Co-Creating Stories of Collective Liberation

Throughout this country’s existence, there have been endless calls and actions for acknowledgement and reparation for the violent subjugation and domination of Indigenous peoples through the colonial regime with its genocidal and gynocidal tactics. This Culture of violence weaves together Indigenous, Black, Asian, Immigrant, LGBTQAI+ peoples and communities’ stories together in collective trauma and pain that spills into generational psyche and consciousness – impacting our minds, hearts, bodies, and spirits. Once again, waves of collective calls and action are sweeping the nation. Here in our homelands of New Mexico, many are carrying forward the vision, actions, and prayers of ancestors, relatives, and communities.

On June 15, Rio Arriba county workers took down a statue of Juan de Oñate from its site in Alcalde, New Mexico, after the most recent wave of community voices called for its removal. The following day, the Oñate statue in Albuquerque came down. On June 18, the Three Sisters Collective gathered people together on the Santa Fe Plaza to mark the city’s decision to remove three monuments in O’Gha Po’Geh: the obelisk on the Plaza, a statue of Don Diego DeVargas in Cathedral Park, and the Kit Carson obelisk near the Courthouse (a decision the mayor made after meeting with members of the Collective).

The removal of racist symbols is only the first step in the co-creation process of collective liberation. We must continue to advocate for all our communities’ involvement in developing the processes that allow new systems to take root that are birthed in our collective experiences, systemic processes that center healing and nurture our collective, shared humanity.

Our only hope for our collective liberation is a politics of deep solidarity rooted in love.
– Michelle Alexander

With our hearts and spirits full, Tewa Women United lifts up the collective power of community voices and actions through the years that have held the light and called to retire these markers of history that continue to cause harm and division among those now present together in O’Gha Po’Geh/Santa Fe, Española, and throughout New Mexico.

This has been a call for collective liberation, not an erasure of history. It has been a call for more inclusive story sharing, one that calls for us to remember the violent past but not to glorify the violence inflicted upon peoples. Our minds, bodies, hearts, and spirits as well as our Earth Mother hold that pain and those wounds.

This is our moment to bring collective healing by doing the hard/heart work. Angela Davis said, “If one does not engage in the ongoing work when such a moment arises, we cannot take advantage of the opportunities to change.” This moment asks us to be courageous, to show the world right now, as Mayor Alan Webber raised up, that our love of self and pride in who we are and where we come from need not depend on devaluing others and their experiences. We have the power to co-create our stories and to celebrate the strengths of our diverse peoples, cultures and communities.

Alongside this organizational statement, Tewa Women United Environmental Health and Justice Program Coordinator Beata Tsosie-Peña, from Kha’po Owingeh/Santa Clara Pueblo and El Rito, said,

“It’s important to know that Pueblos and surrounding Acequia communities share a land-based culture and unity that preceded these modern day ill-conceived attempts at colonial divide and conquer strategies. These pedestals to patriarchal violence and conquest contribute to diminishing our collective strength for the struggles we face today. We must dismantle these symbols of oppression and genocide so that our way forward together is cleared to focus on shared resistance, land-based survival, strengthening relations, and a return to the centering and protection of those most vulnerable in our communities.”

We also appreciate this statement from the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.