FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Tipis on the Mall

by

How soon the course of history forgets the footsteps of the past. Displaced individuals, unheard voices and the cries of the Earth called 10,000 to gather strong in protest to ‘Respect & Protect.’  A new day dawned on Capitol Hill Saturday, April 25; not your typical weekend activity in DC, as joggers, school groups, and tourists gazed in amazement with tipis between Capitol Hill and the shadowing cast of the Washington Monument.

tipi camp

I arrived in DC with warriors; a man of the Lakota Sioux, a Cheyenne man and a film maker.  As we walked the streets of DC, people would point; ‘Look there’s an Indian.’ In DC, the grid is high power and it’s not your day-to-day reality to see men dressed in full regalia marching in the streets.  Ribbon shirts, eagle plumes and ancestral bonnets lined the front procession.  Almost four decades has passed since a tipi has stood ground in protest on Capitol Hill and this time the request is an awakening.

Around 9 am, a Grandmother of the Rosebud Sioux prayed for the sacred waters of the Ogallala aquifer and the communities most impacted by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline as echoes of a helicopter loomed hovering overhead.  It was a prayer of remembrance of our connection to our water, to our Earth, and to those future generations effected by the silencing of a Nation.  The Rosebud Sioux Tribal Elder asked for prayers of compassion for those in political office to remember their origins and request that we stand to provide a future of clean air and clean water for all our children – as we are ONE.

respect&protect

Fracking smacking, blasting mountains, destroying communities – we are all tied to the corporate machine while standing a strong front line for the protection of our Earth worldwide.  Don’t throw this away as new age fufu; these are new words to transition out our molded way of thinking allowing us to create a new story.  “Change is coming.  Why not stand up and put America on the right side of history?  We need to end the age of fossil fuels and move onto something better” states Neil Young.

“Hey, Hey Obama.  We don’t want no pipeline drama” chants the crowd as the procession marches pass Capitol Hill.  Beyond race, creed, or tribal family; thousands gathered in unison for the protection of the Earth Mother.  A peaceful yet powerful protest with a whisper from the wind as eagle feathers flew from warrior’s braid.  The strength of the buffalo carried throughout the march and brought the great giving capacity of compassion and spiritual foundation – a deeply-held component of the social movement that was long removed since MLK and now being set as a head cornerstone.

“We’re here to show Obama, to show Washington DC the very faces of the people that the decision of the KXL pipeline represents,” Dallas Goldtooth, one of the activists from the Cowboy and Indian Alliance. “These people represent families, they represent communities, they represent entire nations, so they’re here to bring their stories here to say no to the Keystone XL pipeline and to all pipelines.”

The peaceful protest held in the aftermath of yet another postponed decision by the Obama administration on the pipeline construction spoke clear that tar sands are not a viable energy source for a clean future.  With tar sands refinement processes emitting a thirty percent increase of carbon emissions in comparison to conventional oil processing methods, not to mention, the byproducts of sludge, the large amounts of water and energy needed during the refinement process – all to obtain a low-grade fuel to power our jets, trucks and cars – tar sands extraction, processing and combustion (use) are directly at odds with the necessary change from fossil fuels reliance that Young spoke of.

frontline

We Got a Story… This is Native Territory

The sacred fire was issued a permit to exist on Capitol Hill during the weeklong rally, similar to the filing of an EPA 404 permit; and the presence of the fire brought unity to the movement along with a realization of common ground, unlike the usual 404 permit that allows legal discharge of toxic waste.  Environmental celebrities and some of the big green groups showed; with Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth, Bill McKibben of 350.org, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity along with musician Neil Young and actor Daryl Hannah on the front lines.  Cowboys and Indians organized a powerful imagery of protest as leaders rode horseback; others on foot, followed by thousands of protesters in procession – numbers nearing 10,000.

The significance of the rally lies in the foundational backing of spiritual cohesion.  Outside of specific issues that people face day to day, the common ground upon which all activists stand is the protection of the Earth; at all cost.  We are the ones we have been waiting for and eagle plumes flew on the braids of warriors and the strength of the buffalo allowed the giving nature of compassion to all relations.  This day carried a ray of hope for a return to an understanding of the value of clean water, the value of healthy communities and that our actions sent waves of reaction into future generations yet to come.

There is a simple yet truthful awakening that we are all connected.  In the age of technology and objective thinking rationalizing environmental destruction by economic numbers, we are realizing that our Earth has no price tag.  Human health is a sign of environmental health – where communities are becoming lab rats at the expense of progress with our objective mindset.  The rally in DC to ‘Respect & Protect’ shifted the rational mind to a more subjective perspective, a return of the feminine one could say.

SHENNA FORTNER lives in Appalachia. She has seen first-hand the damage of industrial civilization in her work studying tropical reefs. She has been active in the fight against the abomination of Mountain-top Removal coal extraction in her native bioregion. She will enter Vermont Law’s esteemed environmental law program this Fall. She can be reached at: smfortner@gmail.com

May 04, 2016
Kshama Sawant
It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia
Conn Hallinan
Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO
Joshua Frank
Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga
Paul Craig Roberts
TIPP: Advancing American Imperialism
Ted Rall
Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America
Leslie Scott
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Ann Garrison
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Tom Clifford
Crying Rape: Trump’s China-Bashing
Lawrence Davidson
Getting Rid of Bad Examples: Andrew Jackson & Woodrow Wilson
Ellen Brown
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
Nelson Valdes
Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes
Jesse Jackson
Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!
Nathan Riley
Help Bernie Keep His Halo
Rivera Sun
Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides
Clancy Sigal
Rachel and the Isolationists: How Maddow Blew It
Laura Finley
Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”
CJ Hopkins
Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice
May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
Dean Baker
Time for an Accountable Federal Reserve
Ted Rall
Working for US Gov Means Never Saying Sorry
Dave Welsh
Hunger Strikers at Mission Police Station: “Stop the execution of our people”
John Eskow
The Death of Prince and the Death of Lonnie Mack
May 02, 2016
Michael Hudson – Gordon Long
Wall Street Has Taken Over the Economy and is Draining It
Paul Street
The Bernie Fade Begins
Ron Jacobs
On the Frontlines of Peace: the Life of Daniel Berrigan
Louis Yako
Dubai Transit
Bill Quigley
Teacher, Union Leader, Labor Lawyer: Profile of Chris Williams Social Justice Advocate
Patrick Cockburn
Into the Green Zone: Iraq’s Disintegrating Political System
Lawrence Ware
Trump is the Presidential Candidate the Republicans Deserve
Ron Forthofer
Just Say No to Corporate Rule
Ralph Nader
The Long-Distance Rebound of Bernie Sanders
Ken Butigan
Remembering Daniel Berrigan, with Gratitude
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail