I encourage people supportive of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to visit the website Brookings Stands with Standing Rock, which carries regular posts on developments. The site provides informative articles on the history of the present conflict and actions you can take. Published by friends in Brookings, SD, it is a comprehensive and reliable source of information.
The Morton County Sheriff's Department has arrested more than 550 people for a variety of crimes ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. Lawyers from 10 legal organizations have filed petitions with the court to represent those who have been arrested. The District Attorney is challenging the right of these attorneys to practice law in North Dakota. You can help secure a fair trial for people who have been arrested when you sign a petition to support these attorneys.
Winter has come to North Dakota. This holiday and Christmas season you can thank the Water Protectors for taking a stand on behalf of all of us who believe that we must develop alternatives to fossil fuel. Edward Valandra, is Sicangu Titunwan of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate, and Adjunct Professor of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba. In his artcle, "We are Blood Relatives: No to the DAPL," he reminds us that we are all members of the "water nation."
In addition to taking action to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their stand to protect their way of life, one of the most important actions those of us who are Euro-Americans can take is to learn about the competing spiritualities embodied in the confrontation. For Native peoples the land is Mother Earth. Caring for the earth is a sacred responsibility. Accepting this responsibility is one of the duties that makes us human. In conventional Euro-American political philosophy and Christian theology the land is treated as property--an economic resource to be profitably exploited. In the philosophy of John Locke and in the tradition of English Common Law, as well as in certain strands of Christian theology, turning land into property and property into profit is a mark of civilization. What we are learning from indigenous people at Standing Rock and elsewhere is that this conventional Euro-American and Christian approach to the land is spiritually bankrupt and not sustainable.
Give yourself a New Year's gift and buy Ancestral Voice: Conversations with N. Scott Momaday, Charles L. Woodard (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989), or Exiled in the Land of the Free: Democracy, Indian Nations, and the U.S. Constitution (Santa Fe: Clear Light Publishers, 1982), a collection of essays written by nine Native American scholars.