We are called Tamarix. While we currently live in the wildlands of the Colorado Plateau, we know that we are not from here. Our ancestral homeland is far away across the great sea, yet we have come to call the Deserts, Washes, Arches, Mesas, Mountains, and Canyons which articulate this landscape our home. We have come to call the Coyote, Sage-grouse, Turkey, Deer, Elk, Golden Eagle, Pronghorn Antelope, Red-Breasted Blackbird, Kangaroo Rat, Bobcat, Juniper, Sage, Pinon Pine, Rabbitbrush, Cottonwood, River Birch, and even Willow our family. We love this land; we have sunk our taproots deep into the harsh alkaline soil, and we have no intentions of leaving.
We are still learning what it means to live here. We dont pretend to be from this land, to speak the language or know the songs of this place, to understand its people, or to even be a contributing member to this community. We make no claims to grandiosity; we humbly fill ecological niches left by centuries of exploitation.
We smile wryly to each other when the humans call us an “invasive species,” put us on lists of most hated plants, and pay large bounties to those who will hunt us down and eradicate our presence from this land, because we know who the real invasive species are. The humans hate us with that sort of deep passion for extermination that they have perfected over the past several thousand years, that fury which tries desperately to completely obliterate the despised Other, while never quite realizing that it is their own domestication and disconnection that they really hate. When they organize crews to cut us, burn us, poison us, and destroy our communities, we gracefully side-step them, tactically outmaneuver them, laugh at their belligerent ignorance, and continue making this land our home.
Mythically, we are tricksters – our daily existence an act of subversion and defiance. Our massive proliferation is a direct natural consequence of the project of civilization, the logic of Progress, the myths of Leviathon. We are a mirror reflecting back to the civilizers what it really means to be a weed, an invasive species, a parasite… and we take great joy in this role.
We are are known as boundary crossers, mediums, witches, queerfolk, and shadow dwellers. We revel in ambiguity, abandoning the incredibly limited stories, identities, and ways of being which our culture offers us and choosing rather to nomadically wander in and out the liminal spaces between worlds.
Our project is a difficult one: we are exploring what it means to call a place Home, when we have only very recently arrived here. How do we authentically and respectfully become a part of this biotic community, how do we find our niche, how do we learn the languages and songlines of the landscape, how do we establish reciprocal relationships with the various plants, animals, and spirits who have already been here for thousands of years? How do we humbly integrate ourselves into this place? What does it mean to become place-based, to ground ones ontology within a landscape? What are the limits of indigeneity and how do we navigate the terrain of indigeneity without lapsing into disrespectful arrogance on one end and essentialism on the other?
To this end, we seek wisdom and guidance from many sources, including domesticated humans whose projects inspire and challenge us, and who have written about their experiences for us to learn from. Thus we draw from the traditions of anti-civilization anarchism, post-left anarchism, active nihilism, queer nihilism, egoism, animism, ecofeminism, deep ecology, animal and earth liberation, neoluddism, antimodernism, taoism, and cynicism.
We have chosen to use the awkward and limited medium of the english language – the language of the humans who hate us – to attempt to communicate our thoughts, feelings, and experiences with the intention of finding others interested in our project. We wish to share our discoveries, successes, and failures as we embark on this long journey. We do not pretend to have anything figured out or to know anything beyond our immediate experience. The highest compliment you can give us is a thoughtful critique.
We are called Tamarix. We have found a place we want to call home, we have sunk our taproots deep and scattered our seeds to the four winds, and this is our project. May we honor our path with integrity, humility, and courage; may we revel in moments of wild sensuous ecstasy as well as embracing the difficulties that are sure to come.