The following is a statement from Michelle Tremillo, Co-Executive Director of the Texas Organizing Project (TOP), on the organization’s observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day this year:
“Today, we join in honoring the past, present, and future of Indigenous people throughout not just the United States but the world, and recognize their vast histories, vibrant cultures, and incalculable contributions that have shaped society since the start of recorded history.
“We also acknowledge the destructive legacy of colonization in this country, rooted in white supremacy, which led to state-sanctioned genocide, forced assimilation, and violent removal of Indigenous peoples from ancestral lands spanning generations.
“The reverberations of these injustices continue to this day, and can be seen through disparities that exist for Indigenous people in areas such healthcare, education, housing, and the environment – issues that TOP organizes around, as we work to build solidarity across communities of color to dismantle the systemic racism that for far too has held us back.”
Laura Rios-Ramirez, a San Antonio TOP member of Indigenous Mexican heritage added:
“Indigenous communities today and everyday are fighting to protect our way of life, and our land and water, across North America, Central America, South America, and beyond. Colonization, as a tool of genocide, has erased the stories of our people many times over, especially in the Somi Se’k territories of what we now know as Texas and Northern Mexico. These territories served as a belt of migration and trade for millennia, as well as a settlement for displaced and detribalized people.
“Tribal nations like the Esto’k Gna, Carrizo, Carrizo Comecrudo, Apache, Coahuilteca, and many others that have ancestral ties to these lands have their respective everyday struggles with issues that intersect with TOP’s focus on racial and economic justice. Our fights are intrinsically linked.
“Commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day is just one important way how we can toss out the problematic “doctrine of discovery” and replace it with a doctrine of truth— one that proclaims that Indigenous peoples from across the hemisphere are very much alive today and declares our full rights to sovereignty, self-determination, and dignity.”
Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.
This statement was sent out October 11, 2021.