2023 Presentation Descriptions

Thursday, April 20

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. PST

Opening Session

Join us for our conference opening session. This session will introduce the focus of the summit, the schedule of events, the partners in the summit, and what we hope to share over the following 3 days. We begin with a welcome from Marnie Atkins, Director of the Wiyot Tribe’s Cultural Department and Manager of the Da gou rou louwi’ Cultural Center (The ongoing return of all). We will also hear from Adam Canter (Director of Natural Resources Department) and David Cobb (Advancement Manager of the Wiyot Tribe Dishgamu Community Land Trust). Miki’ala Catalfano will represent Native Roots Network (one of the anchor organizations of the summit). Nicola Walters (Cal Poly Humboldt Department of Politics) will introduce some of the key faculty members from Cal Poly Humboldt, including Aaron Gregory (Native American Studies) and Tony Silvaggio (Sociology). Come learn about the conference process and how this amazing event has developed.

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PST

Framing Panel: What is Meant by Decolonization?

Join us as we dive into the word “Decolonize”and offer perspectives to help think about what it means to decolonize. What is it? What does it look like? Is decolonization only a Native Peoples’ thing? Where does decolonization fit in with the larger efforts to transform systems? Is decolonization enough? What is next, and what is beyond? Our conversation will add to the pluriverse of understandings on the topic and offer ways to internalize and actualize decolonization in our collective efforts to (re)build the new world.

Presenters: Kamuela Enos and Dr. PennElys Droz

Moderated by Jonathon Freeman

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. PST

Media & Decolonization 

Media shapes our lives and our world view. It tells us what products to buy, what to think about, and what is “important.” Media informs us as to the scope of what is “realistic” and what is “possible.” In this age of corporate media consolidation, the role of People’s Media is critical for building the movement we need to decolonize and democratize.

Presenters: Vincent Schilling of Native Viewpoint;  Jourdan Bennet-Begaye of Indian Country Today; Tom Llewellyn of Shareable; Lauren Schmitt of KMUD Radio 

Moderated by Steve Dubb on Non-Profit Quarterly 

3:00 – 4:30 p.m. PST

The Role of Art & Culture in Decolonizing Economics 

Toni Cade Bambara famously said, “The role of the artist is to make revolution irresistible.” That is because art offers powerful opportunities to express ourselves, to challenge assumptions, to initiate conversation, and to connect and to inspire. Deeper still, there has never been a successful revolution that did not have artists and culture workers expressing the ideas, grievances and demands of the social movement. In this session we will engage with a diverse group of artists and culture workers about the role of art & culture in decolonization. 

Presenters: Carsie Blanton, Michelle Hernandez, Stephanie McMillan, and Kwame Braxton

Moderated by Ruthi Engelke

5:00 – 6:30 p.m. PST

Decolonizing Restoration & TEK/Traditional Ecological Knowledge 

The US system of private property is a colonial concept of land ownership imposed through force and coercion. It provides private individuals rights to control, sell, or extract resources. The Indigenous world view is premised on relationship and stewardship. Humans are not seen as superior to other life, but as part of an interconnected system of reciprocal responsibilities. This session will be a learning journey with representatives of California Open Lands, Save California Salmon, and California Trout about Traditional Ecological Knowledge, a cumulative body of knowledge, understanding, and practice that evolved and was handed down through generations through traditional songs, stories and observations. 

Presenters: Ali Meders-Knight, Cal Trout, Save California Salmon 

Moderated by Mel Figueroa

7:00 p.m. PST

Rejuvenation from Activist Fatigue

Managing the challenges of being an activist is exhausting and it can be very challenging for us to refill our cup when our energy is constantly being eroded.  In this workshop, we will learn how to rejuvenate during times of exhaustion. We will leverage powerful tools including mindfulness, breathwork, and energy boosting postures we can do at our desks. Now, more than ever, it is important that we take care of ourselves so that we can have the physical and emotional strength to move forward, regardless of what comes our way. 

Presenter: Zee Clarke

Friday, April 21

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. PST

Non-Reformist Reforms

This session explores the concept of a “Non-Reformist Reforms,” a term that describes a winnable reform that asks not what is merely possible within the existing system, but what is needed to change the system. Non-reformist reforms win tangible victories while also challenging existing power relations. This paves the way for more revolutionary changes in the larger society, and are designed to cumulatively transform the existing capitalist system. We will focus on several key examples of non-reformist reforms related to the Solidarity Economy: Community Land Trusts, Public Banking, Participatory Budgeting, and Worker-Owned Cooperatives. Other non-reformist reforms include Municipally-owned Energy, and Universal Basic Income.

Presenters: Naveen Agrawal, Ingrid Haftel, Lydia Lopez, Mo Manklang

Moderated by Emily Kawano

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PST

Land Back: Wiyot Tribe Dishgamu Humboldt Community Land Trust

The Wiyot Tribe has created the Dishgamu Humboldt Community Land Trust as a “component unit” of tribal government. Through land return, Dishgamu  returns public and private land within the unceded ancestral territory to the Wiyot Tribe in Northern California. We call on Native and non-native peoples to heal intergenerational trauma through the protection, preservation, cultural and environmental restoration of Wiyot Land. We restore Wiyot people to their rightful place as stewards of  their ancestral land. Dishgamu Humboldt literally means “I Love Humboldt” in Soulutluk, Wiyot Language.

Presenters: Kristen Crooks and Randy Crutcher

Moderated by David Cobb

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. PST

Decolonizing Finance

Join us in a conversation about how to “Decolonize Finance” and embed Indigenous values in commerce and business  through  integrated capital investing that combines philanthropy, state and federal grants, and social impact investing to shift away from destructive extractive projects towards life-affirming and regenerative ones.

