Standing Rock, North Dakota – November 16th-21st, 2016
Georgie Ann Lilgreen (Jumping Mouse) – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “It’s poison. It’s our health, it’s our way of life. We’re standing for future generations. This land that we stand on and the things that we do, gives us life. This is what keeps us alive. We are made of it, and we can’t live without it and yet we continue to move forward in a way where we’re disregarding that fact. We’re not taking it into consideration.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Absolutely. It is happening lots of places, in Alaska, all over the world. I would hope that this type of resistance would spread. I will go where I need to go, where the opportunity opens up. At the same time, I need to listen to the creator and make sure that I am walking the path that is meant for me to walk. This is so much more than just fight, it’s spiritual too.” What affect will Donald Trumps election have on you? “I wasn’t voting for either one of them. There’s so much that needs to happen. The direct effect hits all of us. Honestly, I’m not sure how much any president has say in anything. It’s the corporate minded people they’re bought by. This whole consumerism, excessive consumerism. It’s about finding a balance. That whole system affects all of us.”
Oshea Spencer – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “It’s overwhelming to think about. Probably chaos.” Is the resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “A lot of people I’ve met are ready” What affect will Donald Trumps election have on you? “It’s pretty silly. Definitely affect hispanics and Mexicans. Me? I don’t think it will affect me. It would bring people together, definitely, resist. Revolution maybe, hopefully”
Frank Archambeaut (Center) – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “I know there’s going to be a lot of lawsuits, a lot of things they’re going to look deeper into, like breaking the treaties. There’s going to be a lot of things occurring against the government from the Great Sioux Nation and the Seven Council Fires. There are lawsuits pending right now. I think we might try to do something to combat against it. I’ve heard suggestions of, if this is going to go through, then why not make it so that the Lakota and every other indigenous people have some part of ownership in the pipeline. So that we know it’s safe, so we know everything about it is safe and we won’t have a spill in that water. I think that’s something we need to look into a lot deeper. They’ve committed a lot of acts of war against us, and it’s ridiculous to know that they are still continuing on with all these treaties. It’s wrong in every aspect. It’s troubling to know from our side that the government is backing DAPL. They said stop working, they’re still working. It’s not right for them to go and desecrate our people.” Is the resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yeah, it’s a possibility. I know there are a lot of other reservations and tribes out there who are trying to seek help from us. We could caravan from place to place. TV guide network has already asked me to go from place to place with a crew of five guys but I turned them down. I’m needed here.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “There’s a resistance against his election. Why can such an individual be elected here. Such racist intentions. I think it’s wrong for this nation to elect someone with that mindset. People really need to double check the things they check on the ballots. It’s wrong, the statements he’s made against indigenous people, to women. It’s wrong for such a person to be involved with the presidency. It’s going to cause a lot of disturbance, not just with the Native American communities and tribes in the US and Canada, it’s going to be everywhere.”
Jane Eaglespeaker – What happens if this pipeline get’s completed? “I think there will be a lot more direct action. All these people are praying so hard, it can’t be. It’s got to be Obama’s last thing he does. If he does anything he’s gotta stop this pipeline. We got word that’s its going to be delayed, which is some good news, but it just means that our people are going to be out here even longer. It’s going to snow tomorrow, and some elders don’t even have winter shelters. Trying to explain so many things to so many people and there’s so much to do, it’s just overwhelming. It’s really wonderful how so many people came together. Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “They’re doing it all over. This is not just the pipeline. It’s so much more. It’s our ancestors, it’s our land, it’s our people. WE’ve got graves all over out here and people don’t even know they’re there and they get desecrated. I don’t see why we couldn’t do it other places. I just get sad when you hear on the security walkie talkies, you can hear those DAPL workers up there. They’re just full of hatred. The things they say are just unbelievable. I know they live sheltered lives outside of the urban areas, but we’re people. It’s peaceful here. I wish they would just come down and see, they may want to join us. What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “Thank god I’m part Canadian. I don’t think I can give up the fight that easy because I was born here. I think it’s going to affect everybody. I know it’s going to. Seeing this camp here gives me a lot of hope. Look at all these people from all over the world. We always had Donald Trumps everywhere. Donald Trump ain’t nothing new. WE have people like that all over. It’s this that matters. It’s people coming together and supporting fellow man and standing up for what is right. Donald Trump can’t take that power away from us. He can try, but we’ve been oppressed for 500 years, and we still here.”
Julie Richards aka Mama Jules – What happens if this pipeline gets completed? “We can’t let them finish it. I don’t even look at if it gets done, because we cannot let it get finished.” Is this resistance movement something that you can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Exactly. After this camp’s over, I’ll probably go look for another camp. What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “Fuck the election, fuck anyone who is running, we can live on the land.”
Edward P. Blackcloud – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “I really don’t think it’s going to get built, at least not through Lakota land, not through Hunkpapa land. It’s not going to get built. There’s too many people backing us here. When the clergymen came here, that was our biggest win. I see the hearts of our young and our old people and we need to keep this prayerful. We made a big enough statement, now the world stands up.” Is this resistance movement something you can move to another fossil fuel fight? “It’s possible. You guys stood with us, we will stand with you. A lot of these natives will go, but they don’t have the means.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I don’t know. They say bad things about him, but there’s good in every man. He’s a businessman, maybe he will do good things. He’s not a politician. Maybe what little bad he has in him, we all have bad in us, maybe that will turn to good. He can say all he wants, it doesn’t matter. We’re here, we’re not going anywhere.”
Herb Goodwin – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “If this pipeline gets completed there’s going to be a huge amount of oil that gets out and gets combusted. It’s going to give them a way to open up the taps and get more oil out of the Bakken. We’ve got to stop burning that stuff. It’s a step in the wrong direction. It doesn’t help anybody. The pipeline isn’t even necessary, it’s just so they can make money faster.” Is this resistance movement something you can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I sure hope so. I think it can. The indigenous folks need our support. Even if it’s a non-indigenous issue. I think camps are a good thing. I lived in the Occupy camp for 60 days before I got arrested. I believe in taking territory and holding it. What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “It’s going to have a disastrous effect on everyones lives. We now have a fascist political state who plan to deport 3 million brown people, beef up the military (already the largest in the world) and it’s all to control us and control oil. I was in jail last night, but I got to watch some news, and it seemed like a white separatist news station that I was listening to because the broadcaster was so biased on all these points. It was like a Trump parroting station. There were a bunch of interviews about people talking about the protestors and what dirty, grubby people they are and how none of them have a job except being a paid protestor. There was a big segment about all the money flowing into camp to pay protestors. They showed an ad that appeared in some paper promising anyone who would go to Montana and protest, they would get paid $1000. They were putting this up as the reason behind all the activity here. Not because anyone opposed anything, they were just being paid to come protest. Anybody could have put that ad in. Then they based their news reporting around this ad appearing. It was a flagrantly white nationalist news station, and it’s the major news station in Fargo.”
