For Now

This post will be brief, as I am not using my own computer.

I have been giving an opportunity to do something a bit differently this coming year. I have been dreaming for a long time now to have a place where I can do things without having to ask someone to do it. Currently, we are in Oregon and it is so beautiful up here. I haven’t been here for about 3 years. It’s great that I’ve been able to make new friends already.

Anyway, as this is going to be brief, an opportunity to be a care-giver to a 55 acre property. In short, the owners of the property have not been doing anything with it for the past 9 years. So they have let us come in and start doing whatever we think is best for the place. And we have many ideas! Which is going to be really exciting to watch as it comes to fruition within the next year. We are going to be getting more connected with the community and try to build on that first, I think.

Last week has been a real test of patience and envisioning of the future. The coming week is going to be around 13-17 degrees at night and we have the blessing of staying at a friends house for the time being. Which is nice considering that we still don’t have our shit together(so-to-speak). We do have a set plan for this place, but it is going to be about a week before we really start to get going. A lot of the buildings are derelict and each is a hazardous project to take on.

Well, I have a lot written down on my own computer, and I don’t have the wifi here at this place  (they are very selective about who they give their password to… and we really just met) so, once I am able to, I will be getting all of that posted and keep everyone updated. It’s about 2 weeks worth of material too. Don’t worry, Dear Reader, I think of you often and that’s enough to keep me going.

Recent News

It seems that the increasing amount of articles being written about Standing Rock are saying precisely what I have been writing about since I left there. What has become an increasingly problematic issue has spread from within the camp to social media outlets and thousands of users that are addressing the “colonization” at Standing Rock. It is understood that there is always a need for numbers, but when those numbers are legitimately not offering any services but in fact receiving services meant for Natives, it becomes a problem.

We need to reflect on the real reasons that we go to such movements. A lot is lost in pride and ego. And there is a lot to be learned by these reflections. I have already said before that we find ourselves at places like Standing Rock without a purpose. Trying to find one while you’re there can be simple just by asking around. But we need to dig a bit deeper than that. And we need to understand that this fight is never about ourselves, but about the future of our youth.

One of the most important aspects of this blog is making sure that the community is aware of all the obstacles that are being placed on our youth. Our children will eventually carry on our legacy, and every day I am plagued by the thought that I would have not done them justice because I was idle.

I can no longer stay idle. WE can no longer stay idle.

Media lies and blackout

The officers that were involved in shooting a concussion grenade need to answer for what they have done. It is one thing to use “less-then lethal” force on a rioting crowd, but to shoot at people who are praying is a whole different story. Sophia Wilansky will lose her arm because of this injustice and the Morton Sheriffs are doing nothing about it except lie about what they were doing during the incident.

There are multiple videos online that show exactly what happened, and I have watched one where (moments into the video) a woman is shot in the face by a rubber bullet. These crimes against our brothers and sisters are being seen all around the world, but the police get away with it every day that goes by.

It is sad to see so many things going wrong in this country. And there is only so much that we can do.

As you read, there is mis-information being strewn about the internet. Saying that Water Protectors had a propane tank which was lit on fire and caused the injury to Sophia. But simply looking at the propane tank photo that the Morton County Sheriff’s Dept. provided, you can clearly see that it wasn’t ruptured at all. However, reporters on the scene that were there during most of the time, after-the-fact, a concussion grenade was retrieved on site that is from a munitions company that supplies the police department with weapons.

This post is to address the fact that law-enforcement is doing everything that they can to lead people to believe that what they are doing is right, when in-fact, they are destroying people’s lives. There are forces at work that are trying to make sure that there is no truth to be given.

This pipeline, in my honest opinion will go on according to plan. And the new information that the Army Corps of Engineers is going to be closing down the encampment due to safety concerns is another slap in the face. It has already been discussed among all of the people with boots on the ground that the weather would be just one more obstacle. Turning it around to say that they are concerned while actually spraying people with water cannons when it’s 28 degrees outside, which caused sheets of ice to hang from those who were returning because of fear of hypothermia, is pure evil entirely.

