DECOLONIZATION & UNCOLONIZATION DEFINED
IMPLICATIONS FOR ECOPSYCHOLOGY
(1) Break Free
The first and most basic meaning for “decolonization” is when a nation seeks to become free of the oppressor/oppressed regime imposed on them by a colonial power, and to physically and legally undo the colonial state or Empire, that has dominated their society. Dependency can be transformed to independence through nonviolent revolution or national liberation wars, and there have been several active periods of decolonization in modern times. For example, the breakup, or dissolution, of the Spanish Empire in the 19th century, the German, Ottoman and Russian Empires following WWI, and the Soviet Union following the October Revolution.
The next profound meaning for “decolonization” is for the colonizer to “de-colonize” - that is,withdraw and leave the lands of the oppressed they have taken by stealth or force. Here in the Americas, there is a justified belief among First Nations that the colonizer (folks of European descent) should return to their lands of origin. So far, there are a few progressive Settlers who are exploring their own removal, yet for the majority this is far beyond our capabilities, or even our desire.
Everyday life in the homogenous American or Canadian nation-state does not support the yearning for a European homeland, or any substantial links. For many members of the diaspora the trail to Europe has grown cold, as our motherlines have been thriving on Turtle Island for 12+ generations. So, if it is impossible to leave the Americas (as much as we may want to) it can be helpful for Settlers to think of this directive symbolically, and to ask ourselves what exactly an America or a Canada would look like, if we were able to reduce our Eurocentric imposition, dominance, supremacy and power? And what would a re-indigenized society look like, if First Nations were in the ascendant position? In the face of such realities, we can be grateful for alternative approaches being offered by First Nations leaders such as Robert Lovelace (Tslagi/Algonquin).
"Indigenous peoples and Settlers have our own histories, where those histories have led us, and where the possible futures might lie for us together. Because guess what? We are here and now, and we’re not going to change that fact, but what we can do is change the possible futures that we face." 
For Indigenous freedom fighters, scholars and community peoples, decolonization cannot happen until the ancestral lands are returned. As the source for cultural keystone(s), epistomologies, TEK (Traditional Ecological Knowledge), food sources and medicine for good health, the land is deeply embedded in the communal heart and soul. At the root of Indigenous community, the priority to care for and protect the land applies to the Web of all Life, and the Seven Generations yet to come. In marked contrast, Empire has failed miserably in the protection of pristine ecosystems. Now, all people - including Settlers who reject the paradigm of endless growth and recognize the values of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) - can support the repatriation of lands to the original Earthkeepers and First Nations of Turtle Island.
In the truest sense of the word, for colonized Indigenous people
“decolonization is not a metaphor.” Those in the dominant society are being asked to avoid using “decolonization” to refer to ideas or actions that do not hold Indigenous resistance, sovereignty, land restoration, and other repatriations at the center. As “decolonize” refers specifically to the repatriation of land and sovereignty to Indigenous peoples, Settlers are being urged to use alternate terms such as “uncolonize” instead.
As a baseline in the Americas for colonized Indigenous people, “decolonization” is the active principle that attempts to undo the Settler State on a daily basis, both from within and without. Eurocentric dominance, white supremacy, racism, ethnic cleansing, genocide, slavery, land theft, imposed treaties, broken promises, relocation, forced assimilation, government manipulation, corporate control, psychic violence, and all the associated forms of oppression that continue to impact Indigenous people in the Americas are identified, confronted, called out, and resisted. One step at a time - and marking victories along the way - decolonization attempts to undo the colonization of the individual, the community and the land by protest, social justice activism, civil disobedience, education, cultural projects and legal battles. At the same time that the Settler State is challenged, the necessary recovery and rejuvenation of pre-colonial heritage, language and tradition is taking place, with the further preservation of culture(s) ongoing. A focus on health and healing translates into relationships that realign individuals and entire communities with their Original Instructions. The majority of references to “decolonization” by First Nations and their allies refer to these active principles of resistance and resurgence, and the ongoing education that supports and empowers those actions.
The minds of all people who navigate within Empire have been occupied, or colonized, by the memes and values of the Settler State. In today's era of massive change and climate disaster, root causes such as monotheism, imperialism, white superiority, heteropatriarchy, capitalism, corporatism, resource extraction and binary political systems are rapidly being exposed as outdated frauds. Even if we have learned to thrive within the simulacrum of these human-created systems, the fact remains that Empire is toxic to all life, including our own. The conditioning and domestication we have received over centuries has translated into many artificial beliefs and habits. Already well-known to ecopsychologists today, here are some key examples of colonized behavior.
