The 2nd Civil Rights Movement …………………… moving
With so many Presidential Executive Order type decisions taking place in such a short period of time, Standing Rock was pretty much moved off the front page.
It’s been hard for me to track what’s been going on and, to me, this February 3rd article in the New Yorker by Carolyn Kormann does the best job of summing up recent events, though I also believe it misses something very important, what I call the difference between physical government and spiritual government.
Excerpts from the New Yorker article:
“On Tuesday evening, Kevin Cramer, a Republican congressman from North Dakota, announced in a video statement that completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which had been indefinitely delayed since December 4th, “now has its final green light.” The Department of the Army had confirmed to him, he said, that it would soon issue the permit required to dig the pipeline’s last segment, under Lake Oahe, on the Missouri River, half a mile upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Cramer did not mention the tribe, even though the pipeline crosses sacred tribal lands and could, if it ever ruptured, contaminate the reservation’s water supply. Instead, he focused on his admiration for the President, who signed a directive last week expediting the pipeline’s completion. “I am so, so grateful to Donald Trump,” Cramer said, beaming into the camera, a vanity license plate reading “BAKKEN” perched on the shelf behind him. “He is a man of action.”
Cramer, for all his enthusiasm, got one significant detail wrong. As the Standing Rock Sioux quickly noted in a written response, the Dakota Access permit has not been granted. “The congressman jumped the gun,” Jan Hasselman, the attorney representing the tribe, told me. The acting Secretary of the Army, Robert Speer, had only instructed the Army Corps of Engineers to grant the permit, beginning the process outlined in the Presidential directive. “These initial steps do not mean the easement has been approved,” an Army spokesman told the Washington Post. The Corps will now conduct its own analysis to decide whether it can approve the permit “in an expedited manner, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted,” as the directive states. Then it will notify Congress of its decision before actually granting the permit to Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline’s parent company.
The Army Corps has made a decision on the pipeline once before; less than two months ago, it denied the permit, resolving instead to prepare an environmental-impact statement (E.I.S.) evaluating alternative pipeline routes, potential spill risk, and the tribe’s historical treaty rights. On January 18th, the Corps formally announced the E.I.S. in the Federal Register, beginning a public-comment period that will remain open for another three weeks — unless the Corps reverses itself, as it is pressured to do by the Presidential directive, which states that it should “withdraw” the E.I.S. and consider modifying or rescinding the December 4th decision. “The writing on the wall is that it’s likely to happen,” Hasselman said. If it does, according to a statement released by the tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux will “vigorously pursue legal action” against what they characterize as “corporate interest superseding government procedure and the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans.”
Trump’s support for the Dakota Access Pipeline is of a piece with the G.O.P. platform and his “America First Energy Plan,” with its promise to “embrace the shale and gas revolution”.
For the tribe, the decision the Corps issued on December 4th was the culmination of two years of negotiation, litigation, and, finally, protest. At the time, thousands of Native Americans and their allies from across the country were camped out near the Standing Rock reservation in a show of solidarity. Many had been there for months, despite the freezing weather. Some are still there. In December, however, Dave Archambault II, the tribe’s council chairman, started urging the protesters, who call themselves water protectors, to pack up and return home. He cited the severe weather and the need to begin cleaning the accumulated garbage and detritus left by the tens of thousands of people who had camped across the area since early summer.
Intensifying security measures were also a factor. North Dakota’s senior senator, John Hoeven — who, like his Republican colleague Kevin Cramer, issued a premature statement on Tuesday night, claiming the pipeline was about to receive its final permit — announced that in the coming days and weeks there would be bulked-up security around Standing Rock. He said that he was working to secure additional federal law-enforcement resources, and reported that, in the meantime, twenty additional Bureau of Indian Affairs officers had been dispatched to the protest encampment. His message seemed clear: any upswell in protest would be quashed. And so it went. On Wednesday, after protesters moved onto land owned by E.T.P. and set up a new camp, police and National Guardsmen approached with bulldozers, sound cannons, and military trucks, and made dozens of arrests. Archambault issued a statement scolding the protesters involved, saying that they did not represent his tribe or the water protectors’ original intent. “Yesterday, some took advantage of the impending easement and used it as a call back to camp,” he wrote. “The fight is no longer here, but in the halls and courts of the federal government.”
How long the Corps will deliberate before issuing its next decision is unclear. In the meantime, a new round of pipeline opposition has begun. In Seattle, on Wednesday, the City Council Financial Committee voted unanimously to divest three billion dollars in city funds from Wells Fargo, citing the bank’s role as a lender to the Dakota Access project. And at Standing Rock the protesters remain, with others expected to return. Archambault continues to plead for people to go home. “Those who planned to occupy the new camp are putting all of our work at risk,” he said. “They also put people’s lives at risk. We have seen what brutality law enforcement can inflict with little provocation.”
Now going to where I think the article is flawed — missing the physical and spiritual government at Standing Rock.
The movement of Standing Rock began with Native youth, traumatized by the suicide of close friends, coming together. Teen-age suicide on Reservations is an epidemic. Through the plan to take the pipeline over Native land, the youth found a “cause”. Tribal Chairman Archamabult (physical government) publicly acknowledges everything began with the passion of the youth.
All along at Standing Rock, and common in Native life and culture, is a mutually respectful “dance” between the Tribal Council and Spiritual Elders, mainly women (spiritual government).
From “The Youth Group That Launched A Movement At Standing Rock” by Saul Elbein, New York Times Magazine, January 31st:
“In early September, the Seven Council Fires and Chief Arvol Looking Horse, who, for the Lakota Sioux, is something like their head of religion, gave the youths a gift: a chanupa, the ceremonial pipe that is the most sacred element of the Plains religion, a symbol of the knitting together of the human community and nature, ancestors with the living. In a ceremony under the blazing sun, the council deputized the youths as akicita, a Lakota term that means something like “warriors for the people” or “police.” It is difficult to overstate the importance of this gesture. The youths, Looking Horse explained to me, “weren’t really ready for it, but we told them that they’re going to accept it and learn the traditions. We said they had to be of pure mind. They said, ‘We’ll try.’ ”
The Biblical phrase for what happened spiritually with the youth is “the laying on of hands”.
The Sacred Fire at Oceti Sakowin Camp under the auspices of the the Tribal Council ended last December. The Youth and Elders then ignited a new fire, The People’s Fire, and this fire continues to burn.
The Women’s March on Washington the day after the Inauguration of President Trump released a short promo video. Here is the text from it:
“We march in solidarity for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families. Together we follow these principles of King-ian nonviolence.
Principle One — Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
Principle Two — The Beloved Community is the framework for the future.
Principle Three — Attack forces of evil, not people doing evil.
Principle Four — Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve a goal.
Principle Five — Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external violence.
Principle Six — The universe is on the side of justice.”