Tag Archives: water is life

Salmon Boy

What’s the connection between salmon and pesticides? It’s the water.

Early on in my novel writing journey, an editor I met at the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference sent my manuscript back to me with the comment, “You have a tight little thriller here, if only you’d cut out the romance, the pesticide story, and that stuff about the magical salmon god.”

On a recent snowy vacation in December, I took a trip to Manhattan to attend the Algonquin Pitch – four days pitching to top New York agents and to editors from the last of the big New York publishing houses. My ancient magical nature god of the Pacific Northwest was ridiculed. Not a commercial novel concept! I was advised, once again, to just pitch my novel as a straight thriller. I get it. The few big publishing houses remaining can’t afford to risk their ROI by publishing a weird story by an unknown author. Debut authors need to stick to the formula. The business has to be profitable or it will die.

Alas, I did not write a gratuitous and formulaic thriller. I’ve been chosen to tell a stranger tale. But I believe my story will find a way to be born into the world, somehow. “Times they are a’changing.” (Please help if you can, by leaving a comment and letting me know you’re interested in the story and also sharing this post with your friends.)

Fruit of the Devil takes place in the priceless watershed of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Salmon are a keystone species of that watershed, a watershed now, once again – unbelievably – under threat of being desecrated by oil drilling and fracking.

We need to read and write and share stories that convey the sacredness of our planet. It’s going to take many miracles to save our Earth, and even inspiration from spiritual beings, like ancient nature gods, to help awaken our courage and protect our sacred places. In Fruit of the Devil, Salmon Boy is such an inspiring spiritual being. He has returned to the human world in the form of a Catholic priest of Ohlone heritage to work with at-risk youth in Watsonville, and to help save the salmon and the children from pesticides. An elementary school teacher falls in love with him. If you enjoyed the film The Shape of Water, then Fruit of the Devil might be your kind of story.

I first came across the legend of Salmon Boy in a children’s anthology of Native American stories, when I was teaching fourth grade in the 1980’s. The story stuck with me. Salmon Boy has been attributed to the Haida people, and is associated (at least in my mind) with the remarkable transformational native images of shamanic animals who push back their faces to reveal the human face underneath. I believe versions of the Salmon People legends are known here and there all up and down the Pacific Northwest, in Salmon Nation. I’m no anthropologist; only an artist under the spell of a beautiful, mystical imaginary being. Here’s how the legend of Salmon Boy is re-told in Fruit of the Devil. As always, your comments are welcome.

Chapter 28. Tuesday, September 13, 1998. Prudenciana Elementary
The Legend of Salmon Boy.

“This afternoon, boys and girls, I’m going to play a tape recording of a Native American legend from the Pacific Northwest. As you listen, focus on seeing pictures inside your head of what you hear. When the story ends, you’ll be using watercolors to illustrate your favorite scene.”

Aurora couldn’t remember where this cassette tape had come from. After so many years of teaching, she’d accumulated boxes and boxes of wonderful teaching materials. She especially loved this story and had shared it many times over the years with her students. The hand-written label on the cassette read, “Tape 1. Salmon Boy Story. Narrator: Old Storyteller of the Salmon Clan, Name and Tribe Unknown. Claiming to be from Naadaayi Héen a Tayee, the Village on the River Under the River, an area not locatable on the GPS”. Aurora pressed play.

Long ago in a village on the River near here lived a boy who was taller, stronger, and more handsome than any of the other children. But his heart twisted and hid in the dark. The boy’s mother made him a talisman for healing and protection, a totem powerful in magic. She hung the medicine charm on a leather cord and placed it around his neck.

Other children feared this boy. He played tricks on them and hurt them. The boy was a thief, a liar, and a bully. Instead of honoring the Salmon People with Oma, he poisoned them with bad thoughts.

The Elders taught the villagers that when they took the bodies of the Salmon People from the River to eat, they must return even the smallest bones to the River with Prayer, Ceremony and gratitude. Otherwise, when the Salmon People swam back to their village in Naadaayi Héen a Tayee and changed into their human form, missing their bones, they would be crippled and would suffer terrible pain. The boy never returned Salmon People’s bones to the River.

