David Escobar: Indigenous Peoples In The Diaspora Of El Salvador, Coloniality & Value Systems

I met David at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where I got my master's degree and where David is getting his PhD. In this episode, I sit down with David and ask him about his dissertation that looks at the intersectionalities of indigenous peoples in the diaspora of El Salvador. He talks about how corporate interest impacts indigenous peoples throughout the world, as we can see with what's going on right now at Standing Rock, and the clash in value systems. David points out how there's a difference between how Western corporate interest sees a rock versus how an elder in Canada, Mexico, or El Salvador, for examples, sees a rock. To indigenous peoples, a rock is considered a grandfather, a living entity. Indigenous people's values have been erased and forgotten. 

Similarly, David discusses Frantz Fanon's zone of being and non-being, and what is understood to be a valued human. In the zone of non-being are mostly people of color who are often met with violence. Also, we talk about "speaking truth to power," and how speaking the truth is dangerous, especially in the zone of non-being. David continues to talk about the zone of non-being in relation to coloniality, which is the continued manifestations of colonialization.  He points out ways that we continue to reproduce the colonial paradigm in society sighting the University as one major way. 

In addition, David shares about his role in working with the United Nations, naming them a colonial tool. Indigenous politics has something to say at the UN and uses this opportunity to resist. David works under the American Indian Movement as an official observer using his privilege to help his community. 

Lastly, David has some advice for White allies: to do some soul searching. What are you willing to do? What are your values and how far are you willing to go? How much of your privilege are you willing to use and give up? 

Exercise: Take a few minutes to write down in a journal or notepad what you value. If you care to share in the comments what you discover, I'd love to hear from you!