United States (Conversation) – The Trump administration has announced the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. Should we expect any substantive effect on global climate efforts or changes to other U.S. climate policies? Some suggest there…
For the last few months, the Dakota Access Pipeline has captured the nation’s attention. After Energy Transfer Partners started construction on a pipeline near the Standing Rock Reservation, local Native American tribes protested the pipeline on the grounds that it could pollute their water supplies. Word of the protests spread and thousands of protesters flocked to Standing Rock. After months of confrontations between protesters and militarized police, the Army Corps of Engineers paused the project pending an environmental impact assessment.
The Native American tribes and environmentalists hailed this development as a victory, albeit a temporary one. Donald Trump, who will soon be taking office, has vowed to complete the DAPL and has signaled a willingness to carry out this campaign promise by filling his administration with oil executives and people who have invested heavily in the project. As a result, anti-DAPL protesters are gearing up for a long protest season.
The protest at Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, US has mobilized hundreds of Native American tribes as well as solidarity across the world. The protests are against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a multi-billion dollar project that would transport almost half a million barrels of oil per day across the northern US. The pipeline could contaminate the Missouri River, a key water source for the region. It would also cross through a prominent Sioux burial site.
Although the US government stated last week that it would not grant the easement–the right to cross or use someone’s land–under Lake Oahe for the Dakota Access Pipeline construction, the struggle is not over. The announcement cited that further examination was needed, and that an Environmental Impact Statement will be initiated. Demonstrators have said they plan to remain in the camps surrounding the northern edge of the reservation.
I regretted not having my computer and keyboard with me on this journey to Standing Rock. I knew that regardless of the notes I took and the promises I made myself to hold close to memory all of the things I wanted to share, much would be lost. Now, 5 days after returning home, that feeling is even stronger. I’ve meant to sit down and document the experience a hundred times since returning but haven’t done so until now for reasons unknown. I think part of the delay is feeling inadequate to the job along with the understanding that what I contributed to the effort is minuscule, in my mind almost insignificant and the juxtaposition of that feeling with the anticipation when we first started out is jolting. I have no idea where this narrative will go. I don’t plan to do very much editing and if it goes on and on and on and you choose to leave it behind, that’s okay! I can tell you I came home changed and challenged as if this is the culmination of 65 years of the journey so far. Here goes……
* If you plan to go to Standing Rock, be sure to check your ego and white self at the door when you leave your house. This is a hard lesson for many of us. It was humbling to say the least, to be in a community where my face and experience were part of a most noticeable minority; where my thoughts about what/how things should or should not go are absolutely meaningless and quite frankly, disdained by the native people who are on their own sacred land and IN CHARGE of every iota of planning, decision making and definition. I was reminded of the lessons I am still learning from Black Lives Matter – support does NOT mean leadership or decision making. Support means accepting that we are limited in our understanding and that often those whom we support have every right and reason to look at our faces and first see a historical enemy.
While the professionalism, training, and tactics of Morton County is being openly questioned after bystanders are shot with rubber bullets, tear gas canisters are lobbed with their spoons taped down, and water cannons are used in freezing temperatures, a team of journalism students on assignment in Standing Rock uncovers willingness on the part of the Morton County to field untrained officers.
The debut report from TFC’s newest team.
Millions around the world are again gawking over police brutality against water protectors. Following DAPL’s (Dakota Access Pipeline’s) corporation dishonoring Obama’s requests the to halt construction, a new wave of violence hit the protest camps. However, whereas these acts are obvious, those of contracted intelligence firms remain more insidious.
“Do not believe that your cellphones or your computers are clean and uncompromised”, said journalist Jeremy Scahill. “I guarantee you that they’re using the entire suite of surveillance devices.” Scahill was giving water protectors, and fellow journalists in Standing Rock advice on Democracy Now.
“I know that people have been complaining that their cellphones have been down”, he continued, “their internet has been down. That can be caused by surveillance weaponry targeting their devices.” Scahill describes how phones and computers belonging to water protectors can be used as “geo-tracking devices.”
‘What would you die for?’ The question isn’t heard often at the UN Climate Negotiations, but it did break into the halls of power on Thursday 17 November. It was posed by indigenous youth delegate Niria Alicia Garcia Torres.’Tell me, what is it you would die for? And what do you stand for?’
These same questions are guiding the hearts of protestors on the treaty lands of the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota, USA. Members of over 200 tribes and thousands of allies have gathered over the past seven months to oppose the Dakota Access pipeline, facing off militarized police, sound cannons, rubber bullets, pepper spray and attack dogs to defend their lives, land and water from a 1,172-mile oil pipeline, which they call the ‘black snake’.
People from multiple nations, and supporters, gathered in front of the headquarters of Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) on September 24, 2016, to bring the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline to the front door of Kelcy Warren, the CEO of ETP, as he brought the pipeline to the front door of the Standing Rock Nation.
Meanwhile, 1,100 miles north of Dallas near Cannon Ball, ND, police dressed in riot gear surrounded the protectors of the sacred lands, and the North Dakota National Guard was activated via a directive from Governor Jack Dalrymple on September 8, 2016. The act of activating the NG was alluded to in an August 19, 2016 executive order, though not stated outright.
Things have changed a lot since I became an anarchist, not the least of which was learning a lot about the government’s role in regulating just about everything imaginable, and how it negatively affects people. Becoming an anarchist has also given me a deeper appreciation of being Native, as well as the reverse: being Native has given me a deeper appreciation of what anarchism entails. Yes, I know that there will probably be other anarchists that will denounce me being proud of something that is considered “an accident of birth”, yet they will conveniently overlook the fact that being descended from people who have been (and still are) consistently screwed over by a governing body “for their own good” means fertile soil for a bigger demand to dismantle The State™.
Growing up was not without its challenges. As a “mixed-breed”, I caught much flak by Natives for being white, and caught flak from whites for being Native. Even now, there’s still a lot of crap given to people who are not “pure enough”, and it’s coming from all sides. I was able to witness firsthand the traditions of my tribe (Oglala Lakota, in South Dakota), to listen to the stories, to watch how government meddling harmed those who were trying to make due for themselves and their families. I masochistically decided to go back and work as part of the Tribal Ambulance Service when I was a certified EMT-B, to catch that same flak as an adult. “You’re too white to be indi’n” was something I was told by one of my patients. Yet, not all calls were like that. Families trusted me to check over their babies. I was often fed (and fed well). I’ve had little ones hug me for just showing up. I’ve had older patients remember me from when I was a little girl, or ones that recognized me because of my relatives. Times like those reminded me of the beauty of a close-knit community, even past the flaws. Times like those also gave me a good look at how the government had successfully and repeatedly harmed my tribe for the gain of The State™.