Patricia Zapata – Great granddaughter of Emiliano Zapata – What happens if this pipeline get’s completed? “We’re at risk of not having any water. Not only that, but the land is being violated and desecrated. I’m here to support my brothers and sisters so my grandkids have water. It’s not a matter of if the pipeline leaks, but when. They’re using substandard equipment. It could be total devastation to the environment and the people. This is some of the cleanest water and it’s in jeopardy.” Is this resistance movement something you can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Absolutely. It’s been done all over the world. I think the interest here is that it was part of a prophecy, but it’s happening everywhere. Most likely it’s going to be inspiring to other groups all over the world to protect our natural resources. What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “He’s prejudiced. I don’t believe he’s looking out for the betterment of us native people. He’s about money. It’s kind of a scary thought to think about what’s going to happen. Neither of our presidential candidates did anything, Trump or Clinton, and Obama certainly hasn’t done anything either, when he made a promise that native people would be taken care of. We’re going to stand here and fight, even to the death if we have to. A lot of people are thinking this is a vacation, and everyday is a struggle to find wood, we’re dependent on donations for food. “
Chimalli Cuetlachtli – What happens if this pipeline gets completed? “It will be disastrous for the environment and 18 million people that live off of the water along this river and for the planet. Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I think so. It’s a matter of building organization and capturing the momentum. We have to be smart about that. A lot of times what we fail to do is capture the momentum and solidify an organization and move on to the next project. If we’re able to do that and build a network, yeah, we can do it. What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you?? “The racist attitudes people have been showing a lot more lately because they feel more emboldened by his election. I had coworkers come out and make some racist statements and before Trump they were really quiet about their feelings. Saying things about Mexicans or people of color, even using terms like “nigger” or “wetback” in the same sentence. When they use those terms, it’s hate speech. I don’t hate you, but I know that you hate me. I know your real feelings about me and my people. Liking my food or liking our women or tolerating us is not the same as accepting us, as embracing us as equal to you. That’s what it really comes down to, we’re not seen as equals, we’re seen as lesser than. It has a direct effect. Every time I drive into a white community now, I’m wondering, are these people going to call the cops on me, are they going to try kill me, try to beat me up? That’s a real fear that we have. Driving up to North Dakota, driving through Wyoming and other areas, and walking into a gas station that’s full of white people, and they all turn their head to look at you, I don’t belong there. Seeing those stares, I have to puff my chest out and hold my head up and say no, you’re not going to look at me that way. For someone else who does not have that strength, they may put their head down and get themselves beat. Because people will feel emboldened. That’s happening more often. We’re seeing it more attacks happening in our community. People being beat up, people being yelled at and harassed and threatened and one days it’s going to become more physical and someones going to get killed. Do you have anything you want to say to while folks? “Recognize your privilege. Stop hating, stop trying to be superman and trying to save us. Change comes from within, and everyone has to change. It’s a long process, because there’s an establishment. Systemic racism, and a lot of white people don’t realize it. They say “I like you people”, but they don’t understand the racist undertones and ethnocentrism that’s built into that kind of statement. When you go into a space that’s dominated by people of color who are trying to empower themselves don’t try to push your agenda or try to be superman. Respect the space and respect that they have the ability to organize and empower themselves. Lend a hand with resources, with knowledge, with money. Don’t try to save us or push an agenda on us and belittle us or talk down to us like we’re children, because we’re not. We’ve come a long way, and we do want to build community with white people. It’s not about hate, we’ve never been about hate, we’re just trying to empower ourselves, and see ourselves as equal human beings. This is a space that was created by indigenous people. The white people that come here respect that and respect our ways.”
Justus Bickford – What happens if this pipeline gets completed? “It’s just another win for more corporations. It’s another way for the environment to be destroyed. “ Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Oh yes, there’s already talk on Facebook and multiple pages that they’re going to try to stop the Florida pipeline being installed and also one in Texas, because of the energy here.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you?? “Not specifically me, because I’m white. I’m more afraid for my friends. I have a lot of friends who are minorities.”
Efrem John (left) – What happens if this pipeline gets completed? “Eventually it will, I used to work on a pipeline, this will get finished.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “There’s a protest on our reservation in Gallup NM, there’s a pipeline going up and as we’re speaking, theres people setting up down there also. To make things worse, there’s another going on near our reservation near the Grand Canyon, they’re going to do fracking. Our people our down there right now setting up.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you?? “I don’t even know. I don’t think about it. I didn’t even vote. I don’t have time to vote, I came out here to help. I chop wood for people, we’re just here protecting and helping people.”
Matthew Bishop – What happens if this pipeline gets completed? “If we were to make this so close to their water source, this totally contradicts the progress we’ve made. This is more of a symbol.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “This is native led resistance and we follow their traditions and their wishes and their prayers, but yeah I think so. It would be different energy. It could be as much, just different. Each tribe has their own customs and traditions.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I don’t know. With Bush we had war, with Obama we had war, with Trump, probably just war. If it was Clinton, just war too. I’m here to make the world a better place. I obviously can’t do it on my own, and when I saw a big group of people do that I took the opportunity to help anyway I can.”
David Rodriguez – What happens if the pipeline get’s completed? “There will be another thing. You have to keep on moving. Especially considering the nonviolent nature of things.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Absolutely. More importantly, this isn’t going to be the last time indigenous peoples are threatened or marginalized. The fight on that side continues as well. The one really good thing that comes of this is global attention, to the fossil fuel fight and the way American treats it’s indigenous people.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I’m lucky, I’m not a marginalized person, I’m not a minority, and I live in a community that’s well educated and fairly liberal. It probably won’t affect me personally that much. Where it will affect me is emotionally and seeing what it does to other people.”
Tom Goldtooth – What happens if the pipeline get’s completed? “It’s not going to get built.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “The resistance will continue. We’re taking on all fossil fuel development and extraction on indigenous land and we will continue to address the issue of the market system around fossil fuels. There’s still a lot of issues with hydraulic fracking that’s happening in the Bakken Oil Field too. There has to be many fronts as far as shutting down this whole Bakken Oil Field production. That’s what it is, that’s what flows through the pipeline. There’s the issue around corporate accountability, around the market, and right now the markets down in the Bakken Oil Field and there’s really no solid prediction about whether it’s going to recover or not. So if we continue to put pressure on the market system and start to life up reliable clean energy as a viable alternative that’s one thing we will continue to campaign around. Part of the campaign is the issue around climate justice. The Missouri River, as far as long term projection of 50-100 years, the water level will go down. The glaciers are melting and they are the source of the Missouri River. When these municipalities and state governments start to look at the reality of the serious impact of the climate crisis, they will have to look at alternatives. The continuation of business as usual with the drilling and extraction and burning of fossil fuels is not a sustainable solution. Our participation here to try to halt the DAPL is part or our bigger campaign of keeping fossil fuels in ground. That will continue.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “It does affect me and my family and our native people. He represents an old, outdated economic system that’s not sustainable. That economic system does not respect the living life cycles of Mother Earth. It’s an exploitative system built on the backs of people. It’s based upon unlimited growth. It puts economics before environment and protection of our water. He does not think highly of the rights of indigenous people. It’s going to be a long hard 4 years for us to defend who we are. We haven’t had any indication of his recognition and support of the rights of American Indian tribes and Alaska natives. One of the fundamental principles that we are putting forward is the right to prior and informed consent inn our relationship between our federally recognized tribes and the US Federal Government. Right now the existing policy is based upon consultation. There’s so many problems with consultation. For example, the failed policies here between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, DAPL, and the Army Corp of Engineers. The Army Corps of Engineers has failed in government to government policy around consultation. The tribe has continually requested that there would be adequate process that they would be input in the decision making for this pipeline and that was not done. Many of us who work on indigenous and native issues and we have put forward the need to strengthen the policy on consultation to a higher standard to be informed prior to any development and to have an arena of freedom to have dialogue that there be no coercion or pressure imposed by corporations or governments and that tribes be fully respected based on our sovereignty and self determination. We ask to be fully informed of any positive or negative impacts moving forward with development. We want the freedom to say no. They haven’t done a full environmental impact statement. I think that would have been the avenue to address the concerns of the tribe regarding negative impact to important cultural and historical sacred sites as well as addressing the environmental concerns to mitigate and clean up potential spill, ruptures and leaks on this fracked oil going through the pipe. That’s the basis of some of our concern.”
