[EDITOR’S NOTE: Victor is the only person still locked up from everybody who got arrested in the Atlanta forest. He is in an immigration facility, facing how incredibly racist the USA can be. Please write a letter to him and send love and solidarity, you can find the address at the end of his statement.]
After being officially criminally indicted by the state of Georgia and reaching seven months of incarceration, I wish to speak again.
Today, on Indigenous People’s Day, I want to raise my voice to remind everybody that this marks 531 years of Indigenous resistance here on Turtle Island. As Indigenous people, we must go beyond mere representation and celebrations. Police, prisons, reservations, detention centers, and borders operate through a shared logic of immobilization, containing our oppressed communities in their racial system.
I am right now in a place that shouldn’t be holding any people, a place that should not exist. A place that has caused many cases of human rights abuses and violations, a place where many people have lost their lives. A place where people don’t have proper shelter and healthcare. The people here are refugees. The prison industrial complex exists for profit; the goal of CoreCivic is to maximize profits, not to follow a moral compass by treating people with dignity. When you put corporations in charge of human beings, you will see flagrant violations of human rights, even to the point that people are dying. Everyone outside should raise their voice and demand that this stops.
In times of rising xenophobia and racism, we see images of thousands of migrants and refugees trying to cross the southern colonial border and we hear the rhetoric of border crisis. In reality, there is no border crisis but a displacement crisis. The war on migrant and refugee people does not exist separate from anti-Indigenous and anti-Black violence. Border imperialism is structurally bound up in genocide. Crees and Anishinaabe from Canada and Yaquis from Mexico crossed into the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th century and engaged in political struggles for recognition to challenge the state’s subjugation of them as “foreign Indians” and “illegal immigrants.”
Many southern immigrants/refugees are also Indigenous people and Black relatives. Borders and xenophobic immigration laws are rooted in Indigenous dispossession and anti-Black violence. In these 531 years of Indigenous resistance, I stand in solidarity with the relatives and Indigenous nations and communities remembering their old teachings, stories, songs, and remembering that we are all still warriors. Solidarity with migrant and refugee relatives at the southern colonial border, across the world, and behind bars in these detention centers/concentration camps. Solidarity with the land defenders fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline Black Snake and protecting life. Solidarity with Gaza — we are all owed dignity, personhood, respect.
As an Indigenous migrant man, I have been called many things by the state. Now more than ever, I continue resisting this ridiculous narrative and these new RICO charges. I’m a sundancer, a land defender, a frontliner, living in occupied Indigenous land and territories with obligations and responsibilities due to my presence here—I’m a warrior not by anyone else’s definition other than my own and my people’s. These are the identities I hold dear. Because some of these identities have been used as a weapon to oppress me, I use them as a weapon of my own liberation. I protect, nurture, and love in these deep ways.
I have been shot by rubber bullets many times; maced, tear-gassed, and pepper sprayed more times than I can remember; I have been bitten and attacked by dogs, I have had guns pointed at my face by white supremacists, sprayed by water canons under freezing temperatures, tased a few times and injured many more. And I have always been proud to uphold my responsibilities and take a stand to defend people and land, even though standing up to the repressive power of the state has had a cost—the latest, this indictment, these seven months of incarceration and the so-real-now threat of deportation and removal from this land, this precious land. The land of my relatives, the land where my family lives, the land where my father is buried.
This is who I am. In this continuous detention, I’m fed up with the degradation and the conditions, but I want you all to know that I keep resisting and standing up against the daily conditions, against the dehumanization, and against this fucked up system that separates us. I live a life that I don’t regret.
Homies and comrades, to all of you who I love: Resist with a depth beyond recognition. Now and forever, keep loving deep, nurturing freedom, valuing life, protecting the sacred, raising hell. We are unstoppable, we are an extension of Earth, we are spirit, we are power, and there can be no borders, restrictions, or jails for that. Until our paths cross and you see me again next to the moon puppy.
Solidarity with the people standing up against the police state and with the resistance to anti-Black racialized state violence. Freedom to stay, freedom to move and the right to return. From Stewart Detention Center, Unit 6B—close the camps, free us all!
Write to Victor at:
P.O. Box 248
Lumpkin, GA 31815