Ask First! ~ A Better Practices Guide for Indigenous Engagement 57

Gatherings * Festivals * Conferences * Action Camps * Ancestral Arts * Protests * Ceremony * Water & Land Protection/Defense * Climate & Environmental Justice * Antiracism * Human Rights * Sacred Sites * Permaculture

This guide is a work in progress. The document is posted below in full and it can also be found in google docs here for reading it on a white backdrop, along with some suggested edits.


  • Note from an Author

  • Introduction

  • Basics 101:

  1. Getting Started

  2. Identifying Ancestral Territory

  3. Community Consultation

  4. Identifying Local & Regional Indigenous Reps

  5. Cultural Humility

  6. Considering Protocols

  7. Building Relations

  8. Cultural Appropriation

  9. Privilege

  • Some examples for practical application

  • What Not To Do

  • Encouragement & Action

  • Resources

  • Definitions

  • A Work In Progress. Contact Info

Note from an author:

Hello all,       

This document  was written  in response to missteps and harmful impacts that festivals and various other events are making particularly by not honoring the consultation process of local Indigenous Peoples of whose territory that an event is held.   

Unfortunately due to a sad chain of events it  ended up not getting full input as anticipated so as a result it has sadly been sitting ‘collecting dust’ in the interwebs. People keep asking me about it so I’m opening it up to the public!  

This document is a DRAFT and is being offered up for change – the flow and even the approach.  It lays a strong foundation but it needs peer-reviewed as I feel it is incomplete in its analysis, editing, and format. For example, on State Government-to-Government Tribal Consultation Procedures, the California Native American Heritage Commission carries a most up-to-date Native Nation Contact List.  Information like this is crucial.  What else is there to consider?  Indigenous representatives working in this field could be consulted. Perhaps a kickstarter or fundraising can happen to pay for peoples services- either someone who works with the commission or an independent body?  Peoples insights are welcome. Does anyone have  energy for this?  Is this Guide useful?

As it is now this guide is geared towards event producers, mainly  non-indigenous  people but it could be more inclusive in many ways – shifted to locate event participants within these suggested guidelines so all are more educated about these types of Better Practices and event standards.   

Acknowledgement and deep gratitude to the friends and comrades who participated in editing it, without whom this would not have been gotten nearly as far. Please do not use this document without crediting it or it’s writers. Permissions

This document is a work in progress and we imagine that it will grow.  Your questions, comments, and concerns are welcomed however please know that we may not be equipped to get back with you in a timely manner.  It’s why we’ve made it open source, but give credit where it’s due.. “Permissions Users may copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format under the following terms: You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. If you transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material**.” Via: ‘Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manual for Decolonization’.

** = We just ask that you contact the writers. Email:

The document is posted below in full and it can also be found in google docs here for reading it on a white backdrop, along with some suggested edits.

With humility and gratitude.  ~ Dixie Pauline



Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are always in relationship with Indigenous peoples by living in and producing events on their ancestral homelands.  Regardless if tribes have recognition status, or if particular sites fall under tribal jurisdiction or band council, the entirety of North America (Turtle Island) is made up of distinct and overlapping Indigenous territories.  There are hundreds of tribes working to reaffirm their sovereignty and protect their cultural practices, traditional lands, waters, and natural resources. Each decision we make, each action we take, affects Indigenous peoples. Organizations whose work is grounded in social justice or environmental protection have a distinct obligation to integrate local Indigenous communities and issues into their mission.

This resource is a blueprint to assist event producers, as well as attendees, in developing consultation practices, cultural awareness, and possibly partnerships with Indigenous communities, particularly those whose territories where events are held.  ‘Ask First!’ emerged out of a growing awareness of our responsibility as guests and as people who have settled* on Indigenous lands that have been confiscated, occupied, exploited, and desecrated without their free, prior, and informed consent. Understanding the history and geography of a place is crucial, because planning and development decisions can and have unwittingly impacted Indigenous peoples, their homelands, and sacred places.

These guidelines are by no means comprehensive; they offer basic foundational principles for engagement that have arisen from a long-term process of collective observation and dialogue within the festival & other communities, which center inclusion as a primary tenet of thier cultures.  These issues are not exclusive to festivals. They are embedded within the entire historical and present-day relationship between the United States, Canada, and sovereign Indigenous Nations. As we engage with local tribes, we have an opportunity to initiate an important step in the process of repair by shifting how we relate to the land and its original inhabitants.

Events that model respect for Indigenous cultures and integrate their approaches to land stewardship (by consulting with them) offer guidance to participants in becoming as conscientious caretakers of the planet. Many are painfully aware that we have reached a tipping point in human history. In this critical time of political turmoil and accelerated environmental exploitation, fundamental needs like access to clean water and nutritious food are threatened. Coexisting with the natural world without destroying its renewal capacity is one of the major challenges facing modern-day humanity. Indigenous land management practices and traditional ecological knowledge, which often view people as part of nature rather than separate from it, are based on thousands of years of adaptation and ingenuity, centered on an intimate relationship with the land and seasons..

These are general guidelines; protocols may differ from territory to territory, and do not reflect the opinions of all Indigenous peoples and communities across Turtle Island, hence, ‘Ask First!’  We hope that Indigenous people will find the guide, in conjunction with their own protocols for consultation, useful when engaging with events that are held in their territory or which may impact them in ways that non-Native people may have not taken into account. We provide vetted practices and principles grounded in respect, collaboration, and accountability. The content and concepts presented here are part of an ongoing process, requiring relationship-tending, learning, and unlearning — not a simple checklist of tasks to “take care of” and move on.

We encourage event organizers to incorporate these guidelines into planning as early as possible, but you can start at any point in the production. Better late than never however avoid tokenizing gestures as an afterthought. Each section opens with a set of questions to consider. We invite event producers to critically analyze all aspects of event operations, and honestly evaluate your location and accountability in the process of integrating this material. We want to acknowledge that this is a challenging and soul-searching process for individuals and organizations alike, but festivals can be a platform for inspiring learning and personal growth. We believe you are ready and capable of moving this community beyond a token acknowledgement of oneness, and manifesting it into reality.

Please be aware that all non-Native organizers bear a responsibility to educate themselves on the specific ways Indigenous people have been marginalized, even within social justice movements and events. Even though the term “festival” is used throughout this guide, the principles are applicable to any conference, gathering, or event that seeks to bring Indigenous voices and experiences into dialogue.  Those with good intentions can still replicate harmful behaviors if they do not understand the layers of intersecting privileges that exist in settler colonial society. We must acknowledge this and take steps to change these dynamics before we can approach any meaningful alliance.