Amanda Weatherspoon – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “I think people will still continue to resist it. I think people will still resist the building of it and continue to band together. “ Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yes, I think it’s all connected. I don’t think this is separate from anything else. It’s focused on this particular pipeline, but I think this spirit of it is connected to all the ways in which our natural resources are targeted and how it’s targeted into poor or marginalized communities. Yes. I think the focus can be transferred to any pipeline or any other environmental type of degradation.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “As a human being, any kind of fascist power being placed in that kind of office is dangerous. His appointees are dangerous, and most of all, the sentiment that he has put out into the world is very dangerous. It will affect me as an individual, but it also affects communities, and it also affects me as a minister and what I will have to do to step up to support people.”
Olivia One Feather – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “It’s not going to get completed. I really feel in my heart that all the powers that are here and all the spiritual, amazing love that is here is going to allow us to stope the construction and stop the black snake.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “It could. It also could be better if more people could engage and join those other fights and not necessarily take away from standing rock until we have completed our mission of protecting the earth and keeping the water and air clean for future generations. If they could join together as forces and if they are closer to actions, I think these kinds of camps could exist everywhere there is a pipeline if enough people would engage and do it.” Will the election of Donald Trump have an effect on you. “I feel like we should probably work our hardest to find a way to impeach him and maybe revise our government like Iceland did. How they overthrew their government and reelected new people. We could just bring the constitution back and strip some of the amendments that have been made and revise it because it’s an old system, it’s out of date, and it’s time for something new.”
Aliah Rogers – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “I honestly feel that there is so much building on so many levels right now, that even if it goes through, it’s going to be stopped at some point. I’m not so worried about that because I feel the power of what’s happening here. Even what’s happening with awareness of people in the United States and globally with issues of big oil and corruption and the total disregard of legality. This action is still calling people to attention to what’s happening. I really trust that there’s an momentum right now and a fire with this. I do not see it going out, at all. Even if it goes in, it will be stopped.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Totally. It already has. There are more actions happening because the energy of confidence, and inspiration and solidarity, it does spread worldwide. People are moved by this all over our planet. It’s going to continue to ignite fires of empowerment and resistance.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “As a white person and somewhat privileged, I would say very little compared to minorities. I don’t see him staying this position. I feel like in some ways he’s a perfect catalyst. With Hillary, people could have just stayed asleep, like “hey, we did good” and yet I feel like she’s just as complicit in some of these actions that are creating incredible harm. I feel like there is some benefit in Trump being there because it’s keeping people on their toes. I sense that we’re in such a place of change that anything can happen. I don’t see any person taking office actually lasting 4 years. I feel like there is such a readiness for incredible change. I’m on the strangely hopeful side with Trump because I feel like it’s going to create more change. With everything going on for myself, it’s important that I stay really open because we’re in such a time for potential.”
Joseph H Catches – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “I’m predicting that it’s not going to be completed. I really believe that with all the prayer and strength here that it’s not going to be completed. I believe it’s going to be eventually halted and torn completely down.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Oh yes, I really do. I think it’s already started. We’re getting world wide attention and it’s good. “ What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “He’s not my president. As far as affecting me, I’m going to go about my daily life as normal and take things as they come. He could push the button before we even think.”
Rainie Kennedy – What happens if this pipeline gets completed? “It’s going to contaminate drinking water for millions of people. It’s going under the Missouri and that is a major water source for millions of people in different states. Once it spills, theres no going back.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yes, I absolutely think that. I feel like everyone is having an awakening. We can use renewable energy, there are ways we can sustain and live life a different way. We don’t need to continue down this destructive path, it is destroying our planet and there’s only so much it can take. I absolutely believe that we can come together wherever we need to stop it.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I feel like he’s invested in oil companies. He doesn’t believe in Global Warming, which is absolutely ridiculous because there are scientist proving it’s a real thing. I’m from Bishop CA, and our valley used to be so lush and so green, but now it’s drying up and turning into a desert. The river used to be high and flowing, but now it’s barely even a trickle. “
Kristen Stewart – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “It’s going to destroy a lot of peoples source of water. Not only is it contaminating the water, but the fracking is destroying the earth’s crust. We can get energy in so many different ways.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Definitely” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I prefer not to get into politics, it will just irritate and anger me. I can’t.”
Char Braxton – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “It’s the continuous destruction of our earth, a community, a tribe, women, children. This pipeline represents destruction, we represent life. The goal of being a human is to help out others with their cause and it makes it my cause, because we’re all one. We’re all hooked together in this human chain, and that chain links to the earth.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Definitely. There’s a spirit here and an energy that will resonate more and more and start elsewhere helping the cause for the earth.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I hope he will make the right decision, but looking at his record and a lot of things he said agains this right here and people of color, it’s going to be a movement where it’s the citizens against the government.”
Holly Jean-Montoya – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “We’re going to continue to extract resources that are depleting the earth and creating a lot of problems for everyone living on this planet.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I think is in people taking responsibility for their own lives and not contributing to this problem. We’re here coming together and informing each other and learning together, but at the end of the day we continue to put money in their pockets, they’re going to continue doing what they’re doing. We can only ask them to stop so many times until we have to take responsibility with our own actions and start a movement that way.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “It’s inspiring me to take my life to the next level of awesomeness. I’ve got a lot of work to do to live in a way that’s harmonious and do the right thing. Donald sucks, but he happened.”
Bill Gemmell – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “If it gets completed we become more dependent on oil. We take the chance of environmental harming what’s left of our natural resources of water, our land. There’s been so many spills throughout the US. The companies don’t do the cleanup they’re supposed to do when they do happen and we need to use renewable sources. There are countries that run off of solar energy. Why don’t we? Because the oil companies have a stranglehold on our political system.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Oh yes, most definitely. It’s been a great learning experience as well as an eye opener in many aspects. I expect to take some of the knowledge back with me and put some of it to use.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I’m hoping to make it through the next four years. I’m hoping there’s some better choices when that time is up. I was not thrilled with either choice, and I don’t feel like most Americans were thrilled with either choice. I think the best candidates were gone early. Low turnout, also those that did vote weren’t voting for their candidate necessarily, they were voting against the other one, whichever one that may be. I just want to make it through the next four years with everything intact. If we have to start over again, we start over again.”
John Goodhouse – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “I’m not sure. I know it will ruin the chances of us living well. We need the water. If the oil goes through, we’ll end up drinking oil, not water. It will be a struggle for a while after that.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yeah, there are other protests in other states. After we take over this one, we’ll move to the next. It can spread pretty easily.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “Not much, I’m already hearing cartels have put money on his head. I don’t think we even need a president.”
Chris Bakke – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “Once again, we’re ignoring the environmental concerns of a pipeline going through this water which is at the head of the Missouri River which will affect a lot of people if there were a spill. There’s a civil rights component here where I think if this was land owned by white people or were graves of white people that this wouldn’t be allowed to happen. It’s another statement that our society continues to ignore sub groups of Americans who aren’t white.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I hope so, but I’m not sure. This has been months in the making and this energy has taken a long time to get to where it is and it still isn’t very public. The awareness is still pretty low so I’m not super optimistic that it can pivot to other pipelines although I really want it to.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “It affects us pretty immensely. I teach in a title 1 school in Denver, it’s about 35% African American, and 65% Latino and most of my students are terrified. I teach undocumented students and they’re afraid for the safety of their family. I teach LGBTQ students and they have no idea what their rights look like in the future. Right now it’s interesting to try and support my students and their families because of the intense uncertainty that’s been put into their lives and overall their sense of security and safety has been shaken.”
