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Resistance at Standing Rock: The People From Oceti Sakowin Camp

Resistance at Standing Rock: The People From Oceti Sakowin Camp
Tue, 12/6/2016 - by Alex Garland

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 white 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.”

 

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