In every corner of the world, a primary weapon of Western domination has been to cut off indigenous and other subjugated peoples from their lands, from their families and communities, and from the stories that tie them together. Colonization wields four crucial weapons of conquest in its arsenal of mass destruction: genocide, slavery, removal, and rape. These weapons hack people groups apart, separating them from land, people, story, and identity. These weapons yield for colonizers more land for production of wealth, fewer foes to threaten wealth, and low-cost or no-cost labor to grow wealth.
The impact of colonization on the conquered is fragmentation. Four generations after the conquest, memory itself is fragmented. Names of family members are often lost. Family and community stories are forgotten, forbidden, twisted, or hidden. Meanwhile, the colonized are forced to rehearse and remember their new identity, which is usually tied to the slave master’s story – their surname, the name of the reservation, township, or favela to which they were removed, or (as in South Africa) the month of the year in which they were sold. These grafted stories usually begin at the point of colonization or enslavement. To seal the deal, subsequent generations were often educated apart from their parents and people. They were taught their people’s story by the colonizers, from the point of view of the settlers, in schools with curricula established by those settlers.
From “Fortune: How Race Broke My Family and the World–and How to Repair It All” by Lisa Sharon Harper