Ask First! is part of a grassroots cultural uprising of people power demanding change and offering visions to move us towards a healthy vibrant planet, a just world free from oppressions for this and future generations. Everyday this dream is awakening in our hearts and beneath the stars because of people like you in communities everywhere.


BASICS 101: Foundational aspects to consider at the onset.

Some points here may overlap with the sections on “pre, during, and post event” which offers practical application of points made here.

  1. Getting Started
  2. Identifying Ancestral Territory
  3. Community Consultation
  4. Identifying Local & Regional Indigenous Reps  
  5. Cultural Humility
  6. Considering Protocols  
  7. Building Relations
  8. Cultural Appropriation
  9. Privilege
  1. Getting Started:
  • Identify one or more key persons on the event team as the Indigenous liaison. Ideally, these individuals are Indigenous themselves, and/or have already established relationships with members of the local tribe.
  • Discuss and plan in advance how the team will respond to the advice, needs, and priorities of local Indigenous representatives.
    • Who will manage communication?
    • How will decisions and agreements be disseminated throughout the festival infrastructure?
    • How will the team remain accountable to the Indigenous community, as well as one another?
  • As event producers or organizers, be transparent about the degree of agency or decision-making power that you have to grant requests by members of the Indigenous community you are working with. Not being clear about this could undermine relationships.
  • Know that Indigenous peoples may have concerns about your impact in their communities or homelands, and be ready to address them or make accommodations.
  • Understand that some communities may not want to engage with you for reasons that they do not have to explain, or they may simply not be in a place to work with non-Natives. Some may not want to interface due to your event’s or the industry’s reputation.  Building trust may take time. Have patience.
  • Be prepared for a possible “no”. Sometimes Native communities don’t want to engage with outsiders, and you have to accept that.
  • If a tribe declines to work with your event, that does not relieve your organization of the responsibility to proceed in right action to the best of your ability. If you decide to proceed with the event, retain an Indigenous consultant if you aren’t able to secure the collaboration of local groups, preferably someone who is already a participant in your community. A person who has experiential connections to your event will have an understanding of what aspects need improvement, and can offer informed guidance.

2. Identifying Ancestral Territory:

Ask first!:

  • Which Indigenous Nations or communities’ territory is this event site located on?
  • Which Indigenous Nations/communities are the neighboring territories?
  • Could this be an overlapping or shared territory?
  • What is the history and geography of this place, especially from Indigenous perspectives? What are the historical and current ways that colonialism has impacted this region?
  • Are there land, water, and/or sacred sites near your event that Indigenous People are protecting or defending? How might your event intersect with these? How will your organization protect the integrity of these places during your event?
  • Find out if anyone associated with your team already has rapport with Indigenous groups in this region. If not, consider asking reliable people in your network who have established relationships with ‘Indian Country’ to contact and help you build with Indigenous peoples of the territory that your event is or may be located.
  • Indigenous consultants can assist your organization to navigate protocol, understand current issues within communities, and vet workshop presenters. The latter may be of particular importance if your event offers workshops dealing with ancestral reclamation, Indigenous culture, or subject matter that may be interpreted as New Age.
  • Investigate the archives of county or state land registries and local museums (although respecting what Indigenous Nations & representatives say first, as museums and state archives are so enmeshed in colonialism. Government records and internet research will be helpful, but relying solely on those outlets may not be adequate, as information about Indigenous territories and sites is rarely comprehensive.)
  • Academics at local universities may have worked with tribes in the area, and will often share their research and contacts. Inquire with Native American and Indigenous Studies or Ethnic Studies departments first. History, anthropology, geography, and related disciplines may have useful information, though be aware that it may be coming from a non-Native perspective.
  • What do you do if the Indigenous peoples of that place are no longer there/or listed as ‘terminated’ due to genocide?

3. Community Consultation

Some questions you can ‘Ask First!’:

  • Is consultation initiated before decisions are made about projects related to the local Indigenous communities and lands?  
  • Are you entering the consultation process with a willingness to change proposed plans?
  • Does the local Indigenous community have their own set of consultation guidelines?
  • Are Indigenous representatives being provided with all of the information they need to make an informed decision?
  • Are Indigenous representatives/consultants being given an opportunity to provide information, ask questions, and offer opinions regarding the event?  
  • Are they being given enough time to analyze and discuss that information within their community and formulate a response?

Indigenous consultation should be viewed as an ongoing process of dialogue, not merely a one-time occurrence. When we consult with Indigenous representatives, we honor protocols of communication that may differ from settler customs. Indigenous people tend to be candid and direct; they mean what they say and they say what they mean.

  • Ask those you engage with whether there are other people whom you should consider inviting to the table. This will also help you better understand traditional social structures.
  • Aim to have a face-to-face meeting as soon as possible. Keep in mind people from older generations may prefer real-time meetings over electronic communication. Be sure to ask what their preferred method is.
  • Consider asking Indigenous reps where they would prefer to meet.
  • When meeting for the first time, it may be good to bring a small gift(s) from your area.
  • Traditional introductions are common among Indigenous cultures, where it is typical to introduce oneself in connection to one’s ancestors, family/tribe, and place of origin. Settlers should do the same.
  • Come prepared with information, but don’t expect collaboration in the first meeting, which may be more about getting to know one another.
  • A mistake non-Native event planners can make is, “Hey, this is what I want to do, are you on board? Does this jive with where you’re at?” Flip the script! Rather, approach communities with humility and respect: “I’m here in the spirit of collaboration, and if this is an invitation you would consider accepting, then what is it that we can do to facilitate that?”
  • Indigenous people often have a broad range of issues they need to address within their communities, so your event/project may not be an immediate priority. Negotiate the level of involvement of the prospective representative(s) early on, so mutual expectations are rooted in clarity.
  • Remember that the Indigenous decision-making process works differently than what settlers might be used to or find convenient. If you have a deadline, ask how much time is necessary for a response. Allow enough time for consultation within the tribe to take place.
  • Listen more, talk less.
  • You have a responsibility to every member of the tribe who raises concern at any point in the process. If you cannot respond right away, set a time to follow up or meet.
  • Get consent before you proceed. If you have established a process for coming to agreements, follow those protocols so that everything is as clear as possible to all parties.
  • Ask permission before passing Indigenous contacts along; however be accountable if asked who your Indigenous consultants are.

Be familiar with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), an international instrument that was adopted by the United Nations  to enshrine the rights that “constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the Indigenous peoples of the world.”  The U.N. Declaration is the result of almost 25 years of deliberation by U.N. member states and Indigenous groups.