Placing human entitlement and humancentric needs above Earth Community,
• a disconnect from nature and the normalization of urbanity,
• control and domination showing up in our own lives with “me”
instead of “we” behaviors,
• implicit or overt judgement of people who don't fit the white cisheteropatriarchy ableist “norm,”
• intense competition and the “cult of the individual,” resulting in narcissism linked to low self-esteem,
• a measure of personal value situated on a hierarchy of wealth or class,
• a reliance on consumerism to provide “fulfillment” with fleeting pleasures, experiences and material objects,
• developing self-identity from the workplace, commercial enterprises and other disconnects from the real,
• a lack of rites of passage, low emotional IQ and infantile behavior throughout the adult years,
• a fear of the natural cycles of life such as birth, adolescence, aging and death.
The process of neurodecolonization challenges the memes of Empire (western thinking) in our individual or collective consciousness, and replaces that ideology or action with pre-colonial, or ancestral thinking. For ourselves, our clients and our communities, the move toward life-enhancing and creative patterns, and compassionate and inclusive solutions, can be a life-long undertaking. The key point to remember when engaged with the ongoing neurodecolonization of the psyche is that humans are not fundamentally flawed creatures. That is a myth perpetuated by industrial capitalism “in order to naturalize the behavior of violent imperialists. They are the insane.” 
Neurodecolonization and the reprogramming of the psyche can naturally lead to an interconnection with the evolving processes of all life, and return us to our essential bio-lineage. We are invited tolearn from, and emulate the values of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) systems without indulging in cultural appropriation, and a natural extension of this work is to recover specific indigeneities based on our own ethnoculture(s), as suggested by Zainab Amadahy.
"If the aim of decolonization is to rid ourselves of colonial mindsets why not centralize our own wisdom traditions when they enable us to think and act in ways that support our communities, including Mother Earth, Our Relations and the Great Spirit?"
Decolonization insists that we understand ourselves as we existed before modern civilization, and that implementing holistic solutions are vital to the survival of the human race. In these times of unlimited access to information, it is now possible to source a traditional earth-emergent way of life from our own root ancestral heritage(s) or European Indigenous Knowledge (EIK). For all people and disciplines including ecopsychology, the most exciting movement of our time is underway – to reject Empire and its toxic hegemonies, and to shift toward rewilding, spiritually-based ecological wisdom, uncolonized community, bioregionalism (if possible), and inclusion in the Sacred Circle of all Life. To recover our pre-colonial eco-selves we must stop taking our cues from the dominant society, and become spontaneously directed by the natural world.
By the time our ancestors arrived on the shores of Turtle Island, honoring natural law and living in balance with Earth Community had already been outdated concepts for centuries in Europe. Our ancestors were part of a social organization based on hierarchy and control, and instead of taking their cues from the Indigenous civilizations already thriving in the “new world” they went on to repeat the colonial pattern. For our "woke" generation today, the challenge is how to approach reconciliation and make amends in a meaningful way. For those offering ecopsychology, nature relatedness or nature therapy services, here are a few questions to ponder as we engage with the process of uncolonization.
• Where do you see yourself on the decolonization continuum? Do you belong to the historic colonizer Settler Society or the colonized group?
• Are you recovering your connection to a landbase that has nurtured your people for generations?
• How can reparations be made to First Nations?
• Do you center Indigenous resistance in your uncolonization work?
• How are you educating your own cohort on issues of racism and oppression?
• Do you consider the recovery of your own heritage part of the uncolonization process?
• What habits in your thinking, or daily life, can be uncolonized?
• How can you dedicate more time to the rewilding of both soul and place, and the protection of wild nature?
At the local level, the popular “acknowledgement of territory” before public events provides a solid foundation for the uncolonization of self, family, community and the wider world. After decades of denial and ignorance, the unadorned truth of this “first step” declaration centers Indigenous reality, and is essential to the uncolonization journey. Find out whose land you are on, and honor it! 
In the Kawarthas region of Ontario where I live, this short statement serves as an accurate land acknowledgement.
"I acknowledge that I am living in the traditional territory of the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg, stand in solidarity with First Nations land claim processes, support First Nations sovereignty and cultural recovery efforts, and respect the traditional values of the Curve Lake, Hiawatha and Alderville First Nations." 
In terms of the seven definitions, how can practicing ecopsychologists & ecotherapists engage with “decolonization” more accurately in both thought and action? Points (1) Break Free and (2) Settler Removal do not apply to the dynamics within ecopsychology, and point (3) Return the Land reminds us that many First Nations feel “decolonization” must be applied to the total reclamation of Indigenous land and culture only.
