Mon 2 Dec 2019 11:20PM

How do we involve indigenous peoples in the governance of this group?

P pospi Public Seen by 70

For me this is of utmost importance. Goes hand in hand with widening this group and involving more people- https://www.loomio.org/d/Np8OIfWX/group-membrane-and-gatekeeping-agreements-for-new-collective-governance-members

First thoughts were to create a batch on CoMakery for governance & ethics stuff and using that to put out a call for potentially interested parties, then share within our networks. I thought others may have complementary strategies to try since I know we have thought about having Via La Campesina board members in other projects previously...


pospi Tue 10 Mar 2020 12:18AM

Closing this thread for now- the active exploration continues in practising cultural anthropology.


pospi Mon 2 Mar 2020 11:36PM

Thanks for clarifying / asserting these differences. I have been meaning to loop back on this for a while, as there are a couple of points and a "next step" I want to get to.

There's a distinction between "Indigenous heritage" and "Indigenous": for me personally that comes down to cultural practise, but I'm sure there are other ways to separate the two. Without getting into it too deeply I just want to acknowledge that the former is nebulous at best, and meaningless if you go back far enough (we're all indigenous to somewhere). So, that's why I come back to cultural diversity (diverse cultural species?) as being the aspect that most matters in our context.

I also made sure to make it a very vague count that didn't really mean anything, because you can't really speak on behalf of someone else's identity 馃槉

We have already started in some ways, but I'd like to make a more concerted effort to analyse our own cultural background. I want to be able to make some more informed statements about our perspectives in a way that is sourced directly from each individual, similar to this.

To start, I think that means creating some kind of "taxonomy of culture and privilege" as a group. This would yield a similar set of questions to those I asked in the linked list, except they'd be better designed if done together. I forsee this being undertaken as a series of RSF sessions:

  1. collectively define a set of "dimensions" in which people may be marginalised or privileged

  2. collectively create a series of questions which can assess individuals' placement within those dimensions, without de-anonymising each of us as individuals

  3. individually provide answers to these questions

  4. discuss, synthesize and anonymise the responses to present them similar to the effort above

I can see a few lines being walked there, but am curious what people's initial thoughts on such a process are before going too much further... needs refinement now & into the future, but I think it takes us in a good direction and would be useful material to generate.


Sid Sthalekar Fri 28 Feb 2020 4:51AM

Agree with all points. One small note: can we not use the word Indigenous? In the Asian social justice context I'm not considered Indigenous (assuming you were considering me indigenous Lol). So if we're thinking about a global dialogue I think it would be important.
I'm ok with 'non-white' or POC to be honest.


pospi Fri 28 Feb 2020 2:47AM

I feel like there's a general awareness of where this work needs to head and I'm happy to close this thread for now as we move deeper into specifics. But before doing that, I want to share a few thoughts here for reflection.

  • As a group, we already have pretty good representation both racially and along the gender spectrum. I count 3/7 "active" members who have claim to Indigenous heritage, and 5/7 non-male participants. What I feel we lack is representation outside of tech circles- some of us have more exposure than others, but broadly we are still technologists. It would be nice to have someone on board who "practises an Indigenous lifestyle" and exists well outside of Colonialism & technology spheres... noting that maybe 1 or 2 of us might identify in that way already.

  • We have also spoken a lot about taking care to avoid romanticising indigenity. The process is about broadening our awareness, not holding Indigenous perspectives as "sacred" or above others. We each have different awarenesses to bring to the table, and the intersecting areas of expertise are what enable us to reflect on things together, whilst challenging each other with different perspectives where we diverge. More perspectives equals more scrutiny, and more accountability.

  • There's a strong link between this desire and creating a process for expressions of interest. We're probably a way off being structured enough for that yet; but the goal would be to get some funding together for such roles (necessary to avoid exploitation), invite contributions, and avoid approaching people with preconceived ideas about how they should contribute- the goal of an EoI process is for new contributors to tell us what they think is needed.

  • This process will spill into the community building aspects of the work. In D&I conversations I've been having with the Holochain community team there is an awareness that our community has pretty good femme/queer/trans coverage, but is predominantly white. My belief is this means we should prioritise engaging with non-white communities and interest groups, and use the diversity that we do have as a springboard to find those groups.


Sid Sthalekar Tue 10 Dec 2019 1:49PM

@Jean Russell yeah 'indigenous' is a slippery slope when it comes to the Asian context, because it's a function of how far back you're willing to go. I might classify as indigenous in the western colonial framework, but my ancestors were the colonising force a few thousand years ago. (For those interested read about 'Adivasis')

With regards to this group, I hold a lot of faith in the depth and sincerity of each member's journey. It seems each one of us has spent time exploring our identities outside of the euro-centric worldview, so I'd suggest we don't need a formal framework to address some of Pospi's concerns?

I would also add: the inclusivity that Pospi wishes to bring about may be embedded in the architecture of what we're building. My sense is it will organically resonate with collectives who are thinking about a vibrant, dynamic society.


pospi Tue 10 Dec 2019 3:28AM

There is also something to draw out in this:

> Is the frame really about access to culture outside of Eurocentric worldview?

How do we ensure we're including people in the journey of bringing the "how" of their culture to the table, rather than simply trying to extract "what"s for our own purposes?


pospi Tue 10 Dec 2019 3:26AM

Certainly was aware of that; and not at all intending to infer an absence of such perspectives in the group so far. By my count there are 3 of us with Indigenous heritage, but that's a thing to draw out as individuals; and important to do so, because the invisibility of race exists everywhere. And I want to second the first part of what you're saying here- a lot of differences between indigenous cultural perspectives across the world. So the question is not meant to imply lacking diversity, simply asking what we can do to gather more.

I suppose more clearly defining the group's goals and purpose is a task that predicates this, because it will to some degree inform the types of roles we want to fill and thus the appropriate places to advertise for expressions of interest?


jean m russell Mon 9 Dec 2019 11:27PM

I am curious @Sid Sthalekar about how you and others (who experienced long term colonization without[?] massive genocide and have since retaken your land) sit with "indigenous" as a frame? Is the frame really about access to culture outside of Eurocentric worldview? I can imagine various venn diagrams of inclusion from India/Asia through Africa and into South America which may be different than how these things are held in Australia or Canada or the US. This feels very problematic to be as a category to be sure we include.

I am also anxious that we don't end up with a tokenism of listing ALL sets of identities that should bring perspective to the conversation.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, I would like to awkwardly point out that Ferananda has "indigenous" claims, so saying we don't already have that voice in this group is negating of her presence.


Sid Sthalekar Mon 9 Dec 2019 4:45AM

That's a good way to frame it. A lot of these thought processes are fairly well developed outside of western regions. Engaging with some of this conversations in early 2020 (I'll put up the post for that separately) - there are some incredible people I can recommend.


pospi Mon 9 Dec 2019 4:26AM

I think the definition I'm looking at broadly in this context is, "peoples who retain aspects of their traditional cultures despite the rise of Colonialism". For me it's about bringing an awareness of pre-Western Lore into the cultural container and decision-making process.

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