4. Identifying the local & regional Indigenous representatives:

‘Ask First!’:

  • Did your organization ask Indigenous peoples with whom you should consult?
  • Are you consulting with more than one individual or group? If so, is it possible to include more than one band or tribe of that region? (In addition to and especially in the case of overlapping territory?)
  • Do Indigenous reps include individuals who are connected with and accountable to local tribal members? Whether in tribal council or traditional leadership roles, were they selected by Indigenous communities of the region?
  • Does Indigenous representation include women, elders, or Two-Spirit people?
  • Are the representatives collaborating with other bands/clans/tribes of this region?
  • Are you including reps of local grassroots Indigenous-led liberation struggles and campaigns?————————————————————————-
  • A representative serves on behalf of their community, and as such is accountable to them.
  • Consider partnering with more than one individual of that tribe. Ensure that these representatives will be in regular communication with each other, and will keep multiple people in the community aware of what your organization is negotiating with them.
  • There can be dual power structures within a tribe, charged with different responsibilities. A Tribal Council may not be representative of a traditional council of elders; these are not the same. You may consult with the elders or traditional leaders, in some cases you’ll work with both. Individuals representing their community should let you know which council they are members of. Like settler society, Indigenous Peoples also have governments that may or may not represent the fundamental beliefs and needs of the people. You must be willing to navigate these contradictions in Native community, ideally obtaining consensus from more than one individual or council.
  • Some government links are important to know about, in addition to consulting with local Indigenous leaders of their choosing:
    • On State Government-to-Government Tribal Consultation Procedures, the California Native American Heritage Commission carries a most up-to-date Native Nation Contact List.
    • Here is a link to California State Laws and Codes related to Native American cultural sites and the appropriate course of action for tribal consultation and cultural historic preservation. The responsibilities for tribal consultation and evaluation of a site significance in the event of proposed activities that may impact Native American cultural sites may fall on California State Parks as the land owner.  Because some of these events are so large, it’s possible that an environmental impact report or statement has to be issued prior to approval of a lease. If an Environmental Impact Report statement is prepared, government-to-government consultation should occurr at this point. As an owner, the responsibility could fall onto state parks. Not a step to by-bass, especially with the more of us who can and are paying attention to this. 
  • What other critical links or codes are there to know about?
  • In an overlapping or shared territory, what is your advice for acting in the best way possible? How do we speak to current colonial borders that were imposed on an area that was already established? State borders/settler geography may or may not be relevant. If there are overlapping territories, consider openly engaging both groups and secure a representative from each. Maybe a person from one group already has established relations with the other tribe and can recommend a possible partner representative.
  • Work with representatives to determine if they would like to have a speaker from surrounding Nations, which is important to avoid local erasure. Oftentimes events invite Indigenous speakers from other regions. Strive for a balance.
  • Be aware of how you or your organization could contribute to tensions within a tribe or internal conflicts between tribes, however it’s not necessarily the festival’s business what dynamics/conflicts exist. Sometimes outsiders repeatedly inviting the same spokesperson can cause friction within communities. Understanding historical and ongoing colonization as a factor is helpful.  
  • Indigenous disputes need to be resolved within the Indigenous community’s level.  Be prepared to resource an appropriate independent person or body to facilitate resolution of the dispute, if appropriate to do so.


  • Working only with the Tribal Council when there may be traditional elders who should be consulted with.
  • Negotiating with an Indigenous person about the ancestral territory in question who is not a member or representative of that local tribe.
  • Individuals claiming Indigenous identity and representation when it’s not the case. Beware of plastic shamans and charlatans seeking fame, or who charge money for ceremony and consultation. Some individuals may claim distant Native ancestry from several generations back, or by DNA test results, yet they have no cultural ties to Indigenous tribes. Native identity is more than blood; for many tribes, it’s not just a matter of what one can claim, it’s a matter of who claims them. Belonging to a particular tribe can mean sharing beliefs, history, cultural practices, and sometimes (though not always) official membership or citizenship.


5. Cultural Humility

When asking to engage directly with the Tribal community, humility goes a long way. Very general considerations:

  • Be patient when asking questions. Look, listen, and learn, as it may take time for some people to become involved in the dialogue. Some may work towards giving their opinions by initially talking about other issues or stories, which may be subtly conveying an important message.
  • Representatives and community members may be cautious about critiquing your plans. Ask for their input and listen closely for advice given that might not come in the form that you expect it. Ask open-ended questions, rather than yes or no inquiries.
  • The use of silence should not be misunderstood. It may mean that people do not want to express an opinion at that moment, or that they are reflecting about what has been said. It is important that this silence is respected and not interrupted unnecessarily. Silence is not a chance to take a break or leave the room, but an opportunity to contemplate what is being considered.
  • Be careful when asking about spiritual practices, elders, or the decision-making process. It may be compromising to speak about these matters to outsiders.
  • Come without preconceived notions regarding what you know about Indigenous lifeways and relationships, which may be rooted in stereotypes rather than reality.
  • Recognize that as you engage with Indigenous communities, dynamics are not all visible and open. Have patience, commitment, and humility.
  • Tribes have many concerns, such as providing for the welfare of their members, tending to the land, staying economically afloat, defending sovereignty. Your project may take a backseat to all these things.
  • While many festivals are increasingly not selling alcohol on-site it’s still prevalent. Be clear about this with Indigenous participants.
  • No response can mean “no”, or that consensus is difficult to obtain on an issue.
  • Avoid looking at your watch or phone, or being distracted in general. If you have time constraints, mention those ahead of the meeting.
  • Non-Native POC do not necessarily know how to interact with Indigenous communities, so be mindful of this if a POC is on your team as the liaison. While this might seem like a natural solution to cultural differences, POC can and do benefit from the displacement and marginalization of Indigenous people on Turtle Island. Even someone with Indigenous ancestry from another continent has not had the unique experience of the original people of North America. Social justice movements in the U.S. often ignore the concerns and issues of contemporary Indigenous communities. Native cultures are not a monolith nor interchangeable, and due to the various intersections of privilege and erasure, some POC hold attitudes of anti-indigeneity based in colonialism and stereotypes. Make sure your liaison is willing to engage in self-education and self-reflection to unpack their privilege in relation to Indigenous people, no matter what their ancestry is.
  • Understand that you will make mistakes, no matter how well-intentioned you are. Acknowledge them, apologize, and learn from them. This will demonstrate your commitment and sincerity in building trust and relationships with Indigenous people, rather than tokenizing them or engaging for the purpose of enhancing the social capital of your organization.