One day in the Month of First Rain – the season when the River swells and the Salmon People pass by – the village children walked down to the River to swim. Respecting River’s power, all the children swam close to shore.

All except the boy with the twisted heart. He swam out to the middle of the river to show off.

A giant whirlpool caught him and spun him around, around, around, around and pulled him down, down, down, and down into the dark deep. He saw stars, then absolute black, devoid of sound or light. A vortex of gleaming blue swirled toward him through the dark. Inside the swirling blue, a far away point of white light opened and closed like a flower. Out of the flower came forth forms, silver, shimmering, and luminous.

Quicksilver Salmon People circled around the boy.

“You will come with us,” they said. And they took the boy to Naadaayi Héen a Tayee, the Village on the River that Runs Underneath This River, where the Salmon People live.

When they arrived at their village, the People climbed out of their salmon skins and stood shining in their human forms.

They were kind to the boy. They gave him a new heart, and a new name. They called him Salmon Boy.

His new heart beat with beauty, strength, and purity. He wept in sorrow for the pain he’d caused in his village UpRiver.

Salmon Boy learned the correct way to Sing, to Dance, and to Pray. He learned to Listen and learned the way of Ceremony. He became an impeccable Hunter, capable of caring for Mother Earth and her children with Respect and Love. He learned to plant, tend, build and mend. He learned to speak and act with integrity and compassion, to use the power of his Words, and of thought itself, never to wound, but only to move Spirit in the direction of Truth, Peace, and Love. He learned to see Light dancing through the golden threads of the Web of Existence that unite all beings in the eternal Oneness outside of Space and Time.

When the Elders saw that he was ready, they led him to the Healers’ Lodge and initiated him into the most Secret Mysteries of the Ancient Ones. Salmon Boy’s heart cracked open and the Source of All was revealed to him. He became a Shaman, a Formless Warrior-Priest.

Many cycles spun on the Wheel.

One day, the Old Ones let it be known it was time to return UpRiver. Salmon Boy and his People dressed in their fish skins and prepared for the Journey. They were not as many nor as mighty as they once had been because the power of Oma, the spirit flowing to them from the people of the village, no longer ran generous and clear.

As Salmon Boy swam past his old village, his mother stood by the shore holding her net. Salmon Boy swam into it.

His mother recognized the copper totem glinting like stars around the fish’s neck and she knew her son. The villagers helped her carry the heavy fish back to her tule hut. She held the fish in her arms and rocked him and wept, prayed and sang, for eight days.

On the first day his mother held him, the head of a man pushed out of the fish’s mouth. On the second day, the fish skin split and peeled back, revealing Salmon Boy’s warrior shoulders. Salmon Boy’s mother rocked him, and wept, prayed and sang. On the eighth day, Salmon Boy knelt barefoot before his mother and father, in the perfect body of a man. He cried salty tears over their hands, kissed their feet, and begged forgiveness.

The People in the Village by the River celebrated Salmon Boy’s Return. He lived with them, as Teacher and Healer, for many Cycles of Salmon Moon as Mother Earth spun around the Sun. He helped the People remember the Old Ways, how to Pray, Sing, Dance, Give Offerings, and return the Blessings of the Water Oma to the Salmon People, making whole and complete the ebb and flow of the sacred. He was belovéd, respected and honored. He initiated the young into ancient secrets.

In the ripeness of time, Salmon Boy dreamed the Call for him to Return to the Lodge at the Center of the Circle within the Circle, to Naadaayi Héen a Tayee, the Village on The River That Flows Underneath The Rivers of This World.

On a clear day in the season when Ceanothus flowers open and the creeks swell, everyone gathered by the river to say goodbye. With tears in their eyes, Salmon Boy and the villagers sang the Salmon People close to shore. The current was swift. A Shadow thrust its spear into Salmon Boy’s heart. He fell into the River and was swept into the center. A whirlpool formed around him, pulling him down, down, down, and down.

When Salmon Boy returned to Naadaayi Héen a Tayee, he found his soulmate, Ña’ táayaa, waiting for him. He remembered when he looked into her eyes that he had loved her forever.

He has journeyed to many worlds, where he is known and belovéd by many names: Salmon Boy, Tehéatla Sagrado, Nur, Nagual, Pstruh, Qakiidax, Taryaqpak, praNItAcaru, and Brother of the Formless Warriors.

Even now, Salmon Boy lives with the People and his beloved Ña’ táayaa in Naadaayi Héen a Tayee. It is said that every few lifetimes, Salmon Boy returns UpRiver to a village by the River near here.”

 

           

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Standing Rock Insiders Urgently Request Help as Violence from DAPL Mercenaries Escalates

Standing Rock tepeeDecember 1, 2016
Standing Rock, North Dakota

Dear Friends and Relatives,

In late August I responded to an utterly compelling, impossible-to-refuse Call from Spirit to go to Standing Rock, North Dakota. Since I’ve returned home, everyone I’ve met has expressed a deep hunger to better understand the current situation at Standing Rock and to know how they can help. There is a mainstream media black out. What little information is broadcast on mainstream media is often unreliable. Below, I pass on the following insider information from friends at Standing Rock – urgent calls for help which I KNOW will make a difference for the good right now:

1. Donations to the Standing Rock legal support efforts may be made to:

The Water Protector Legal Collective is the National Lawyers Guild legal support team for those engaged in resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. It maintains a 24/7 presence on-site at the Oceti Sakowin camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

For updates, visit waterprotectorlegal.org, and follow the WPLC at Facebook.com/WaterProtectorLegal and Twitter @WaterProtectUs.

The National Lawyers Guild is dedicated to the need for basic and progressive change in the structure of our political and economic system. Through its members–lawyers, law students, jailhouse lawyers and legal workers united in chapters and committees–the Guild works locally, nationally and internationally as an effective political and social force in the service of the people.

“The Morton County Sheriff’s Department’s illegal use of force against the Water Protectors has been escalating (throughout the Fall). It is only a matter of luck that no one has been killed. This must stop.”

On November 29,2016, the Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC-formerly Red Owl), an initiative of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), filed suit in US District Court against Morton County, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirschmeier, and other law enforcement agencies for using excessive force against peaceful Water Protectors on the night of November 20, 2016. http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2016/11/28/water-protector-legal-collective-files-suit-excessive-force-against-peaceful

The class action suit, filed on behalf of persons who were injured on the night of November 20 and early morning of November 21, seeks an immediate injunction preventing the Morton County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement from using impact munitions such as rubber bullets and lead-filled “beanbags,” water cannons and hoses, explosive teargas grenades and other chemical agents against protesters.

2. Those concerned are urged to CALL NOW local and federal agencies below to demand (1) immediate end to construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, (2) the immediate cessation and a full investigation into law enforcement abuses, (3) dropping felony charges against water protectors from the October 27 police raid, and (4) permitting the Water Protectors to stay at their current encampment until the DAPL’s application to drill under Lake Oahe and the Missouri River is permanently denied.

  • White House: 202-456-1111 (ask for “hot line to President”) or 202-456-1414 and/ or sign the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s White House petition standwithstandingrock.net/take-action
    • White House Situation Room, 202-456-9431
    • North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple’s Office: 701-328-2200
    • Morton County Sheriff’s Office: 701-667-3330
    • Morton County State’s Attorney’s Office: 701-667-3330
    • Army Corps of Engineers-Bismarck 701-255-0015 or D.C. office 202-761-5903
    Energy Transfer Partners: the pipeline owner ― Lee Hanse, executive vice president, 210-403-6455; Glenn Emery, vice president, 210-403-6762; Michael (Cliff) Waters, lead analyst, 713-989-2404.