Sara Jean Banks – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “From my perspective it’s very symbolic, obviously there are a host of environmental consequences that could happen in the future if the pipeline is actually built. I also think it represents a lot of the priorities of our policy makers, legislators, and people in power and what their priorities are for people of this country.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I do. I thin it’s hard to do, but I also think that given recent events and the climate of our country right now that it might be easier to take this energy and place it somewhere else then if this had happened 5 years ago because I feel people right now are more willing and feeling like they need to be united in different ways. I think it could be if they had the right leadership.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “As a teacher it affects me in a lot of different ways, I have already seen the affects on our students and how fearful they are for their families and just trying to help them deal with that. I think personally, in so many different ways. Specifically I think about my family who is Tunisian so they are all Muslim. I don’t think my sisters would be able to come visit me now. I think about how my family would be viewed and there’s so many different things have been talked about in terms of Muslims and coming in this country. I think of an Afghani refugee family that we mentor and I think about what their lives look like right now and what the future might look like for them if people really feed into this fear mongering that’s happening with Islam. I think about my kids and their parents and how many of my kids are not here legally, but this is where they belong and this tis their country. It might not affect me directly, but everyone I love.”
Magen Kilcoyne – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “I think it will set the stage for other companies, for other factions of the government to get free reign. If this pipeline gets put it, I think it sets the tone for our use of energy in general. I think this is a country that should be far and away above in gather and using alternative sources, but the money behind it is really setting that stage. I think if the pipeline is completed I think it has larger implications for others in other countries as well because it’s going to be continuing the exploitation if you will. I think it sets the tone for corporations and big money, gives them immunity, which is really dangerous moving forward.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I hope so. We marched in downtown Denver last weekend, with Denver public school students. It was really interesting, I’ve taken part in other civil disobedience it varies realms, but it was really interesting to me because the people who were downtown having a normal Saturday night were approaching us and I’m used to being defensive when an outsider approaches an action and I found that it was very different. These people were genuinely inquisitive and curious and were appalled when they found out that their media sources were not feeding them this information. I think if anything else this is an awakening in which people in various realms of our society, you see teachers, you see environmentalists, you see people of all different ages. I think it has definitely lit a fire that if given the proper attention through our more makeshift forms of media, I think it has that potential. It’s a bigger symbolism of big money vs. earth. The actions we’re taking are unsustainable. I think it not only takes this sort of resistance, but I also think it takes shifts in our standardized education curriculums. This group of teachers, we’re really lucky and being a social studies teacher, I’ve always fought that curriculum because it think it’s the agenda of the big money and government. I used to teach in Chicago and I’ve always been brave enough to say “fuck that curriculum” and I think we’re all at a school right now where we are given that license. I think it needs to happen under an umbrella of people. I think we need to shift what we teach our kids in school and I think we need to shift where we get our news. How else does it happen but from the bottom and it’s scary, but we’re teaching our kids to speak up even if your voice quivers. I sleep better at night knowing that we have riled up thousands if not 10s of thousands of kids in our generation of teachers. My hope is that it spreads and it might happen slowly, but it has to. “ What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “It will affect me probably more indirectly. We have a very large population of students whose parents might not be documented, or some of them might not be documented and it’s been a couple weeks of fear. I know trying to process what happened as an adult, and then trying to calm thousands of kids. I think the election of Trump has awakened some of these schisms that I think if it had turned out otherwise might have been swept under the rug. I’d like to believe that this is the catalyst that might really shift people because so much has been brought to light. I think we need election reform but it’s one thing to complain about what the next four years is going to bring but I think it’s equally important to start raising questions about the process itself. We know the mess the primaries brought us , let alone the bigger picture. One thing I’m really proud about is how our mayor in Denver, Mayor Hancock has said that our families in Denver and Aurora are safe. We will not enforce those federal laws coming down. I’m hoping that this election will bring not only the people rising up to say no more to this big government that’s in bed with big media and big money. My hope is that local and state governments will step up and stand as obstacles to some of these policies passing. We can’t ignore this. It has polarized people, but I hope it ignites people to say this is not what we will stand for. I told my kids, I stand for you, I stand for your parents, and I stand for your grandparents who have fought so hard to have a decent life. When we’re gone, what are the next generations going to have. I’m standing today because it’s just not a time to sit.”
Benji Buffalo – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “It’s just like Iowa, when they went under the Mississippi, what can we do. It’s up to the president, it’s up to the army corps of engineers to stop it. I have no idea what we do if it gets completed?” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “A lot of people from Iowa came here, now they have a thing they want to do in Florida, it’s warmer down there.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “It don’t ever affect me. I could care less about the president. If the law changes, the law changes. You just have to conform and do whatever they say. If it’s a law, don’t break the law. If things change and the economy changes, you’ve gotta go with it. There’s nothing you can do. It’s them with the money that control things. I’m not a puppet, I just live. Still go home, have to go to work. I still have to raise my kids whether Donald Trump is president or not.”
Matt Otterson – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “It won’t get completed, there’s no other way to put it. If they put the pipe in, the oil won’t go in it. We can’t contaminate the water. It’s not an option. That’s why everybody’s here.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I think it is already. A lot of people around us are fighters and they’re here camping right now. They already have their next destination planned and they’re timing it. They’re putting in as much effort here as they can to make sure everybody is safe and then they’re going to move to the next fight. For me, it’s not until this is done and everyone is safe and goes home.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “Same as it did before. They’re all puppets to me. I don’t believe that any of them have any say and I think that they’re chosen long before so that they’ll carry out the orders of the above and you watch them stress, and wrinkle up, and turn grey and shrivel while they’re in that position, so it won’t affect me at all.”
Julian Charger – “What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “I really have no idea. I’m hoping it doesn’t because we all need water to survive. It would be bad if that pipeline busted and contaminated the water. I mean, did you see what happened in Alabama? We don’t want anything like that happening here and contaminate it. Those pipeline workers must not have hearts cause they don’t care. They must not drink water.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I’d like to think so, but I’m not sure right now.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “It scares me. He thinks he can buy his way into or out of anything. I don’t like him very much.”
Seanna Riley – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “We won’t have clean water. We’ll be drinking oil.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I guess, but I’ve gotta stay here and keep fighting.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I mean, he’s pretty racist. We can’t really help anything since he’s rich. Bernie Sanders would have been a good choice.”
Joe Ku’e Angeles – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “They say it can help out the economy, but we think it doesn’t really help. Oil’s not the way to go anymore and the money should be diverted other places. This style of energy is not the way to make an investment. They’re gonna lose their timeline, so the money’s not going to be there for them.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Oh definitely. It’s worldwide now. Me from Polynesia, our story is the same. We’re based on the land and the best thing for people is the land, how to understand and be bound to that. There’s a new kind of consciousness so I think the whole world is saying we need to do something different.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “Trump’s idea for America is not what we need. My awareness is your awareness. The next four years is going to be difficult. We’ve gotta stay out of the violent side.”
Synthia Kennedy – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “Death, really. If the Missouri River gets polluted, it goes to the Mississippi, then to the Gulf. The Mississippi and the Great Lakes support a lot of the watershed. Oil will seep into the rest of everything. There’s nobody that can escape. The tress will be poisoned, the animals that depend on those rivers, all the people who depend on that water, not only to drink, but for food, and they will die. The only people the pipeline benefits is corporations. Nestle has tock in DAPL and they also bottle water. The only people who can survive it are people with money and even then it’s not guaranteed. “ Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Absolutely, I think this is showing people that not only will indigenous folks won’t stand for this, but everyone is not going to stand for this. We all depend on the water. Quite simply, water is life. Not to coin a phrase that everyone is using but it is the fundamental of life. Without water, none of us supply. If we have no plants, we have no life, we have no air. The planet is under attack. If you think of the planet as a living organism, which it is, the rivers and watersheds are it’s blood supply and your putting a pipeline through a river is putting an IV directly into the water supply, into the earth’s veins. It’s not a matter of if the pipeline ruptures, it’s about when. If people understood how to work the pipelines safely, we wouldn’t have thousands of oil spills every year. The Gulf is still contaminated, it’s still not safe. Doing this, especially this far up in the water supply is suicide.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “Too many fucking ways. When I was 16 I was helping on HB1722 which includes gender identity and gender expression under the equal employment act and with his election everything I have worked for, everything I have fought for since I was a kid in HS is null and void. The potential that my life, my right to be considered a person is at stake. That coupled with this, it’s like I have a loaded gun to my head at any given time. The fact that he’s made it this far is appalling to me. The fact that we allowed somebody to stand up on stage and say all that stuff about women and about queer folks and about people of color and about disabled folks is appalling to say the least. That being said, indigenous folks and queer folks, we’ve survived worse. We’re not going down without a fight. Whatever that looks like is whatever that looks like. Nothing here is safe, it’s an active war zone. I pity anybody that is on his side or anybody that try to strip the rights of indigenous or queer folks, because we’re not going to take it. I don’t know if he know’s what he’s gotten himself into.”
