Colonizers Don't Concern Themselves With Trees
Honoring My Indigenous Heritage and Resilience
Although the United States celebrates November as National Native American Heritage Month, solidarity with Native American communities should be a year-round effort. I am Montagnard, Indigenous, and a daughter of Vietnam War refugees. As such, I recognize the interplay between American settler colonialism and imperialism in Southeast Asia. As an Asian American, I also recognize that I have benefited from land and resources historically belonging to Native Americans. I aim to use my privilege to continuously educate myself on Native American history and to advocate for Native communities beyond November. I implore you to do the same.
The poem below was written to honor my own Indigenous heritage and resilience.
a fallen acorn from a millennium-old oak.
An unforeseen seedling,
a small, startling sapling.
My ancestry, every root, unseen, unmoving, feeding the earth thanklessly.
My limbs, every branch, brazen in the way they stretch tall and wide.
My spirit, every leaf, an endless loop of changing shades, birth and rebirth.
Through uprooting, through axing, through wilting,
I refuse to fall.
My roots can replant, my branches regrow,
my leaves will bloom jade and amber again.
But, I wonder,
where will my body be buried,
where will my flesh fertilize,
where will my bones decompose with no homeland?
Will the Earth recognize me when I return to her door?
Colonizers don’t concern themselves with trees
when they have a whole forest to swallow.
They’ll plant anew over your grave and say they were there first.
Here are some ways you can advocate for Native American communities:
Native Land Digital: educational resources on historically Indigenous land/territories, including a map and Territory Acknowledgement Guide.
Land Reparations and Indigenous Solidarity Toolkit: a brief guide for Resource Generation members and other folks with access to land to support in education and resource sharing around land reparations.
@RISEIndigenous on Instagram: an Indigenous artist initiative dedicated to the amplification and evolution of Indigenous art and culture.