6. Considering Protocols:

Ask First!:

  • What protocols does your event staff need to know?
  • What constitutes a meaningful acknowledgement of the local Indigenous Peoples and territory, according to them?
  • Who will be designated to open your event and acknowledge whose homelands it is sited on? Who should welcome attendees, or conduct opening ceremony if that is appropriate? The local Indigenous people and/or consultant should absolutely be stakeholders in these decisions.

To establish relationships with Indigenous communities, it is vital to be aware of the local practices and protocols, which may differ from territory to territory. Among many Indigenous cultures, appropriate protocol involves first publicly recognizing the peoples and land upon which a gathering takes place. In addition, gifts may be exchanged to express gratitude and respect for the peoples and traditions of a particular place.

  • Each community has their own customs and needs, and it is important for guests to honor them. Work towards honoring diversity within communities and not homogenizing them. Do not assume that there’s a “pan-Native” answer.
  • Territorial Acknowledgement is a protocol. Whether it’s a meeting, event, or gathering, it’s respectful at the beginning to acknowledge the Indigenous people whose homeland  you’re on, information which has been intentionally erased from mainstream narratives. Acknowledging the traditional holders of a given territory should be par for the course at all events held on Turtle Island, typically at the opening ceremony, welcoming, and keynotes. This basic but respectful practice helps to center the original inhabitants of the land, and dispel the ignorance of how we came to be there. Build awareness of territory protocols.

By first acknowledging the peoples whose ancestral homelands we stand on, we are honoring protocols that have been in place thousands of years, the sacred and intimate relationship between the land and those people, which has existed since time immemorial.  .

  • As important as acknowledgements are, how can one move beyond that to enter into building relationships, consultation, and possibly collaboration?  Learn what the local needs and interests are and act in accordance with their priorities and principles. Simply ask what a meaningful acknowledgement is according to the Indigenous Peoples of that territory.  Offer tangible support where it’s wanted or needed.
  • With consent, consider making an acknowledgement on your event’s website, video, and program book. One example could look like: “Welcome to [name-of-your-event], You Are On the Territory of the [insert-name-of tribe-or-Nation] People’s Nation.” Consider including info on local Nations, the land you’re gathering on, and further info/links for current campaigns for protecting sacred sites, land, water, and other priorities in their communities.
  • Based on their own customs, the local Indigenous peoples may want to welcome attendees, particularly other Indigenous guest presenters. You might want to consult the local Indigenous peoples prior to bringing Indigenous peoples from other territories, whether that is for keynote talks, permaculture, greening design, ancestral arts, workshops, and especially for anything ceremonial.  It’s good practice when orienting Indigenous presenters from other territories to make introductions to the local Indigenous Nation. Also consider pairing Indigenous leaders/presenters from other Nations with local Indigenous leaders/presenters to draw links between communities, issues, and campaigns and to avoid local erasure.
  • Protection of Indigenous ancestral values and sites are important. Sometimes event sites are on or near them and you must take this into consideration during your planning process. This oversight can desecrate sacred cultural areas and can even jeopardize the event.
  • Even if a tribe is no longer here because of genocide, how does one find the most honorable way to acknowledge them?   
  • Practical applications at your event:
    • Have allocated hospitality staff to support and serve Indigenous Reps, Elders and Veterans at the festival.
  • Provide proper support for Indigenous people that includes staff support, food, shade, transport, accommodations, and gate support. Make their experience smooth, graceful, and easy. Be sure all staff is aware of who is coming ahead of time as to ensure a simple and beautiful experience.


  • A member of your event giving the formal acknowledging, but without ever having reached out to the local tribe. Gives a ‘politically correct’ appearance without having to engage or do anything, which demonstrates a lack of accountability.
  • Unless it is decided upon by local representatives, avoid asking Indigenous representatives from other territories to conduct the event opening, territorial acknowledgement, and welcome.

7. Building Relations

  • Engage in active listening. Learn about Indigenous liberation struggles. Make a continual effort to seek out and connect with local Indigenous-led, grassroots, (and if possible) women-led organizations.  Attend actions, and if invited, go to ceremonies. Simply keep showing up. Share food and laughter. Trust forms through shared experiences like these.
  • Learn the practice of tending relationships. Be careful not to mine people for what you need or go to them only when you need something.
  • It’s possible that you could be invited to participate in a ceremony. If so, don’t assume that you get a pass from continuing this work. Ask yourself what motivates you to attend a ceremony and what it would mean not to.

Just because tribes engage with organizers, do not assume that interaction is a process of repair and healing.  Beware of the long history of non-Indigenous people, including researchers, organizers, healers, anthropologists engaging in exploitative or extractive behavior. There are engagements which heal, and engagements which drive trauma deeper.

  • Accountability is a crucial ingredient to building relations.
    • Accountability to and collaboration with local Indigenous communities play a crucial role in ensuring that gatherings have an ethical and sustainable foundation. To be accountable generally means to answer for your actions and take proportionate responsibility for your mistakes and explain what happened. “Relationship creates accountability and responsibility for sustained supportive action. This does not mean requiring Indigenous energies for creating relationship with settlers; it means settlers taking initiative to live on a personal level what they claim on a political one.” Source:
    • Give credit where credit is due so that you are not exploitive.  Groups must be rigorous in their acknowledgment of the sources of knowledge, information, ideas, opportunities, and actions that are communicated by Indigenous Peoples.
      • For example: When someone shares a story, particularly an Elder, you must listen and respect it – for however long it takes! That doesn’t mean you have ownership over what is being shared.  Taking ownership is a form of intellectual theft. A good way to ensure this doesn’t happen is before publishing information about Indigenous peoples, double check everything with a consultant or elder to verify that images and language is correct and that you are conveying  knowledge properly.
    • Don’t make a promise you can’t keep, as that is just another broken treaty.
    • If you have already have identified and secured your event site, it may pose challenges, but you can still start this process at an intermediate stage.
    • Once you initiate the relationship, ideally you should continue engaging. There will be by nature continual negotiations on developing right relationship. Remember, this is an ongoing relationship and process. This process will take time.