Ash Arpan – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “Theres a strong risk of polluting this environment, not only the water, but it could break anywhere along the line. There have been breaks on similar pipelines in ND and other parts of the US.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I think so. It’s a good example of how to make some changes” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I don’t think Mr. Trump is very sympathetic to indigenous people. I think in this general area, it doesn’t matter if you’re indigenous or white, we’re kind of forgotten out here in the middle of nowhere.”
Alan Griego – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “I haven’t given it too much thought, but there’s other pipelines and there’s still a lot of endangered waters and burial lands and Native American rights we’re fighting for. It’s not the end of it. It’s only one battle of many.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Absolutely. That’s one of my biggest things is getting off our dependence on petroleum products and switching over to more sustainable sources of fuel. There are tribes and nations together here that have historically been enemies and we’re uniting under a single cause. That’s pretty amazing.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I wish I could say it doesn’t. I really hope he’s just a puppet and the puppet controllers are not as crazy as he is. There are certain things I am worried about. John Sessions is now his attorney general. I’m worried about the repeal of Roe vs. Wade and the gay and lesbian rights. It’s kind of a setback for America and for progress.”
Mateo Cadena – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “We won’t stop. They might get it in the ground, but it doesn’t mean these warriors are going to stop. We’ll keep on keeping on.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I think the energy created here is special because of the place here, because of the people here and what they stand for. I feel that in a different location they’re not going to have the same kind of spiritual backing. Native land is special, it’s all native land, but right here, these people are standing real strong.“ What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “It doesn’t, I live here now. Until he comes here, then I might have something to say about it. Until then, he can do whatever he wants elsewhere. Right here, right now, this is where I’m at. I don’t feel like this election is going to affect this camp at all. People are still going to be here. People still feel the same way if not more passionate now.”
Guadalupe – What happens if the pipeline gets built? “Lives will be destroyed. Land ruined forever. It will ruin generations of living.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yes of course, because water is life.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I’m Chicano, Mexican American. I see a lot of my people come here with only the dream of the American Dream which is to work and build something off your hard labor. Thats what they come here for and the bias facts they are putting out are not fact. I think anyone who comes and are not committing any crime but working should be able to come here to provide for their family.”
Tabitha Milian – What happens if the pipeline gets completed? “Eventually it will leak and destroy water for 17 million people and it’s pretty much the same story that’s been happening for a while.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yeah, this is pretty much resistance camps of the 21st century. As long as they stay focused on actually stopping and resisting these extraction plans and the sooner the better you can get them in the permitting process is more effective for sure.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I can’t just walk around feeling comfortable around white folks because there are a bunch of entitled white supremacist who feel that they can do what they want. It just feels like race wars are going to happen.”
Keytha Fixico – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “The water gets ruined. Alabama pipeline wasn’t supposed to break, this one isn’t supposed to break. That can tell you what direction they’re headed. “ Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Oh yeah, there’s so much energy here. Theres so much compassion here. Part of the reason people come out here is so they can relate to this situation in some way in their life. My tribe was part of the trail of tears and I couldn’t be there for them, but I can be here for this tribe.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “It doesn’t make me happy. When you see a man of those kinds of actions and words you can only imagine what kind of government he will run.”
Mark Johns-Colson – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “It endangers everyones water, everyone that lives south of here threatens their water supply.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “It could, and it should. This isn’t the only pipeline protest going on. Theres Texas and other setting up just like they do here. This camp is not necessarily just fighting the pipeline, but it’s also a unity, bringing us all together. Reconnecting us to Mother Earth and realizing that Mother Earth is the source, not just a resource. It’s a turning point for people to reconnect with Mother Earth instead of disconnect.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “Theres a lot of different ways that Rump will affect me as and igneous man of this land. Not just what he will do to Mother Earth and his lack of concerns for Mother Earth. Being a minority in this country, what is going to be over ridden. He has a vendetta against native Americans because of what happened in the 90s. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens.”
Ruth Miller – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “We will face not only an environmental impact in that human beings drinking water will forever be poisoned and polluted. It will also set a precedent that we are complicit in the continuation of over 400 years of colonization of our people. That we are complicit in the environmental racism against the Sioux nation and all indigenous people. And we are complicit in not allowing our voices and our presence to be recognized and heard. Not only will this have physical impacts on the quality of the watershed in this area, but it will set us up for another 400 years of oppression and we cannot allow that to continue.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I don’t think so. It’s true that its grounded in many different arguments in that this has been building up, not only for the 100s of years of colonization and occupation but this movement has been increasingly encouraged by the ongoing legal oppression of our rights as a sovereign nation. This is not just Indians getting crazy about one small thing, this is specifically in support of the Standing Rock Sioux. We’re coming to see this pipeline destroyed and dismantled.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “As a native woman, I have been repeatedly antagonized and harassed, not only by the Trump campaign rhetoric but also by Trump supporters. As a student as well, I’ve been a part of an environment that is increasingly politicized and divided. Trump being elected wasn’t just racism. It was for many many people, but for many more people it was out of fear and desperation, very human emotions that people can relate to. We need to take this as a call to action, because Trump being elected is not just one crazy candidate, it’s symbolic of an endemic problem in this nation that needs to be addressed.“
Liam Cain – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “It’s a war, there are multiple battles. It’s not nearly that simplistic, this is a pretty existential issue for a lot of the people here specifically the indigenous people. Worst case scenario the pipeline is completed and there is product in the line I think we’re learning a hell of a lot. I think we’re building a hell of a lot of solid relationships and networks and sharing tactics that work and tactics that don’t work. I think, for me anyway, this particular issue has really been crystallizing a lot about the fossil fuel extraction in general. Not just the environmental degradation but how that ties into white supremacy and racism and historical disregard for indigenous people. That’s very galvanizing on top of the fact that if we keep doing this shit, we’re not going to have a planet that habitable for humans. There’s quite a few levels it resonates for people on. If it is completed, we take what we learned from this and take it to the next one. We fight the fuckers every fucking step of the way. We will prevail, even if its death by a thousand cuts, we have the masses.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yes. I do feel that this is a pretty particular situation in a way. It brought people together in a way that maybe the KXL fight brought a lot of people together, but maybe this is doing it slightly different. Especially with indigenous rights and historical disregard for indigenous people, their territory, sovereignty, things like that being centered in this fight on the front end of the rape and pillage of the earth, is a little more unique. There’s a lot of these projects going on in indigenous peoples land and quite a few of them aren’t comfortable with that. That particular cross section there, sadly, will be replicated many more times and will bring a lot more people together. I’m with Labor For Standing Rock and you’ve got rank and file union members, militants and dissidents in their union who are used to fighting establishment power and structures that are theoretically there to protect working class people. You’ve got them here. You’ve got environmentalists from a host of different organizations, you’ve got indigenous people here, you’ve got a hell of a lot of different people here, all building that common cause, sweating together, working together, living communally. I think it builds some pretty strong bonds that maybe this particular camp, this particular incident might not replicate itself but I think we’re building tremendous bonds going forward, win lose or otherwise in this particular fight. I think it will strengthen us in the long haul fighting fossil fuel extraction and the gross over-reliance our nation has on that.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “Honestly I’m not really sure. I’ve been really involved in Standing Rock stuff since before and after it’s been going on. I haven’t really stopped and percolated on that. Off the top of my head, I’m a union member, I fight wildland fires for the feds these days and both of those don’t seem to be jobs that are going to be positively impacted by Donald Trump. I’m not really sure what the repercussions will be. Having said that, I’m a straight white dude in the USA, so relative to a fuck load of other people, I’m in a way better situation. For me personally, it’s not so much what it does to me, but it’s about people, regular folks, I think we’re going to have to really work, whether that’s building more effective and broader based anti-racist, anti fascist organizations and really make a point in our personal lives, especially people that look like me, straight white dudes, are going to have to really make a concerted effort to oppose that. We have to push back against that. We need to join ranks as regular folks in this nation, and absolutely, vehemently, strenuously, vocally or physically, whatever that means, oppose going out and scapegoating innocent people to make up for structural issues going on with this nation. It’s capitalism, it’s exploitation of regular folks and then it’s offering up disadvantaged people as a sacrifice for that. For the very genuine and understandable rage that a lot of people have about the way this nation is ran. It’s offering up innocent people as an outlet for that rage, and that’s fucked.”
