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Standing Rock benefit raises $29,000 to support Native Americans

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Standing Rock benefit raises $29,000 to support Native Americans 

“The tremendous outpouring of support for the Standing Rock Water Protectors was inspiring. I was particularly moved by the drumming, and the comments by Adam, the leader of the drum, about the enormous significance of this movement and the coming together of people from all corners of the earth to challenge the militarized assault on the indigenous peoples, their water and their sovereignty, and to hold the vision of a different kind of future in which the earth and all of her children are cared for.” ~ Debora Hammond, Sonoma State University professor 

By Shepherd Bliss 

An inspiring Standing Rock benefit to support Native Americans and others seeking to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) happened on Nov. 6 from early in the afternoon to past 10 p.m. at the Sebastopol Grange. A stream of folks coming and going was estimated to be about 600 people. The event raised $29,000. through donations, food and drink sales.

The 1,172-mile-long pipeline currently is scheduled to cross both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers to carry oil that was obtained by fracking and would be an environmental disaster. It also crosses Native American sacred ground. In the last seven months, over 50,000 people have participated in actions at the site and encamped at the nearby Standing Rock Sioux reservation. 

Police and security guards from throughout North Dakota and beyond have terrorized the peaceful water protectors, including using attack dogs and riders on horses. They have arrested hundreds, yet the encampment continues to grow, despite such police brutality.

It has been a classic David vs. Goliath struggle with members of nearly 100 tribes and their allies on site. Amy Goodman of the radio/TV program “Democracy Now” was among hundreds arrested. Eventually released, her reports can be heard on her program and at her website.

“The tremendous outpouring of support for the Standing Rock Water Protectors was inspiring,” commented Sonoma State University Professor Debora Hammond. She attended with others from Rohnert Park and Cotati. 

“I was particularly moved by the drumming, and the comments by Adam, the drum leader, about the enormous significance of this movement and the coming together of people from all corners of the earth to challenge the militarized assault on the indigenous peoples, their water and their sovereignty, and to hold the vision of a different kind of future in which the earth and all of her children are cared for.”

“It was heartening to see that massive turnout. I think people are feeling so alienated by this ugly election process, that it was really great timing to be able to act positively and hopefully make a difference. The overflowing donation jars were certainly inspiring,” commented Anna Ransom.

A family event, children and adults held signs like “Water is Sacred,” “Love Your Mother,” and “Water is Life.”

Outside the Grange Hall, two tents were set up, with tables for supporting groups, such as Vote Yes on Measure M, about GMOs, and the Peace and Justice Center. Most of the people were accommodated outside in and around the tents.

A fire circle outside started the evening. Then indigenous people lead a prayer circle inside, after which people returned outside for lively Aztec dancing. Food from around the world, including Puerto Rico, was sold. A water blessing, music, dance, and art were offered. 

Information on direct actions to support the Standing Rock protectors were circulated. For example, people were encouraged to boycott DAPL funders, which include Wells Fargo Bank, Citibank, and Bank of America. Energy Transformation Partners, a Texas-based company, is building the pipeline and contends that it will create thousands of jobs.

“An SSU Student’s Journey to Standing Rock” banner headlines a long front-page Nov. 1 issue of the weekly Sonoma State Star. “There is an ancient Native American prophecy that speaks of a great black snake that will one day run through all the valleys and rivers, desecrating life in its path,” Noah Treanor writes. “From east to west, tribal elders have warned for generations this monster was coming. And today it seems it is finally upon us.”

 “We could see men, women and elders being grabbed and body slammed to the floor,” reports Treanor. “Everyone was locked in arms and still in prayer.”

“A wonderful event!” Angela Ford said. “Lovely energy, so many young people and elders. Great music from Royal Jelly Jive.” She added that it was “not purely a local event. I talked with a woman from Berkeley, a native from Novato, a couple from Ukiah, and one of the Feather dancers from Roseland.  Others came from San Francisco and elsewhere in the Bay Area.”

 


(Shepherd Bliss {3sb@comcast.net} is an Adjunct Associate Professor of English at Dominican University. He has contributed to 24 books and farmed for the last two decades.)


http://countercurrentnews.com/2016/11/sheriffs-leave-standing-rock-saying-completely-unethical/