I’m heading back to Standing Rock today, but let me first say something once again so it’s off my chest, again. Facebook is weird, and I’ll never figure it out. The main problem with it, other than that obscenely-rich guys own these fundamental disconnects with reality that bode so ill for so many of us just when we need that reality so much, is that I can’t figure out who I’m talking to, or who’s talking to me. I know, you’re supposed to be able to “manage” that stuff. But I’m not a manager, never was good at being one and furthermore look what kind of trouble we've gotten into by falling for someone who was good at "managing" a Twitter account. That’s my story, then, and I’m stickin’ to it.
That said, I've been rooting around in Facebook almost constantly trying to get a read on what’s going on at Standing Rock. I saw a video posted on Jan. 31 of LaDonna Bravebull Allard asking people to come stand with them. The next day, Feb. 1, I saw a video of Morton County police taking down the barricade that has been blocking Highway 1806 since late October (the one they erected) and arresting 70 people who were moving the Oceti Sakowin camp to higher ground. Then two days later was the video of Sacred Stone camp being raided by various law enforcement entities, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), who claimed the Standing Rock Tribal Council (Dave Archambault, Chairperson) had requested their assistance in "clearing" the camp.
That was Friday. On Saturday, Archambault posted and released a statement clarifying that, while they want the water protectors to leave peacefully, there will be no forceful removal of water protectors (i.e. an armed raid). He said they are "cleaning" the camps not "clearing" them.
After this post was a whole long line of posts, many critical of the council, some supporting, but many expressing as much confusion and dismay as I'm feeling at watching the infighting and potential unravelling of the most potent movement we have standing against TrumpCo to date, maybe for the last 200 years.
That's what's most disturbing to me. Human nature, it's so manipulative-friendly. We all know this and, in a nutshell, that's why I'm heading back. I'm compelled to see with my own eyes and hear with my own ears and not depend on divisive arguments to guide me as to what I should do to support this movement and make no mistake. We all have to figure out our way through this to support it. I wish there were 10,000 of us showing up and doing the same right now. There's been saboteurs and provocateurs within the movement from the beginning. Add to that that any time there's state/corporate sponsored violence against a group of people, there will be different reactions, and therefore plenty of room for the well-funded provocateurs to wedge the cracks wider and wider til they split. This is an old, old story.
Speaking of old stories, it's worth recalling the ones from that earlier movement we remember now as "the civil rights movement". There were similar brutalities, provocateuring and inevitable splits going on all the time. And that movement held together. Makes Martin Luther King Day a good bit more meaningful to me, seeing how hard it is, and how dedicated you have to be…to nonviolence, really.
As for the camps: yes they are a mess. Lots of stuff left behind. Lots of trampling. Yes it needs cleaned up and, if allowed the chance, that's what I mainly intend to do. I have a background in ecological restoration and anyone can pick up garbage. But to the Army Corps and the Morton County Sheriff's Dept. who are crying crocodile tears over the "pollution" from the camps making its way to the river, I'd like to say that yeah, it's a mess, but it's also a war zone, and not a war zone of our choosing. We are doing what we needed to do and that was the place to do it. As a restorationist who's planted trees at strip mines where the corporate owners skipped the country when the price of their precious metal dropped and left the cleanup tab for the rest of us to pick up, I would ask if Pegasus Gold (just for instance) was just doing what it needed to do because it had no other choice, and I'd also ask the Morton County propagandists whining about how much their share of the cleanup is going to cost them to compare how much it costs a local or state government to clean up a gold mine, or a coal mine, or a frackingv field after the REAL spoiled rich kids skip town.