Veterans will be one the ground on December 5th, the very next day that the federal government plans on shutting down most of the encampment at Standing Rock. Which goes to show that they have no respect. To be even more honest, this is one of the more bias posts that I’ve written, but it is for a damn good reason. I don’t trust law enforcement. And neither should anyone who gives a damn about their community.

How to Stand with Standing Rock

Masses of people show up each day to participate in what is one of the most historic and significant protests of our generation. Upon arriving, there are several services that are provided including a volunteer center which acts as a FAQ kiosk of sorts. There, people can find access to different parts of the camp in order to lend a hand wherever possible.

People who have been there for two months or more have already found their place in the community and help out by trying to guide newcomers in the ways of camp-life. And there are no shortages of duties. Often times, people find their niche quickly and are able to contribute immediately. However, this is not always the case for everyone who shows up to Standing Rock.

As the population grows, an infrastructure is needed(or at-least a revamp of the current one…) to help prevent any sort of social awkwardness and having duties that need to be done off the bat is one way to solve this issue. Knowing what people are good at and assigning them to specific camps that need specific jobs to be done on a daily basis can help prevent confusion about the needs of the encampment as a whole. Jobs include: cutting wood for winter, building of shelters, organizing food and help in any of the kitchens, waste management and recycling, transporting and distribution of supplies and resources, to name just a few.

If people are there for the weekend(the Weekend Warriors), the best way to go about helping is to speak directly to the community. Focusing on where resources go and how they are used for the benefit of the whole is also something people can do in order to provide feasible sustainability. It is important to ensure the safety of those who are going to stay during the winter and helping them fortify existing shelters and building new ones can advertently save someone’s life.

Although it may seem like Lord of the Flies, with some camps being completely isolated to the outside and remain in their inner circles, perhaps it is for good reason. With the constant flow of people, it is hard to discern an infiltrator from a protector. And these camps set an example for others. Even though they stay separate, how they operate as a camp is not only admirable, but it is also inspiring.

Security risks increase as people bundle up for the freezing temperatures in the coming weeks. As winter creeps closer and closer every day, active awareness to this in the community can provide a sense of security within the encampment.

To also take in to account the increasing issues pertaining to Climate Change and how crude oil and other obsolete forms of energy have contributed to it, this movement is integral to the lives of millions of people who depend on clean water. DAPL’s argument is that it will cut costs on transportation of crude oil and ultimately lead to jobs is not a sufficient enough reason to put whole populations at risk.

During one peaceful protest, an employee brandished a weapon, strikes a woman with it, and proceeds to run someone over in pure anger and hate. Several rounds were fired off into the air as he sped away; and these are the people they hire for the jobs that they create. As protectors helped a woman off the ground, it is hard to believe that these people exist in this world who have no compassion or empathy. It may very well be the “American Dream” that they are working for, but this dream is a nightmare to many people and effects the lives of families who have already been subject to oppression for centuries.

Engagement with DAPL workers can be seen as both counter-productive and the only way to deal with the situation at hand. Many of those who tend the actions conduct themselves peacefully and urge others to do the same. But sometimes, the only way to stop something is to destroy it. Delaying progress on the pipeline is a tactic that some see as the only way to get people to understand the urgency of what is happening on Turtle Island. Where prayers and peace fall short, there are those who answer the call by throwing their physical bodies on the gears of a machine that will not stop because people are asking nicely.

Understanding that people are going to North Dakota for personal vendettas is not something that should be taken lightly. There are many out there who seem to be filling out their own agendas.

Standing Rock is a Movement that is aimed at protecting sacred lands and water and there are those who seem to think that it is some kind of festival or even a spectacle to be captured on social media outlets; tainting the image of the people who will be affected once all of the tourists have left. The more people that are there in solidarity is important, yes, but having warriors that are willing to put their lives at risk is something else entirely. These same people fight for the well-being of their families and millions of others like them and taking photos of it will only go so far. Yes, bringing awareness to the world via social media is great and all, but that does not stop a drill from tunnel ling under the river.

