Today, November 24, 2016 I mourn, and I give thanks*. I mourn for the continuous history of violence towards Native and Indigenous peoples since Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. Today’s National Holiday is a holiday honoring the genocide of Native and Indigenous peoples and this honoring continues to this day.
On November 21, 2016, around midnight in the morning. I was working on my art project for my sociology theory class and I was notified on my phone that two of my friends reacted to a live video on Unicorn Riot’s Facebook page (it is about 40 minutes). I was curious and I opened it, and what I see this text describing what is happening as “#NoDAPL Highway 1806 Standoff” and my heart begins to hammer against my chest. Even after months of always seeing Native and Indigenous peoples and their allies putting their bodies on the line. I always get this fear for them, and I immediately send prayers of strength, and love towards them while burning sage, sweetgrass, and lavender for them. Asking the creator and ancestors to guide them and surround them to protect and care for them.
Even at this moment, it was imperative that I do send them prayers because as I was praying for them, the water protectors were being blasted by water cannons in temperatures below freezing. It was an act of mockery to use water as a weapon against the WATER protectors. It is sacrilege. Water is and has always will be life. It is a force of which cannot be controlled, yet in particular hands, it can be easily twisted and violated, as we have seen with a heavily militarized police force using water cannons against our water protectors.
This frustrates me and it frustrates me because Native and Indigenous peoples are still fighting in a war against colonialism that has been happening since 1492. A war that is set on the eradication of Native and Indigenous rights, knowledges, and humanity. A war that requires and ask each of us, especially those who do not identify as Native and Indigenous – What. Are. We. Going. To. Do?
And there is A LOT that each of us can do. Sacred Stone Camp has this great website that literally gives each of us concrete actions that each of us can take!
- You can donate to the camp. Here is a link to their GoFundMe.
- You can also donate to the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council. They also have their own Amazon Wish List.
- The MI Canoe Cold Water Rescue Team is another great place to donate to as well. Here is a link to their GoFundMe page.
- For education, there is the Mní Wičhóni Nakíčižiŋ Owáyawa (Defenders of the Water School). A link to their donation page is this entire sentence. This school is within the camps and is serving the children and families of the protectors camp community who are in the camps and are being home schooled.
- There is also the Lakȟól’iyapi Wahóȟpi Immersion Nest (or the Lakota Language Immersion Nest), which although is not affiliated with the Water Protectors or the Camps, it is continuing a legacy of resistance through teaching children the Lakota language and cultural knowledges and traditions. Here is a link to their GoFundMe.
- Contribute to their Legal Defense – people are being policed in a variety of ways that are inhumane and very much unconstitutional. Contribute to these funds! A direct link to the Legal Defense is here.
- Lastly, join #NoDAPL Solidarity.
- Here are some Non-Violent Action Resources!
These three concrete actions are a variety of ways that people can get involved with the #NoDAPL movement and support those at the Camp of Sacred Stones. The emphasis of all of these is that Native & Indigenous Peoples’ voices and concerns should be centered in any conversation about #NoDAPL. This protection of the environment is not only happening against the Dakota Access Pipeline, it is happening across the world. Native & Indigenous peoples are usually the first to be eliminated because our resources, our land, our livelihoods are one of the most disposable among our society. Kandi Mossett called for allies, and everyone at these camps needs allies and solidarity, especially since the results of this past 2016 election. Across the world, Native & Indigenous peoples need allies, know who they are and ask them what they need. LISTEN. and. ACT.
And if any of you do go. If any one of you are able to go to the Camps and Standing Rock. Remember what is your motivation for being there. Dallas Goldtooth posted a status that answers this question the most. Will your presence contribute to what is happening at Standing Rock? Will you be able to work in winter weather – feeding people, cleaning for people, taking care of people, defending people from the police? Will you be able to do all of these things, and will you still be humble? It is a war zone out there, and it has been a war zone for many Native & Indigenous peoples, are you ready?
*There will be a blog post expanding on why I give thanks.