Seven Things to Realize About the Standing Rock Action

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Photo from http://www.nodaplarchive.com/

  1.  This is not an ending to a discrete event, a foregone legal consummation, or a notable protest gone silent. This is another page in a long, horrific saga, a continuation of 500 years of resistance and a strong resurgence of spirit.
  2.  This is not an environmental movement. This is a gathering of Native people uniting around the truths of being indigenous, and asserting those original responsibilities to the Earth and all of our relations.
  3.  This is not an isolated media event in a singular disagreement whose time has now passed. Similar situations are happening, and have been for years, in indigenous homelands everywhere.
  4.  This is not fundamentally a physical or political battle. This is a spiritual struggle between separation and connection, appropriation and reciprocity.
  5.  This was and is not simply a reaction by “Natives and allies” to “Western progress”, because colonialism is not a period in the distant past. Rather, it is an ongoing systemic policy of the United States that has now expanded to include almost all of its own people AND the rest of the world.
  6.   This is not about violence, terrorism, and disrespect. This is about life, love, and caring: for each other, for our Mother, and for all of Creation.
  7.   These understandings, and the people who hold them, are not a thing of the past or irrelevant in today’s world. They are more significant and needful now than ever, and that, my friend, is the source of Native resilience. They are still here and still speaking.

Local Action by Dakota Access Pipeline Opponents

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Every morning at Standing Rock protest camp in North Dakota began with prayer, said Anthony Melting Tallow, who visited the site last November. And during the day, everyone was invited to a water ceremony. But during the time of peace and spiritual gatherings, Tallow said, planes and helicopters were constantly circling the site. Across Highway 1806, Tallow recalls generators running 24 hours a day, lighting up a construction site for the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

The environment at Standing Rock was a contrast of two opposites, said Tallow, of Chicopee, who is a member of the Siksika Nation in Alberta, Canada. As he protested the pipeline Wednesday afternoon in Northampton, the Chicopee resident said it was hard to explain the feeling at Standing Rock. “The clearest definition would be love and hate … greed and generosity, right up against each other,” he said.

Read the full story by Caitlin Ashworth in the Greenfield Recorder.

VCNAA Support for Standing Rock Brings It Home

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The Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs approved a proclamation in support of North Dakota tribes, 14 days before the new president announced he would resume two controversial pipeline projects.

“We approve everything unanimously because that’s the native way,” said Rich Holschuh, a Brattleboro resident on the commission. “As a commission, we work with the native people within what is now the state of Vermont. We also recognize that borders are political constructs, so we try to support similar people with similar interests and this is one way we can do that.”

The commission “proclaims support for those protectors at Standing Rock, N.D., who are resisting destruction of sites sacred to Dakota, Lakota and Nakota people, disruption of traditional ways and potential environmental contamination from crude oil pipeline construction and use.” The entire document can be found here.

Commissioner Joelen Mulvaney drafted the document, which was discussed and approved during the commission’s Jan. 11 meeting.

Read the full article by Chris Mays in the Brattleboro Reformer. Photo by Kristopher Radder of the Brattleboro Reformer.

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Vermonters React to Trump’s Pipeline Push

Abbie Isaacs of MyNBC5 – carried by WPTZ out of Plattsburgh, NY and Burlington, VT – ran a story last night on the reaction of some Vermonters to the news of President Donald Trump’s move to reactivate the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines. On Tuesday (1/24/17) he signed a presidential memorandum to move the projects ahead, against longstanding and – to this point – successful opposition. Native people have increasingly stood up as Protectors for the land and water, and have found allies in this increasingly contentious struggle against exploitation and disregard for basic rights. Variations on this theme are occurring everywhere, including here in N’dakinna.

VCNAA Proclaims Support for Standing Rock #NoDAPL

At the regular meeting of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, held in Montpelier on January 11, 2017, the Commission adopted a Proclamation in support of the actions of the water protectors at and near the Standing Rock, North Dakota community, opposing disruption, destruction, and degradation of the the natural and sacred landscape.  The proclamation was written by Commissioner Joelen Mulvaney and adopted by consensus of all in attendance. pdf here: vcnaa-standing-rock-proclamation. Full text below:

Proclamation of Support for Lakota, Dakota and Nakota at Standing Rock, North Dakota by the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs

Whereas the Commission is charged by law to recognize the historic and cultural contributions of Native Americans in Vermont, to protect and strengthen Native American heritage, and to address needs in state policy, programs, and actions.

Whereas the Commission develops policies and programs to benefit Vermont’s Native American Indian population.

Whereas the Commission is committed to protecting and preserving sacred, culturally sensitive and historical sites crucial to strengthening Native American heritage and promoting understanding of indigenous conservation efforts since time immemorial.

Whereas the natural environment, grandfather mountains and ridges, forests and wetlands, lakes, rivers and streams and birds, animals and fish are integral to Abenaki culture, history, tradition, heritage and spirituality.

Whereas indigenous people who have been protecting and preserving sacred and historical sites and natural resources around the world and in Vermont are under siege by the pressures of industrial energy production.

Whereas the Commission recognizes the collective struggle of indigenous people to bring recognition to their cultural contributions and heritage, including the natural environment on Turtle Island, from Ndakinna to Kanaka Oiwi; from the northeast woodlands of Vermont to the islands of Hawaii.

And whereas sites such as Rocky Ridge in Missisquoi (Swanton), the Kwanitekw (Connecticut River) watershed, the Green Mountain National Forest in Searsberg and Botambakw (Lake Champlain) are places where industrial energy development threatens the preservation of historic, sacred and culturally sensitive sites.

The Commission proclaims support for those protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota who are resisting destruction of sites sacred to Dakota, Lakota and Nakota people, disruption of traditional ways and potential environmental contamination from crude oil pipe line construction and use.

Step Back, Step Up: Avi Salloway Talks Standing Rock

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Recently, some 40 Vermonters and New Englanders, many affiliated with the local grassroots environmental advocacy organization 350 Vermont, traveled to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to join the ongoing protests there against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Vermont contingent to Standing Rock arrived on November 20 and spent six days at Oceti Sakowin. Among these was musician and Burlington expat Avi Salloway. He’s a University of Vermont graduate and formerly one half of noted local folk duo Avi & Celia — later reimagined as the Boston rock band Hey Mama. More recently, Salloway has toured with Tuareg guitarist Bombino, and worked as an ambassador with Heartbeat, a nonprofit organization that works to bridge cultural divides in Israel and Palestine through music.

Seven Days recently spoke with Salloway  by phone from his home in Cambridge, Mass. We asked him about his experience at Standing Rock, what life is like at the camp and how those who can’t travel there can get involved.

Read the interview at Seven Days VT.

Missisquoi Abenaki Stand with Standing Rock

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The Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi stands with Standing Rock. Their flag waved in North Dakota, representing their solidarity, as the parent advisory committee for Title VII Indian Education spent Wednesday afternoon packing boxes full of donated winter clothing, medical supplies and non-perishable foods to ship to protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline.

The $3.7 billion pipeline has drawn opposition from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and environmental activists who say it could pollute water supplies and destroy sacred tribal burial sites. Protesters are demanding the U.S. government halt or reroute the Dakota Access pipeline while companies behind the project ask for permission from the courts to complete it.

Looking at the stacks and stacks of donations on the table, Brenda Gagne, the president of the parent advisory committee, was in tears over the level of support and response from the community as she and other committee members organized the goods into boxes.

Read the complete story in the St. Albans Messenger.