3. U.S. veterans for peace are raising donations on Go Fund Me
< https://www.gofundme.com/veterans-for-standing-rock-nodapl > to help our veterans get to Standing Rock to protect protesters in the threatened “December sweep”. I’m worried the military could get really really violent in attempt to remove people so they can complete the pipe under the water. The water protectors WILL NOT LEAVE unless they are dead or forcibly dragged away, until they are sure the fracked oil pipleline is no longer a threat to the drinking water of millions of people.

http://heavy.com/news/2016/11/standing-rock-veterans-donations-fundraiser-go-fund-me-dapl-dakota-access-pipeline-arm-blown-off-video-photos-amazon-list-facebook/?ref=emailshare WE NEED TO HELP GET THOSE VETS THERE before Dec 4th.

4. Medical support for the camp is desperately needed. The official tribal funding page for this is   https://medichealercouncil.com/volunteer/
To get a better idea of current conditions at the camp, especially if you are considering going there, read the healer’s page and the FAQ.  If you’re not sure you are prepared physically and emotionally to withstand extremely severe winter conditions (6 degrees, 26 mile/hr winds, completely exposed living plus under siege by a military force) don’t go and become a liability on an already stressed community. But if you have the food, arctic clothing, camping equipment, physical stamina and temperament to care for yourself and others, and you feel you should go, Do Not Hesitate! They need you NOW! (no drugs, alcohol, weapons – only strong, peaceful, prayerful hearts)

5. Medical support for Sophia Wilansky, young woman whose arm was blown up by a DAPL  mercenary’s grenade <  https://www.gofundme.com/30aezxs# > Her father speaks about the attack on his daughter:  < https://www.facebook.com/paul.blumekmsp/videos/1115197865202714/>

6. DIVEST any and all of your assets that are invested in Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America – they all own a big piece of the pipeline

 

~ LINKS  ~  LINKS  ~  LINKS ~

* Great overview Fusion video of what’s going on  https://www.facebook.com/fusionmedianetwork/videos/1543459422346697/

* Democracy Now full show Thanksgiving Day starts with now infamous dog attack video then summarizes Standing Rock to date with good new material https://www.democracynow.org/shows/2016/11/24?autostart=true

* For more of the BIG PICTURE: Robert Kennedy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdvSQaWYk8M&feature=share

* New York Times editorial  http://nyti.ms/2gkKUmB

* Amnesty Int’l and ACLU decry human rights abuses against water protectors https://insideclimatenews.org/news/24112016/police-dakota-access-protesters-aclu-amnesty-international-standing-rock

*FIRE racist, unqualified U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Commander and District Engineer of the Omaha District Colonel John W. Henderson
Read more at Cheyenne River Sioux Chair Calls for Resignation of US Army Corps’ Henderson Cheyenne River Sioux Chairman Harold Frazier demands ouster of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ district commander John W. Henderson after “racist” conversation.  indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com

*Indigenous Environmental Network  http://www.ienearth.org/

* Oceti Sakowin Camp Known as “The Main Camp” at Standing Rock http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org/

* Kandi Mossett Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=Kandi%20Mossett

*Myron Dewey Facebook posts about Why the government is banning Standing Rock indymedia’s drones https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=myron%20dewey%20posts

YES! online magazine has been doing excellent ongoing work of covering Standing Rock with timely, in-depth articles  http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/why-the-assaults-on-standing-rock-require-police-from-seven-different-states-and-other-questions-20161031

Thank you relatives and friends. The media is not covering this situation. It’s up to us!

Please share this information as widely as you can.
We MUST stop this pipeline, with strictest legal bindings, Before inauguration day!

