Creativity and Extraction

I love writing poetry. It’s why this blog, my Instagram exist. Because every aspect of creating new work and presenting it for others to enjoy beings me fulfillment. This creates challenges for me as an indigenous person. The long history of colonialism and capitalism in the United States limits a creative person’s avenue for sharing their artwork. Art was once used in indigenous cultures during ceremony and within the context of a village. Music, storytelling, and dancing were created for the community to enjoy and take it part in together for free. In the capitalism-based society every aspect of culture is transformed into a money generating machine. Disney is the prime example of creative monetization. They own a part of nearly every aspect of the entertainment industry. They own most major movie franchises including Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar, which were once they, own companies. Now those companies produce work that is created with machine like efficiency to generate a profit above all else. This is extraction at work. This has been part of the United States since the first colonies.  Once colonies consumed all the resources in sight, they turned to west ward expansion, then into manifest destiny and finally into American imperialism resulting in the current ownership of places like Puerto Rico and Guam. Taking ownership but never responsibility for preservation.  

The white oak trees of the east coast were cut down in mass to produce ships, whole forests lumbered in the south to create the farmland for tobacco and cotton plants. Mountain blasted in the Rockies for railways and mining. Thousands of animals slaughtered in mass for their pelts. Wars waged on indigenous people, forced removal, and eventually the reservation system was used to take resource after resource. The gold rush displaced my people as settlers came in droves to seek out a fortune. Every natural resource on this continent from trees, minerals such as gold and silver, and pelts has been abused solely to produce economic prospects. Pipelines and drilling permits in the modern era are continuing the infringement on native peoples lands all in the name of extracting resources for profit. The native peoples of the United States have experienced hundreds of years of extraction taking its toll. The interest of capitalism is the continued extraction of money and this runs counter to every aspect of the creative process. Creating is inherently reciprocal. Using the resource of paint the artists creates a masterpiece for millions to enjoy. Rather than millions of consumers generating profits for a few to enjoy. Creative arts grind counterclockwise to the extraction structures of capitalism.

As an indigenous creative this reality affects my decisions. I have never charged money for my work. I have never monetized and advertised on any of my accounts. I believe my creativity sets me apart for the extraction mindset. Selling my creative work has always felt wrong. My writing requires mining my soul for my deepest feelings, memories, pains, and anxieties. It is painful to extract. Creation is costly and destruction is easier. It was easier to cut the forests down then tend to the growth of a new one. Offering this costly work for free was my act of service to all who enjoyed it. And helped me avoid using the practices that have been so harmful to my people and many other indigenous peoples. I didn’t want to participate in that system. I wanted to lend my voice for free to everyone who wishes to read it. My blog and my Instagram will always be a free space for anyone to enjoy and I will always offer much of my work for free. But I have made a big decision recently. I have reserved a small portion of these precious resources and made them for sale. Why? Opportunity. Poets never really reach fame, but they can reach audiences. Native voices are significantly underrepresented in many areas and poetry is one of them. I want to change that and change often requires resources. Resources I do not have right now. But with your support maybe I can ensure that poetry has a new native voice carrying it forward.

I am excited to announce that I have published a book with Raw Earth Ink Publishing releasing on March 5th.

If you wish to support me and my voice. You can pre-order the kindle version at the link below. A paperback copy will also be available. The book releases on March 5th. Thank you for your support!

4 thoughts on “Creativity and Extraction

  1. Great to read this post and to be introduced to your writing through Tara. Congratulations on your book! I look forward to reading your writing. I am of Palestinian heritage and we are known as the Indians of the Middle East, respect to you brother, I loved your summation and feeling of colonialism/imperialism as it relates to Art.

    Liked by 1 person

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