Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 6

GOSPEL WITNESS - Smith went down to forty years, and many of the communities actually decided to go extinct, because they’re not able to reproduce without severe birth-defect rates. Babies are born without bones, and they’re called jellyfish babies. So entire communities have said, we’re just not going to have children anymore because we cannot have children that don’t have such major birth defects. In fact, I was at one conference where some representatives came from the Marshall Islands, and it was very heartbreaking, because they said, “We are here to save you, because we cannot save ourselves. It’s too late for us. We’re here to show you what will happen if we don’t stop nuclear proliferation.” That’s been the destructive impact that follows a logic of sexual violence. Because Native bodies don’t deserve integrity, it’s okay for their lands to be targeted for environmental contamination. And, of course, where we see environmental contamination usually first showing up is in women’s reproductive systems; so it becomes another form of sexual violence. Okay, this is all very grim and depressing. But when we look at this, I think it’s important to see that this colonization doesn’t just impact Native peoples; it represents a larger ideology that actually impacts everybody, because colonialism is ultimately concerned with determining that one group of people is not human, and that hence it is disposable. But once you have a logic of disposability, that logic is going to impact the way society is run, generally speaking. It’s going to impact everybody, because ultimately everybody starts to become disposable. What I wanted to do today is to look at how this logic is happening right here and now in a way we may not think of at first. In particular, I wanted to look at the school-to-prison pipeline in terms of the way students with disabilities and students of color—particularly black and Native students—get [tracked] from school to prison, and how this happens at a very early age. I have seen children as early as age five abused by the police and expelled rather than given the disability services to which they are entitled. These children learn at an early age that school is not for them; they are supposed to go to prison. The origins of this school-to-prison pipeline actually started in 1492. To look at these colonial roots, I want to look at a couple of court cases. The first court case is Johnson v. McIntosh. This is the case that basically underlies Indian law. It’s the doctrine of discovery. And it is the United States’ legal justification for why it can take Native lands. It says that the European power that discovered the Native peoples gets to take their lands. Hence, the doctrine of discovery. Now you might ask yourself, well, didn’t Native peoples discover the land? Wouldn’t they get it? But no, they had to be removed from the category of those who could discover; they had to be 5