Water is Life

"Water Is Life"

“Water Is Life”


 

 

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#NoDAPL The Dakota Access Pipeline: Protecting Our Water at Standing Rock

Native artist silk screens at Standing Rock

“Water Is Life”

Thursday, September 22, 2016. “Water,” as the Indians say, “is Life”. I’m sitting in a hotel room in Sioux City, Iowa looking out of my window at the wide Missouri River. Today the river is agitated and grey-green under storm clouds.  I left the encampment at Standing Rock, North Dakota yesterday, and followed the Missouri here. From Standing Rock to Sioux City, the river was beautiful, calm and clear-blue, sparkling with sun diamonds and reflections of autumn-gold Cottonwood trees, and reflections of acre-upon-acre of golden GMO corn, wheat, soy, and sunflower fields. It worried me, driving through all that monoculture, that I did not see any birds.

photo of river

    The Wide Missouri River

The Missouri River brings Life as it meanders through five states,  joining with the great Mississippi and flowing into the gulf. These two  rivers form the artery of our heartland.

Vast and priceless, this watershed is now threatened with the possibility of complete and irrevocable destruction. What will it mean not only for ourselves but also for our children and grandchildren, “for the next seven generations” as the Indians say, if we allow one of the most significant watersheds in the Continental US to be destroyed?

It’s that question that by mid-September, 2016, had brought together more than 350 Native American tribes and over 7,000 non-indigenous people from all over the world, with more arriving every day. The people have gathered by the river to protect the Mississippi-Missouri artery running through America’s heart from destruction by the Energy Transfer Partnership Company.

Standing Rock Camp, North Dakota

Standing Rock Camp, North Dakota 9/2016

Young warrior at Standing Rock

Young warrior at Standing Rock 9/2016

How could one nice little energy company threaten such devastation? ETP is the mythical gyre-wolf in sheep’s clothing; a monstrous many-headed hydra; the giant Black Snake, foretold thousands of years ago in Native prophesy, that will bring the end of the world if it’s not stopped. ETP – parent of the North Dakota pipeline project – is (wait for it): an amorphous and opaque partnership of the largest US banks and financial institutions (the same guys who brought us the global financial crisis of 2007-2009), plus major world banks, and multinational petrochemical extraction-processing-distribution corporations, all wrapped up into one mullti-billion dollar tangled writhing vipers’ nest of financial/legal/oligarchy.  http://www.democracynow.org/2016/9/6/new_investigation_names_wall_street_banks

Solar Energy at Standing Rock

Solar Energy at Standing Rock 9/2016

Now that the Keystone XL pipeline has been defeated, the Energy Transfer Partners’ new game is to construct a pipeline through Native American lands, and in-and-out under the river two times, so they can transport their fracked oil from the Bakken shale fields (a Canada -Montana- North Dakota wasteland) to the gulf as fast as possible, and ship it overseas for enormous profits. (Nope, that oil is not for us Americans. Sorry, Charlie.) http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/news/who%27s-banking-dakota-access-pipeline

But if we stop the pipeline and keep the oil in the ground, how will we make everything go? And What About the Union, Jobs, and all that?
Re: Pitting protectors of the water against pipeline workers

It’s one of the oldest propaganda strategies they’ve got: The old “They are trying to take away your jobs” trick has duped AFL-CIO to endorse the pipeline instead of the defenders of the water. What a terrible mistake, not really in the interest of the workers at all.  https://www.revealnews.org/article/in-north-dakotas-bakken-oil-boom-there-will-be-blood/

“The Bakken is the most dangerous oil field to work in the U.S. The energy producers never pay for their mistakes.” — Justin Williams, Wegner attorney

Pipeline workers, your jobs are hurting you and are really terrible. Terrible for you, horrible for your families, for your neighbors, for the world. You can have MUCH MUCH BETTER JOBS if you’ll get on board and help us build a clean, socially and environmentally just, loving, joyful, sustainable New Earth. Lots of jobs. New technologies are here! Wind. Solar, Geothermal, Tidal, . . .

