Local view: People, Mother Earth won, but fight can’t end now
After traveling to Standing Rock, N.D. -- where I witnessed peaceful prayers led by Lakota elders, women water protectors, and red warriors -- I returned with a new insight into the fabric of this life.Not only did I get a first-hand view of the ...
After traveling to Standing Rock, N.D. - where I witnessed peaceful prayers led by Lakota elders, women water protectors, and red warriors - I returned with a new insight into the fabric of this life.
Not only did I get a first-hand view of the Missouri River, the barricades protected by Morton County police, and the camps thousands have been flocking to daily in support and solidarity, I listened to the voices of the people who felt their land was being invaded. I heard the words of the sovereign nation, whose 1850 treaty rights were being violated. And I wept.
I wept when I thought of the 13,000 in the main camp, Oceti Sakowin, who were faced with forced eviction from what they considered sacred lands on Dec. 5.
And I rejoiced to learn that over 2,000 U.S. veterans were to converge on Standing Rock to stand beside the Lakota people and to say no to the black-oil snake.
I listened to the voices of the elders as they quelled the colonization of the camps and the protest actions by well-intentioned white allies who chose a long weekend to invade the camps, ripe with entitled privilege and no sense of purpose in their reasoning for coming to Standing Rock.
I watched as a level of control must be maintained to ensure the true nature of the protest remained about the protection of the water in conjunction with the wishes and requests of the Lakota people.
The most important request: respect the land and water of Mother Earth. In doing so, we can play a part by decolonizing our thinking regarding our natural resources and by divesting in those corporate entities that profit from the environment’s destruction.
Yes, this does include a financial boycott and divestment of any and all monetary connections to those entities held by President-elect Donald Trump, who holds major stock interests in the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Now what does divestment require? Divestiture means not on affiliate, subsidiary, associate, buyer, marketer, retailer or intermediary, including banks, trading houses, bonds or any standard of capital gains, will be given and all invested shall be withdrawn.
It means we no longer can just pass the buck and think so small with our personal wealth as to rely on the corporate system to filter out good money ventures from bad. The Dakota Access Pipeline is a bad investment. It is potentially destructive not only to the land of the Lakota, wherein 10,000 people would be directly affected should this pipeline leak or break, but to an estimated 18 million people in the Midwest who would be affected by any contamination of the Missouri River and any waterway into which it flows.
Is this risk of disaster worth supporting the corporate interests that stand to profit?
This is the observation and opinion of one woman who has a family, a vested interest in the need for clean water, and the guarantee that my government will honor its word and treaty with a sovereign nation.
Dec. 1 began a global call to action toward divestment from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Please consider joining and asking your local, state and federal legislators to follow suit.
The announcement from Washington that the Army Corp of Engineers denied an easement for the pipeline was a major victory for the Lakota people and the people along the Missouri River basin. However, there still is much to be addressed and considered regarding the safety of pipelines in our environment and communities.
Knowing the citizens of Bismarck, N.D., declined access to this pipeline two years ago and subsequently made discriminatory decisions with regard to its placement through sovereign nation lands remains a huge social problem. Historically, industrial areas and waste have been placed in or near communities where people of color live and near Native lands in this country, the health risks ignored by the dominant culture.
Divestment in fossil fuels and investments in renewable energies are needed reforms in our country. We must also address human costs. By divesting in such corporations, banks and subsidiaries, we send a strong message for needed change and for the renewable and sustainable development of our natural resources.
The Lakota people continue to ask for our support and prayers in the days and weeks ahead. This is not just a fight for Standing Rock but for Flint, Mich., the Louisiana waterways, California’s water deficits, and our very future.
We as a people came together in peace and prayer to fight for humanity, our Mother Earth, and the future. We cannot stop now. This issue is greater than all of us and is most important to all of us.
“Mini wiconi” means “water is life.” Stand with Standing Rock.
Kym Young of Superior is a community human rights activist, a member of Black Lives Matter Duluth, an organizer for the Justice City Coalition, a Twin Ports regional coordinator for Save the Kids, and the executive coordinator of the Superior African Heritage Community. She also founded #politicsoffmybody and is an independent consultant on diversity and anti-racism education. She wrote this for the News Tribune.