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In the late 1960s and early ‘70s, two names emerged from the Native American and Indigenous community that stood for resistance to white repression and assaults on Native life: Russell Means and Dennis Banks. In a time of mass resistance and social upheaval shown by the anti-war (re Vietnam) and Black liberation movements, Banks was among thousands of young activists of Native, Indigenous communities who rose up to speak – and act – on behalf of the oppressed.
UN-Habitat, the UN’s human settlements program, states that the number of people living in slum conditions is now estimated at 863 million, which was only a couple hundred million less in the 1990s. The Shack Dwellers Movement or Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) is a political group dedicated to the betterment of the urban poor’s living. They strive to organize “a society where everyone counts and where capital and the state are subordinate to society.”
Minister Nyle Fort starts us off with a strong quote. I am going to expand his analysis by highlighting the historical fact that slavery in the United States was and is still directly tied to capitalism! So in order for us to combat and abolish legalized slavery in Amerika we must focus our attention on dismantling the system which has allowed this institution of modern prison slavery to proliferate.
Late yesterday, Feb. 22, law enforcement invaded the main camp at Standing Rock, Oceti Sakowin, to evict the water protectors who had been desperately trying to move everything from the flood plain, where thousands of people were camped just a couple of months ago. During the invasion, all media were cut off and about 10 mediamakers arrested, possibly including the Bay View team. Prayer ceremonies were held on Wednesday, and part of the camp was set on fire before the eviction began. A couple dozen people are still remaining at the camp, which water protectors say sits on unceded Sioux territory, giving them a right to remain.
The fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline takes many forms. Any blow that can be struck must be struck. Not everyone can make it out to the frontline here in Oceti Oyate. But everyone can divest. Divestment is the withdrawal of funds from organizations that finance the pipeline so that they feel financial pressure to withdraw their support. Individual divestment has already drained over $67 million from pro-DAPL banks alone. The work at Standing Rock also needs many hands. Are you ready to get on the bus to Standing Rock?
The Army Corps of Engineers has issued a Feb. 22 evacuation order to the Standing Rock Water Protectors, in accordance with President Trump’s executive order that the pipeline construction proceed. On Feb. 11, I spoke with Dawn Neptune Adams, a Penobscot Native who arrived at Standing Rock on Feb. 10. This is her third trip to support the Water Protectors. The people who are still here are the strong ones. They still stand. So come help, but come prepared.
Based in the Oceti Oyate camp, on land claimed by the Army Corps of Engineers, we have a clear view of the incredible amount of work that needs to be done to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Black Snake that legend says will come some day and poison the water, the water of life. Oceti Oyate is in urgent need of both skilled and unskilled labor to not only assist in camp operations, but in the relocation of tipis, yurts, and tarpis. We must kill the Black Snake. Consider this a personal call to action. The bus will leave as soon as 10 people sign up.
Gen. George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876) paid the ultimate price for the sins of certain white people of his time who committed damn near every type of crime against humanity upon the indigenous peoples of this country. So much so that many different tribes of indigenous peoples came together, some who were sworn enemies, to fight and defeat their common oppressor. Here in 2016, once again, many different tribes of indigenous peoples, and not just from this country but from around the world, have come together to defeat their common modern day oppressor.
Wes Clark Jr., the son of retired U.S. Army general and former supreme commander at NATO Wesley Clark Sr., was part of a group of veterans that traveled to Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with the water protectors. During their visit, the Army Corps of Engineers denied a key permit for the pipeline and these veterans joined with elders in a ceremony celebrating the announcement.
If there was ever a time to organize around a United Front Against Fascism, it is now. The next leader of the “free world” has just been “elected” – more like “selected” – to be president of the United States. He has thereby been given the authority to use power and weapons as he sees fit. This same so-called president-elect has shown limitless disdain for all who are not white, heterosexual and Christian.
This camp is an “occupation” by the Standing Rock Sioux, the Oceti Sakowin, whose sacred ground is being desecrated as the pipeline is being built and whose watershed will be the first to be polluted when the pipeline breaks. They are supported by millions of people around the world who sense that this is our last chance to secure the human right to clean water. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on Black Friday the imminent eviction of Oceti Sakowin Camp, where the call is out for reinforcements.
Cannon Ball, N.D. – Hundreds of water protectors were injured at the Standing Rock encampments when law enforcement blasted them with water cannons in freezing temperatures Sunday evening, Nov. 20. The attacks came as water protectors used a semi-truck to remove burnt military vehicles that police had chained to concrete barriers weeks ago, blocking traffic on Highway 1806. LaDonna Allard, director of the Sacred Stone Camp, says: “We are asking for clean water, for the right to live. Instead they attack us, because they protect oil.”
While Barack Obama speaks without blushing about the virtues of the North American “democracy” and lectures us on human rights, an innocent man languishes in his cell, totally isolated, awaiting only death or for what the U.S. president alone can, but does not, do. Leonard Peltier, Anishinabe-Lakota, a leader of the American Indian Movement, AIM, writer and poet, has just completed 40 years in prison, and is one of the political prisoners jailed for the longest time in the whole planet.
Over 300 police officers in riot gear, eight ATVs, five armored vehicles, two helicopters and numerous military-grade humvees showed up north of the newly formed frontline camp. The 1851 Treaty Camp was set up this past Sunday directly in the path of the pipeline, on land recently purchased by Dakota Access Pipeline. Today this camp, a reclamation of unceded Dakota territory affirmed as part of the Standing Rock Reservation in the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1851, was violently cleared. See how you can help.
I have been asked to write a SOLIDARITY statement to everyone about the Camp of the Sacred Stones on Standing Rock. Thank you for this great honor. I must admit it is very difficult for me to even begin this statement, as my eyes get so blurred from tears and my heart swells with pride as chills run up and down my neck and back. I’m so proud of all of you young people and others there.
Our Kunsi of Brave Heart, White Buffalo Calf Woman Society and Stone Boy Society, are calling on President Obama to intervene in the horrific incident at Standing Rock in which vicious dogs and pepper spray were used by Dakota Access Pipeline security to attack protectors of sacred sites near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and to require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies to live up to their trust responsibility and stop this pipeline immediately. Our children deserve a thorough environmental impact statement based on meaningful tribal consultation. We are not invisible and will not be erased.