A Haida Man Stands with Lakota to Protect the River

A Haida Man Stands with the Lakota at Standing Rock to Protect the Water 9/2016

The stand-off at Standing Rock is historic: never before have so many Indigenous Peoples and representatives of so many tribes gathered together for a common cause. Over 350 tribes counted, as of the end of August, including not only a large percentage of tribes from the continental U.S. but also indigenous groups from Hawaii, Mexico, Ecuador, and even Palestine. In my opinion, the Standing Rock gathering is biblical in its nature and import. While I was there, I witnessed the miracle of Loaves and Fishes happening 24/7. People arrive day and night, many having traveled enormous distances under great hardship, and they are all lovingly welcomed, hugged, and fed. Thousands of people (an estimated 7,000 as of October 1st) are being fed well with donated food, cooked by volunteers on outdoor fires, without electricity or running water. Tribal groups bring  their most sacred foods to share – such as wild Alaskan salmon from the Haida People. A lesson in nurturing and love.

Loaves and Fishes, Salmon and Buffalo: sacred food given and received with prayer 9/2016

Many people I spoke with at the camp told me they had felt Called to come help Protect the Water. I myself received the Call to journey to Standing Rock while I was watching Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now on TV in my California living room. When I saw the video of the dogs,  I knew I had to go – video of unarmed, prayerful  Native Americans being attacked  with pepper spray;  private mercenary military personnel on the payroll of ETP going after men, women, children, and babies with attack dogs.  Watching blood drip from the mouth of one of the dogs, with the memory of the 1960’s Birmingham Civil Rights movement playing in my head, I knew I had to immediately unharness myself from the business-as-usual of my life and join the people at Standing Rock. Going  was one of the most meaningful acts of my life.

Did you see that attack dog video? If you did, you’re in a minority. Because of an oligarcy-imposed media blackout, most Americans have no idea what’s going on in Standing Rock North Dakota. See it here and then Share: https://youtu.be/kuZcx2zEo4k

View my interview with an eyewitness to the attack

Gathering at Standing Rock to Defend our Water:
a Movement By and For the YOUTH

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Lakota Lance K. in his Buffalo Robe 9/2016

Lakota Teen

A Lakota Teen Prepares to Overwinter by the River in her Tent. 9/2016

 

 

Young Lakota Warrior on horseback. Defender of the Water.

Young Lakota Warrior on horseback. Defender of the Water. 9/2016

In early August, 2016, thirty Native youth from the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation) completed a 2,000-mile relay run from North Dakota to Washington, D.C. to deliver a letter to President Obama reminding him to “Rezpect Our Water”. This visit was a follow-up to a massive “Our Generation, Our Choice” youth mobilization and rally last November, 2015 in D.C. for Racial and Climate Justice . After delivering their letter asking the President to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, the thirty Lakota youth returned to Standing Rock to hold a continuous prayer vigil for the water.

California Native Youth at Standing RockThe Youth Speak: Interviews from Standing Rock

*Standing Rock Youth Council: Runners for Water

*Jackie Fawn – Yurok Artist

*Chyenne River Blackfoot Farrah King speaks about defending his homeland

*Kanyon Sayers – Ohlone

 

Native Woman with Tribal Flags

Native Woman with Tribal Flags

To date, few mainstream newspapers or television have reported this historic stand-off. Many lies populate the internet, promulgated by the denizens of Energy Transfer Company. In fact, right after the dog attack incident, ETP’s PR people flooded Twitter with fake accounts that made false statements about Standing Rock. Those fake accounts were outed and removed, but not before they had done their dirty work spreading confusion, fear and hatred.

Even though mainstream papers and television aren’t reporting on Standing Rock, many grass-roots participant-observers are working to keep the public informed via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, blogs. Some of the Indy reporters have access to fairly sophisticated communications devices, but many, myself included, have been recording and sharing what we can, just using our smart phones. Please help spread the word.

Preparing Buffalo in Outdoor Kitchen

Preparing Buffalo, a sacred food, in Outdoor Kitchen 9/2016

Standing Rock camp is “primitive” – tents, and open fires for cooking, heating, and prayer; no running water or electricity except for a little solar.

fry bread

Fry Bread cooked on open fires

Fry Bread cooked on open fires at Standing Rock Main Camp Kitchen 9/2016

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I’m told Cellular service on the land used to be decent until the protest started, but now it’s only available on one hilltop above the camp and even that service is “spotty”.