Not all of what happens at Standing Rock is police scrimmage lines and tear gas. Healing and prayer is a major facet to life in the encampment and to the people who currently inhabit it. One thing that some wish to portray to the world is how they deal with adversity through prayer and unity. This will not, as mentioned before, stop the drill from getting closer.

Funneling resources and materials to individuals who are qualified to manage it will greatly attribute to the success of the movement happening at Standing Rock. There are currently people who are able to build structures that are cost effective and able to provide adequate shelter, but the way that monies are acquired can be somewhat confusing and ineffective. And with more people who are willing to take on these monetary ventures and who are trustworthy, the efficiency and fluidity of the camp can be increased whilst providing constant jobs for the community to engage in with each other.

As it is right now, there is no need for clothing and certain staple foods such as beans, rice, and flour. Not that they won’t need it in the future, but instead of adding to the existing surplus, donations can be made in other ways such as checking off items on a materials list for someone in need of resources.

To help out in any of these ways is something that should be shared and brought to people’s attention because it can end up as a major factor of someone’s survival on the plains of North Dakota.

If you or anyone you know are going to Standing Rock to stand in solidarity, understand what you are getting in to and safe travels. This is a movement, not a moment!

Fresh Air

It’s important to remember why you are doing anything in the first place. Being with the right group of people may sometimes help remind us of what that is. My recent trip was an eye-opener for sure, and I wouldn’t have changed it a bit. The past couple of months have been rocky, and I didn’t think that I would be ready to start a trip so abruptly. However, there are times when you just have to roll the dice.

Taking this opportunity to get out of my stagnant state-of-mind helped me remember why I made this blog in the first place. One of the primary reasons in fact; to bring awareness to my community about living an alternative lifestyle. Contributing to what is important in the world. There are times when I get lost in my own head and begin to whine and moan about things that are wrong in my life, but I know that those things pass and that there are greater issues that need to be addressed then my petty BS. Having a new sense of why I started to fight for a cause has made me realize that I have been way too lax in my writing.

Perhaps my writing is simple, but at least it is for purposes greater than myself. Continuing to have platform may prove to be the very bridge that I need to cross in order to open a new chapter in my life. And I’m willing to take it to the next level.

It is a wonderful thing when you can see inspiration on the horizon. And knowing that it can help others in some way is rewarding enough. Thank you Dear Reader, I would love to hear from you if you have any feedback as well!

Post Scriptum- I’m going up to Oregon for a while to help a friend out with another farm. Perhaps this will open doors to something amazing! *fingers crossed*

My Brief Trip

Just getting back from Standing Rock, North Dakota and there are still whirlwinds of ideas blowing around in my head. My time there was a good chance for personal healing as well as a moment for me to reflect on the importance of community and the reason why I started this blog in the first place. Although every day was different and full of things to do, there were also things that were going seemingly unnoticed.

I won’t really get in to that, as I don’t want to seem like I’m bad mouthing anyone. But there are some imperative issues that need to be addressed and fixed as soon as possible. Especially because there are more and more people showing up every day.

For the time being, I think that I will be going up to a different farm to get my wits back and work on my art and my journalism. I think that being here for so long has made me stagnant in some aspects, and that’s never good. Being in North Dakota was a refresher course in what it is that I want to leave this world when I’m gone; and fighting for our youth is one major componant.

I will be writing a synopsis of sorts about my brief trip to Standing Rock, and I hope that it will be informative to those who will be joining the stuggle throughout the winter. This pipeline is not going to stop, and every day they are digging and the drill gets closer and closer. My goal is to bring awareness to those who think that they will be able to withstand the freezing temperatures of the coming months and to help supply people with adequate information that may help them in the coming weeks.

The State of Things #NoDAPL

Standing Rock:

There is a mix of emotions here on the reservation. After one day of observation, you can see where the divide is in the camp. And from my experience, this seems to be a reoccurring theme. Regardless of the fact that we should be united in one endeavor there are always people and even groups of people that will always think otherwise. One of the main principles during direct actions is non-violence. However, there are people here that obviously have a different opinion. On the day of November 5th, there was a gathering at the 1806 highway; which is located just passed the entrance to the encampment.