8. Cultural Appropriation

This is a monumental issue that needs to be addressed before we can approach any meaningful alliance:

Ask First:

  • How can we expand the way we think, assess, and value artistic production so that we also consider questions of cultural equity?
  • What happens if there is art, a performance piece, wardrobe choices or sampling of music that are negatively impacting Indigenous People?  How might that impact Indigenous participants especially? Are you prepared to deal with cultural appropriation and the harm it causes?
  • How do we develop practices that are more cross-culturally inclusive for a wide diversity of groups?
  • Many Indigenous people are aware of cultural appropriation within festival culture and have been increasingly vocal about it, along with allies.
  • Cultural Appropriation can be defined by, “Taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else’s culture without permission.” To elaborate, “this can include unauthorized use of another culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc. It’s most likely to be harmful when the source community is a minority group that has been oppressed or exploited in other ways or when the object of appropriation is particularly sensitive, e.g. sacred objects.” Susan Scafidi, author of Who Owns Culture? Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law (Rutgers, 2005).
  • A growing number of festivals are adopting culturally-respectful initiatives, including taking a stand on the war bonnet issue by encouraging attendees not to wear  ‘ ‘Native-inspired’’ headdresses as well as Pocahontas and more nuanced appropriated attire.
  • Consider having educational pieces on cultural appropriation – be it art, workshops, or other creative expressions. One example:
  • Accept only original art, and designs for which permission has been granted for public use. Do not accept art by non-Indigenous artists copying Indigenous artists work or appropriating their ancestral designs. Be explicit about this in your guidelines.
  • Here is an excellent resource: ‘Think Before You Appropriate: A Guide for Creators and Designers’ by IPinCH: Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage:
  • Learn about ethical practices when recording people’s songs, stories, and knowledge. Although music is not something that event producers can control, how can your event create an atmosphere or culture that is sensitive to these issues?  How might a “sampling” of Indigenous chants by a DJ negatively impact Indigenous attendees? What messages does that give to attendees? Some Indigenous songs are sacred and should never be recorded. What message does this give other attendees?  What steps could you take in creating a culture that is more culturally sensitive?
  • Questions to ask:
    • Did the artists get permission and if so did the artist(s) make that explicit? Who benefits financially and socially from that song?
  • Honor Indigenous People’s’ craftsmanship. If you choose to wear something Indigenous, buy it directly from an Indigenous artist. There are federal laws that protect Indigenous artists and craftspeople who make genuine jewelry, art, etc. Look for “Indian made” or “Native made”. Be sure to include Indigenous vendors.
  • Make sure cultural appropriation is not in PR materials and consider having something on your event’s website along with other proper etiquette.
  • So much good stuff on this topic at White Noise Collective:

9. Privilege – What’s privilege have anything to do with it?

  • Privilege assigns dominance based on race, sexuality, or gender, and other factors of identity. It is an unearned advantage that works to systematically over empower certain groups in our society, giving unearned assets to members of privileged groups that can count on cashing in every day, but about which they  remain oblivious. Source:Peggy McIntosh
  • It’s critical for non-Native people to understand what the impacts of colonialism has been on Indigenous people, as well as the ways in which we have benefitted. Having an analysis of systemic oppression teaches us that in order for someone to be marginalized someone else has to be benefitting. It’s not enough to talk about the ways in which Indigenous people are impacted without also looking at the ways in which non-Natives are benefitting. This work requires a deep sense of humility and responsibility to really bring ourselves out of a capitalist, Euro-centric, colonial, and oppressive system and to center another way of being.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can change until it is faced.” ~ James Baldwin

  • According to many people working towards social justice, we must have an understanding of power and privilege in order to understand colonialism. In order to meaningfully build an inclusive movement and one that is truly egalitarian, and truly anti-oppressive, we actually need to understand, explicitly name, and be proactive in challenging the forms of oppression that exist in our society (such as racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, sexism, misogyny, etc.), including in our event spaces.
  • As part of the Settler-Colonial society, there is a responsibility to own and understand what it means to be walking with that privilege and work to shift that.  We come from a place of illusory authority not necessarily viewed as “power” by Indigenous Peoples.
  • It is the responsibility of settlers to proactively challenge and dismantle colonialist thought and behavior in the communities we identify ourselves to be part of. As people within communities that maintain and benefit from colonization, we are intimately positioned to do this work.
  • Don’t shy away from conversations about “privilege”, “racism” or “settler colonialism” just because they are uncomfortable.  As with any process, the discomfort is alleviated when it is faced, and moved through. If it is denied, the issues and inequalities only grow. We must challenge the intersections of privilege that create such damage in the first place. By avoiding discussions on privilege and race, we end up reinforcing the structures of domination that many events presume to transform.
  • Leverage privilege. Leaning into open questions is as important as finding answers, as there is no one right way that leveraging privilege can look, no quick fix to anti-colonial and anti-oppression praxis (the alternating, endless cycle of action and reflection). And opportunities to leverage privilege may appear differently in different contexts, such as: using a particular platform or spotlight to amplify other voices, redistribution of resources, using the ways that you are heard (or trusted) to expand the capacities of other privileged folks to listen and feel more deeply into issues they have been socialized to not care about. Deepen capacities of care. Help people practice becoming more responsive and less reactive. Showing others how they can leverage privilege from their own positionality, is an antidote to the immobilizing egocentric guilt that can arise in the face of history and current realities.

“Taking full responsibility for the legacy of relationships that our ancestors have left us empowering and radical. Guilt and denial and the urgently defensive pull to avoid blame require immense amounts of energy and are profoundly immobilizing. Giving them up can be a great relief. Deciding that we are in fact accountable frees us to act. Acknowledging our ancestors’ participation in the oppression of others and deciding to balance the accounts on their behalf leads to greater integrity and less shame, less self-righteousness and more righteousness, humility, compassion and a sense of proportion.

At the same time, uncovering the credit side of the accounts, not the suffering but the solidarity, persistence, love, hard work, creativity and soul of our forebears is also an obligation we owe them. We are the ones responsible for carrying that forward into our own time and for calling on our kin to do likewise. For people committed to liberation to claim our descent from the perpetrators is a renewal of faith in human beings. If slavers, invaders, committers of genocide, inquisitors, can beget abolitionists, resistance fighters, healers, community builders, then anyone can transform an inheritance of privilege or of victimization into something more fertile than either.” ~ Aurora Levins Morales, Medicine Stories: History, Culture and the Politics of Integrity; From the chapter “Raícism: Rootedness as Spiritual and Political Practice”

Practical application of the concepts presented above:

Some examples:

Communication & Transparency    

  • Provide Indigenous consultants with any relevant documentation, including maps of the area being discussed.
  • Invite Indigenous reps to survey the site.  
  • Identify the resources required to maintain community involvement (for example arranging travel to meetings).
  • Communicate clearly to Indigenous participants what they may be walking into at music festivals. Although there are many positives, they may want to be informed that there could be nudity or revealing attire, cultural appropriation, very loud music around the clock, drugs, and alcohol. Consider hiring Indigenous people for specific leadership roles. Examples: green consultation, land stewardship, ancestral arts, and cultural advisors for art, vending, PR.

