In seeing Varter Bogigian’s photo at Tsitsernakaberd that day, I recognized the universal link that unites all Armenians:our shared history. In that moment, I was reminded of the value of our words — of the stories of our grandmothers, of our grandfathers, of our mothers, of our fathers, of our sisters and our brothers.

We are all closely related to the nonhuman world and to the rest of humanity. Interdependence is a long-held principle of Native organizing, the idea that tribal sovereignty will not be achieved “tribe by tribe,” but instead through the creation of a fundamentally democratic and radically new political system that returns land to Indigenous peoples.

The work of racial capitalism is to promote a logic of anti-relationality, in which our responsibilities and connections to one another and our land, both close and far, are deemphasized (Melamed 2015). It is within those intellectual, cultural and physical gaps that colonial violence accumulates. Indigenous organization and reproductive justice movements offer alternatives to this line of thinking, and demonstrate how foundational a politics and vocabulary of collectivity is to liberation.

“Is this an African Dance course?”
My classmates and I were with our professor outside our classroom, waiting as the class prior to us filtered out when a well-intentioned woman, the instructor from that previous course, approached my professor eagerly, earnestly, repeating herself to ask, “Is this an African Dance course?”

I, like many others, came to Yale with a fundamental understanding that my education here was not for my own aggrandizement but for the benefit of the communities I belong to and the people that made my presence here possible. However, I did not have an exceptionally clear vision of what that meant in practice.