A blockade of burnt cars and razor wire separate armed military and police and people. Earlier that week, the police said they would clear the road if protesters removed the cars, which they did, but instead increased the fortitude of the blockade. Making it impossible for emergency vehicles to enter from that road in case of emergency. Sometime during the chants and the shouting at police, half of the group started to spread the word that they were going to go to Turtle Island. A sacred burial ground of the Sioux people.

So, half stayed on the bridge and the other half walked or drove truckloads of people to the water front where they boated over to the island; only to be met with police. Charging up the hill, police shot tear gas in to the oncoming crowd. There were no reports of injury however. This tactic, albeit necessary to some people, was not what they call a “sanctioned action” that was approved by the elders at Standing Rock.

As the people tried to charge up the hill, orders were passed down from the elders to tell those people to come back. Herein-lies one of the many problems about the divide in the camp. When there are people who are risking their safety in something that they think to be true and righteous, perhaps it isn’t the best move to leave them stranded on the side of a hill where the police have the upper-ground(literally). Even if it goes against a sanctioned action, these people are still fighting for what they think is right, and it is our duty to protect our people.

On one side we have the elders and on the other a very heated youth.

The Monkey Wrench:

The Elders hold the majority vote of what happens in the encampment. After one day, we learned that the camp was divided and that there were people spreading instructions that weren’t properly “sanctioned”; causing many to become upset at these impromptu direct actions.

These actions, however, are the only way that this pipeline can be stopped. Putting ourselves on the gears of the machine, as some might say, is really the only alternative. I can’t honestly believe that asking is going to help this movement at all. Perhaps in a bureaucratic sense. But that, to me, seems like a lesser of two evils. Either way, anything that happens is dealing with a corporate entity that does not have a single drop of compassion and is only worried about profits. Even if those profits are coming from a finite and obsolete form of crude oil and energies.

From what I’ve gathered, the Elders do not want anyone getting arrested or hurt so they’ve called for a period of prayer. However, the pipeline (DAPL) is not going to stop. As we can see from recent history, corporations have done everything in their power to continue their plots and schemes; even at the expense of Native Peoples. We can’t trust their words when they say that they will do something. They lie and cheat and are very good at it. So choosing a side here at camp is something that I believe happens, even if it is unintentional.

Winterizing:

The camp as it is right now, is preparing for the winter. A crucial part of this ‘occupation’ (for lack of a better word) is making sure that everyone on the ground is able to, essentially, survive the freezing temperatures that will eventually sweep through these foothills(wind chill factor can reach below 70 degrees!!!). People have begun making structures and digging into the ground to protect themselves from the elements; however haphazard. Not to get me wrong, there are people here at the reservation that are licensed and are permitted to build certain structures which can withstand most of the brunt of the winter. The only thing that is holding them back are resources.

I have a unique opportunity to help build some of these structures which are called Echo-Shell 1. Essentially these dome shelters are made of concrete and insulated with hay and straw about nine feet in height and eight feet in diameter. Enough to sustain about two people comfortably. This project can be done within a single day; which is the best part.

Overall:

The biggest thing, again, is the lack of resources going to the correct projects. With the amount of people that come in and out during the week, it’s hard to say how many people are going to actually stay during the winter. And that is a problem in two ways. There is no estimate on how many structures are needed and if the number of people at the camp dwindles, the opposing forces will surely step in when they have the chance to take this part of the river and move forward with their agenda.

In many ways the camp has a lot of the necessary jobs down. Really, the only thing that needs to be brought up at the Sacred Fire is the importance of building shelters that are able to withstand the winter and with that we need the subsequent resources. With the right amount of workshops and people who are willing to make it all happen, I believe that they will be able to make it through the winter without any casualties.

I think the most important focal point that needs to be addressed is: Where the resources are going and the opening of the proper avenues to get those resources to the people who are out here in the field waiting to get to work! Unfortunately, there is no internet for me out there and I can’t keep everything updated, but there are always ways to connect with those in the camp via social media outlets. And if you feel it in your heart to help, contact: InleaguePress.com or Sacred Stone Camp for more information.

Thank You Dear Reader.