I normally don’t focus on politics often on this blog, but the #noDAPL! movement and Native Americans are close to my heart. I lived on the Navajo reservation off and on for 5 years, as a teacher, and saw first hand the extreme poverty, often no running water or electricity, few job prospects except for toxic mining jobs from companies that use their land for profit and leave a trail of toxic waste and ill workers and water in return. Personally, I feel that how Native Americans have been treated throughout history is absolutely atrocious, as well as how we’ve treated this planet.
I grew up with a Dad and Grandfather who owned a Standard Oil distributing plant (now referred to as Chevron oil). Next door to the plant was a business that made chemicals to spray on crops. So between the two toxic businesses, I watched my Grandfather waste away via ALS, and my father die of Alzheimer. My brother, who had worked some with my Dad and had a job at the pesticide place next door, for months, died suddenly from an asthma attack, at age 21, when the doctor gave him too much medication, but the autopsy showed that the pesticide job hadn’t helped his lungs either, nor being around the at the time, leaded gasoline and pesticides my Dad had at his plant. My Mother, who often worked at the plant, died of leukemia.
So although that income put me through college and gave me nice vacations growing up, I cringe thinking about how toxic those jobs were. I spent a lot of time at the plant as a child, too, and spent my childhood in and out of emergency rooms and hospitals, with severe asthma that plagues me still.
The Energy Transfer Partners company, the company building the pipeline, has had 18, 845 barrels of oil lost to spills since 2005, polluting the soil, the water, and bringing illness all along the path of the pipelines throughout this country. (1) Sonoco Logistic, the company who would run the DAPL, have the record for highest hazardous leaks in the past decade via 274 incidents. (1) North Dakota has had hundreds of spills and leaks already. Each year US oil pipelines spill an average of 11 million gallons. (2) Any leaks in the DAPL would dump crude oil into the Missouri River, poisoning the drinking water of the tribes and communities along the Missouri River Basin, potentially 18 million people. (2) There have been 220 significant pipeline spills already this year. (2)
There has not been an environmental impact review and yet Energy Transfer Partners, the company building this pipeline have continued their construction, in spite of President Obama’s request that they stop until a review could be done and, just as important, a review could be done about the Native land that is being used, with the company already desecrating sacred burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
The pipeline was supposed to be routed just north of Bismark, ND, but the people raised such an uproar, that without permission, and because of concern for the water wells of that town, the Army Corp of Engineers instead changed the route to go through Standing Rock Sioux land, under Lake Oahe, on the Missouri River. So once again, Native land that was given to them in a treaty, when the US stole their other land, is being used for corporate profit with no regard for the Sioux tribe or their water source.
With the election of Donald Trump, who has millions invested in oil companies and stakeholders like Energy Transfer Partners, (2), his industry leaders and lobbyists as cabinet choices, his horrible plans against alternative energy, climate change and the environment, and his plans to deregulate oil production (among other regulations dropped), I am hoping that President Obama either stops the pipeline completely or answers Bernie Sanders’ call to declare Standing Rock a National Monument. (3) I would prefer all pipelines and fracking be stopped around the country and instead we turn to the many alternative energy methods that have been held back by the corporations who choose to continue to rape our world for profit.
I am so awed by all those at Standing rock, those who show up for a day or two, those who are dedicated to remain there until the water and land is safe, with tribes coming together from all over the country and the world, some of them historically enemies. And yet, they and those supporting them, have come together in peace, harmony, cooperation, prayer, ceremony and respect for each other and the land. They have met the obscenely militarized forces that surround them, with peace and respect, in spite of their attack dogs, rubber bullets, mace, their camps burglarized and some of them destroyed, the drones flying over head, the ridiculous arrests and high fines.
So last Tuesday, people came together all across the country to stand with Standing Rock, to stand for the planet and the water, to stand together and demonstrate peace, cooperation, honor, and valuing life. I was glad to be a part of it.
We met at the Army Corps of Engineers office, setting up in front of the office park. I showed up early to volunteer and ended up helping people get registered, so we knew how many had shown up as well as getting people set up to receive updates from 350.org, the organizers. I am a long time activist but most of my work has been done alone for quite awhile now. I enjoyed being around others again and everyone was respectful and cooperative. The police who showed up were peaceful and supportive as well.
There are several petitions going around to stop the pipeline, to declare Standing Rock a National Monument, and other sites where you can donate food, money or supplies to support those preparing for a long cold winter at Standing rock.
Sadly, this Standing Rock issue is just one of many across the country that are looking to put pipelines, toxic mines, etc., on Native Land, attempting to steal the land, and bringing poison to the land, water and people. There is even uranium mining going on next to the Colorado River?!!!…a river that provides drinking water for several states. The greed and lack of fore thought or concern for our future clean water/land/air needs is just appalling to me. So please, if you are inspired to, please support the #noDAPL! movement and all the other fights to protect Native land, ALL land.
So….now that I’ve got that off my chest :)…here are some photos from the rally:
Gathering to set up before the rally.
More people showing up to get in place along the road.
Many cars supported the rally with honks and cheers, both sides of the road.
Peaceful music to hold a sacred space.
People moved into the center of the office park, near the Army Corp of Engineers office, to listen to speeches, songs and drumming.
People gathered for the rally.
Two great hand made signs.
At the end of the rally, the postcards that had been distributed and signed, to go to the Army Corp of Engineers and President Obama, were gathered up to be taken to the office of the Army Corp of Engineers. There were 500 collected.The post cards expressed a request to shut the pipeline down and support for Standing Rock. Donations were collected as well, to be taken up to Standing Rock.
I loved the feeling that these rallies were taking place, on the same day, all across the country. Solidarity, inclusion, cooperation, support, respect, honor, peace, harmony…these are the values I work for every day when I do my daily spiritual work to bring about the shift into the light for the planet. Please join me!
I took some information from a few articles so wanted to acknowledge them and share them as well, in case you’d like to read more about the #noDALP! situation.