On this Indigenous People’s Day, we acknowledge and support the indigenous populations across the world. To be native to a land whose soil is occupied is a global reality for many, but these populations’ cultures, histories, and lives are to be remembered, celebrated, and supported.
The term indigenous inherently goes back to settler colonialism. While people native to these lands have always existed, the idea that these populations must be labeled as indigenous means that a foreign entity or population forcefully settled on those lands. This means that these settlers coopted and claimed these people’s native lands, inherently creating a reality in which one population was labeled indigenous (to identify who lived on the lands before) and the other as settlers.
This is a deep and painful experience, as much of the cultures and histories of these indigenous peoples are systematically erased. These settler projects not only take native lands, but they also oppress every part of indigenous peoples’ lives - with control of education, water, food, and even movement.
This is why you see the popular call for resistance and land-back movements with indigenous peoples. These acts of decolonization are not only methods of gaining newfound freedom away from the grip of these settlers, but they are also a source of hope.
And it is this resistance that lives so deeply in Palestinian culture. Palestine has been continuously fighting back to claim their rightful lands. Over the past few days, this has been especially clear. This is a resistance that is vital and never-ending, and is a central piece of the Palestinian experience.
Because of the settler colonial history that Palestine has endured, it is extremely important to acknowledge Palestine alongside each and every indigenous population that has fought against such an oppressor. The cultures, histories, and lives of these indigenous populations are to be preserved, supported, and celebrated. This is why we at Handmade Palestine are so dedicated to highlighting the beautiful and traditional craftsmanship of Palestine! We want to keep these traditions alive and well by supporting our wonderful artisans who create these handicrafts.
With the intricate stitching of tatreez to olive wood carving to the sewing of each keffiyeh, we celebrate the craftsmanship that shows off the beauty and history of Palestine! Keeping these traditions alive is inherently a form of resistance, because it shows that the culture and joy of Palestine cannot and will not be erased. And this is the case for each and every indigenous population across the world.
Palestinians' relationship to this native land also means that it must be protected. We strive to preserve the land through tree planting, wildflower conservation, and environmental education with our friends at Mashjar Juthour. This protection is another form of indigenous resistance by keeping the land preserved, cared for, and loved. And his resistance is not just unique to Palestine - protecting native lands is vital within every indigenous population.
So on this Indigenous People’s Day, recognize the strength of each indigenous population as they resist the oppressive structures imposed upon them. Show your support and keep indigenous cultures, histories, and craftsmanship alive!