The legal tent is up on "2 Bar Hill"

The legal tent is up on “2 Bar Hill”, where there is some cell service. A team of attorneys from all over the US provide pro-Bono legal assistance to the Water Protectors . Arrests and violent assaults on peaceful demonstrators and even on journalists are escalating. Help solarize the legal tent for the winter:  https://fundrazr.com/links/StandingRockSolar?ref=sh_35y699

The casino, about 10 minutes down the road by car, is the only place with WiFi. Everyone using media goes to the casino to tweet and post to their Facebook pages and blogs. People fill the lobby at all hours, sitting on chairs and on the floors, trying to get the message out about the pipeline. But someone or something is CENSORING much of the material people try to post. I wouldn’t believe it if it hadn’t happened to me.

Volunteers Bringing Solar into Camp

Volunteers Bringing Solar into Camp

fancydancerstandingrock

Fancy Dancing – Navajo. Standing Rock Main Camp 9/2016

One afternoon at the casino, I re-tweeted a benign post – no bad or hateful language, only a factual report on the conditions at Standing Rock. A little while later, I noticed that the post had been BLACKED OUT, and in white block letters across the black rectangle were the words CENSORED. At first, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Have you ever heard of anything like that happening in the United States of America?  I mentioned it later to someone else uploading posts at the casino. He asked if I’d taken a screen shot. No. When I went back to Twitter to look for the censored post, it had completely vanished.

A woman working on a GoFundMe project for warm winter clothes for the camp told me that when she posts information about her project on Facebook, within an hour her posts have disappeared. Everyone I’ve talked to has a different theory about who is doing this censoring. No one really knows why our internet is showing signs of repression in the United States of America. My attorney friends who volunteer at the camp say they believe it’s the work of Homeland Security or the National Security Agency. Are we being censored because NSA thinks we’re terrorists. Yikes. That’s scary.

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I am not the kind of person typically profiled as a terrorist. I am a middle-class white woman from an affluent suburb, a law-abiding, highly-educated professional. A paragon of responsibility. Pretty much the epitome of “respectability”. I am a patriot. I love my country. I am NOT a terrorist. But guess what? Being a member of a privileged class won’t protect you if you cross that line to stand with your oppressed brothers and sisters. Surprised?

No wait.  My country does not Censor my First Amendment Rights to Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press, right?  WeIl . . . I’ve been hearing many troubling stories of censorship on Facebook and Twitter. How abut you? The Independent media group Unicorn Riot has a report documenting journalists being repeatedly threatened and arrested. http://www.unicornriot.ninja/?p=9147 

Honestly, how did  these poor people who work for our public agencies – the police, highway patrol and military – get so twisted that they perceive nice old grandmas and beautiful young teenagers, doctors, lawyers, priests, artists and college students as evil enemies to be hated, feared, attacked and locked up? The Black Snake has been slithering around for a long time. Remember Kent State, when young, innocent National Guardsmen massacred young, innocent college students?

The Black Snake is Poisoning our Mother Earth. It’s twisting our Peoples’ hearts and minds, so they don’t recognize their own family and friends anymore. The Black Snake needs to be stopped.

Seven Nation Council Tent

Seven Nation Council Tent

The thing is, Standing Rock is a Women’s Issue.

Standing Rock is at the epicenter of a shift taking place within each of us, and within every family, community, and nation around the world. The obscene assaults on the feminine, Mother Earth and her children, which we are witnessing this presidential election, are public displays of  a world view that is no longer sustainable.

According to a Standing Rock legend, long ago a woman was so humiliated and abused by her husband that she turned to stone, a stone which can still be seen on a hill above camp. Now this woman is coming back to life. Her heart beats again. She is rising to protect Mother Earth and her children from the Black Snake.

For more, read the beautiful and insightful article by Emmy-winning film producer : Wisdom from the Women of Standing Rock  (  Her new film is End Of The Line  )

 Women and Men of Good Hearts, Rise Up!

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