The Duration at Standing Rock
I have been in Standing Rock North Dakota for one month and one day. I came here to stand with those Protecting the Water. I am a 36 year-old marketing and communications professional and recent graduate of The Evergreen State College.
I left Olympia Sunday October 23rd and stopped in Boise, Idaho to see my family and some friends before heading into North Dakota arriving on October 28th between the arrest of 141 people when the Treaty Camp was taken. The night I arrived the Backwater Bridge was blockaded and has remained blocked since.
Saturday October 30th I took the Penske truck up to the Treaty Camp, one of 3 vehicles admitted, to help collect cultural artifacts and the Medical Center. The load mainly consisted of two yurts, the better part of 3 tipis, and as much of the medical gear as 3 people could grab. On our way into the camp we were held at a police checkpoint for an hour, then escorted into the camp by about 16 vehicles. The day was spent being monitored closely, and ended with DAPL employees sitting 12-20 ft behind us as we loaded the last tipi poles as fast as we could.
Since that day, each day has brought a new experience, a new lesson, a new task or series of tasks. I cannot imagine where else to be right now, so I am asking your help to stay through the duration of this.
Any funds collected that I do not use for these above-stated purposes will be given back to the Oceti Sakowin Camp (nearest the front) for logistical costs, or to the Medical Center that has been started which I'm collecting donations for. I'm now helping with communications, as it's possible to do so.
I came here to put my body where my words are, demonstrating my respect for humanity… and belief in nonviolence—to face those armed forces our system of oil and money uses, to continue enforcing business as usual. I stand with Standing Rock, with the thousands of #Protectors who have gathered there peacefully to protect the #Water, because water is essential to life. The the water of thousands of people on the reservation and 10 million people down the Missouri River are at risk.
The waters of the Pacific Northwest are at risk too. Every port in this region is facing one fossil fuel interest after another, including coal, oil, liquified natural gas (LNG)(which comes from fracking), and methanol. None of these forms of energy, or petrochemical products such as plastics and explosives take human life into account. All of them threaten the environment and humanity in one form or another.
If you choose to contribute any amount to my small part in this larger journey, to support those who have sacrificed so much already to protect the waters and bring awareness to the many environmental and social injustices happening all the time, I send you my deepest gratitude. Thank you in advance for considering this form of support.
He had Alzheimer's and this was anticipated, but... my head is in it's own blizzard. There are a lot of loving people here, as there are at home, in Boise and in Olympia. Right now I'm in logistics mode and just need to get home before I process much more emotion... so I may not respond to email or inquiries for a couple of days... it's hard to ask this right now. I wish I could keep this quiet a couple of days, but I do need your help. If you have supported me in the past, and feel strongly still, please just share this with someone who might be able to help. I'm renting a car, estimated cost for a snow-worthy ride is about $300 + gas. I would try to get a ride-share but a lot of folks evacuated already and I'm needing to beat the next storm. Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for all of your support over the past couple months, as my stay lasted much longer than anticipated.
There's a lot to do still here, and it's really hard to leave, but family first.
Much Love Water Protectors
I've been right in the middle of emergency management activities for weeks, as people transition out of camp. Where I'm still engaged is holding hope, trying to hold space for the ancient way of knowing to continue to surface, that of the Oceti Sakowin Camp, the Seven Council Camp. This is the first time in 140 years that the Sioux nations have gathered like this, and it's been chaotic, but beautiful. The value system of the Lakota people -- Prayer, Respect, Compassion, Honesty, Generosity, Humility, and Wisdom -- is so similar to the systems I deeply respect in the Tribes of the Pacific Northwest where I plan to return home when my spirit says it's time.
This value-system is about life, it is about love, it is real. In my life before this I found these values woven lightly through community systems of support, in the Mission Statements of businesses and the promises of products. In the world outside of here we are given a few precious moments to truly live these kinds of values, and the rest of the time we are encouraged to conduct business-as-usual, selling each other things we don't need, relying on security systems and defense weapons because we don't trust one another, and saving community work for the time after we've covered our own household needs. It's in all the messaging, all the movies, all the products we are inundated with daily. I'm a marketing person, I used to sell you a bunch of this to pay my own bills.
Now I'm asking for your continued support so that I can keep holding this space here, continue with the communications work on ocetisakowincamp.org and on our Facebook page, on some of the other life-supporting projects within camp that I'll tell you about after this.
----- What's with the fire photos?
Every day brings a new set of fires to put out. This one happened a little while back, end of November, but it was the one real fire I took part in fighting... with these durable Sorels given to me by a dear friend before coming up here. The last photo was taken by my friend Tom Jefferson... it's kind of hard to see, but I'm in there, stomping away at that fire with these awesome white boots my buddy gave me before I came here.
---- Radio Silence
Been kind of quiet these past few weeks, partly due to the amount of work I'm doing, and partly because it's been hard to find the words since the 4th when the Army Corps declared they would not grant the easement, creating a false sense of victory. It was only hours later that ETP, Sunoco Partners announced they didn't care and they were moving forward. I know it would have been a relief to think this thing was done.
The lights of DAPL are still on, and moving closer to camp. Helicopters still circle overhead daily. The company heads of this project are banking on Trump, and north of us, the lifeline, Hwy 1806 remains blocked. If we had won, it'd be open and there wouldn't be a very large number of law enforcement officials on the other side of it, there to protect a fossil fuel company.
Thank you for all of your support~
Many have come and gone from camp, but everyone carries the spirit of this movement with them back home, and hopefully the spark of it catches to feed the fiery defense of the waterways everywhere.
I'm still here, though, to do all I can to be of help to the people who have had endured one injustice after another for 500 years. Learning in a completely immersive way how to live in an ever-changing community... including how to remember names and not just faces. I know that every single port in the Pacific Northwest is facing one polluting industrial interest after another--but feel as strongly as ever that as long as we hold space here, for consciousness to raise around the following facts, I am still helping the waters and lands back home, fueled by this time here.
Raising Consciousness Around Social Injustice - due to perpetual individualization/separation which enables us to be blind to each other.
• I am learning first-hand about the long-range vision and wisdom of Elders and wishing there were more opportunities to work with my Elders back home.
• I am learning to sacrifice now so that coming Generations have clean water and clean lands... even if I only have a badass Cat-child.
Environmental Injustice - I am learning first hand about how our separation from each other through so many extra distractions (so readily available) affects our conscious relationship between our physical bodies and the land around us.
• This compounding lesson gets more interesting every day with each change in the weather and each change in the shelter situation.
• This is evident in my reliance on the most basic things: food, water, shelter, warmth. Camping is one thing, surviving is another.
You are helping me keep my anchor back home, helping me get home when I've done all I can here. You are helping me have a way to get back to my family in Boise, and back to my family in Olympia. You are helping me hold this space at this critical time.