Accountability review:

  • In general regular review is necessary as it is likely deeper understanding will come over time.
  • Include in your budget from the beginning compensation for Indigenous consultation, honorariums for speaking and/or presenting and gifts to offer to the tribe.
  • Be sure to have clarity around payment protocol from the beginning that includes follow up on the process and timing.
    • Keep a record of things that were said, promises made, payments to be received, and advice given

Educating your Directors and Staff

  • Part of the journey here is to educate those whom are helping you manage your organization so they in turn can educate those they work with. The goal is for the entire staff to be on the same page so that ripples out into the entire community.
  • Consider bringing in anti-oppression trainers and hosting a workshop with your staff early on.

Art Direction

  • The Art Director’s role is to vet and properly curate all artists and installations.
  • Be prepared to handle cultural appropriation if it occurs. Consider adopting a policy and making it known to staff and applicants.
  • Do not have tee-pees.
  • Event theme: Consult with Indigenous peoples when deciding the theme of your event. Something seemingly harmless can be impactful.

Vending Coordination

  • It is the responsibility of the vending coordinator to vet and properly curate vendors that exemplify fair trade relationships, authentic designs and adhere to your guidelines.
  • Vendors agree to guidelines prohibiting cultural appropriation with their merchandise. (For example, is a dreamcatcher made in Bali? Booty shorts with Shipibo inspired print? Etc.)
  • Include ethical use of herbal plant medicines. Too many people from dominant society are wild harvesting herbs on Native lands and profiting off of them. Indigenous peoples still tend herbal stands in the wild.
  • Consider inviting local Indigenous vendors and offer scholarships. Locate them in the same vicinity as other vendors. Provide visible and featured space for an Indigenous info booth and vending of their crafts.

Marketing/ Promo Review

  • It is ideal to run all marketing by a consultant before launch. If you are beyond that possibility, it is important to still run it by the Indigenous consultant(s) and be ready to make changes as requested.
  • Before utilizing any Indigenous iconography, it is of high importance to ask permission first. This also applies to photos, video, messaging, and ads.
  • Consider having guidelines about cultural appropriation in place for all who are hired on your PR/marketing team.

Sustainability/Green Standards

  • Indigenous people are most impacted in terms of the impact of environmental degradation. What does greening mean? Who defines that? How are sustainability and green standards connected with Indigenous Peoples of the territory that the event will be held?  Indigenous peoples are inextricably linked with their homelands. You can’t separate land from Indigenous people. Create ecological events that respect the established Indigenous land stewardship practices. Hiring the Indigenous peoples of that territory on the ecology of that region means respecting time-honored Indigenous-land stewardship practices that have been in place since time immemorial.
  • Consider offering Native scholarships for Indigenous participants to be able to attend permaculture and ‘Ancestral Arts’ projects. Here is an example of a gathering modeling this:

Honoring protocols:

  • Follow their lead in approach and engagement (handshake, etc.).
  • Not all Indigenous will want to hug or make physical contact.
  • Giveaways to those whose territory your gathering is on is important. Be prepared to offer a giveaway at the Welcoming and to those presenting or speaking that may have not made the Welcoming.
  • Consider directly benefiting local Indigenous liberation struggles.
  • Use caution in bringing Indigenous youth to a festival. Poverty, drug use, alcoholism, and suicidal behavior is high throughout many Native communities due to colonialism.
  • Consider creating a zone that is substance free, comfortable, and accessible within the festival.


  • Consider hosting a panel(s) led by Indigenous peoples of that territory and other regions. Be sure the panels focus on contemporary issues as much as the “spiritual” practices or traditional knowledge. Seek out and support Indigenous-created content from a diversity of Indigenous voices. Ideally the Indigenous programming is led and managed by Indigenous peoples.
  • Develop standards for workshops that outline cultural appropriation in every level from languaging, dress, presentation, and music.
  • Be sure to include local speakers, artists, and musical acts.
  • See if festival leadership attends or at the very least knows about their events. It is important to continue to show up, support, and learn. Consider having a film crew designated for Indigenous content. Perhaps the film crew can be Indigenous as well.
  • Any workshops or other offerings that are based in traditions tied to a lineage, ethnicity, or Nationality are best presented by members of the group, or by those given permission by lineage holders to offer such offerings.
  • It is not ideal for non-Indigenous person to be the director for programs on Indigenous issues. Seek Indigenous leaders and directors as they will more understand the care and needs of their tribes and relations.

Post-mistake management

  • What are our standards for rectifying mistakes? Remember to have a system of accountability in place from the beginning so you have a system to manage any mistakes made along the way.

Post- event:

  • Did you follow-up and in a timely manner? Are Indigenous peoples getting paid on time?
  • How was the experience for the Indigenous representatives who participated and attended?   Can you relay what you learn to your organization. How can you ensure that this info gets incorporated and passed on for the following year(s)?
  • Did you follow up with your designated on-site ‘better-practices team’ about standards raised in this document? Relay what you learn to your organization.
  • If you will not be in these roles at future events, be sure to hand over all relevant info to the next staff. Make introductions and maintain relationships.

What not to do:

  • ‘Taking & Claiming’: Soliciting info from Native organizers and then claim that analysis and work as your own.
  • Improperly taking credit for work of Indigenous peoples thus gaining legitimacy by associating with the work of others.
  • “Indigenous allies” getting more credit than Indigenous people themselves.
  • Seeking approval and friendship of Native organizers while invisibilizing them.
  • Insufficient compensation/public recognition of Indigenous leaders for their expertise. (Or not paying them at all).
  • Fetishizing or tokenizing: examples
  • Getting called out for tokenizing and then running over to the Native person you tokenized for validation or approval.
  • Dictating the narrative of Indigenous peoples. It’s one thing to discuss how to appeal to your target audience or festival community and another to dominate Indigenous Peoples participation.
  • Lack of accountability to local Indigenous communities; accountability having a different meaning to those from the dominant culture than what it does to Indigenous peoples.
  • Local erasure. Especially while flying in Natives from other territories.
  • A business-as-usual dynamic that many Indigenous peoples have experienced. Having a “traditional aid” white savior model where outsider-generated projects reinforce dynamics of distrust, dependency, or cultural inappropriateness and where local communities are left out of the process, money is wasted, and projects fail.
  • Personal positioning. explain
  • Apologetics: constant apologizing without actions. Saying sorry means nothing if the behaviour continues.
  • Lack of willingness to talk about sovereignty and still using colonial language and iconography in your PR. Examples: “defend our coast”.  Who’s coast? “Reclaim the commons.” From the beginning conservation has been used to dispossess Indigenous people of their land. ‘more parks for settler society’
  • Non-Natives calling for unification. Reconciliation is shoved down the throats of Indigenous Peoples without making real and meaningful changes on Indigenous peoples terms.
  • “We’re all one” and calling for unity without knowing and acknowledging unearned privilege, unequal power dynamics and systemic oppression.
  • TOO BUSY: Don’t assume it’s all going to move forward on your schedule.
  • Seeing colonialism as “too big” or somehow inevitable or ever-present.
  • Guilt, especially white guilt and becoming paralyzed. Learn what that looks like and how it can play out.
  • Check your agendas (spoken and unspoken) and check any hidden or subtle guilt.
  • Inherent colonialism of expecting “them” to operate within “our” timeframe.
  • Admit that we are learning but don’t let that become an excuse for mistakes or sloppiness. This work is incredibly humbling.  Own your mistakes.

