We are living a collective illusion known as the civilized world. We feign concern for our horrendous conditions of poverty, socioeconomic inequality, deteriorating public health, and severe environmental degradation (to which climate change is merely one factor), but everything we do belies that distress. These issues comprise the largest risks to the survival of the human species, as well as the most significant amoral atrocities on the planet. Both individually and as a species, our health, safety, and ability to live a decent, dignified life have always been imperiled by these predicaments. Yet, we continue along with complete cognitive dissonance in that the crux of our lives – our jobs, our consumer culture – all contribute to, perpetuate, and exacerbate the unsustainable and morally reprehensible conditions of our existence. But while we are all marginally responsible for the multitude of calamities befalling us, the one group who bears the brunt of the blame for our social and ecological decay is the wealthy.
But there’s a reckoning in the works—an indigenous-led reckoning that has been building since the days of Dennis Banks, the American Indian Movement leader who died on Sunday, and well before. A reckoning that seeks to challenge this country’s long-cherished myths as well as its current role in the world. From Standing Rock and the nationwide fossil-fuel-divestment drive to the bold organizers challenging racist landmarks and dishonest holidays, movements have emerged that are teaching the United States about its true past and agitating for a much better future. And much of the action is taking place in cities—in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Minneapolis, and more.