Steve Marlowe – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “We move a whole lot of oil we don’t need to move for one. Also, the likelihood of a spill because they’re happening all the time, they’re just not talking about them.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Absolutely. Considering how many other countries are involved, the church, so yeah, this whole movement can be relocated to the next whatever it may be.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “Very scary. I don’t think he’s going to do what he said. We’re going backwards. They want to do away with so many things that we’ve fought for 50,60 years, civil rights, the gay community and all of that, it’s all being thrown away if he gets his way.”
Tyson Shay – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “It’s going to completely ruin the water for everybody. We all see the big picture. It’s going to go everywhere, even over to us in Idaho, and to the east. We don’t want that, we want clean water for everybody.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yes. I think it can be taken elsewhere.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I guess we still have yet to see really. I know he has a lot of new plans in mind. Hopefully he will be able to see all sides of the story.”
Anee Angel – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “I’m already worried. I’m very worried. Things like this don’t really stay the way they think it’s going to stay. I fear that it’s going to break and not infect the water, but the land, the fish. We are all connected together.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I think so. If we all unite together. Can you just imagine if all the people unite together. I’m worried about the environment for my kids and grand kids. If we have more people with the same mindset, we’ll be bomb.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “He’s got me nervous. I think I could deal with his BS, but I can’t live without water. WE need this water for the plants. We are water.”
Cherilyn Yazzie – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “I think people will be aware that there might be something political happening that we need to stand up and fight for a little more. I don’t think this is going to go away, I think there’s going to be more of them. We helped volunteer at the kitchen, and a lady there said they’re getting ready to put out a call to action in CA. In Arizona, even in our little community, they’re wanting to do fracking. Right now they’re having meetings there at home and they are saying no to that. Im hoping it doesn’t go through, but this is still huge in that people are aware. People are going to gather and keep doing this.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yeah, like I said, the lady in the kitchen said they’re getting ready to call for another action in their community. I think there’s going to be more of these. I really do. I think thats why we’re all coming together in that we know we’re relatives. I’m going to go help my relative out. I help you out, you help me out. We’re aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, grandma’s, paternal grandparents, that’s how we see ourselves as communities with Native American’s and Navajo’s and anybody else. We came out to help our relatives this way and in return, maybe in the future, they’ll help us out.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “It’s going to be scary, being a Navajo native, it’s going to be scary. People being openly hateful in that way. I don’t think I”m hateful to anybody, I don’t know why I’d get that in return. I think that’s what’s going to happen. I think, even in that, we’re going to stick together to say no, that’s not right.”
Violet Redbird Nez – “There might be possible leakage from the pipeline that might contaminate the water and the surrounding environment and that’s not good. You see it happening all around the world, pipelines breaking, getting into the water, polluting the water. It’s not really bing cleaned up. They cerated that, they should clean up their mess, but they’re not. It’s there killing the wildlife. They’re messing with Mother Nature and that’s very taboo for Native Americans, all nations that are traditional and that’s not good.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yes. When I first got here, the welcoming that we received was so warming, people of all nations, not just Native Americans, but I’ve seen Italian, I’ve seen Australian people here, I’ve seen lot’s of Caucasian, Chinese, African American and I’m like wow, that’s awesome. They’re all here helping. It’s a continuous cycle to help prepare meals, and cook and through the camp it’s like that. All you see here is humbleness and kindness and that’s a good feeling.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “When he first got elected, it was like a punch in the stomach, just this worst feeling ever. Kind of like losing a loved one, when you go through mourning, it was like that for me. It was the worst news you could possibly hear. It wasn’t a good feeling for me. It took me a couple days to come out of it. I don’t think he’s going to do good for our country. For me, he didn’t represent what a politician, what a president should be like. He just doesn’t have it in him. He makes snide comments on TV, he’s just not a professional. He’s not like the presidents we’ve had in the past. My gut instinct is that he’s not going to last. He’s going to mess up down the road and get impeached or somebody might assassinate him. That’s what I think. In the Navajo way, everything comes to balance. If you listen to the stories our elders have, everything is in balance, the earth, the stars, the sun, the animals, us humans, we’re all in balance together. We have to take care of that, we have to honor it, we have to be thankful for the things we have. When people come in and stir up the harmony of the earth and the balance, like what they’re doing up there, it’s not good. It’s upsets everything the cycle.” How do we restore that balance? “In our culture, we have offerings. That’s why we came, to give corn pollen to the water, be thankful. We’ve gotta give back to the earth with our ceremonies and I think we shouldn’t take too much of something. We only should take what we need for this lifetime, for your lifetime, not something for something that’s going togo over. You don’t need all that abundance. That’s greed over there (pointing to the pipeline) and that takes you nowhere in the end. All you see are bad things, hate, not being respectful. I’ve heard some stories, ladies saying that they’re really bad, they treat us really bad when we pray, when we’re protecting over there, but they’re saying really ugly things to us and it really hurts. We could use other things like the sun, the wind, and get our energy that way. That’s another way we could move towards, something more sustainable. Last night they brought in an elk and a deer and they fed people, and that was enough.”
Keoni Defranco – “In many ways this country has shown they don’t have a lot of respect for human rights in this country. There are a few aspects of this, the environmental aspects I think are the most obvious. They’re willing to sacrifice this water for very short term gains. I think we’re at a point in history to go green, go solar, go electric and they’re choosing against that for very short term profit and I think that’s a bit appalling. I think the most appalling thing is that have shown months of mistreatment and lack of regard for human lives, specifically the indigenous lives of this land.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Absolutely, I’ve only been here for a day, and I’ve been tracking this since April. Coming here is so powerful and everyone that comes and goes are bringing with them the medicine that is creating here to their own communities and I think they’re activating that. I think this is something that’s going to spread, hopefully through our lifetime. People here they drum, that drum is the heartbeat of the land, if you bring that drumbeat with you, you can continue to activate a global mission.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “Specifically for this pipeline he’s an individual investor, so he’s shown his colors, whether or not he’s said it publicly. In terms of my own life, I have a lot of gay friends in NY and they’re afraid that whether or not what he said last week is true, that they’re not going to be able to get married. Basic human rights are going to be abused in a very scary way and the scariest thing about is not just 4 years but the lasting impacts. Supreme Court appointees or other decisions that are made in the next year or two that could affect the rest of our lifetime if we don’t stay together and try to do something about it.”
