I hosted my annual #ThanksgivingBack Birthday event this past weekend. Essentially, I’ll invite friends over to eat snacks I was deprived of during my childhood (namely Totino’s pizza rolls) and ask them to bring donations for a different social cause each year.
This year, I wanted to support the Sacred Stone Camp & the water protectors who are using their bodies and voice to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. They’ve been under constant attack by law enforcement for peacefully protesting and standing their ground. Some of the atrocities committed against the protectors are so outrageous, I can’t believe that DOJ hasn’t sent observers yet.
My friends & family are pretty wonderful people and donated some cashmonaymonay, but I woke yesterday morning to reports of police spraying fire hoses at Sacred Stone Camp in near freezing temperatures, injuring over 100 people. It seems like for every step forward, we’re pushed 50 feet back (by fire hoses, apparently).
During this time, I implore you to donate to Standing Rock’s legal defense fund and/or contribute much needed supplies. I know a lot of people don’t have the expenses to donate a lot, much less travel to North Dakota to be on the frontlines. That’s understandable. That’s okay. (as a sidenote, people who are going to ND…that’s super great, but, y’all better be trained in nonviolent protest, because shit is crazy and you need to be prepared so you don’t react negatively and screw up the credibility of the work that the water protectors have been doing since April. Nonviolence and peaceful protesting is a skill that you need to learn like any other trade. Unfortunately, nonviolent social movements have always been demonized by media for speaking out against power structures, so if a rogue protestor becomes violent, that is all that the media will cover. A sad truth, but a truth nonetheless.)
Anyway, although it’s okay to not be in a financial place to donate money or travel to Standing Rock, what’s not okay is to let this all slide–to just think that since others are speaking out, you don’t have to. It is the ultimate irony that our country is preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving while Native lives and land are [still] seen as disposable.
And okay, we can’t just cancel Thanksgiving. I mean, in all honesty, I would love to skip the whole ordeal (because I don’t eat turkey anyway) and instead have informal educational circles about colonialism and deconstructing white supremacy & post-colonialism, but like…that probably won’t fly in my family. But what I can do, and what we all can do is call out our elected officials for standing by while Native people and their allies are attacked. After your Thanksgiving meal, take twenty minutes to chat with your family about #NoDAPL and leave messages for the Department of Justice, Army Corps, and ND’s governor. Sure, it might seem unconventional, but our tradition of sweeping Native lives and Native problems under the proverbial rug has resulted in huge proportions of Native children in foster care, disproportionate number of Natives killed by police, food deserts, and poor health outcomes.
We have a lot of work to do, and the response from our government and police state to peaceful protesting at Standing Rock surely demonstrates this.
To leave this post on a moderately high note, what I am hopeful for and grateful for are regular people who refuse to let history keep repeating itself. I’m lucky and proud to know some of these people: to be their friends & learn from them in all ways on all days. This year has been all sorts of horrible, but I have grown immensely from every person who walked in (and out) of my life. And because of that, maybe it hasn’t been so horrible. It’s also been shades of amazing and uplifting and full of soul-searching. So, thanks for giving me that, world.
…And because I don’t have a nifty or clever segue into displaying this week’s TunesDay playlist, I’m just going to drop it here:
May you celebrate time with your loved ones if you are lucky enough to be with them this week. And for those who aren’t, go buy a pie. Pie makes 93.4% of things better. I recommend pumpkin and dutch apple, but you could get a weird berry one too, I guess. One of the best things the USA has going for us right now is our selection of gourmet pies. But in all seriousness, know that you are loved even if you aren’t sitting with your family and stuffing your face together. As always, I’m sending you love and strength.
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