Encouragement & Action:   

  • Social hierarchies, power structures, gendered, racist and classist inequalities that underpin our society are often reproduced at events promoting consciousness and community. As festivals and events grow larger it’s an important step to create a ‘safer-spaces team’, embrace guidelines and value statements that centers the safety of people from marginalized communities like I+POC (Indigenous and people of color), LGBTQI, and people with disabilities. Beyond fire codes, creating a culture that confronts ableism, racism, sexism, classism, and heteropatriarchy and how it plays out.  Seek out and hire people in the extended festival communities who are already doing this work.
  • Deepen your understanding and honor the wisdom of your own Ancestors and traditions as much as possible. Too often people forget to discover their own roots while ‘sampling’ others. These choices impact people in hurtful ways.  This is especially important in a consumer culture pushing us to exoticize and appropriate other cultures.
  • Challenge tokenism when you see it.
  • Fair Trade stamp:  One idea that arose was for events to consider sponsoring a diverse Indigenous governing body regarding ethical practices and Indigenous peoples, creating standards and incentives similar to the movement for  Greening Festivals.
  • Raise the bar, include Indigenous consultation in your green standards and green report.


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  • Aboriginal: (of human races, animals, and plants) inhabiting or existing in a land from the earliest times or from before the arrival of colonists; Indigenous. (Wiki) Mostly refers to Indigenous peoples of Australia, also Canada .
  • A-ho: From the Kiowan language.  Used by people from dominant society it’s most likely cultural appropriation. If Native peoples say this after a prayer, it’s ok to follow their lead but don’t be the loudest person doing it. Be discreet.
  • Colonialism: Colonization can be defined as some form of invasion, dispossession and subjugation of a people. The invasion need not be military; it can begin—or continue—as geographical intrusion in the form of agricultural, urban or industrial encroachments. The result of such incursion is the dispossession of vast amounts of lands from the original inhabitants. This is often legalized after the fact. The long-term result of such massive dispossession is institutionalized inequality. The colonizer/colonized relationship is by nature an unequal one that benefits the colonizer at the expense of the colonized. Colonization and Racism.
  • Colonization: refers to both the formal and informal methods (behaviors, ideologies, institutions, policies, and economies) that maintain the subjugation or exploitation of Indigenous Peoples, lands and resources. Waziyatawin
  • Color blindness:
  • Come Correct: you are advised to approach with respect, truth” in other words , be respectful and real. To speak or approach someone with respect, and not with undeniable ignorance.
  • Consultation is an ongoing process involving the establishment of meaningful two-way relationships between Indigenous people/communities and non-Indigenous people.
  • Culture: “The whole set of attitudes, values and norms” that keep a society together and functioning as a whole.” Culture is formed out of the ideology that protects the interests of a certain class. Hegemony works to transform ideology into culture that becomes “commonsense.” (Source: Movement Generation)  A social system of meaning and custom that is developed by a group of people to assure its adaptation and survival. These groups are distinguished by a set of unspoken rules that shape values, beliefs, habits, patterns of thinking, behaviors and styles of communication. (Source: Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative. A Community Builder’s Tool Kit
  • Cultural appropriation: Theft of cultural elements for one’s own use, commodification, or profit – including symbols, art, language, customs, etc. – often without understanding, acknowledgement, or respect for its value in the original culture. Results from the assumption of a dominant (i.e. white) culture’s right to take other cultural elements. (Source: Colours of Resistance)
  • Cultural competence: This refers to the ability of an individual or an organisation to acquire sufficient knowledge of the culture of diverse groups to increase tolerance, understanding and acceptance and to reduce stereotypes, misunderstandings and prejudice (Pope-Davis et al., 2003).
  • Cultural equity: The idea that people of color, women and queer folk must have access to representation, power, and visibility in the massive powerful goddess that is Art. Not only are inclusionary and complex narratives, beliefs and images needed in order to challenge outdated ideologies and to shift culture in favor of those at the margins, but we also must build systems that allow these voices to enter in the first place. (Source:
  • Culture vulture: Someone who steals traits, language and/or fashion from another ethnic or social group in order to create their own identity.
  • “Decolonization is the intelligent & active resistance to the forces & the impacts of colonization & it’s working towards liberation of Indigenous peoples. (Waziyatawin, Dakota professor & author);  So if you are not actively working toward the liberation of Indigenous people, as Indigenous people or as settler people, then you’re not doing decolonizing work” Decolonizing workshop at Unistoten encampment:
    • Decolonization is the active process AFTER THE FACT. you can’t decolonize until there has been a shift in power relations between the colonizer and the colonized the dominator and the dominated the oppressor and the oppressed. So you’re not engaged in Decolonization, you (as an Ally in the sense its typically used) until you’re sabotaging what is already there.
    • The terms settler and colonizer are NOT synonymous.
    • Settler is not a racial category. And Settler is not a racial classification. neither is privilege. There is White privilege, but also half breed privilege, city privilege, male privilege, and hetero privileges as well that we sometimes overlook when discussing the topic of privilege in our native communities.
  • Empowerment: Be conscious of what “empowerment” means and how to empower when you are coming from a place of power. The following may be helpful in navigating that:
  • First Nations: are the various Aboriginal peoples of Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently 634 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada. (Wiki)
  • Indigenous:
  • Indigenous Nations or tribes (status):
  • Indigenous Nations or tribes (non-status):
  • Intersectionality: An approach largely advanced by women of color, arguing that classifications such as gender, race, class, and others cannot be examined in isolation from one another; they interact and intersect in individuals’ lives, in society, in social systems, and are mutually constitutive.   Exposing [one’s] multiple identities can help clarify the ways in which a person can simultaneously experience privilege and oppression. – Kimberlé Crenshaw WPC Glossary from 14th Annual White Privilege Conference Handbook, White Privilege Conference, 2013.
  • Invisibilizing: Invisibility of Indigenous peoples has been used historically to justify the destruction of Indigenous communities & their ancestral homelands. Angela Mooney D’Arcy, (environmental lawyer) on panels a at Lightning in a Bottle a couple years in a row when the festival was held on her ancestral territory:  “this act of erasure has particularly significant consequences in the environmental movement as much of the work of Indigenous people is around protecting our remaining places of cultural and spiritual importance.”…
  • Plastic shaman: is a pejorative colloquialism applied to individuals who are attempting to pass themselves off as shamans, holy people, or other traditional spiritual leaders, but who have no genuine connection to the traditions or cultures they claim to represent. (wiki)
  • Power is the ability to act – the more access to resources one has, the more options one has. Power differences are expressed in institutional and cultural contexts. These power differences continually inform our interpersonal relationships.  “Power” is a relational term. It can only be understood as a relationship between human beings in a specific historical, economic and social setting. It must be exercised to be visible.
    • Power is control of, or access to, those institutions sanctioned by the state. (Barbara Major of People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, New Orleans)
    • Power is the ability to define reality and to convince other people that it is their definition. (Dr. Wade Nobles)
    • Power is ownership and control of the major resources of a state; and the capacity to make and enforce decisions based on this ownership and control; and
    • Power is the capacity of a group of people to decide what they want and to act in an organized way to get it.
    • (In terms of an individual), power is the capacity to act. (Colours of Resistance)
  • Privilege: Unearned social power accorded by the formal and informal institutions of society to ALL members of a dominant group (e.g. white privilege, male privilege, etc.). Privilege is usually invisible to those who have it because we’re taught not to see it, but nevertheless it puts them at an advantage over those who do not have it. Colors of Resistance Archive
  • Protocols: are appropriate ways of behaving, communicating and showing respect for diversity of history and culture. Protocols inevitably vary between communities.
  • Right Relationship:  check this out for possible definition:
  • Self-determiNation: involves the effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in all decision-making that affects them.
  • Settler:   “Determining which non-Native people are settlers is complicated & fraught because of different forms of dispossession, and the fact that many people (including Indigenous people) have been displaced from their own homelands because of U.S. imperialism. While it is true that settlers sometimes migrated to the U.S. to escape violence or poverty in their homelands, we — especially though not exclusively white people — benefit directly from the dispossession of In digenous peoples.”
  • Many people were brought to settler states as slaves, indentured servants, refugees, etc.  Race and class largely prefigure which settlers benefit the most from usurped Indigenous homelands. Settlers do not all benefit equally from settler colonialism.
  • Settler Colonialism: “Settler colonialism is the social, political and economic system that Europeans brought with them to this continent that turns land into profit, dispossessing Native peoples from the land through forced removals, military massacres, genocide, sterilization and forced assimilation (among other tactics). Indigenous people have long recognized that this is an ongoing process, not one discretely contained within a historical period. Settler colonialism requires an ongoing violence against Native American people. Many narratives obscure this by speaking of this violence as occurring in the distant past.”  Maile Arvin, The Future is Indigenous: Decolonizing Thanksgiving
  • Solidarity: refers to the feeling or condition of unity based on common goals, interests, and sympathies among a group’s members or between different groups. Solidarity refers to the ties in a society – social relations – that bind people to one another. Solidarity amongst working class and oppressed peoples has been a central goal of left movement building. The Industrial Workers of the World put forward the slogan, “An Injury to One is an Injury to All” as a slogan to popularize working class solidarity across race and gender in the early 1900s. (Source: Catalyst Project) Anti-oppression solidarity between settler communities is necessary for decolonization
  • Sovereignty: Tribal sovereignty refers to tribes’ right to govern themselves, define their own membership, manage tribal property, and regulate tribal business and domestic relations; it further recognizes the existence of a government-to-government relationship between such tribes and the federal government. (Wiki)
  • Tokenism: is the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to be inclusive to members of minority groups, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of racial or sexual equality within a workforce.[1][2][3] The effort of including a token employee to a workforce is usually intended to create the impression of social inclusiveness and diversity (racial, religious, sexual, etc.) in order to deflect accusations of social discrimiNation.[4] (Wiki)
  • White Supremacy: (Structural/Systemic Racism)  An historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, Nations, and peoples of color by White peoples and Nations of the European continent for the purpose of establishing, maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege. It encompasses the entire system of White domiNation, diffused and infused in all aspects of society including its history, culture, politics, economics and entire social fabric, producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color.

