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

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 23, 2017
Chip Gibbons
Crusader-in-Chief: the Strange Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Michael J. Sainato
Cybersecurity Firm That Attributed DNC Hacks to Russia May Have Fabricated Russia Hacking in Ukraine
Chuck Collins
Underwater Nation: As the Rich Thrive, the Rest of Us Sink
CJ Hopkins
The United States of Cognitive Dissonance
Howard Lisnoff
BDS, Women’s Rights, Human Rights and the Failings of Security States
Mike Whitney
Will Washington Risk WW3 to Block an Emerging EU-Russia Superstate
John Wight
Martin McGuinnes: Man of War who Fought for Peace in Ireland
Linn Washington Jr.
Ryancare Wreckage
Eileen Appelbaum
What We Learned From Just Two Pages of Trump’s Tax Returns
Mark Weisbrot
Ecuador’s Elections: Why National Sovereignty Matters
Thomas Knapp
It’s Time to End America’s Longest War
Chris Zinda
Aggregate Journalism at Salon
David Welsh
Bay Area Rallies Against Trump’s Muslim Ban II
March 22, 2017
Paul Street
Russiagate and the Democratic Party are for Chumps
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer, the Progressive Caucus and the Cuban Revolution
Gavin Lewis
McCarthyite Anti-Semitism Smears and Racism at the Guardian/Observer
Kathy Kelly
Reality and the U.S.-Made Famine in Yemen
Kim C. Domenico
Ending Our Secret Alliance with Victimhood: Toward an Adult Politics
L. Ali Khan
Profiling Islamophobes
Calvin Priest
May Day: Seattle Educators Moving Closer to Strike
David Swanson
Jimmy Breslin on How to Impeach Trump
Dave Lindorff
There Won’t Be Another Jimmy Breslin
Jonathan Latham
The Meaning of Life
Robert Fisk
Martin McGuinness: From “Super-Terrorist” to Super Statesman
Steve Horn
Architect of Federal Fracking Loophole May Head Trump Environmental Council
Binoy Kampmark
Grief, Loss and Losing a Father
Jim Tull
Will the Poor Always Be With Us?
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s “March Massacre” Budget
Joe Emersberger
Rafael Correa and the Future of Ecuador: a Response to James McEnteer
March 21, 2017
Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt
On Being the “Right Kind of Brown”
Kenneth Surin
God, Guns, Gays, Gummint: the Career of Rep. Bad Bob Goodlatte
David Rosen
Popular Insurgencies: Reshaping the Political Landscape
Ryan LaMothe
The Totalitarian Strain in American Democracy
Eric Sommer
The House Intelligence Committee: Evidence Not Required
Mike Hastie
My Lai Massacre, 49 Years Later
James McEnteer
An Era Ends in Ecuador: Forward or Back?
Evan Jones
Beyond the Pale
Stansfield Smith
First Two Months in Power: Hitler vs. Trump
Dulce Morales
A Movement for ‘Sanctuary Campuses’ Takes Shape
Pepe Escobar
Could Great Wall of Iron become New Silk Roadblock?
Olivia Alperstein
Trump Could Start a Nuclear War, Right Now
David Macaray
Norwegians Are the Happiest People on Earth
March 20, 2017
Michael Schwalbe
Tears of Solidarity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit, Nationalism and the Damage Done
Peter Stone Brown
Chuck Berry: the First Poet of Rock and Roll
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail