What I know on the subject of why I mask up. There are many times when people are at “political” actions or see pics/footage of direct actions pertaining to Indigenous Land Defence or any kind of resistance to the government or corporations and we are masked up. There is always people who take it upon themselves to question you as if they are the grand arbiter of how you can or cannot participate in resistance. They have the gall to ask in the most rude ways “why do you mask up” “are you ashamed of yourselves?” “our ancestors never wore masks” “if your doing nothing wrong why hide” and all of the usual ignorant comments meant to shame or be derisive to Warriors. Despite this being none of their business and the fact that no one has to explain themselves to anyone on the reasons why they are engaging in combatting colonialism, oppression, resource extraction et al; the way they do, they still feel entitled enough to feel owed an explanation. The infuriating part is that when you take the time to explain why people mask up they are deliberately obtuse because its not really the mask they have a problem with, its what you are doing in terms of resistance. Those of us who wear masks are not ashamed in any way shape or form, wearing a mask signals our intent, it does not mean we are afraid quite the opposite. The mask is our true face, the face of a Warrior who is fully awake and aware and knows what they are doing is more than their ego or personal gain, the mask shows that we are committed to our actions, we are aware of the utmost seriousness of our inherent duty to protect the sacred, to protect our children, and their future.
I can only speak for myself but I think this is a sentiment that may be shared by my Resistance Fam. I mask up because when I am on the frontlines not only do I need to protect myself from chemical warfare, I need to protect myself and my family from recognition because of the fascist police state we live in that absolutely revels in its corrupt justice system that’s riddled with racism, they will make you a prisoner of war just for upholding your sacred and inherent right to protect your land and water. The jails have too many of our people and we cannot afford for any more of our people to be incarcerated and part of the industrial prison complex being made a modern day slave. Statistics show that Indigenous People make up a large majority of the population in prisons.
More importantly in my mind masking up is an act of love for Mother Earth, it is a way of showing her your deep respect for the honor of protecting her and her body. When your pledge yourself to be a Warrior for Mother Earths Army you leave your identity and your ego behind. You are faceless, nameless and need no glory attached to your battle deeds, after all when you are a Warrior your not in it for selfies or recognition, or you shouldn’t be. The whole reason for fighting is to protect your land and water and your very Mother, you are fighting for the future of your people not to be recognized and have your ass kissed when people see you, that kind of hubris has no place on the frontlines or in Warrior Societies. The duty you are undertaking as a Protector you are ensuring the continuity of your culture, traditions, and your very way of life as a member of your Nation, when you are fighting colonialism, oppression, racism, neocolonialism, resource extraction, the illegal government, and sometimes your own corrupt people it behooves you to show a united front with your warrior brothers and sisters who stand beside you, what better way to do that than to show the world and your enemy that you are all one, connected in a way they will never understand. On the frontline, wherever it may be you are literally facing racists, racist police, and other agencies that’s only agenda is to continue genocide and protect corporations who want to ruin our planet for their greed, in order to safeguard yourself and your comrades masking up is protection for you all.
Indigenous Resistance is not about personal identity, from my experience those who want to be the face of the resistance or always in the spotlight are usually involved in a passive form of resistance attached to NGO’s and they are usually making some sort of pay check or compensation for being a “spokesnative” and delivering a narrative that is safe and well within the parameters of acceptable civil disobedience or social justice if you will. They mean well but they are still heavily invested in the status quo, and maintaining good relationships with the colonizers. The difference between these types of Natives and those of us who have dedicated our lives to abolishing colonialism and its avails is that we know we are all one Warrior, we are not looking to maintain relationships with the people who run colonial institutions of any kind because we know they do not respect us or our tactics, nor do we want to be fake with people who think they can further us because in reality we know they do not subscribe to fully decolonizing and are only involved in the age old game of power and control. When we mask up we are looking out for each other and the bigger picture, we are a collective voice and body with the same goal. Our identities are inconsequential to the end result that we are aiming for: The total liberation of our people and our lands.
Building a culture and community of resistance is not an easy task and there will always be negative people that will question anything you do from masking up, to taking action, to how we create economic viability. These types of people will even try to throw the law at you in an attempt to mask their own fear of what a changing world looks like. The anti mask laws that have been passed in KKKanada in June of 2013 carry a 10 year sentence if found guilty, all of this is a tactic and an attempt to prevent us from doing our work as warriors and creating safe sovereign spaces for us all to exist in free from the ever present surveillance from the illegal military occupation commonly known as Canaduh. They can make all the “laws” they want to control us but WE ARE NOT AFRAID of the governments and its citizens attempts to further oppress and suppress us as the true Indigenous People of the lands, we have never surrendered nor have we ceded our rights as Nations. Despite their best attempts to eradicate us off of the face of the earth, control us through residential schools, or break us down with the Indian Act and its racist policies we are not only still here, we are thriving and fighting back. We are prayers made flesh.
We mask up to be free, we mask up to be our most authentic selves, we mask up to protect ourselves, we mask up to protect our loved ones, we mask up for love and out of respect for each other and Mother Earth, we mask up to honor our ancestors, our ancestors wore masks and war paint and so shall we. The mask is not to be feared it is to be revered.
In Love and Rage
Red Warrior Society
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