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Resistance at Standing Rock: The People From Oceti Sakowin Camp

Resistance at Standing Rock: The People From Oceti Sakowin Camp
Sat, 3/4/2017 - by Alex Garland

Tyson Shay

– What happens if the pipeline is completed? “It’s going to completely ruin the water for everybody. We all see the big picture. It’s going to go everywhere, even over to us in Idaho, and to the east. We don’t want that, we want clean water for everybody.”

Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yes. I think it can be taken elsewhere.”

What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I guess we still have yet to see really. I know he has a lot of new plans in mind. Hopefully he will be able to see all sides of the story.”

 

 

Anee Angel 

— What happens if the pipeline is completed? “I’m already worried. I’m very worried. Things like this don’t really stay the way they think it’s going to stay. I fear that it’s going to break and not infect the water, but the land, the fish. We are all connected together.”

Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I think so. If we all unite together. Can you just imagine if all the people unite together. I’m worried about the environment for my kids and grand kids. If we have more people with the same mindset, we’ll be bomb.”

What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “He’s got me nervous. I think I could deal with his BS, but I can’t live without water. WE need this water for the plants. We are water.”

 

 

Liam Cain

– What happens if the pipeline is completed? “It’s a war, there are multiple battles. It’s not nearly that simplistic, this is a pretty existential issue for a lot of the people here specifically the indigenous people. Worst case scenario the pipeline is completed and there is product in the line I think we’re learning a hell of a lot. I think we’re building a hell of a lot of solid relationships and networks and sharing tactics that work and tactics that don’t work. I think, for me anyway, this particular issue has really been crystallizing a lot about the fossil fuel extraction in general. Not just the environmental degradation but how that ties into white supremacy and racism and historical disregard for indigenous people. That’s very galvanizing on top of the fact that if we keep doing this shit, we’re not going to have a planet that habitable for humans. There’s quite a few levels it resonates for people on. If it is completed, we take what we learned from this and take it to the next one. We fight the fuckers every fucking step of the way. We will prevail, even if its death by a thousand cuts, we have the masses.”

Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yes. I do feel that this is a pretty particular situation in a way. It brought people together in a way that maybe the KXL fight brought a lot of people together, but maybe this is doing it slightly different. Especially with indigenous rights and historical disregard for indigenous people, their territory, sovereignty, things like that being centered in this fight on the front end of the rape and pillage of the earth, is a little more unique. There’s a lot of these projects going on in indigenous peoples land and quite a few of them aren’t comfortable with that. That particular cross section there, sadly, will be replicated many more times and will bring a lot more people together. I’m with Labor For Standing Rock and you’ve got rank and file union members, militants and dissidents in their union who are used to fighting establishment power and structures that are theoretically there to protect working class people. You’ve got them here. You’ve got environmentalists from a host of different organizations, you’ve got indigenous people here, you’ve got a hell of a lot of different people here, all building that common cause, sweating together, working together, living communally. I think it builds some pretty strong bonds that maybe this particular camp, this particular incident might not replicate itself but I think we’re building tremendous bonds going forward, win lose or otherwise in this particular fight. I think it will strengthen us in the long haul fighting fossil fuel extraction and the gross over-reliance our nation has on that.”

What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “Honestly I’m not really sure. I’ve been really involved in Standing Rock stuff since before and after it’s been going on. I haven’t really stopped and percolated on that. Off the top of my head, I’m a union member, I fight wildland fires for the feds these days and both of those don’t seem to be jobs that are going to be positively impacted by Donald Trump. I’m not really sure what the repercussions will be. Having said that, I’m a straight white dude in the USA, so relative to a fuck load of other people, I’m in a way better situation. For me personally, it’s not so much what it does to me, but it’s about people, regular folks, I think we’re going to have to really work, whether that’s building more effective and broader based anti-racist, anti fascist organizations and really make a point in our personal lives, especially people that look like me, straight white dudes, are going to have to really make a concerted effort to oppose that. We have to push back against that. We need to join ranks as regular folks in this nation, and absolutely, vehemently, strenuously, vocally or physically, whatever that means, oppose going out and scapegoating innocent people to make up for structural issues going on with this nation. It’s capitalism, it’s exploitation of regular folks and then it’s offering up disadvantaged people as a sacrifice for that. For the very genuine and understandable rage that a lot of people have about the way this nation is ran. It’s offering up innocent people as an outlet for that rage, and that’s fucked.”

