before.
if you read that other post, you might be finding it clear that genocidal action and ecological disaster absolutely go hand in hand. both play into each other. california is just one example of that. the healthy, abundant ecosystem that worked for the valley, that was maintained by and for the indigenous people, was destroyed. the oaklands were chopped down, taking the livelihood of the indigenous people with them— all in order to make way for the white way of life. even now, surviving native plant and wildlife continues to die off every day as farms till to prepare for another season of stripping the soil of water and nutrients for profit, and even as farms are torn up and replaced by houses and apartments for the ever-increasing number of those who want to strike it rich in the golden state. public schools in CA continue to refuse to teach the truth about the indigenous people of the region, denying their importance and existence. sacred & historic sites are torn up because they’re worth so much more to capitalism if they’re replaced by a shitty apartment building or whatever.
the disturbed land of the valley is not only home to crops and densely-packed little houses, but it is also home to viciously invasive and highly flammable grasses that literally didnt exist in california before white people brought them over in bags of grain and crop seeds. the native plants that do manage to sprout up between the strawberries and almond trees are destroyed by tilling, but the tilling literally perpetuates the life cycle of these invasive grasses which choke out other life, suck the nutrients and water out of the soil, and then die on top of it in a dry, flammable heap. those invasive grasses also dominate the yellow, barren cow pastures between the orchards, and the black-burnt shoulders of the highways.
it’s confusing and mind-numbing to try to understand how California keeps making ecologically devastating decisions while maintaining the reputation of a Good, Liberal State. at least it was that way for me, until one of my visits to the black oak grove during that period of my life where i was struggling to grow my own food to eat. i saw how easily life springs up under the shadows of the trees even in the heat of a valley summer, and remembered that white people tore all of those life-giving trees down to plant rows of crops to sell off and to build labyrinths of identical houses. the answer is that the state of california is just another part of the capitalist colonial government that exists to perpetuate itself and kill everything and everyone that stands in its way, even until there is no california to rule over, burnt to the ground and then swallowed by the pacific.
no one has cared for the land better than the indigenous people who colonizers set out to erase. dont forget the damage that is done, because colonizer governments with no attachment to the land will never fix the ecological disasters they benefit from, even if that government is california, which brands itself as the most climate-conscious and progressive state. i encourage other americans to research the land you live on to learn what it was and who took care of it before it became built cookie-cutter houses, lawns, and factory farms. listen to the voices of indigenous people around you. it will be frustrating and saddening to learn what has been destroyed, but we have to learn.
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I'll debate morality with u...are you into true crime 👀
ahh alas i am not :c
usually our debates are super boring for people and long bc we try to be practical about it instead of taking special cases/exceptions as support and think more or like ‘how does this apply to the world now’.
as infuriating as they can be, they’re always fun bc most of the time myself and/or my roommate are wildly unqualified for whatever topic we’re discussing, plus his alignment is neutral good whereas i’m more lawful neutral/evil which means u get the really proper “right” takes like “if someone commits a crime, they must be tried through the justice system” and the “ok well what if instead of the justice system you can do vigilante justice within reason”
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