Black Liberation Land in Occupied Cherokee Land

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia: What’s your name ?

Valencia: Hi, I’m Valencia.

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia: And where are we at?

Valencia: We are at Sojourners land, which is the 3 acres of our land movement, our attempt to be engaged with the land in a way that doesn’t involve ownership, in a way that involves coming and doing stewardship and building our own tiny homes on wheels. So that we are housed while we learn how to be free, rather than coming here with the need of housing. And just a place to like, we try to make our little homes sustainable so that then all the effects of capitalism that keep us moving away from stewarding the land and engaging with these very violent forces of having to earn money just so you can come back and fall asleep in somebody’s rented property. We own the land from a bank, but it’s held in stewardship so that anybody can come and build their tiny home who is committed to the liberation of themselves and the land. by, you know, like… Yeah, it’s a way of being more than just a physical space. But we do need the infrastructure on the physical space so that the people, again, can come, but that’s why the whole idea of the tiny homes…

Can you show us a tiny home on wheels?

Yeah, this is my tiny home on wheels which I built and, um, I built while I was in Maine and I built it while I was looking for land because I said, you know, I had this, like,  crisis you know inside of myself that just like, I couldn’t keep moving and being on other people’s land and pushed into spaces and kept moved all the time while my ancestors needed some place to be still. And I said well, what is it that I need? And you know, it’s like a home on wheels until we can find land to, you know, to ground with. And you know, space to not be in other people’s spaces composting my traumas around my orgasmic lack of autonomy. So I had to find safe space in other people’s things where maybe there would be, um, people imposing their needs on my, like, body just because I needed housing, right? So, this is, like, autonomous space, and I call my tiny home the OSS, which stands for the Orgasmic Safe Space…

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia: Ok.

Because there’s a place that I can like do that composting and, uh, still be able to steward the land, you know?

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia: I see all these solar panels… 

Yeah. Uh, this is my newest solar system, which is a 300-watt system, which I haven’t set up yet, but I just got some of my comrades who came from Ida, Work Hard, to just move these pallets to help me, you know, be able to set up the panels myself. ‘Cause I know all the rigamarole of that.

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia: Ok.

And these are the batteries that once I get my solar system set up will, you know, be charged. That’s why I needed the pallets moved, ‘cause I’m building just basically a solar shed. I just need to get my batteries, ‘cause you know where the batteries were?

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia: Huh?

They were inside my house.

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia: Oh, wow.

And that was like off-gassing and stuff, and I was just like, I need to get these batteries out of my house 

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia: Right, so that they can empower the tiny home.

Yeah, and. I need a shed, but I didn’t have physical energy or even time to do it. 

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia: Ok.

But my tiny home usually has, um, there’s a stove, like a camp stove there so I have the ability to cook, but it’s hot!

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia: Yeah. 

You know where my camp stove is now? It’s in my tent. Because I couldn’t even look at it, it’s so damn hot in here…

(laughs) Right. 

‘Cause I have this metal roof, and it feels hot, you know. And I built this house, and it’s still unfinished obviously, but it provides me shelter and safe space. It doesn’t leak. There’s no mold. 

You made the floor and everything, huh?

Oh, absolutely, and I have actually all of the documentation of me doing that…

Wow.

…which because also I don’t have time here I haven’t even had time to sit and, like, edit on a Windows movie maker…

Right, right. 

…what I’m doing here. So I have all of this. 

Right.

And I’ve been documenting since first nail, first screw, first everything…

Beautiful.

…every movement, you know. So this is the OSS…

Ok. Here comes Leroy down the side.

 …built in Maine as you can see, ‘cause my trailer still has the Maine uh… So built in a Maine winter, so this is some resilience, and built with an ancestral calling…

Ok

…and because I don’t have a…

A shed yet.

…a basic shed for my thing I have to keep this covered.

Ok.

Over here is my lovely outhouse.

Oh, wow.

 I really love this place. It is a composting shitter, oh that I left open apparently. 

What!?

You know, sometimes I do that, but it doesn’t have anything in it because I always cover it with cedar coverings…

Ok.

…but I usually close it because the critters like to…I once came in and found dung beetles who had turned my poop into like perfect little, like looked like meatballs. And it was just like ok! 

Wow.

I think I’ll be putting the top on.

The lid on. Wow, I just wanna point out to all the Homefullness Poor Magazine folk that this compost toilet is similar to the one at Standing Rock, and what she has is just the woodchips…

Yep.

Yeah that’s it. And how often do you dump the, and where do you dump the poo or the pee or the whatever?

The bucket…

Yeah.

…that’s beneath has…

Just a bucket, look, just a bucket…

it’s a composting system.

Yup and it doesn’t smell, by the way, guys.

Red is for poop… 

Ok. 

…and white is for cover material so I generally… and I also put my tissue in here because the mice love to eat your tissue…

Oh.  

…and shred it, and like use it whatever so it’s a good place to put your tissue, and I have cover material–awesome if you’re like in a poop situation further on the land and you want to access that, the bucket system around here is red for poop and white for cover material and they’re …after we do that poop we have this lovely humanure composting pile that Rose made as their contribution to the shit thing. So we are composting our own shit to make sure like that in a year, or two years time this like turns into fertilizer. When you come over here, there’s no smell, there’s no anything like that.

