Over the past 500 plus years Indigenous Peoples have been suffering the continued violence and genocide at the hands of the settler society. While there have been waves of civil rights movements, feminism, and social justice we Native Americans are still suffering causalities of the systemic institutional and environmental racism. The violence’s imposed on Native Peoples and apathy of the larger populations is indicative of lack of accountability and recognition of the largest crime against humanity, the genocide of the First Nations Peoples of Turtle Island.
Barker (2016) points out the multiple times Native Peoples have been excluded from justice by whites and POC in “history” while standing on our bones for their own legitimization and justice at the expense of ours. This has led to thousands of laws and policies that oppress and violate us using science to validate their fuzzy logic. This perpetuation of injustice has allowed for POC and other marginalized groups to look away as we suffer in their own attempt to either self-preserve or to disguise their own guilt. Then Standing Rock rose up.
In April of 2016 Lakota woman set up camp outside the Standing Rock Lakota Reservation north of Cannonball North Dakota against the Goliath oil and gas industries and no one noticed, well no non-Indigenous people noticed. She was not alone in her stance as in the rice lakes of Minnesota more women were making stands against the rape of their lands by energy companies. In Oklahoma 3 Absentee Shawnee women started their fight against the hundreds of oil pipelines in the places they live, work, and have ceremonies. Interestingly earlier in 2012 it was women that took on the extractive industry in Canada and started a worldwide movement called Idle No More. Indigenous women are taking the lead against the violence’s against their lands, air, water as well as their bodies.
Ironically the move to support us by other POC and women has been slow. Partly because of our conditioned mindset of fear, assimilations, neocolonial self-loathing, neoliberal induced and perpetuated poverty, institutional exclusion and media blackout of out issues. These issues have squeaked out to the larger world through the technologies of cell phones, Internet and social media. Along with our issues the militarized police force and the historical and current racist violence’s and killings have also been shared with the larger world, only in small bits and pieces. I have noticed white friends in their white fragility defend the killing of POC by white officers and dismissal of my own empirical statistical evidence against their stance.
It is this created fear of losing power and control that feeds the chaos of our current binaries of “us’ and “them” while really not acknowledging the subtle class wars that allow those with to fear and hate those without. This brings be back to the initial component of my argument that Standing Rock and all it stands for threatens more that the oil and gas corporate industries. It forces society (civilization if you could validate calling it such) to look at itself and its role in the atrocities against Indigenous Peoples as well as our Mother Earth. It is forced to recognize the United States is an illegal government based on theft, lies, greed, and genocide. Standing Rock has so much symbolism beyond the protection of water, the leadership of Indigenous women, and the fight for justice. It is about reclaiming our power, our sovereignty and our inherent responsibility to Mother Earth and all our relations in all seven directions. It is about honoring our ancestors and our descendants yet to be. It is all about the community we Indigenous People have and the lessons from hundreds of thousands of years of evolution and survival and the lessons that comes with these methods of knowledge and acts of wisdoms. It is about climate, social, reproductive and environmental justice. It is about standing strong on the ancient grandpas and grandmas that are the original beings before humans, the rocks, the water, the stars, the blood of our peoples in the soils that shelters and nourishes us. Standing Rock.
We are beyond the tipping point. As an Alaskan elder told a group of us in March we are beyond adaptation, it is about surviving climate changes. “Climate Changed” was the theme of the ten year anniversary of the Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Working Group because as we know the climates around the world, physically, culturally, and politically changed. It was through this meeting I realized how much has changed, and yet how much needs to change as we will never survive or move forward if we continue to depend on an outdated and infantile science. Science based on white male supremacy and power control.
I experienced an Indigenous woman attempt to educate a man of color, not from Turtle Island, on needs and ways for men in science to communicate more effectively with human beings, more-than-human beings, women and other marginalized and oppressed beings. In his wounded brown-ness he attacked her and her offer of knowledge. No one stood with her in that moment; shamefully this included myself, while she stood up to his patriarchy, colonization, and dismissive rebuttals to her. That strong beautiful Indigenous woman walked out of that room with her moccasins still on and her integrity and identity intact. She was Standing Rock.
After a moment I followed after her and once I wrapped my mind and heart around my own personal violence’s I went back into that room and I confronted the room of people on our collaborative silence, which was her immediate violence and all our collective historical and generational violence. Silence is violence and I spoke out, I am Standing Rock, I am Idle No More. In that moment the room full of mixed peoples from around the world and across Turtle Island ripped open the infected wound of our oppression, apathy, and violence. We were all uncomfortable.
It is in the moments of discomfort we find ourselves and the ancient strength embedded in our DNA passed down from our ancestors and our backs straighten, our fears faced down and our weaknesses become a little stronger. We were all Standing Rocks. We owned our compliancy and promised to change. We honor our women and men equally. We are active agents of transition and all have a part. I realized mine in the moments that followed, as I owned my silences and violated the institutional structures that must hold me down as to stand on me, and the bones of my ancestors.
I refused to be silent and I will continue to stand with all of the Standing Rocks out there to fight to the death for the survival of all my relations against the many headed black snakes around the world as I expose the hubris and fallacy of western science and the power the colonial settler society struggles to claim and cling to. We are all Standing Rock and if we are not, we best get Idle No More because our silence is their violence. Stand like Standing Rock, for our ancestors are our entourage. Our Mother has been raped, her bones broken, her blood and tears poisoned, and forcefully violently penetrated then injected with the poisoned seeds of fracking, gas and oil extractions. They are murdering our Mother and we have been silent too long. STOP, STAND, FIGHT.
I am willing to die to protect my Mother and all my relatives. So what are you willing to die for because if you do not stand up against the rape and violations against our Mother we are already dead. I do not know a lot or speak for anyone but I do know…
I am the descendant of an Indian they could not kill.