Operation Blue Skies – a crowd-sourcing competition

Crowd-sourcing Competition Announcement

“Operation Blue Skies”

Awareness of contemporary forms of white supremacy in the Canadian context is beginning to crack the essential imaginary of Settler Canadian identity as “benevolent,” “kind,” and “good.” Anticipating a growing awakening by fellow Settlers to the white supremacy that is foundational to justifying our occupation of Canadian territory, we believe a brilliant solution to stem such an outbreak could cost as little as $25,000. Our aim is to inspire problem-solvers from around the world to generate cost-effective ideas that might prove to be the magic elixir for the ontological security meltdown we are facing as Settler people.

We are launching “Operation Blue Skies” an X-prize type of competition for Settler people to come up with a 2-page sensible justification for the legitimacy of our occupation of this territory that somehow manages to NOT use elements of white supremacist logic. We anticipate that we may be asking for the impossible, so if no entries meet the criteria for success, the prize will be run annually with an increased dollar value. Remember, not only is the $25,000 prize money at stake but your own stable identity and sense of belonging that comes from real-estate ownership is at stake too, so be creative in your word-smithing!

We invite non-aboriginal people to participate, rather than be merely subjected to another plan to address our white supremacy that is imposed from the outside.

It’s a matter of taking on something that could be seen as touchy, or debatable, or contentious. It’s about saying, “Let’s put aside any of that, let’s create slippery rationales for our possession of the land by sourcing those ideas together.”

We don’t have to invest so much time in critical self-reflection and examining assumptions. Crowd-sourcing hasn’t been done in Settler-colonial occupation. Just doing this competition is innovation itself.

I wrote this spoof announcement based on and adapted from an actual article from 2015 published in Global News describing a real competition presuming to “solve” the “First Nations health crisis” in Canada with the same cash motivator. See the article about the original announcement here: http://globalnews.ca/news/1910314/how-crowd-sourcing-may-solve-first-nations-health-crisis/

Re-reading the Global News article recently led to an epiphany: the firm that designed the competition didn’t mean they were crowd sourcing “solutions to the First Nations health crisis in Canada.” If they’d really meant that, the obvious answer from every informed participant would have been simple: start by returning all the stolen land. That’s not a very interesting competition.

But what they really meant by holding this competition was that they were looking for any contrived “solution” that did NOT involve actually giving land back. That realization made the whole competition make more sense to me and led me to try my hand at a more overt and direct version of the same competition, as I’ve printed above. 

As Naomi Klein wrote, righting past wrongs and repairing our relationships with one another is “work that is the bedrock of shock resistance” – in contexts of industry-centered policies being opportunistically imposed on populations after catastrophic disasters strike. Until we begin by returning land we “own” that was stolen from Indigenous people, our proposed solutions to disaster resilience – and to so many other social dilemmas – might just be rabbit trails. 

-Bjorn

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