Iowa Land DECOLONIZATION project
During this time of climate crisis, it is imperative that we transform the colonized mainstream mindset by pushing Indigenous ideologies onto the world stage. We need to convey the profound and sustainable perspectives of Indigenous communities, cultures and relationships to the earth by giving Indigenous people the opportunity to investigate, speak, write, photograph, fly drones, and so much more. In particular, we need to encourage Indigenous women on to the world stage and empower them to convey what has long been oppressed.
Seeding Sovereignty's Iowa Land Decolonization Project, is our contribution to this important process and we have chosen the geographical area of Iowa as our focus because no other landscape in the country has been biologically colonized to the extent that this state has. Furthermore, Iowa is where the process of Indigenous genocide and relocation was severe and vast due to the desire for this fertile ground that lies between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. It is now a highly mono-cropped state where Big-Ag has taken over. The land is almost unrecognizable--where there used to be tall grass prairie, oak savanna, wetlands and woodlands there are now rows and rows of genetically modified corn and soy. Interspersed between the cropland are many sprawling suburban communities that increase in size each year. With increased urban sprawl, comes more golf courses (Iowa is host to more golf course per capita than any other state), parking lots and general development that is increasing runoff into our Iowa waterways. According to Mark Edwards, Retired Iowa DNR Trails Coordinator, “Today, Iowa competes for the very bottom in state parks and public lands. We are known as the most biologically altered state in North America. Roughly 98% of Iowa has been altered for agricultural use, cities, and roads. All our state parks and forests had been logged and heavily grazed...Iowa has no old-growth forests left. We have less than one-tenth of one percent of the prairies which covered our state and produced our rich soils.” (Sierra Club)
Iowa needs a more cohesive Indigenous stand against BIg-AG, CAFOs, and pipelines in this state. Indigenous people have been resisting this degradation to our land for a very long time but we need to start standing up for the land outside of "Indian country" and challenge the status quo in places where Indigenous voices are less acknowledged. Our own Decolonizer, Christine Nobiss, Plains Cree/Saulteaux (also founder of Indigenous Iowa and Little Creek Camp), has already made huge inroads into the environmental and social justice fight in this state. Through her ongoing work with Seeding Sovereignty Christine has not just paired with local Indigenous groups and individuals but made amazing ties with other allies like, Bold Iowa, Iowa CCI, 100 Grannies,The National Family Farm Coalition, The Poor People's Campaign, The Women’s March, etc., in order to raise awareness on Indigenous issues in Iowa and the world. The desired impact is to provide a voice to a population segment of this society that absolutely needs to be heard at this point in time.