Jyah Hoi – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “Not only are they trespassing on sacred lands that they have a history of disrespecting. From a water perspective, I think it’s an absolute failure as a country and as a culture to move toward sustainable, rekneable resources that truly support human beings.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I’d like to believe with all my heart that it is possible. I’ve only been here fore a few days, but the strength, steadiness, and peace that I have seen among the people here to stand up for something, I can put into words. We need more of this desperately. It is my deepest hope that whatever happens there, that there is a cultural momentum that is being built around standing up for what needs to be represented across the board.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “As a mixed woman, I think the myriad of ways that will play out are potentially terrifying. AT the end of the day, having the resolve that this is my country and as an individual, having to stand up for whatever may come, being willing to put life and spirt towards fighting against it is really all we can do.”
Shilo – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “It shows that corporate America prevails. There no such thing as law, or justice, or equal treatment or respect for native Americans, or even acknowledgment of everyones right to clean drinking water. It shows that money and anything else that helps turns the wheels of capitalism is far more important than the well being of the earth.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Oh hell yeah. This is just the beginning of something great. You’ve got environmentalist who have been doing this for decades, you’ve got vets, you’ve got indigenous tribes from all over, different groups from all over the world, different organizations, different races and the new generation waking up. It’s not just a joke that protecting the environment is essential to our survival. This is just the beginning. This can maybe help set precedent on exposing how corrupt corporate America is” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? I”m from 6 nations from outside Toronto, but I’ma dual citizen. I’m moving here. I think it will affect my life because he’s obviously a representation, a poster boy of corporate America. He has money invested in the DAPL. He’s very ignorant and egotistical and people who are ignorant and egotistical aren’t good listeners and I think if you’re going to lead a nation like the US that you should also be a listener because you are a representation of the people. People like him are not listeners, they are leaders of an agenda. There’s no government, just oil companies with armies and lots of money. It can affect me because I could end up going to prison just for standing up for water, standing up for indigenous rights. It can affect me, I have a lot of friends who are Chicano. There are a lot of indigenous people in Mexico, the US/Mexico border was just a line that was drawn by colonial powers, Spain and other European countries and there’s a lot of indigenous people who have a right to be on either side. It will affect me in a lot of ways. It will probably be a depressing four years, but a good one. I actually think now is the best time to move to America because now I get to see change and I get to see a generation and an era where people are going to come together and really fight and expose corporate America.”
Jamie Stuck – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “It’s not a good thing, because 1. It eats away at the sovereignty of the nation, their sovereignty rights are being dictated yet again by the federal government. If something happens and this eventually does go south, their water supply is done. WE actually had the Enbridge oil spill in Battle Creek a couple years back. We’re still dealing with the effects of that oil spill and what its done to the Kalamazoo River, which leads into Lake Michigan, and that’s our aboriginal waterway. We as a tribe are dealing with that still to this day. The cleanups still not done, you’re always going to have to have the cleanup and it’s going to take years and years to get that taken care of, so we know first hand as a tribe what it’s like to deal with oil spills. “ Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yeah, whoever is ready to put the flag up and organize it and take it to different places. It’s a good vibe here. The nonviolent route is the way to go. Don’t let them push you. They want you to react, but you’ve just got to be nonviolent and let your views be heard. You’re representing 566 nations around the United States. You’re not just representing yourself. We’ve got to watch how we act. The non violent ways are the good ways we’d like to go.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “We’re still waiting to see. One thing as far as moving forward and who we reach out to, we’re definitely going to have to find people as far as on our behalf as a tribe that have connections with the Republican Party. We just don’t have that right now. I don’t know what Trump is going to do, but he definitely is not going to be as proactive as Obama was in reaching out to the tribes and having that annual summit with the tribes. Well see how that goes. Obama really went out of his way to pay attention to the individual tribes and he really extended that out. Right now it’s just kind of up in the air. Get the administration checked and the cabinet chosen and we will see what we have to deal with when we see the new administration.”
Joe Pulliem – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “I think we all know what happens. It will contribute more to the depletion of our resources of course, but it will contribute to the greenhouse effect, it will contribute to the downfall of our planet. That’s why I’m here, to help stop that. I’ve been here 70 days and were here in prayer, were here in ceremony. The spirits tell us that were here for the right reason, were here for the right fight and that we will come out on top. Not so much as a win, as in a win in a game, but this symbolizes ushering in a new respect for native nations, treaties, the environment, humanity in general. We represent resistance to corporate greed and colonialism.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Absolutely. This place is a conglomeration of different movements, different organizations, tribal nations, that all have their own fights . We’re all fighting our own personal black snakes, in our different regions, in our different countries, in our different reservations. We’ve all grown like a close knit family. There’s plans amongst different groups and people to go support and stand in solidarity in other stands against this kind of greed, so yeah, definitely.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I’m not worried about myself personally. I’m a self employed artist. I don’t rely on the gov for food stamps or anything. Personally Im stepping up my own game. Im going to work harder. I’m going to stand against corporate greed, for my people, for our treaty rights, for humanity. For our country, it’s going to mean cuts to food stamp program, medicaid, healthcare.”
What happens if the pipeline is completed? “It has a deeper meaning I believe. I don’t care if this pipeline gets built. It’s about the message. We may not win the physical victory, but this camp is a spiritual battle. Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Yeah, I believe so. Maybe this will open up peoples eyes a little bit.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I’ve lost all hope in the American political system. I don’t support anything he’s involved with.”
Clarence Rolland – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “Basically we’re just waiting for the time it breaks, because it will break eventually. I hope it doesn’t get finished, we can’t have it finished, we can’t have that oil coming through here because it’s just a matter of time before it breaks and it will definitely ruin our water.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Possibly. It’s time we start stepping up for Mother Earth and stop from polluting her. It’s gotten to the point where all our water is almost gone. Its sad. I would definitely go to another site to support. I’ve been here for 3 months now and I wouldn’t mind going somewhere else.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I really didn’t like trump and didn’t want him to win. I don’t like him, he’s really racist. He wants to get rid of immigrants when he’s an immigrant himself and he doesn’t like Native Americans. He also said shoot to kill the protectors. We’ll see how long he lasts. He will definitely be against us because he doesn’t like native Americans.”
Cyrus Norcross – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “I’m thinking some of the people here might get violent. It’s going to be pretty heartbreaking for a lot of people, but at the same time, it’s going to make a lot of people who didn’t support it open their eyes up when the pipeline breaks open and pollutes the water. People are going to realize, wow, we should have been supporting the natives here, Standing Rock, but it will be too late by then. Hopefully it opens up peoples eyes.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Definitely can. It’s definitely a big jump for a lot of the resistance movements against pipelines and saving Mother Earth.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “Its good and bad. He’s definitely more about providing jobs, regardless if it’s with oil, which is good for people, but a lot of us, it’s going to be a lot tougher fight. He’s more into the oil industry, instead of alternative energy. Everyones going to have to rally together to stop it.”
