The following text was co-created over a period of three years through conversations with Clare Fox, Sarah Ashkin, Paolo Speirn, Sebastian Sarti, Regino Rodriguez Vazquez, Michael Thurin, Juliane Lovich, Israel Francisco Haros Lopez, and my mother, Holli Teltoe. My role as a caretaker of this information was to document, preserve, and arrange the oral histories and testimony collected.
The selected transcripts are stitched together to create an origin story of Mountain House, a collective that practices radical stewardship of land, relationships, and culture. As a formation of many voices and bodies, Mountain House comes into being and exists through the form of relationship. Those relationships are built and fortified through storytelling, deep listening, and responsive care. What results from the knowledge created in conversation takes the shape of cultural work, networks of mutual aid, and the conditions that are necessary for the creation of lasting social transformation.
I have Dr. Nicholas Centino, PhD to thank for his counsel in navigating the problems embedded in referencing knowledges that are not my own and for pointing me in the direction of Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s book, Decolonizing Methodologies (1999). It is through his guidance and Smith’s text that I found a doorway into articulating my attempt at writing from the place of a white settler-descendent within a North American context in a way that makes appropriate acknowledgements without reproducing harm. I emphasize that this is only an attempt because I readily anticipate the lifelong practice of decolonizing my own understanding of the world that lies ahead. As I work to build this practice I am grateful for the support and generosity of scholars like Nicholas and Smith and the many bodies of knowledge I have been gifted by friends and elders that I would not have otherwise encountered.
My hope is that this document contributes to practices of knowledge-building through relationship, connects with the vast history of under-recognized persons’ use of storytelling and conversation as a form of care, historical record, the safe-keeping of knowledge— and the resistance to and dismantling of white supremacist-cis-hetero-patriarchal culture and all settler colonial projects. As well, that white folks— who in our history and present most often rely on the primacy of empirical evidence, formal academic expertise, and a separation between emotional and intellectual thought can source in the pages to come strategies and methods for a deeper engagement with their whiteness and stakes in abolishing white supremacy, with all of our relatives, kindreds, and with the lands we are responsible to care for.
Many thanks to you for building this work with me,
Deep thanks to…
My mother, my sisters, for moving together with me like a flock of birds, my father, for taking me to the movies, my partner, Jason, for always knowing it’s going to be okay, Clare Fox, for her profound sisterhood, Israel Francisco Haros Lopez, Isabel Ribe, Lucia, and Jeanette Iskat for planting seeds, Jennifer Alumbaugh, for always meeting me on the front porch, and furry Murray Buffalo;
My thesis committee: Miles Coolidge, Jesse Jackson, Jennifer Pastor, Simon Leung, for recognizing the urgency in this endeavor and always asking: what is the form?, Amanda Ross-Ho, for feeling the heart in this work, and my writing instructor, Litia Perta, for acknowledging my voice and humanity in the writing process, often when I didn’t know how or had forgotten;
Sarah Ashkin, Paolo Speirn, and GROUND SERIES Dance Collective, for their beloved partnership in this work and Daniel Obzejta, for making a record in images;
Two Weeks in May collaborators: Maya Green, Taryn Lee, Anne Lim, Arely Lopez, Veronica Preciado, Sebastian, for risking trust and visibility, and Regino Rodriguez Vazquez, for their mentorship;
Michael, Anna, and Andrea, and Aziz, for feeling love and futures with me;
My teachers, mentors, friends and co-conspirators: Tom Knechtel, Laura Cooper, Vanalyne Green, Olga Koumoundouros, Professor Laura Kang, PhD, Heather O’Brien, Scott Oshima, and Overcrossings Project, Joel Garcia and Meztli Projects, Soraya Medina, Nick Centino, Ana Rosa-Rizo, Adelita, and Gloria,
Milo Alvarez, for gifting me God is Red by Vine DeLoria, Aware-LA and White People for Black Lives, Jason David, Sarah Glasband, Shelly Tochluck, Hillary Stehpenson, Kevin D’Amato, and Dahila Ferlito;
The neighborhoods of Boyle Heights, Tujunga, CA, the SFV, Farmworkers of Dinuba, CA; Tenant Farmers of Terrell, Kaufman County, TX; and working class Jewish folk like my loving Grandpa Howie that stocked the shelves at Hughes Market on Sepulveda and snuck me a candy bar whenever I’d go for a visit;
all my relations, my ancestors, my descendants,
and the Mountain.