Treaties Beyond the State: On Black and Native Solidarity on the Prairies

“I want to move through the world in a way that acknowledges Black women as the originators of so much freedom work without reducing our existences as Black and Native women to a harmful and impossible comparative study.” – Treaties Beyond the State

This week, CBC launched Black on the Prairies, a series curated by Omayra Issa and Ify Chiwetelu.

This project is designed to celebrate and honour Black histories, presence, and futures on the prairies.

Through five themes — MigrationPutting in WorkBlack and Indigenous RelationsPolitics and Resistance, and Black to the Future — this project places Black people’s experiences at the centre of the Prairie narrative.

The series includes pieces from brilliant thinkers like Tasha Spillett (Hair and the ties that bind), Dr. Karina Vernon (The whitewashing of Prairie history: If we don’t know our past, we can’t understand our present), Bashir Mohamed (Lulu Anderson: The history and present of Black civil rights in Alberta), and Nehal El-Hadi (Harlem on the Prairies: How Blackness is harmfully used as shorthand), among others.

There are carefully curated, beautiful pieces on Black prairie resistance to police brutality and anti-Blackness, Prairie portraits of Black movers and shakers, and stories of Black migration on the prairies. There is a CBC music playlist of Black prairie musicians.

My contribution to this essential project is a piece entitled Treaties Beyond the State: Honouring Our Responsibilities to Each Other.

“We must read critically and research more broadly to find the sparks of love that kept folks alive through it all. We owe it to each other to cultivate nuanced understandings of one another’s lives as Black people and Native people.”

Check out the Black on the Prairies project here. Read my piece here.