This morning a friend asked me to write a high level overview of what is going on in Standing Rock out in North Dakota, where there's a protest I went out to see trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from being built under the Missouri River and through more native sacred land.
My babe called me up to the bedroom as I sat down to type, cuz for the first time she's seen it mentioned on the news (which she watches every morning to get the weather as I hide in a different room, away from the teevee which irritates me anytime the news is on, even when it's not saying anything I should be irritated by). Anyway I had already began formulating what I was going to write about it, and the 20 or so second misleading pile of horseshit was synchronistic, more support for my thoughts at th moment.
I was asked to start a conversation, and funny enough my trip out there started with a conversation about Standing Rock, about there being a lack of conversation (or any real information) about it. My friend from Iowa, who I'd never personally met, where I'd never actually been, was "called" to go for his own reasons as well as several like my own, but we 100% shared the suspicion that something real and important was going on there, and that we weren't going to get any kind of idea of what it was unless we saw it for ourselves.
We shared a passion for trying to discern meaningful information from the sea of seemingly endless nonsense we are drowning in from all forms of media from all directions. We shared the belief that the type of activism that is widely publicized, like "occupy" movements, lockins and boycotts and blocking streets type protests, letter writing to Congress/POTUS, voting, and the like were about as meaningful and productive as lighting ourselves on fire, which neither of us are particularly into.
So maybe it was the lack of coverage (fueling our suspicions that we are never allowed to hear anything real or actionable or threatening to the status quo in any form of media), maybe it was our "woo-woo seeming calling", as we talked on the phone with our significant others in the room, both encouraging us to go, as life circumstances actually made it perfect timing to leave our family for a couple weeks, or maybe it was something else...I dunno, I just know as it all came together, I got in "doing" mode...any planning ended in ways opposite of my (and our, once we connected) intentions so at some point we didn't even try. We stopped talking and started DOING.
Sorry to be long winded, just trying to set the stage. We were as in the dark as anyone else, having NO idea of what we were getting into. Maybe my new friend had heard out on his Iowa farm, but in my east coast suburban sprawl the only place I ever could have possibly heard that the Lakota Sioux native to the area had called all the tribes of the world to come help them at Standing Rock back in April, after the DAPL plowed right through their sacred burial grounds, on the way to endangering an estimated 19 million Americans' drinking water...breaking just about any regulation imposed on their industry on the way.
Of course, I didn't find this out until I got there. I'm not sure I'd have even believed it if I just saw it in the internet, and I certainly haven't seen/heard anything close to that in any form of mainstream media. But that's what it is, an indigenous tribe we failed to completely genocide back in the "manifest destiny" days had enough of getting shit on in the scrap of land we forced them to contain themselves to, asked for help, from the world, to prevent an energy concern from putting their (and everyone downstream's) water at risk.
The call was answered by thousands...how any of them heard? I can only guess that only they know. I suppose each individual has their own story to tell...hopefully not as boring and rambling as mine. But I'm pretty sure any would love to tell you, if you are willing to listen. And I'm sure there's plenty that will tell ya even if you aren't. The diversity of the water protectors is unimaginable, so much so that I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it in person.
But what we all had in common is some nuggets of truth that can only be verified by participating, unifying the hundreds of nations represented there:
-a tribe made a call to the world to help them protect their way of life
-the invite was conditional, you are only welcome if you come in non-violence with a clear head: no weapons or intoxicants of any kind are tolerated anywhere near the camp
-Through peaceful protest and prayer, the unifying purpose is to do whatever can be done to prevent Energy Transfer Partners from building any more of the DAPL
-The corporation enjoys the protection of local law enforcement and federal military forces, as well as their own (unchecked) heavily armed security contractors and not-so-local law enforcement from other states
-Every "action" the water protectors organize on a "sanctioned" level from within the camp requires training, which focuses on the importance of non-violence while focusing on one goal: preventing the workers from doing their jobs, following their orders
-The pipe will transport energy resources (I believe crude oil derived from Canadian tar sands?) through the US to the guild for export...all of the risk to we the people, all the benefit (profit) to the corporations (corporate shareholders)
-Every time work on the DAPL is successfully prevented adds hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of the project, the endgame for the Stand is to make DAPL a bad investment so they stop building it...or as the natives like to say, "KILL THE BLACK SNAKE"
I brought my (seemingly endless, sorry) personal context into it to show that how the whole thing is many things to each individual. It is a microcosm of real life, with reflections on the personal interaction level all the way up to national elections and geopolitics...if you look close enough, you can find something in the Stand that relates to any issue you can imagine.
But the fact of the matter is, this isn't a bunch of Indians and hippies blocking highways and occupying or protesting injustices by "the Man" that they are personally emotionally attached to. This thing is REAL. An environment was created where real action is having a direct effect in making a change of a tangible, REAL injustice in a single place sacred to the people that feel they have a right to live there. The forces they are protecting their home from are violating the rules that the authority that protects created.
That's why you will never see clear information about it in the media that is owned and controlled by that very same authority. Because it is about a practical way to hold authority accountable. The practices by the energy companies are widespread throughout the country, out in remote areas where it would be hard for anyone to even notice, let alone tell anyone about. If attention was brought to this, the status quo would be threatened, and victims of the abuse....ALL OF US, each person who is not making selfish decisions for their own profit at the expense of ALL life...might just start feeling empowered, or desperate and informed enough to force change.
#NoDAPL is about the lies we tell ourselves about civilization. It's about saying ENOUGH IS ENOUGH to the those who teach us life is about taking what you can no matter who you have to use and what the cost to others. It is an example of how the average joe can make a meaningful change in the seemingly impenetrable system that's sucked so much life from this world already.
If they (we) can stop them there, if they (we) can do it while staying on the peaceful path (rather than the system generated WAR mentality we are programmed with), a blueprint for wider-spread change will be created. Something tangible that those fence-sitters or those in total fear can look to for inspiration to act, in their own self interest for a change.
The only black-and-white in this whole thing is that human beings that want their way of life considered as much the corporate entity that is imposing its way of life on them. Right now, their considerable resources are confusing the hearts and minds of "we the people" by completely hiding the fact our tax dollars are going toward protecting a pipeline, hiding information about how it is being done (especially the risk to US).
Historically, the brute force and manipulating minds always seems to have succeeded....the few benefitting from the many status quo has been maintained through my life and the history I have learned. Maybe if the humans at Standing Rock can find a unity and stay strong, we can see some historical positive change.