Decolonizing Policy Makers

Home Discussions General NMHEP Statewide Policy Reccomendations Decolonizing Policy Makers

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    David Gaussoin

    Decolonizing not just policy makers but ourselves as members of community
    Organizing itself needs to be decolonized
    Processes that change the way policies are made

    Example: Dona Ana Communities United
    Partnering with City of Las Cruces across multiple departments
    Parallel effort with community members whose voices haven’t been heard

    Figuring out a way together
    Open to ways of knowing and being together in community

    Listen and appreciate power in ourselves and others

    Policy makers are not just elected officials they are front line workers at City too.
    Decision makers in agencies.
    We all exist in systems. How to make systems new just and make new systems.

    Support: Take advantage of online forum and continue to communicate. Build larger communities as largely as we’d like.
    Not issue driven but who lives in our communities.

    We pay community members to do the work we are doing.

    Implement in our own communities:

    Mapping our communities. Community members take photos and serve as listening post in their communities. Engage on issues we aren’t pre-determining.

    Recognize everyone’s gifts.

    Got to be flexible so we can see opportunities for building bridges.

    Learn and practice ways of being in true dialogue with each other. It is all about relationships. More important than a win. Once you have a relationship the wins are many. Organic process of figuring it out together.

    Trying to avoid replicating a calcaphus system.


    Excerpt from 2016 HEP Policy Strategies Summary

    Participants engaged in dialogue about the importance of shifting from a system focused on colonization, racism, extraction, etc. to one rooted in holistic healing, balance, harmony, cooperation, spiritualism, the sacred, and human dignity. Participants envisioned a world where decision makers centered indigenous ways, the feminine and equity, thus prioritizing the well-being of people and the earth. Participants called for a need to decolonize decision makers (and ourselves) to change the value system in which decisions are made. This includes working to instill norms of basic human values emanating from the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights to Indigenous People.s Participants recommended that: 1) decision makers receive training on dismantling racism; 2) community members need to work together as peers to cultivate our own leaders to get into office and support their leadership when there; and 3) we need to address colonial trauma using a healing lens.

    At the Statewide Health Equity Gathering, Strong Families New Mexico shared that they produce a Legislative Report Card to hold decision makers accountable. They examine legislation in five categories: civil rights and criminal justice, economic justice, education equity, health equity, and anti-families which Strong Families opposes. The legislation selected meets at least one of the Strong Families policy criteria. In summary, the criteria focuses on whether the legislation: 1) recognizes and supports families of all formations; 2) promotes or achieves equitable outcomes for all families; 3) expands government programs and services that support family wellbeing and the individual wellbeing within families; 4) removes barriers that harm families in accessing government programs and services; and 5) protects families and the individuals that comprise them against discrimination, profiling, and harassment.

    Additionally, Doña Ana Communities United, at the small group gathering, shared how they are working with both community members and the City of Las Cruces, where they discuss equity issues. They emphasized the importance of learning and practicing ways of being in true dialogue with each other. The process is organic and it is about figuring out ways to make new just systems together. There is no one way to do this work. Another partner in San Juan County identified that they are centering the Navajo Wellness Model as a way in their decolonizing efforts.

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