Anarchism in Native America.. + How To Support the ‘No Dakota Pipeline’ Fight .. #NoDAPL

Anarchism in Native America: Remembering the Past, Observing the Present, Protecting the Future

 

– Things have changed a lot since I became an anarchist, not the least of which was learning a lot about the government’s role in regulating just about everything imaginable, and how it negatively affects people. Becoming an anarchist has also given me a deeper appreciation of being Native, as well as the reverse: being Native has given me a deeper appreciation of what anarchism entails.

Yes, I know that there will probably be other anarchists that will denounce me being proud of something that is considered “an accident of birth”, yet they will conveniently overlook the fact that being descended from people who have been (and still are) consistently screwed over by a governing body “for their own good” means fertile soil for a bigger demand to dismantle The State™.

Growing up was not without its challenges.528c8f11a748ff1d7b7d182f586917e6

As a “mixed-breed”, I caught much flak by Natives for being white, and caught flak from whites for being Native. Even now, there’s still a lot of crap given to people who are not “pure enough”, and it’s coming from all sides. I was able to witness firsthand the traditions of my tribe (Oglala Lakota, in South Dakota), to listen to the stories, to watch how government meddling harmed those who were trying to make due for themselves and their families.

I masochistically decided to go back and work as part of the Tribal Ambulance Service when I was a certified EMT-B, to catch that same flak as an adult. “You’re too white to be indi’n” was something I was told by one of my patients.

Yet, not all calls were like that. Families trusted me to check over their babies. I was often fed (and fed well). I’ve had little ones hug me for just showing up. I’ve had older patients remember me from when I was a little girl, or ones that recognized me because of my relatives. Times like those reminded me of the beauty of a close-knit community, even past the flaws.anticolonialvsdecolonization

Times like those also gave me a good look at how the government had successfully and repeatedly harmed my tribe for the gain of The State™.

The Oglala Lakota are most famously known for being the victims of the Wounded Knee Massacre, carried out by the government, and the 7th Cavalry Regiment being their main instrument of carrying out the murders. Medals of Honor were awarded to those soldiers who took part in the killings.

The act that the government was trying to commit before it began? Disarming the Lakota. This is one of the most infamous acts of murder carried out by the U.S. Government and her agents, yet people don’t know what was happening before it started.

This is the same thing that certain people are calling for today: the disarming of the population under the idea that the government, more specifically, the police, will protect everyone.indian_01

They conveniently overlook that disarming the people means taking away their ability to protect themselves *from* the government.

During World War II, the U.S. Government, in all its wisdom, decided to “appropriate” almost 350,000 acres of the Pine Ridge Reservation to use as a practice bombing range. Over 100 Native families were forced from their homes to make way for the government to allow their B-17 pilots a plot of land to refine their target acquiring skills, and eventually in the 70s, this range would be used by the National Guard as a practice range for field artillery.

The usage of land in this manner left unexploded ordinance to sit against the weather, leaking chemicals and heavy metals into the ground water, as well as still being a danger of exploding if disturbed. There has been repeated efforts to clean up the area, but the damage has been done, and nobody knows if or when the area will be clear of the UXO, or to what extent the UXO contaminated the water.

South of the Border: The indigenous people in Chiapas have defended the Zapatista free area for a generation, with a communal, feminist, non-hierarchical and non-tribal culture that has inspired the world.
South of the Border: The indigenous people in Chiapas have defended the Zapatista free area for a generation, with a communal, feminist, non-hierarchical and non-tribal centered culture that has inspired the world.

In the early 2000s, Alex White Plume, who would later become Oglala Tribal Vice-President and then President, had his farm raided and plants destroyed by DEA agents because he dared plant industrial hemp, a low-THC version of Cannabis.

The Tribe had already passed a resolution approving industrial hemp to be grown within the boundaries of the reservation, which is notoriously difficult to grow on due to the nature of the soil.

The federal government went so far as to put a restraining order on Mr. White Plume to tell him to stop trying to grow hemp without permission from them, which reinforced the fact that although they claim that tribes are sovereign, it’s only a thin disguise that doesn’t cover the fact that they *will* harass you if you do something that offends them, no matter where you are.

Image Source: Joseph Tye

Image Source: Joseph Tye

I took part in the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Energy Transfer Partners headquarters in Dallas, TX. I even spoke on behalf of my tribe after pouring my heart out to Tribal President, John Yellow Bird Steele, about wanting to do the Lakota Oyate proud, even though I’m not a fullblood, and knowing the anarcho-purists would probably call me “not anarchist enough” for bringing my intentions before the head of a smaller, Native version of The State™, even if they knew his stance on cryptocurrency and saw it as a small victory against the Federal Reserve.

It was a wonderful experience anyway, standing in the pounding Texas sun in the middle of a concrete wasteland of big money and boutiques for people who think $1500 is a good price for jeans with holes in them (which I don’t understand, but if that’s what they want to sell, more power to them). Natives from many tribes gathered, as well as non-Native supporters. Sage wafted in the air, blessings were said, songs were sung, and people aired their grievances against the pipeline. It was a beautiful display of dissent.free-leonard-peltier

The parts of the event that stung the hardest was when a majority of the blame was placed on Capitalism instead of Corporatism. The blame was not being aimed toward the government for giving permission to such a company to start digging up burial sites and lands held sacred, or to threaten the modern-day version of Manifest Destiny, also known as “Eminent Domain”.

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard essentially applauded the use of government force through police due to false allegations of violence in North Dakota, the main area of protest hosted by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, where their reservation sits on the border of both states.