Right.

Again the red were for the poop, it’s already been emptied. It does take a little bit longer for wet wipes to dissolve but they do. They do. Yeah.

Interesting.

And you can get the flushable ones and they are more thing, but this usually just looks like nothing but just soil. And that’s all poop.

Ok.

I mean, composted now.

Wow, so you can actually just bury it?

No, it’s not burying it, it’s a Humanure composting bin.

Oh, and so what do you do to make that happen?

You see how those, uh, this uh thing? Well at the first part you kinda like dig to kinda like make a berm or like make just something so that… Uh a sponge! You dig to make a whole thing first then you put in your straw, um, things on that so that you kinda like have a little bit of a thing like so there’s a little sponge.

So the certain material you put in and the material eats the poo is what you’re saying or it dissolves? 

Oh no, this is Humanure 101 which I have a book about it… the uh, this is some Jim Jenkins Humanure composting and this pile has been used by, like, people who compost their poop like my friend whose house I built where I built my house at in Maine. They have been composting their poop in this way for thirty years. And, like, you know and they built their own house…

 You’re saying… 

…like their family homestead there in Maine.

So you’re saying you can use it for farming?

Oh, yes! After…

Ok!

Well first of all, a lot of people, for safety, they would never put it immediately even after like two years which is safe…

Ok.

…on, um,vegetable plants things that are immediately going [?], but it’s perfect…

Ok. 

…for like anything in your orchard, it’s like rich soil but for people who are a little like microbe thing, you can like go through it yourself with the materials and see there’s nothing there but some soil, right? And…

Wow.

…like the residual of like whatever wet wipe, but there’s nothing.

What’s this one up here, this other house?

Oh, that’s the house that came with the space and we are not exactly happy it’s [???]

Oh, there was a house on the space. Oh, ok.

It was a 1950’s motor home thing that, uh…

Just was here…

Well, it’s because it was full of black mold…

Yeah.

…you know, we didn’t want to put anybody’s health in jeopardy by putting them in there or even trying to demolish it without, like, learning more, so we’ve just kind of been listening and then like, what are we gonna do with the materials and like… 

Right.

…considering this being our first earth conscious engagement with the land, what are we going to do? How we gonna…? So you know, it’s been like, a little bit…

Interesting.

…of an overwhelming eh but we do use it, we do use it. For a while, it’s beautiful, we used it for storage…

Uh huh.

…and for a while before we had this deck…

Uh huh.

…and that was our only over, uh, covered kitchen, right? 

Ok.

Nobody was in my house and we didn’t have anything. 

Ok.

We had nothing else covered…

Ok.

…or, uh, community kitchen…

Wow.

…and there were 3 or 4 of us on the land at one time…

 Ooh!

…and we were all using using, you know….

Right.

People camped! 

How long have you been here?

On this land? On these 3 acres?

Yeah.

Or in the whole community? 

This one.

On these 3 acres, hmm… I think it was a year anniversary after my mom’s passing.

Ok.

That’s how I remember it.

So it’s been a minute.

Like. So what’s that, four years, something like that?

Yeah, yeah.

By the time I was finally able to move my house here, it was done it was like we got it, you know? Because like I said, I built it in Maine, and I didn’t, yeah…

And so you did buy it with a bank loan, a mortgage?

Absolutely not. That was not–our intention was to fully liberate the land so that we could have interaction where the people could come and not have to have rent at least be our primary fucking concern. 

Asè.

Our primary concern was like…

Just like us.

…are you wanting to steward the land? 

Yeah.

I want to share some of the ways I’ve been living lightly. And composting my personal and ancestral wounds with the only being that seems to have the capacity to deal with the trauma that I’m carrying, that’s Mother Earth.

Ooh.

And I say I am on a liberation journey and anybody who agrees with that and is willing to compost their ancestral alchemy energy, um, they come to me, and it’s like all kinds of people. Young people, old people, people of all colors and shades, but it’s definitely intentional on Afro-indigenous, Descendants of Chattel Slavery, and First Nations of Turtle Island who are engaged. We want our intersection of repair of our indigeneity from the colonization, like that is what we’re doing…

Oh.

…we are doing this work of, um…

Beautiful. It’s repairing actually.

…saying you’re not in the picture colonizer cause you can’t help us heal…

Oh.

…’cause your interests are your ancestral interests are served by that so unless you can be of service to us…

Right.

…then you’re nothing but a repetition of your ancestral, uh, energies, because they don’t know how to do it. They just, how can they know what their ancestors never passed on to them?

Right.

They don’t have in their genetic and epigenetic and energetic memory. Those are all the things that we do have, so I’m like, no, this land is not about somebody owning it as much as it’s about us learning how to liberate our land for care and steward…

Ooh.

Not that we are liberators, the land actually liberates us.

Whoo!!

We recognize that but…

That’s it.

…we know that we gotta liberate it at least from the fuckin’ chains of the banksters.

That’s right. That’s right. You heard it, family. This is liberated land and our beautiful sister, Valencia, is doing it right here, and before I run out of battery, I just wanna say that, um, there’s a magical sound here that is the sound of silence, but are the cacophony of nature as I would call it. So much. So much medicine right here. It just feels–I just feel light. So I just wanna thank you Valencia for your beautiful work.

You are so welcome.

Asè.

So much love.  Thank you. 

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