Thanksgiving is a time of year when marginalized Native people often come into the American public’s mind due to the myth of the First Thanksgiving. Sadly, this Thanksgiving the Lakota, joined in solidarity by many Native people from around the country and even around the world are at the Standing Rock Reservation, facing harsh circumstances:
-water cannons in sub-freezing temperatures
-attack dogs which have attacked children
-people being kept in dog crates by police
-rubber bullets which have caused significant injuries
-the North Dakota winter
-concussion grenades thrown into crowds which have caused at least one amputation
-brutal beating by security forces with batons
-broken US Government treaty to build the pipeline
-sacred land being decimated to build the pipeline
-probable water contamination by oil
-other pipeline spills during the time they have been protecting the water supply
-original spot was in a predominately white community, but due to concerns of a spill by white citizens, the pipeline was moved to the reservation where a spill would affect Native and not white citizens
[If you want to learn more about Standing Rock, we have some resources posted!]
However, despite the time they have spent there already, and the conditions they have endured, they have vowed to stay as long as it takes to protect the water supply. The folks at Standing Rock have set up medical facilities with trained personnel, schools for children, and are in the process of acquiring appropriate housing, clothing, blankets, food, etc for winter.
This is an important environmental and race issue. At Standing Rock not only is our water being protected from corporate interests, but Native people are taking a stand against years of being walked over and shoved to the edges of society.
The good news is, you can help! This Black Friday, considering turning our consumer culture against itself and get some things for Standing Rock off of their Amazon Wish list, get a T-shirt to support them, or depending on your skills and career, consider a trip out to support them as a medical professional, lawyer, or early education teacher.
A solid list of ways to donate can be found here!