A Work In Progress

This document emerged out of a growing awareness to society’s responsibility as guests and settlers on occupied Indigenous lands. We certainly don’t seek to place ourselves as experts, but as people whose experiences have prompted us to speak up because this matters. A lot.

‘Ask First!’ was a collaborative effort. It couldn’t have been possible without the critical input and valuable contributions from mentors, friends and comrades (SO FAR all women by the way).  Indigenous consultants provided direction and shape to the process set out in it. Without this input it would have looked very different and been a less useful document. This endeavor grew out of our relationships with one another and yet what we’re doing is not new but a continuing legacy of honoring ancestral relationships. (We  discussed whether to include our names on it or make it anonymous? Composed by Dixie Pauline, help by Juliana Willars, Lianne Payne, Zara Zimbardo, Savannah Jane, Crystal Uchino, Pegi Eyers, and others.)

A Work In Progress

This document emerged out of a growing awareness to society’s responsibility as guests and settlers on occupied Indigenous lands. We certainly don’t seek to place ourselves as experts, but as people whose experiences have prompted us to speak up because this matters. A lot.

‘Ask First!’ was a collaborative effort. It couldn’t have been possible without the critical input and valuable contributions from mentors, friends and comrades (SO FAR all women by the way).  Indigenous consultants provided direction and shape to the process set out in it. Without this input it would have looked very different and been a less useful document. This endeavor grew out of our relationships with one another and yet what we’re doing is not new but a continuing legacy of honoring ancestral relationships.  Composed by Dixie Pauline,  Lianne Payne, Juliana Willars, Zara Zimbardo, Savannah Jane, Crystal Uchino, Pegi Eyers, and others.

This document is a work in progress and we imagine that it will grow.  Your questions, comments, and concerns are welcomed however please know that we may not be equipped to get back with you in a timely manner.  It’s why we’ve made it open source, but give credit where it’s due.. “Permissions Users may copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format under the following terms: You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. If you transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material**.” Via: ‘Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manual for Decolonization’.

** = We just ask that you contact the writers. Email:



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