At the time of this writing non-native people are still being cautioned to use the term “decolonization” sparingly, if at all. The key document “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor” by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang  has been re-published, circulated, and discussed all over the world. In many spaces, non-native people are not using “decolonization as a metaphor,” but others continue to use “decolonize” to refer to all kinds of activities, without consideration of the context, or respect for boundaries. Unfortunately, “decolonize” does seem to be the perfect term for the work people are doing, both in native and non-native spaces. The terms non-colonial, anti-colonial, post-colonial, or de-programming do not seem to carry the same meaning. Until the work of Tanya Rodriguez  an alternative term was incredibly difficult to employ. Her passionate stance in recent years offers “uncolonize” as the perfect term to describe the work folks of all ethnicities are doing, to unlearn colonial conditioning. I have adopted “uncolonize” wholeheartedly, and do not use “decolonize” in my own work. In reality, only people actively decolonizing from a nation-state would be correct in using the term “decolonize.” We are also reminded in point (3) Return the Land of the role that Settlers can play in every sphere of society, to bring change and assist Indigenous struggles with real action.
As point (4) Resistance & Resurgence outlines, decolonization is a set of ideas and actions embodied by First Nations and Indigenous community worldwide, from the grassroots to the highest level of NGO’s, international courtrooms, and governing bodies. Within this praxis, a possible role for ecopsychology practitioners today is to engage with Allyship theory, educate others on the principles of allyship, and lead by example by showing up for regional protests and movements.
“Allies are people who recognize the unearned privilege they receive from society's patterns of injustice and take responsibility for changing those patterns.” 
TANYA RODRIGUEZ Decolonization, A Guidebook
For Settlers Living On Stolen Land
As part of the re-balancing that is occurring in western society, the field of ecopsychology focuses on excellent methods for breaking the stranglehold of industrial society.
Compared to the eons that human beings have spent embedded in the primal matrix and in close kinship with the other-than-human world, our current malaise of modernity is the result of quite recent domestication, and ecopsychology reminds us of familiar strategies for overcoming the emotional trauma of our alienation from the Earth. May we explore the psychological benefits of nature relatedness, and introduce practices that ultimately reconnect us to our “ecological unconscious,” at the same time that we practice good intercultural competency skills, mutual respect, and peaceful co-existence with First Nations.
Reprint from Academia.edu // February 23, 2023
 Robert Lovelace (Tslagi/Algonquin), The Architecture of a Decolonized Society: Reindigenizing the Self, Community & Environment, Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC), Trent University, Peterborough, ON, 2013
 Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, Decolonization is Not a Metaphor, Unsettling America:Decolonization in Theory & Practice, 2012
 Holding the values of western civilization, the colonization that happened on Turtle Island was rooted in structures thousands of years old. These structures have been, and continue to be patriarchal, imperialist, white supremacist, abled-supremacist, cisheteronormative and capitalist. Decolonization is both an outward process through resistance and action, and an inward process that examines deeply embedded patterns of thinking and behavior (otherwise known as internalized oppression). The term “neurodecolonization” as created by First Nations professor Michael Yellow Bird is a perfect description of this process. He requests that all references to the term “neurodecolonization” include an attribution to his work.
Neurodecolonization and Indigenous Mindfulness
 Derrick Jensen, Comment on social media, Deep Green Resistance, 2015
 Zainab Amadahy (African American, Cherokee, Seminole), Why Indigenous and Racialized Struggleswill Always be Appendixed by the Left, Unsettling Settlers: Where We Talk about Unsettling Our Settler Selves, 2012
 Native Land, 2019 https://native-land.ca Native Land is a survey of Indigenous territories worldwide maintained by Victor G. Temprano on Mapster. The maps are constantly being refined by user input.
 Pegi Eyers, Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community, Stone Circle Press, 2016 www.stonecirclepress.com
 Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, Decolonization is Not a Metaphor, Unsettling America: Decolonization in Theory & Practice, 2012
 Tanya Rodriguez (Boriqua), Tres Rosa on Medium, Decolonization, A Guidebook For Settlers Living On Stolen Land, December 26, 2020
https://gdiriseup.medium.com/decolonization-a-guidebook-for-settlers-living-on-stolen-land-57d4e4c04bbb Uncolonizing Decolonization, April 18, 2012
 Bishop, Anne, Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in People, Zed Books, 2002
Ancient Spirit Rising:
Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community
Available from Amazon >here<