Seven Ways to Support the Standing Rock Water Protectors
My partner and I left Oceti Sakowin camp yesterday, just hours before a nonviolent action that was put down brutally by police. My cousin, hearing the news, asked what she could do. My suggestions:
1. Support the ongoing effort through the winter by donating at ocetisakowincamp.org to fund essentials like propane, toilets, firewood, and trash service. Oceti Sakowin is the main camp.
2. If your city and county have not yet passed a resolution in support of Standing Rock, get them to do so. I am so proud of my friend Dmitra, who just last week worked to get the Sonoma County Human Rights Commission to pass such a resolution (scroll down to second article on page). You can use that resolution as a template.
3. Write/call President Obama (202–456–1111) and the governor of North Dakota (701–328–2200). Tell them that the use of militarized local police forces against the water protectors must stop. Tell them that you support a halt to the construction of an oil pipeline that unduly burdens indigenous people. This pipeline was originally slated to cross the Missouri just north of the mostly white city of Bismarck, but then was moved south to a spot just north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.
4. If you have white privilege and/or wealth privilege, sponsor a local indigenous person, ideally a young person, to join the effort in North Dakota, someone who’s been wanting to go. If you don’t think you know anyone, ask around. If not an indigenous person, then another person of color. Offer to pay their transportation by car, bus, or train and VERY IMPORTANT send with them hardcore winter pants, coat, and boots, winter shelter, sub-zero sleeping gear and wood stove. We bought the Cabela’s Alaknak tent - not as warm as a yurt, but much more transportable - and a Camp Chef stove. Cabela’s offers good discounts for donations. Total cost will be about $2500 if you get deals. Fundraise if you need to. Have your sponsoree donate tent/stove to camp after they leave and know that these will be of great service throughout winter. Oceti Sakowin camp is an amazing place: a multi-racial, indigenous centered community with a shared purpose. For an indigenous person or another person of color, just being there can be an incredible experience.
5. Pull your support out of banks and other business that are supporting DAPL. Then write to them and tell them why.
6. If you are not already highly informed, read about the history of indigenous Americans. Inform yourself about how the genocide upon which our nation was founded continues today. May not stop this pipeline, but is super important in the long term.
7. If you are non-indigenous, and especially if you are white: talk about this with your friends, relatives, and co-workers, even when - especially when - it is an uncomfortable and perhaps unwelcome conversation. Often we feel it is more polite to not rock the boat. This is misplaced concern. Ask yourself: is this discomfort something you are willing to withstand, given that our indigenous brothers and sisters have endured and continue to endure so much more?