Tag Archives: First Nations Peoples

OPINION: Seattle’s Curbs and Corners

by bigg villainus


As I’m preparing to leave Seattle, I will live out of my car and travel the nation advocating for prison abolition and building solidarity with other abolitionist communities. And as I prepare to leave, a haunting thought sets in. I am once again going to be houseless, in a pandemic no less. 

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OPINION: Every Native Child Matters in Seattle Too

by Caro Johnson and Millie Kennedy


On Saturday, July 17, participants in Seattle’s “Every Child Matters — Seattle Rally and March” gathered at Cal Anderson Park. The crowd stood, sat, drummed, and mourned in solidarity with the First Nations tribes who found 160 children on July 12, buried at Penelakut Island Residential School in British Columbia and in remembrance of the nine children’s remains, recovered from the Carlisle Boarding School in Pennsylvania, returning to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. 

The assimilative policy in Canada and the United States of removing children from their parents is an ongoing form of genocide. From the 1860s until the late 20th century, over 300 American Indian residential schools were a government-funded and church-run national program to “civilize” Native children by coercing them into schools and, once there, forbidding them to speak their languages or learn their traditions. Both Catholic and Protestant churches forced the children to assimilate to Anglo-American culture through brutal means, leaving many maimed for life physically and psychologically. Sexual abuse was common, and manual labor was compulsory for even the youngest children. Thousands of Native children died by suicide, hunger, and abuse at these boarding schools. 

Prior to the residential and boarding school policies, hundreds of thousands of Native Americans died by germ warfare through the intentional infection of smallpox. This experience of genocide is so universal for Turtle Island’s Native people that individual members of various American Indian, Alaska Native, and First Nation tribes from near and far were in attendance at the July march in Seattle as well as many non-Native allies seeking justice and solidarity. 

At the Seattle Every Child Matters Rally, marchers carefully placed babies’ and children’s shoes outside at St. James Cathedral, directly across from the regional Catholic headquarters Archdiocese of Seattle, to symbolize the dead. 

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Seedcast: On Home and Belonging for Black and Indigenous Peoples

by Inye Wokoma

Indigenous peoples and communities have long used stories to understand the world and our place in it. Seedcast is a story-centered podcast by Nia Tero and a special monthly column produced in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald about nurturing and rooting stories of the Indigenous experience.


One of my earliest memories is of my grandfather waking up every morning before the sun came up. I was born in 1969 and in my early years, before my mother married my father, we lived with my grandparents. By the time I was maybe 4 or 5, my grandfather had retired. He had served in World War II in the motor pool in the South Pacific, and then, when he came to Seattle, he got a job at the Naval shipyards down on the piers here in the sound, later working with the transportation department until his retirement in the early ’70s. He came from a family of tenant farmers who migrated to the Northwest from the South who were used to working on the land. Their work ethic never left him. 

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