For years it had been difficult for Indigenous People living on reservations to participate in the election of our government officials. It is not uncommon for polling places to be a great distance ( as much as a 5 hour journey!) from the reservations.
This election season will be the first in which voters in North Dakota must show an ID with a street address (no PO Boxes accepted.) This new reality will clearly prevent Native Americans from participating in their most fundamental rights as citizens.
Old habits die hard, but ever so slowly, cities are beginning to acknowledge the true “discoverers” of America, the Native Indians. Just as southern states continue to work on addressing the pain brought by honoring historical figures that caused so much suffering and racism, so too must all of us address the realities of Christopher Columbus.
We must continue to work on the racism that works at an institutional level. Whether removing iconic monuments, renaming schools or renaming and refocusing our pride in holidays, we must continue to move forward.
For additional coverage on Indigenous People’s day, click here.
Scott Dunn (Director of Nature Place Day Camp) The experience with the water protectors at The Oceti Sakowin camp in North Dakota. He will talk about the different people who chose to gather there, the organization, teaching, actions and prayers that he took part in.
Reverend Janet Weber (Cross-cultural/Interfaith Minister, Indigenous Elders Assistant & Advocate, working with Lakota, Cheyenne & Ramapough-Lenape) “Sacred Activism: Standing Rock to Ramapo–the frontline comes home” Information about the Water Walk for Life and the Ramapo Split Rock camp. Bringing the spiritual together with activism.
Chuck Stead (Doctor of Environmental Studies, Adjunct Professor Ramapo College, Senior Program Assistant Town of Ramapo, Storyteller) “Traditional Knowledge in the 21st Century” – the role that traditional native pathways plays in dealing with a society addicted to commodification.
In 2008, Shepard Fairey ushered in the presidency of Barrack Obama with his graphic “Hope” posters.
This week, Shepard Fairey will do appeal to the masses again, with a series of images entitled “We the People.” These images will be made available to the masses through their printing in the Washington Post.
Click here for the PBS story that provides more information on this initiative that was funded through a kickstarter campaign.
In the recent past, a number of schools, including but not limited to, Harvard, Brown, Princeton and the University of North Carolina have begun making reparations for their ties to racism and slavery.
Of most recent note, Georgetown is making reparations for the University debts that were paid off through the sale of slaves, and just last week Rutgers published a report detailing how some of the university’s most prominent figures participated in the slave trade, and how Rutgers benefited from the displacement of Native Americans from their lands.
May the conversations stay honest and courageous, and the amends authentic and long lasting.
While Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for so many, the irony of the violence at Standing Rock, that has been on going for the past several months, and has been particularly atrocious this week, can not be overlooked.
There are so many levels or social injustice encompassed in this situation.
As you investigate class struggle, consider the similarities between the water crisis in flint and the one the building/rerouting of the Dakota access pipeline presents.
As you investigate environmental racism, consider the issues to rerouting of the pipeline presents in terms of treaties broken, religious rites being compromised and sacred sites being destroyed.
As you investigate the demoralizing and inhuman treatment of the protestors/protectors, revisit the recent standoff of the Malhuer NAtional Wildlife Refuge.
From class struggles and racial bias, to environmental issues and religious freedom…
This urgent crisis among the peaceful water protectors needs more awareness, support and action.