Recently, Indigenous activist, Dr. Waziyatawin, gave a speech in which she called for the return of Indigenous land and sovereignty “by any means necessary.” Right on!
This Indigenous national liberation struggle in the heart of empire– one which RAIM fully supports– needs allies. These allies are not to be found amongst Whites, which throughout history and to this day have benefited from the genocide and enslavement of others. Whites who do support such struggles exist, but are a vast minority. Rather the natural allies of Indigenous struggles against Amerikan and capitalist-imperialism are to be found amongst the 5 billion plus people currently ground down by imperialism, the same way Indigenous folk were in the past. The Third World masses’ united struggles against capitalist-imperialism allied with oppressed nations’ struggles for material and cultural sovereignty within the US and other First World countries is the shortest path to the goals of both. The world does not have time to wait for recalcitrant, reactionary labor aristocrats. Death to Imperialism! Viva National Liberation!
‘Winona Post Waziyatawin talk tape gets FBI attention’
(Cynthya Porter, Winona Post)
When Winona State University senior Nick Benike, 30, wrote a letter to the Winona Post editor in November about a presentation he attended at the university, he never imagined the FBI would be looking for him a few weeks later.
His letter criticized statements made by American Indian activist Waziyatawin, also known as Dr. Angela Wilson, who visited WSU to talk about her Dakota ancestors and the future of the Dakota people.
But during that talk, Benike alleged Waziyatawin made threats of violence, said she was going to attack the infrastructure of the United States and that Dakota people would take back their stolen land by whatever means necessary.
The letter sparked a flurry of response, from Dakota tribal leaders who condemned Waziyatawin’s advocacy of violence, from supporters of Waziyatawin’s who said she had been treated unfairly, and from Waziyatawin herself, who said her words had been “distorted by a disgruntled white man.” Waziyatawin told the Winona Post, “I believe we have proof that Benike’s comments are lies–and there is no question that his false accusations, including the suggestion that I am a terrorist, are damning to my reputation.”
The controversy over Waziyatawin’s alleged words captured the attention of another group as well, agents in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Benike said he received quite a start a few weeks ago when his girlfriend told him a detective had been by looking for him.
Benike tracked the officer down and was given contact information for a field agent in the Mankato FBI office.
The agent was investigating Waziyatawin’s supposed comments about violence and the government, Benike said, and wanted to know if he had an audio recording or additional witnesses to corroborate his characterization of her presentation.
“I was kind of scared because I was hanging out there,” he said. “I didn’t know anyone else there (at the presentation).” Benike, whose daughter is part American Indian, said he is not prejudiced and was worried that his letter could make all of the Dakota people mad at him, but that he jotted down notes as quickly as he could during the presentation because he was alarmed by what he was hearing. “I’m not really a political activist, I’m a student,” he said, “but I figured the people needed to hear what was going on. I don’t scare too easy, but that speech was twisted.”[…]
Minnesota Public Radio reported that Waziyatawin confirmed she is being investigated by the FBI but that she said her lecture was “not a threat to commit violence as some have suggested.”
“Never have I said that Dakota people should go out and kill people, or kill white settlers, or kill all white people because we hate them,” MPR quoted her as saying.
In the story Waziyatawin was also quoted as saying, “When I’m talking about there will undoubtedly be violence, I’m talking about violence against the Dakota people by the state, if we work toward justice.”
The Winona Post obtained an audio recording of Waziyatawin’s lecture in Winona, something that provides definitive answers to what Waziyatawin said and what she didn’t.[…]
On learning that the Winona Post had obtained an audio recording of the presentation, Benike said he felt relieved and vindicated. The FBI no longer needs him, he said, because they can hear her words for themselves.
While Benike says he would write the letter again he said he would likely be more careful next time with the use of quotation marks versus paraphrasing statements as best he could.
He agrees that in the audio recording Waziyatawin does not directly say the “white man will get what he deserves” as his letter characterized, though he added that he felt that implication was made when Waziyatawin talked of white settlers stealing land and Dakota taking it back by any means necessary.
He also misquotes her saying that Dakota will “act soon,” and shouldn’t have put quotations around, “We are going to attack the infrastructure of the United States along with incorporating other measures to ensure that my people take back what is rightfully ours.”
Benike said while those words were not a direct quotation from her, he believes it is the essence of what she said.
In his letter to the editor Benike called the threats she made terroristic, and challenged that her plan for reclaiming land was exactly what she said white men had done to her ancestors.
Tuesday when reached by phone, Benike said he believes Waziyatawin’s message started off as valuable, but that she went too far and turned the audience away from her message with hate. “If she’d tone it down and get away from hate and violence she’d have a good argument, a strong argument,” he said. “But radicalizing it does more harm than good.”
Neither Waziyatawin or the Mankato FBI field office could be reached for comment, but a statement buried in one of Waziyatawin’s e-mails might suggest she was not surprised when the uproar over her presentation took place.
On November 26, 2010, Waziyatawin forwarded an e-mail request from the Winona Post for an interview to her father, Chris Mato Nunpa, who is also an activist. In the e-mail to Nunpa she wrote, “This is from the night I was called a terrorist in Winona…so much for the committed allies there! I knew there would be backlash on this one…” [Full article here]
Listen to the controversial full speech here.