Police remain an ever-present show of state force, reminiscent of the BIA agents of old, to lock away any Native that stands their ground, even for the most ironic of charges: trespassing on private property.page-photo-309070

Even in Dallas, the proceedings were halted momentarily to thank the police for what they do. I screamed internally so loud that I think someone might have heard me. How quickly people forget. Did they not see where the police were standing? Their smirks and laughing when someone spoke one of the Old Languages? The goofy look on one of the officers’ faces as he filmed the crowd as the singers started drumming?

Maybe I’ve been to too many protests, read too much about history of policing in America, witnessed too many people getting arrested for obstruction when they were 3 lanes of traffic away on a public sidewalk, read too many stories about people of all races getting shot by police in no-knock raids at wrong addresses… but the presence of agents of the state has given me a bad feeling for a number of years and for many reasons.

Perhaps it’s because police in their various forms have been used to force and keep Natives on some of the least-productive tracts of land available, upon threat of death? Or maybe because they were used as slave patrols, to return runaway slaves to their owners?cropped-redtitle1

Maybe it’s because of events like Ruby Ridge? Killings like that of John T. Williams in Seattle, among many others? Who did they think would be shooing us away like unwanted dogs if Kelcy Warren decided he was tired of the little spectacle on his doorstep? I maintained composure.

We were here against the pipeline, for our ancestors and descendants, for clean water for everyone. I kept that in mind as I swallowed my anger, to keep it for another time.

The protest in Dallas went on for about 2 hours, with representatives from multiple tribes and organizations showing up in solidarity with Standing Rock. Local media presence was brief, almost non-existent to the point where I was actually surprised to see coverage from a couple of the local outlets.Dakota pipeline

It was a beautiful, unique, frustrating experience, combining a strange mix of remembering past government aggressions with current ideas that Capitalism is evil but can be fixed with the right method of government. The irony was not lost on me, and thinking about it launched me from being tired and in bed, to fully awake and writing this article despite my body screaming at me to go back to snuggle with my husband.

Even through my personally rough past regarding my own tribe, in terms of identity, my heart so desperately hopes that more Natives look at anarchism as a viable option to get the government out of their lives in even the smallest of ways.

Voluntary interactions are a wonderful thing, and I think it would be an awesome thing to see someone selling Indian Tacos at an anarchist gathering.

?????????????????????????????????????????

Besides, anarchy could benefit greatly from some good frybread.

by  • Special from The Fifth Column with thanks



How To Support the ‘No Dakota Pipeline’ Fight from Wherever Youb Are #NoDAPL

13925807_1083758905022810_6764466789962328550_oI don’t have words powerful enough to describe my experience at the Red Warrior Camp on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. I care deeply about this fight so I’m going attempt an explanation anyways.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel from my home in Minneapolis, Minnesota to the Standing Rock Reservation in Cannonball, North Dakota, where indigenous water protectors are fighting to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Missouri River. Thousands of people are camped alongside the Cannonball River at the Red Warrior and Sacred Stones camps. Tepees stand alongside tents filled with families, elders, and young people advocating for the protection of the land, water, and climate.

camp-pic

As a non-native person coming from Minnesota – it was really important to consistently hold myself to observing and honoring the community I was entering. I was definitely holding some fear about how my presence would be interpreted but upon arriving I felt welcome to show support in the ways that I could, while also taking direction from the people around me. My role while at the camp was in food prep and I had the invaluable experience of building relationships with others while we opened cans of vegetables, cut tomatoes, and zucchini, washed dishes and served dinner to hundreds of people each night.

As a college student working on a fossil fuel divestment campaign, it was such an important experience for me to find a way to support this organizing being led by frontline communities. I felt honored to sit around the fire each evening and listen to people sharing their stories. Indigenous folk from all over the country told of heartbreaking experiences of the land, air, and water being poisoned in their communities. Young people spoke of their hopes for a more just future, one in which Native American treaties are adhered to and the earth and its inhabitants respected. The overwhelming message was one of optimism and empowerment.

14141825_1097441286987905_5583708539176283623_n

Friday brought the movement big news — the Obama administration suspended construction on part of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This is proof that the organizing on the ground is working but this fight is long from over.

If you’ve either been following this powerful organizing from afar or if you are considering going to the Standing Rock camps here are a few things you can do to support the #NoDAPL fight:

  1. Join the resistance on the ground! If you have the resources and time and choose to visit remember that you are a guest of the Standing Rock tribe. Respect the land, water, and air of the community. Don’t bring drugs, alcohol or weapons of any kind. Bring your own supplies and your own food. If you are able, collect donations of supplies from your friends and family to bring along. If you identify as female, bring a long skirt for ceremonial purposes. And most of all, listen, participate, and help out in any way that you can.
  2. Join the #NoDAPL 9.13.16 Day of Action as part of a two-week solidarity call to stand with the indigenous communities fighting on the frontlines. There might already be an action planned in your city or you can sign up to host one yourself.
  3. Donate to the legal defense fund and/or the camp’s general expense fund. Nonviolent resistance involves lots of expensive legal repercussions, and running a camp for thousands of people is also costly!
  4. Raise the issue! Reach out to elected officials on all levels about the pipeline. Talk about the DAPL resistance on social media, using #NoDAPL. Talk to your friends, family, neighbors, babysitters, co-workers, professors, teachers, and everyone else about why you support this pipeline resistance!

This pipeline can and will be defeated but this fight isn’t going to stop there. People are going to leave camp ready to mobilize to protect the air, water, and climate of their own home communities, and our movement will know even more deeply what it means to work together for climate justice from all corners of the country.

nodapl-save-as

The world is ready for us to go fossil free, stop investing in companies that are poisoning people, keep fossil fuels in the ground and stop the construction of infrastructure projects that threaten culture and communities.

This blog was written by Becca Krasky. Becca  is from Minneapolis, MN and  organizes for fossil fuel divestment at Macalester College.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s