 

 

Cherilyn Yazzie

– What happens if the pipeline is completed? “I think people will be aware that there might be something political happening that we need to stand up and fight for a little more. I don’t think this is going to go away, I think there’s going to be more of them. We helped volunteer at the kitchen, and a lady there said they’re getting ready to put out a call to action in CA. In Arizona, even in our little community, they’re wanting to do fracking. Right now they’re having meetings there at home and they are saying no to that. Im hoping it doesn’t go through, but this is still huge in that people are aware. People are going to gather and keep doing this.”

Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yeah, like I said, the lady in the kitchen said they’re getting ready to call for another action in their community. I think there’s going to be more of these. I really do. I think thats why we’re all coming together in that we know we’re relatives. I’m going to go help my relative out. I help you out, you help me out. We’re aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, grandma’s, paternal grandparents, that’s how we see ourselves as communities with Native American’s and Navajo’s and anybody else. We came out to help our relatives this way and in return, maybe in the future, they’ll help us out.”

What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “It’s going to be scary, being a Navajo native, it’s going to be scary. People being openly hateful in that way. I don’t think I”m hateful to anybody, I don’t know why I’d get that in return. I think that’s what’s going to happen. I think, even in that, we’re going to stick together to say no, that’s not right.”

 

 

Steve Marlowe

– What happens if the pipeline is completed? “We move a whole lot of oil we don’t need to move for one. Also, the likelihood of a spill because they’re happening all the time, they’re just not talking about them.”

Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Absolutely. Considering how many other countries are involved, the church, so yeah, this whole movement can be relocated to the next whatever it may be.”

What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “Very scary. I don’t think he’s going to do what he said. We’re going backwards. They want to do away with so many things that we’ve fought for 50,60 years, civil rights, the gay community and all of that, it’s all being thrown away if he gets his way.”

 

 

Violet Redbird Nez

– What happens if the pipeline is completed? "There might be possible leakage from the pipeline that might contaminate the water and the surrounding environment and that’s not good. You see it happening all around the world, pipelines breaking, getting into the water, polluting the water. It’s not really bing cleaned up. They cerated that, they should clean up their mess, but they’re not. It’s there killing the wildlife. They’re messing with Mother Nature and that’s very taboo for Native Americans, all nations that are traditional and that’s not good.”

Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yes. When I first got here, the welcoming that we received was so warming, people of all nations, not just Native Americans, but I’ve seen Italian, I’ve seen Australian people here, I’ve seen lot’s of Caucasian, Chinese, African American and I’m like wow, that’s awesome. They’re all here helping. It’s a continuous cycle to help prepare meals, and cook and through the camp it’s like that. All you see here is humbleness and kindness and that’s a good feeling.”

What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “When he first got elected, it was like a punch in the stomach, just this worst feeling ever. Kind of like losing a loved one, when you go through mourning, it was like that for me. It was the worst news you could possibly hear. It wasn’t a good feeling for me. It took me a couple days to come out of it. I don’t think he’s going to do good for our country. For me, he didn’t represent what a politician, what a president should be like. He just doesn’t have it in him. He makes snide comments on TV, he’s just not a professional. He’s not like the presidents we’ve had in the past. My gut instinct is that he’s not going to last. He’s going to mess up down the road and get impeached or somebody might assassinate him. That’s what I think. In the Navajo way, everything comes to balance. If you listen to the stories our elders have, everything is in balance, the earth, the stars, the sun, the animals, us humans, we’re all in balance together. We have to take care of that, we have to honor it, we have to be thankful for the things we have. When people come in and stir up the harmony of the earth and the balance, like what they’re doing up there, it’s not good. It’s upsets everything the cycle.”

How do we restore that balance? “In our culture, we have offerings. That’s why we came, to give corn pollen to the water, be thankful. We’ve gotta give back to the earth with our ceremonies and I think we shouldn’t take too much of something. We only should take what we need for this lifetime, for your lifetime, not something for something that’s going togo over. You don’t need all that abundance. That’s greed over there (pointing to the pipeline) and that takes you nowhere in the end. All you see are bad things, hate, not being respectful. I’ve heard some stories, ladies saying that they’re really bad, they treat us really bad when we pray, when we’re protecting over there, but they’re saying really ugly things to us and it really hurts. We could use other things like the sun, the wind, and get our energy that way. That’s another way we could move towards, something more sustainable. Last night they brought in an elk and a deer and they fed people, and that was enough.”

 

 

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