Akkkademic Reparations* on Stolen Land

admin_general - Posted on 28 May 2021

by Maya Ram


*All the language in this article challenging linguistic domination is brought to you by Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia & POOR Magazine...check out Poverty Scholarship at poorpress.net for more on linguistic domination


“We are at this place right now where we’re doing land acknowledgements, but do we get to go to these institutions? Not ONE Lisjan person has been educated at UC Berkeley,” said Corrina Gould at ‘Degentrifying Academia from Huichin (Berkeley) to Lenape (Philly): Taking Back Land, Culture, and Ancestors’ on April 28th. Corrina, spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone and co-founder of Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, talked about how buildings at UC Berkeley hoard remains of 9,000 stolen indigenous ancestors. Akkkademic institutions have the power to tell false, colonized histories -- from UC Berkeley in the Bay Area to Temple University in Philly -- as they sit on indigenous burial sites and village sites.

POOR Magazine -- alongside comrades from Poor People’s Army, #FreeKashmir, Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, Krip Hop Nation, and many more Poverty Skolaz -- shared powerful knowledge, WeSearch, questions and a demand for UC Berkeley in the last few weeks. A call for the end to hoarded wealth, stolen ancestors, and gentrifukation.

“As we talk about landless people’s movements, it is vital that we open these conversations to Poverty Skolaz,” said Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia, co-founder of POOR Magazine and Homefulness. “Of the homeless people in Oakland, around 50% are Black, 30% are white, over 80% are disabled and many are elders -- all because of this lie called ‘crapitalism’ and this lie called ‘wealth.’” We see how akkkademia fuels crapitalism and wealth hoarding in the current actions of UC Berkeley. In People’s Park & at 1921 Walnut St., UC Berkeley -- which already owns 40% of land in Berkeley -- is trying to evict disabled elders and displace houseless people (including students) to build dorms that will only house students who can pay. UC Berkeley chooses to line its own pockets at the expense of residents of People’s Park & 1921 Walnut, and their own student body. 

Stealing of indigenous land and displacing families and elders is reflected in struggles for liberation around the world. Huma Dar, a Kashmiri academic, activist & mama, notes that during a global pandemic, “Nomadic indigenous people and elders are being evicted from their homes in Kashmir.” As wealthy, Hindu, caste-privileged citizens purchase stolen Kashmiri land, we see a mirrored displacement of poor and indigenous peoples. And circling back to Turtle Island: “West of Temple University was 96% black in 2000, but after gentrification in 2010 was about 50% white and college-age residents were ⅔ of the population,” said Galen Tyler, an organizer in West Philly from Poor People’s Army.

At the Stolen Land/Hoarded Resources Tour at UC Berkeley on May 5th, youth skolaz from Deecolonize Academy taught us that almost every building on campus is named after a eugenicist. Akkkademic institutions may not have a problem with placing a racist colonizer’s name on a building, but people with akkkademic privilege -- like students, professors, lecturers and community members -- do. They used their collective power to partner with POOR Magazine for a Stolen Land Tour on their campus to learn about akkkademic reparations.

When I think about akkkademic reparations, I think about my mama. Growing up poor in India to parents who were farmers that migrated to the city, she was taught the colonial myth that akkkademia is what saves you, what gets you out of a bad place. I inherited this. If I knew one thing growing up, it was that I had to go to college in order to make it. My akkkademic access and class privilege brought me to college, all the way across the country, running from abuse and my family. In my pursuit of success, of making it on my own, of earning my own money and keeping myself afloat, I was never taught the true lie of these institutions. That they steal land and labor and people’s homes and the bones of indigenous ancestors in order to make “dreams come true.” The dream that was fed to me was never real...it was always an illusion. The illusion that hard work - instead of privilege - leads to success and money. That getting degrees makes me smarter or more worthy of some white dude’s respect. That respectability is above respect for land, elders and ancestors.

Shattering this lie and seeing akkkademia for what it truly is was my first step in akkkademic reparations and getting in right relationship with the land I’m on and the people whose land I'm on. POOR Magazine and PeopleSkool helped me get to a place where I could hold my family histories of power, privilege AND oppression with love and pain...knowing that the way forward is radically redistributing to follow the guidance of my poor ancestors.

It’s like Leroy Moore of Krip Hop Nation said: “Poor people have the answers, and we cannot go back (to before Covid). We have an extraordinary opportunity to radically change things moving forward.”


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Stolen Land/Hoarded Resources, Ancestors, Land and Culture Back Demand for UC Berkeley
From POOR Magazine, Homefulness, Deecolonize Academy, Indians Organizing for Change and Krip Hop Nation.

We the Indigenous, unHoused, Displaced, Privatized, Enslaved, Bordered, poLiced, Disabled, and profited off of Peoples Present to UC Berkeley a Demand of Land back for Evicted and Unhoused People, PoLice Harassed and gentriFUKed out for the Borm Industrial Complex and the land hoarding and resource theft perpetrated by institutions like UC Berkeley and UC Hastings.

We also offer to begin a dialogue with Academia to redistribute, reparate, and begin a generational and ancestral healing process from the disease of wealth and/or resource hoarding, generational or inherited land-stealing, displacing, academic or cultural theft, and/or desecrating of indigenous bodies, houseless bodies, Disabled bodies, Black and Brown and incarcerated and silenced Peoples.

We Demand Land Back and reparations for the Genrations of Cultural theft and Cultural appropriation of disabled black and brown and indigenous bodies and that People’s Park and 1921 Walnut Street apartments remain intact, never displaced or threatened with removal again.

As well that houseless and indigenous people be supported with reparations and returned stolen resources and stolen “studied” knowledge so we can build our own solutions to our own problems informed by #PovertyScholarship like Homefulness and Deecolonize Academy.

A session of PeopleSkool at Poor Magazine is offered to the institution as part of this Healing -- informed by Poverty Scholarship: Poor People-led Theory, Art, Words and Tears Across Mama Earth.


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