We were honored to discuss the COVID-19 response frontline work of two distinguished leaders building thriving and inspiring, Indigenous and poor-people-centered, mutual aid and radical redistribution movements in Navajo territory (Arizona) and here in Ohlone Territory, Huichin (Oakland, CA).
The conversation included, Klee Benally (Diné musician, traditional dancer, artist, filmmaker, & Indigenous anarchist) talking about his important work with the Navajo Nation and Lisa TIny Grey Garcia (Afro Boricua, formerly unhoused, incarcerated poverty scholar and poet) will talk about her important work here in Oakland, California. In addition, the speakers will highlight their praxis of honoring and utilizing Indigenous cultural practices, and the significance of protecting the Sacred in their movements to save lives and to create healing for our families, communities and for our Mother Earth.
- Cultural Song Offering By Hui O Mauna Kea SF/Bay Area and Wappo/Dine activist and singer, Desirea Harp.
- Moderated by Dr. Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu and Nazshonnii Brown.
- Art by Inés Ixierda.
- Sponsored by Sogorea Te Land Trust
Klee Benally is a Diné musician, traditional dancer, artist, filmmaker, & Indigenous anarchist. Klee is originally from Black Mesa and has worked nearly all of his life at the front lines in struggles to protect Indigenous sacred lands. Klee provides strategic planning and direct action training with Indigenous Action. Klee helped establish Táala Hooghan Infoshop, Protect the Peaks, and is organizing COVID-19 response with Kilani Mutual Aid, IndigenousMutualAid.org, and Navajo and Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Tiny (aka Lisa Gray-Garcia) is a formerly unhoused, incarcerated poverty scholar, journalist, lecturer, poet and the co–founder of POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE/PoorNewsNetwork. She has authored over 200 stories and blogs on poverty, racism, incarceration and displacement. Some of her books are: Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America, and she is co-editor of, A Decolonizers Guide to A Humble Revolution and Born & Raised in Frisco and her second book, Poverty ScholarShip was released in 2019. In 2011, Tiny co-launched The Homefulness Project – a landless peoples, self-determined land liberation movement in Huchuin, Ohlone territory known as Deep East Oakland. She also co-founded a liberation school for children called Deecolonize Academy . Tiny has taught Poverty Scholarship theory and practices in Universities throughout the U.S. as well as on street corners and encampments from Columbia University to Skid Row.
In response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, POOR Magazine stood alongside other “essential” workers on the frontlines to offer mutual aid services to over 700 unhoused and no-income peoples per week across the Bay Area. They offered these communities, food, masks, gloves, and sanitation. She also launched a web-based media series titled, From Katrina to Corona – Poor People Solutions versus Government solutions. Tiny is co-editor of an anthology/resource guide called, Po Peoples survival Guide Thru Covid19 and the Crisis of Poverty which will be available on May 25, 2020.
Hui O Mauna Kea SF/Bay Area — Hui O Mauna Kea Bay Area Kia’i (protectors) are in solidarity with Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) kia’i in Hawai’i. Together they stand on the front lines to protect Mauna Kea from desecration through opposing the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on the Sacred Site that Kanaka Maoli believe is the very origin of their genealogy. Furthermore, Hui O Mauna Kea SF/Bay Area also stand in solidarity with the Ohlone, in their struggles to protect their Sacred Sites here in the Bay Area.
Keoni Rodriguez is a Kanaka Maoli/Native Hawaiian student at Stanford and has been working with Hui o Na Moku and various groups across California to advocate for Climate Justice and the for the protection of Mauna Kea. He was born and raised on Kumeyaay territory (San Diego) and is an undergraduate student in History.
Sheridan Noelani Enomoto was born of a Kanaka Maoli, Japanese and Scottish Father and an African American Mother and was raised in Tongva Lands, currently known as Los Angeles in Southern California. Sheridan Noelani lives in Huichin, and is currently an Environmental Justice Community Organizer & Policy Advocate for Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice. As an organizer, she brings awareness of the challenges between the effects of climate change, sea-level or water-level rise, shoreline communities and contaminated lands. Sheridan Noelani also supports Greenaction’s Native Nations and Indigenous Lands campaigns. In 2015, Sheridan Noelani started attending actions for Mauna Kea organized by Kumu Mikilani Young and has been supporting the Mauna Kea Movement ever since.
Nazshonnii Brown is a mechanical engineer, designer, and cultural educator from Huichin, present-day West Oakland, by way of Arizona, Missouri, and Mississippi. She is passionate about STEAM education and advocates for exposure and opportunities for underrepresented groups. She currently works with the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust (STLT), an urban Indigenous women-led land trust that returns Indigenous land through the practices of Rematriation.
Dr. Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu, is a Tongan/Pacific Islander scholar, poet and community organizer. She is a Lecturer in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and she is a part of Sogorea Te Land Trust.
For the second installment we were joined by Klee Benally. Klee is a Diné musician, traditional dancer, artist, filmmaker, & Indigenous anarchist. Klee is originally from Black Mesa and has worked nearly all of his life at the front lines in struggles to protect Indigenous sacred lands. Klee provides strategic planning and direct action training with Indigenous Action. Klee helped establish Taala Hooghan Infoshop Protect The Peaks and is organizing COVID-19 response with Kilani Mutual Aid, IndigenousMutualAid.org, and Navajo and Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund.
You can follow the series on our Zoom platform or catch the recordings on Youtube.