We Live There, Still, In the Snow
One section of the sprawling camps, from earlier video before the snow
Winter has come to Standing Rock with the season's first blizzard. So has an evacuation order, the rekindling of grievous collective memory, and the exquisite irony of white people once again telling Native people to get off their own land - in the name of concern, yet, for the safety of those living as their ancestors did before them, prayerfully and peaceably except when assaulted by water-cannon, flash-grenade-armed riot police. Friday's statement that the Corps of Engineers would close the Oceti Sakowin camp Dec. 5 and seek "a peaceful and orderly transition to a safer location” was swiftly followed by the governor's executive order calling for mandatory evacuation of all campers.
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Chairman Dave Archambault called the order "a menacing action meant to cause fear" - never mind that the state has no authority over tribal lands - and suggested if the governor is worried about safety he should clear the blockade, let water protectors stay warm in their abodes, cease blasting them weaponry and stop putting them in dog pens. "Although we have suffered much,” said the Sioux in a further plea to Obama to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, “We still have hope (you will) close the chapter of broken promises to our people and especially our children.”
In an open letter to Obama after visiting Standing Rock, rocker and activist Neil Young likewise called the confrontation "a moment of truth" and a moment to do right before "our surprise president" inevitably does more wrong. Clearly moved by the dignity of the protectors, Young noted, "They stand, their hair frozen from water cannons. They stand for all that is good, and they stay strong."
Still, they need help. On this #Giving Tuesday, aimed at supporting good causes, there is much good to be done. You can give money via Stand With Standing Rock, donate to a winter housing project, help fund the Dec. 4 trip of over 2,000 veterans to support Standing Rock, or mail warm things and other supplies to PO Box 21 Fort Yates, North Dakota 58538. For inspiration, watch stunning new drone video from the collective Indigenous Rising Media. Its soaring footage - shot with increasingly frozen fingers - of the endless, snow-swept, heart-stirring camps documents a historic moment.