Chickadee Richard (second from left) – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “It’s not going to happen. Im not putting it out there because I don’t believe it’s going to happen. I believe in the people and what they’re doing here.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “All over. All over the world. I think this is part of the awakening of non-indigenous people and I really believe that there’s a spiritual need that they don’t have and knowing the way that we know our homelands, intimately, because they’re settlers. They’ll never understand the relationship we have with our lands, so I believe that this movement is awakening their spirit. They’re here as helpers, they’re here as settlers, so it’s time that they give back that reciprocity, because our lands have sustained them and our lands have sustained us for thousands of years.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “Not us. We don’t believe in this electoral leaderships. We don’t believe in chief and councils. We have our own leaderships, our traditional leaderships. If you feed into that system, you give it power, so I don’t believe in Trump, I don’t believe in Justin Trudeau, I don’t believe in that kind of leadership. This is where we were placed on this land. This is our homeland. The homeland gives us that power. We were Anishinabe before Canada, the Lakota were Lakota before the USA. The land connects us as indigenous people.“
Jason Leroy George – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “Humanity fails. It’s just material over life.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I’m sure it can with the right leaders. There’s a lot of people just learning how to speak up.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I try not to get into that. I made some mistakes on my thoughts in the past. I’ll give him a chance and find out.“
Greg Urguhart – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “It’s not going to be good. The oil company doesn’t have a great track record with regards to environmental concerns, particularly once the pipeline is built. There’s so much spillage and leakage and they want to put this thing under the river. I cannot fathom how they ever got approval for that. I mean, I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to see this isn’t going to end well. That river is a water source for so many people, not just the tribes here but across the country.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “I definitely believe it is. This is the first time I have seen all 500 plus nations gather together and rally behind a cause. When we’re united, we make changes happen.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? I’m concerned, especially as it relates to environmental concerns. He’s from big business, and quite honestly, I think he’s going support big business and look the other way. Unlike our previous president who took on issues like this. “
Peji (Sage) Trudell – What happens if the pipeline is completed? “It’s not only going to be destructive to the reservation and the native people, I think the point that’s being missed is that it’s going be destructive to the earth as well and it’s not just going to be the native people that suffer. The farmers that are around here, North Dakota and South Dakota are very big agricultural areas, and they stand to lose a lot, whether they realize it or not. It’s going to affect the growth of their crops. It’s going to kill and destroy a lot of things, not just the people, and there’s a lot to lose in that. Also, I don’t want my kids to have to pay for their water. In essence, we already do that because we pay for water supply, but in reality, there’s so much water that shouldn’t have to be necessary, but I can see a huge situation that money can’t fix.” Is this resistance movement something that can move to another fossil fuel fight? “Actually, in reality I do. As we stand in peace and prayer and sometimes that gets lost in the negative aspects shown in the media, the true heart of whats happening here is that nations from all over the world are coming here to stand together to support the water here. Standing Rock may be the place, may be the first to have actually taken a stance, but I believe that it’s drawing other people. What I’d really like to see is that this isn’t the only place that this is happening in the United States, I’d like to see camps like this pop up everywhere and really be for the people and have that support and that love of themselves. In an essence in that in loving yourself and taking care of yourself, that you’re going to love the next person. You’re going to be more willing to love the earth and recognize the nurturing that she gives to us. I believe that she will outlive humanity if that’s what needs to happen to save herself. Right now, she’s providing everything we need, and water is a huge source of life. It really is life. It’s live giving, it’s live giving. You come from water when you come from the womb. The water carries you until you’re ready to come into the world. That’s important to acknowledge that.” What affect will Donald Trump’s election have on you? “I’m not sure. I don’t really play into politics. One of the reasons I don’t, is because I don’t believe that the face that they show, is real. In some aspects I believe they are puppets. My personal opinion of Donald Trump is not an excellent one. I believe that he’s about the money. I know this is going to sound crazy, but I believe that they allowed Barak Obama to become the president because he wasn’t the president they wanted, but they knew Trump was coming. To pacify the people, they gave them an African American president when in reality, Trump was always the one because he’s easier to control and he lives for the money. That’s my perception of it. That’s the feeling that I get.”
September 20th-22nd, 2016
In early September, Kelly O’Neil sent me a message on Facebook about my plans to travel to Standing Rock. After talking with indigenous community leaders in Seattle, we decided to go for it. A few weeks later, we rented a van and were on our way, armed with our cameras and a desire to see for ourselves what was happening in fields and rivers near Cannonball, North Dakota.
This is what I saw.
Mandan Jail Solidarity Demo for Lakota elder
Oceti Sakowin Camp
RedRum First Nations Motorcycle Club
A fundraiser will be held November 10th at Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar on Capitol Hill. All proceeds will go to legal and media at Red Warrior Camp.
Westlake Park – Seattle, WA – 10/29/16
As thousands gather near Cannon Ball, North Dakota at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, hundreds gathered on Sunday at Victor Steinbruck Park in Seattle to rally in solidarity. Activists from Coast Salish and other indigenous tribes joined environmental activists to defend water resources like the Missouri River as Energy Transfer Partners, a Texas based pipeline company with 71,000 miles of pipeline in the United States, attempt to extend their pipeline under a river that provides water to thousands.
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is slated to carry up to 570,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil from North Dakota to refineries in Illinois. There has been a presence of protestors since April, but the camp started significantly gaining size in the past two weeks. According to the LA Times “The judge over seeing the case,James A. Boasberg of United States District Court, said this week that he will rule no later than Sept. 9 on a request by the Standing Rock Sioux to stop construction and reconsider permits the project has received.”
Some Seattle based activists have camped and demonstrated at Standing Rock, came back to Seattle and the protest at Victor Steinbruck Park, and are now preparing for a return visit. Activists at Standing Rock have made it clear they will not back down, and with more representatives from Indigenous tribes arriving daily, this has turned into one of the biggest gathering of Tribal Nations since The Battle of the Greasy Grass in 1876.
Close to 500 people marched through Seattle after rallying briefly at Westlake Park and listening to words from Martin Luther King playing through a megaphone. Throughout the march, the protest would form a circle at intersections near sites relevant to issues of police brutality and almost anyone with something to say was given the opportunity to speak. Some of the younger protestors spoke through an adult translator but their passionate pleas for the right to exist spoke deeply to many, causing tears to be shed and cheers upon completion. The march wound through downtown Seattle, eventually marching to the SPD West Precinct where they again blocked the intersection. Demonstrators then walked up Capitol Hill on Pike before taking the intersection at Pine and 12th outside the SPD East Precinct. After a brief tour through downtown, the march eventually ended peacefully at Westlake Park.
Some see another Black Lives Matter march blocking streets and causing traffic in downtown Seattle, while others see another unarmed black man shot with his hands up, as was the case with Charles Kinsey in North Miami on Monday, July 18th. Kinsey, a behavioral therapist, was attending to an autistic patient in the street who was holding a white, toy truck in his hand. When North Miami police arrived, Kinsey lay on his back and put his hands in the air, but was soon shot by an officer who the president of the police union claims “The movement of the white individual made it look like he was going to discharge a firearm into Mr. Kinsey and the officer discharged trying to strike and stop the white man and unfortunately, he missed the white male and shot Mr. Kinsey by accident.”
After being shot, Charles Kinsey was flipped over on his stomach, handcuffed, and left bleeding for almost 20 minutes. Kinsey survived the shooting and recalls asking the officer why he was shot. The officers response, “I don’t know.”
Some see protest as ineffective, others see it as way for people to grieve together and find community through empowerment in taking the street. Some actions are more planned than others, some are more direct, some are subtle, but not everyone can attend every march, or every meeting, so having more than one option provides additional opportunity for engagement.
Capitol Hill Seattle blog covered the march as it made it’s way around the Pike/Pine corridor.
On Wednesday July 20th, dozens of hotel workers, union members, and community supporters gathered at Seattle’s Labor Temple, home of Unite Here Local 8 to support hotel workers fighting for safe work environments. Despite the heat, over a hundred people gathered at Hall 8 to hear directly from workers experiencing unsafe, over worked, and threatening environments and speaking in support of Initiative 124.
“Health and safety standards to protect Seattle’s hotel housekeepers from sexual harassment and inhumane workloads. Access to affordable family medical care and basic job security.”
Read more about the initiative.
Pramila Jayapal opened the event with praise of immigrant women and women of color who were in the room. She then spoke of the importance of workplace safety, “safety, security, injury on the job, these are not things that are separate from having a good business and having good hotels.” City Council members Kshama Sawant, Lisa Herbold, and Mike O’Brien all spoke in favor of the initiative.
Seattlish covered the topic brilliantly.
You can read more on personal accounts by workers in this great article by Sara Bernard for the Seattle Weekly.