by Cole Huther, Bay View correspondent in Standing Rock
The fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline takes many forms. Any blow that can be struck must be struck. The struggle must be fought on all fronts. Not everyone can make it out to the frontline here in Oceti Oyate.
One form of the No DAPL fight is divestment. Divestment is the withdrawal of funds from organizations that finance the pipeline so that they feel financial pressure to withdraw their support.
Divestment is the withdrawal of funds from organizations that finance the pipeline so that they feel financial pressure to withdraw their support.
On Feb. 7, the city of Seattle divested from DAPL by ending their contract with Wells Fargo Bank. Wells Fargo is one of the 17 banks directly financing the pipeline. Wells Fargo has invested $450 million in credit to the infamous $3.8 billion fossil fuel project.
The victory of the Seattle divestment was celebrated at camp here in Oceti Oyate. The celebration featured pizza, a luxury out here, and a speech by former congressional candidate and prominent member of Oceti Oyate Chase Iron Eyes.
Iron Eyes spoke of the importance of the individual commitment to this struggle and urged everyone to share the truth that they witness here in an effort to counter the misinformation spewed by mainstream news outlets.
The struggle against the Black Snake, the evil pipeline, employs a lot of individual self-sacrifice and individual commitment. Chase emphasized this by mentioning, “What people outside don’t understand is that I don’t command. This isn’t a hierarchy. Everybody is here for their own reason.”
The youth have particularly taken on greater roles in the horizontal leadership style of the movement. He went on further to say, “What’s most important is everybody here … is still risking their lives. Their liberty. Their reputations. Their jobs.”
“What’s most important is everybody here … is still risking their lives. Their liberty. Their reputations. Their jobs.” – Attorney Chase Iron Eyes
In this same vein of self-sacrifice, I encourage all those reading to visit DefundDAPL.org and divest your money from pro-DAPL businesses and financial institutions. Individual divestment has already drained over $67 million from pro-DAPL banks alone. If you bank with a DAPL investor – the dozens of pro-DAPL banks include Citibank, Wells Fargo, US Bank, Bank of America and Chase – consider moving your money to a Black bank or a community credit union.
This fight is a fight of the people and, as such, it does not require idle support. Actions must be taken or clean water will be lost for generations, and the sacred land of indigenous people will be continually trampled upon by wealthy CEOs, bankers and police.
We must kill the Black Snake. The oil must not flow.
How you can volunteer to get on the bus to Standing Rock
Write “BUS TO STANDING ROCK” in the subject line of an email stating your name, phone number, email and any other pertinent information. The organizers will get in touch with you as soon as they can, and the bus will leave as soon as 10 people sign up. More trips may be arranged for between March 13-30.
Here’s what you need to know before you get on the bus:
- A can-do attitude is the only passport required on this multi-day journey across America with people who have already built relations on site.
- You will be taught: Sub-zero survival, traditional native songs, volunteer training, non-violent and non-physical confrontation de-escalation tactics and how to share and live communally.
- Skilled and unskilled volunteers appreciated alike! Unskilled volunteers are brought up to speed and have critical community support tasks that make even the normal person a valuable asset at Standing Rock.
- Skills that would help: PTSD and trauma counselors, medical vocation, heavy or light building experience, joke telling and merriment support, mechanic tech, crew organizers, generally strong people, wood chopping and cooks.
Cole Huther can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, access to anyone at Standing Rock is intermittent at best.