Indigenous people understand the interconnectedness of all things, and maintain generations of collective knowledge about the land, sea and sky they have stewarded since time immemorial. If we follow the ones who know the way, they can help all of us re-remember how to be truly and fully human in right relationship with each other and all our relations.

Presenters: Taj James; Full Spectrum Capital Partners

3:00 – 4:30 p.m. PST

Higher Ed Labor Organizing Roundtable

A growing national movement in labor organizing raises important questions about the intersections of higher ed, labor organizing, and decolonization. The California Faculty Association (CFA), known as leaders in Anti-Racist and Social Justice (ARSJ) union organizing, established a Native American and Indigenous Peoples Caucus to support systems of equity and social justice across one of the largest public education systems in the country – the California State University system. Joined by Naomi R Williams (Rutgers/HELU), a labor scholar and historian who focuses on late-capitalism at the end of the 20th century and workers’ role in shaping U.S. political economy, this panel will serve as a roundtable discussion on the landscape of labor organizing in higher education, legacies of colonialism, and building transformative national movements.

Presenters: Sandy Kewanhaptewa-Dixon and Leece LeeOliver – (CFA); Naomi R. Williams (Higer Ed Labor United)

Moderated by Nicola Walters (CFA/HELU)

5:00 – 6:30 p.m. PST

Food and Seed Sovereignty

A groundswell of food and seed sovereignty movements are currently gaining traction among Native and Indigenous communities to attain self-determination and reciprocal relations with living lands and beings that provide physical, cultural and spiritual sustenance. Food and seed sovereignty movements are increasingly developed in response to state, corporate and multinational efforts to privatize, patent and profit from Native/Indigenous foods, seeds and knowledges. However, the meaning of ‘sovereignty’ is continually debated throughout these movements. Food and seed sovereignty is often defined as the rights and capacities of Native and Indigenous peoples to cultivate and govern their own systems of seed saving and food production. However, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and many Indigenous cosmologies also recognize living lands and beings (including food and seeds) as sovereign beings that cannot be owned or commodified, and should be provided the right to a thriving existence independent of intervention, management and modification. This panel on food and seed sovereignty introduces an esteemed panel of practitioners and scholars that engage with the politics and practices of food and seed sovereignty, unearthing new understandings and approaches to this fertile field of debate.

Panelists:  Alfie Pulumbarit, Alejandro Argumendo, Lucil Ortiz, Jon Jandai, Karley Rojas

Moderated by Aubrey Pongluelert

7:00 p.m. PST

Offers & Needs Market (Post Growth Institute)

The Offers and Needs Market (OANM) is a two-hour, guided process where people meet to identify and exchange passions, knowledge, skills, resources, opportunities, and needs.

Saturday, April 22

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. PST

Intersections of White Supremacy, Settler Colonialism, Hetero-Patriarchy, and Capitalism

This session will explore the interconnections between White Supremacy, Capitalism, Settler Colonialism, and Hetero-patriarchy. These power-over systems are based on exploitation, oppression and extraction. We will explore the historical development of how and why these systems developed in tandem, and what our movements for liberation can learn from understanding those relationships. 

Presenters: Andrew Curley, Harriet Fraad, Yvonne Yen Liu, Kamau Franklin, and Jerome Scott  

Moderated by Margaret Kimberley

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PST

What Is To Be Done? 

“What Is to Be Done? Burning Questions of Our Movement” is a political pamphlet written in 1902 by Vladimir Lenin outlining a “skeleton plan” for going beyond fighting economic battles over wages, working hours and the like and towards restructuring all of society. As we face ecological collapse, and fascism rising across the globe, we bring together movement leaders to pose that question to them: “What Is to Be Done?”

Presenters: Richard D. Wolff, Edget Betru, Blair Evans, and Michelle Eddleman McCormick 

Moderated by David Cobb (in place of Kali Akuno)

1:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. PST

Decolonization and the Law

Colonialism in all its forms, including capitalism, has commodified land, culture, and people for the benefit of the ruling class, at the cost of all else. The current social, political and economic systems are fundamentally, racist, sexist, and class oppressive. We don’t believe it is sufficient to make piecemeal reforms– we need a new system. The decolonization of laws and policies is intrinsically tied to the process of restructuring our society. The structures created by this violent imposition actively work to dominate and subjugate all people (and especially people of color) through the laws and policies maintaining the system. While it is imperative to acknowledge this violent imposition and the existence of systemic racism, acknowledgment is not nearly enough. Until the system is fundamentally altered and dismantled, there can never be true equity for all.  To decolonize laws and policy, then, is to begin asking what’s next.  What does a truly equitable system look like?  How will this lead to the collective liberation of all?

Presenters: Jennifer Tucker (UNM); Lauren van Schilfgaarde (UCLA Law); Chase Iron Eyes (Lakota People’s Law Project); Ben Manski (Next System Studies at George Mason University)

Moderated by Mele Moniz

3:00 – 8 p.m. PST

Earth Day Celebration

If you are able, join us in-person on at Pierson Park, located at 1608 Pickett Road in McKinleyville, CA. The Decolonizing Economics Summit will conclude with a family-friendly event with keynote speakers Kamau Franklin and Edget Betru (Stop Cop City from Atlanta) and Kali Akuno (Cooperation Jackson), a raffle from Local Artisans and Organizations, a bike ride from Arcata to Mckinleyville hosted by CRTP and Critical Mass Arcata, food from Los Giles and Fry Bread Love, music from Good Shield and 7th Generation Rise, tabling, a bouncy house, face painting, jugglers, temporary tattoos, hula hoops, and more! Come celebrate Earth Day with us! Register here.

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