Understanding the links between somatics and human society has been of great importance to me as a Feldenkrais Practitioner for a few years now. Some of these connections are obvious while others are elusive (see blog posts here, here, and here). In the spirit of developing action & awareness simultaneously, using action to hone self-awareness, and vice versa, I created a living, changing professional 'Statement on Land & Labor' which describes two things:
1. The historic and present colonial reality of the land and economy in which my business operates
2. The actionable steps this business is taking to participate in anti-colonial change
This statement contains material from the People's Institute and the Uhuru Movement in addition to other sources mentioned below, it is not complete or exhaustive, and it solely represents my views.
“If we think of territorial acknowledgments as sites of potential disruption, they can be transformative acts that to some extent undo Indigenous erasure.” – Chelsea Vowel, Métis, Beyond Territorial Acknowledgements
I recognize that I live and work on the land of Nacotchtank & Piscataway people, known by settlers as Washington D.C. (source) I recognize that my ancestors were a combination of colonizers and immigrants and that in living and working here I participate in the ongoing settler occupation and colonization of stolen indigenous land. (Edited from the People's Institute)
As a result of colonial genocide, there is no living Nacotchtank lineage (source). Fleeing attack, many Algonquian people consolidated with the Piscataway, who are now recognized by the 2012 order “State Recognition to the Piscataway Conoy Tribe” (source). Indigenous peoples are still resisting occupation of their land.
I recognize that the US economy and wealth was built through the abduction and chattel slavery of African peoples, the carving up of Africa, and the plunder of stolen African land. Centuries of disenfranchisement of Black people via indentured servitude, sharecropping, prison labor, redlining, predatory lending, police brutality and other forms of attack on Black liberty have maintained and expanded the US economy.
I recognize that Euro-American imperialist domination has expanded domestically and internationally to exploit the land and labor of other communities. For example, the farm labor of Latinx people, internment of Japanese people, railroad labor of the Chinese people, wars of aggression against the people of the Middle East, and much more.
As a descendant of European colonizers and immigrants, I experience social, systemic, professional, and financial benefit as a result of this violence and other systems of colonial violence, including classism, racism, transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, ableism, and their intersections. Therefore, I commit to learning the history and current reality of the land I am occupying and the economy I am part of, so that I can work to end oppression through solidarity and collaboration.
Social action components of my professional practice
Black and Indigenous students have the option of donation-based access to all online classes, 1 in 5 in-person class slots (once resumed from COVID-related closures), and 1 in 10 private sessions. If you identify as Black or Indigenous and are interested in these options, contact me here!
*Note on material solidarity (edited from APSP, APSC): Reparations is not charity, individual favor, or the assumption of poverty. Reparations is a practical and material expression of white solidarity with the demand for justice made by Black and Indigenous communities. Reparations is an action that white governments, communities, and individuals can take to strategically reject and return the wealth we have inherited as the beneficiaries of violence against colonized peoples.