Standing with Standing Rock: Day 5

Thursday, December 1, 2016. We spend an hour today visiting with Manape LaMere, one of the seven tribal leaders at Oceti Sakowin. We discuss what is likely to happen when the veterans arrive on Sunday, and I give him an update on the pipeline fight in Iowa. I share the sad news that Dakota Access today dragged pipe under the Des Moines River. There is also the positive news that pipeline fighters in Iowa continue to push back on every possible front.

Mekasi, Matthew and Lyssa insulate a solar barn.

Mekasi, Matthew and Lyssa insulate a solar barn.

Manape is a gracious host, despite suffering from a bronchial infection. Lyssa offers to help. Among other hats Lyssa wears (including one that looks like a blue wombat), she’s a knowledgable herbalist. She pulls together a cocktail of a blend of essential oils for an intense, hot, nasal steam bath. Manape spends five minutes breathing in the healing moisture, saying, “If it doesn’t hurt, it’s probably not doing you any good.”

This afternoon, Lyssa and I work with Mekasi Horinek, director of Bold Oklahoma, to insulate one of the solar barns. These are small structures, shaped like a barn. They are basically a medium-sized bedroom, designed to provide plenty of heat and just enough space to withstand the onslaught of a North Dakota winter. An indoor kitchen and indoor bathroom will be available nearby. Funds for the barns were raised by the Bold Alliance.

Ed, Mekasi and Lyssa.

Ed, Mekasi and Lyssa.

Mekasi has been at Standing Rock for the past four months and helped design the winter camp. In keeping with Native traditions, the camp is laid out in a half circle, with four large lodges in the center. Around them are tipis, and behind those are the solar barns.

Mekasi has a vision that this camp will be entirely sustainable, run without any fossil feels. In an age when we need to move quickly to combat the worst impacts of climate change, these solar barns demonstrate that Oceti Sakowin is not merely about stopping a pipeline. Yes, first and foremost, it is a spiritual and cultural revival. Yet it is also a movement demonstrating the eco-friendly technologies that allow us to move quickly toward an economy powered entirely by renewables.

Standing with Standing Rock: Day 4

Wednesday, November 30, 2016.

With the unexpected availability of a hotel room last night, Lyssa and I catch a much-needed break — both from the blizzard and from each other.

day-4-slot-machine-11-30-16Lyssa and I are good friends, and fellow travelers when it comes to our shared passion for sustainable food, clean water and climate justice. But sure, after living and working together 24-7 for four days straight, some space is needed. I plug away on my computer, working late and catching up on a chunk of my backlog. Lyssa “paces” as she calls it, prowling the casino and enjoying the wild, weird, colorful images decorating the hundreds of slot machines.

We sleep in. The blizzard continues to blow hard, but the snow’s movement is all horizontal. This three-day display of Nature’s raw power is winding down.

We drive back to camp and run into Myron Dewey, who has gained quite an online following for his work documenting the pipeline battle from the air. We follow Myron’s truck through the “Road Closed” barrier, beyond the camp entrance. We soon come to a bridge where a handful of water protectors are gathering.

Myron tells us he’s seen Dakota Access transporting the huge rig designed to bore under the Missouri River. Folks from the Oceti Sakowin camp are preparing a response, but I can’t find anyone who knows the details.

day-4-action-by-bridge-11-30-16Our activity on the bridge is met by an influx of law enforcement vehicles. A DAPL representative talks with us over a loud speaker. He sounds pleasant, friendly even.

“We really don’t want to arrest anybody, but please move to the south side of the bridge folks, or we’ll have to have you arrested.”

To one of the water protectors who slipped and fell: “Are you ok? Do you need any help?”

To the uniformed veterans in the group: “I see we’ve got some veterans here today. I really want to thank you for your service to our country.”

The disembodied voice presents the kind, fatherly face masking oppression. DAPL has found an excellent front man. But no one is fooled. Behind the voice is corporate and police power prepared to defend Big Oil’s interests with water canons, long range acoustic devices (LRADs), pepper spray and tear gas.

Lyssa and I are marginally prepared for these possibilities, although I wonder if our ear plugs will provide enough protection against an LRAD. I joke that we could have responded in kind if I’d brought my accordion, an LRAD in its own right.

The action on the bridge today is mostly posturing. But it is important, reminding DAPL and the world that we are present, unafraid and not going away. For me, the most powerful moment came as one Native leader leaves the bridge to stand by the water. He lifts his hands in prayer and sings in a voice that, though not amplified, carries nearly as well as the DAPL rep on the loud speaker.

Indeed, one does not have to spend much time at Oceti Sakowin before it becomes clear that, more than anything, this is a spiritual place. Every morning before sunrise, prayers and singing can be heard clearly, broadcast from an open tent by the sacred fire. The height of morning prayer is a water ceremony at the bank of the Cannonball River.

It is hard to imagine anyone not being moved and inspired by these acts of humility and reverence.

Standing with Standing Rock: Day 3

Tuesday, November 29, 2016.

View of the camp after the blizzard. Our tent is the green one at the 2:25 mark, in the lower left hand corner. Facebook Live Video by Myron Dewey / Indigenous Rising Media.

View of the camp after the blizzard. Our tent is the green one at the 2:25 mark, in the lower left hand corner. Facebook Live Video by Myron Dewey / Indigenous Rising Media.

On any given day, an estimated 10,000 people live at the Oceti Sakowin camps at Standing Rock. To put the enormity of this community into perspective, if this were a city in Iowa, Oceti Sakowin would rank 39th out of 950 — bigger than Fairfield, Grinnell or Mount Pleasant.

The fact that so many passionate people have come together so quickly under such adverse conditions is almost hard to imagine. Even more impressive is that the infrastructure essential to a functioning city— housing, transportation, security, food, water, sanitation, public health, power — have been built, borrowed or jerry-rigged in less than four months.

Whether or not we stop the Dakota Access pipeline — and I believe we can and will — this miracle on the northern Great Plains is unparalleled. And it happened without city planners or zoning laws, under the guidance of a council of Native elders, with the tremendous energy and talent of thousands of people.

I’ll walk you through a few of these features.

Tipi under construction during the storm.

Tipi under construction during the storm.

Housing. The diversity of housing is as diverse as the people. Many stay in three-season tents. A lot of folks who are here for the entire winter have hunkered down with warmer, more spacious structures. Appropriately, the most common home here is a tipi.

Flags line Oceti Sakowin’s “Main Street.” Photo by Lyssa Wade.

Flags line Oceti Sakowin’s “Main Street.” Photo by Lyssa Wade.

Transportation. Oceti Sakowin’s “Main Street” is not quite the width of a two-lane highway. It is lined with the flags of many Native nations. Other roads cut a random pattern criss-crossing the community. They are either dirt, mud or now hard-packed ice and snow. Like all the roads here, there are far more pedestrians than vehicles. Cars know their place, move slowly and often wait for foot traffic to pass.

As if to further emphasize the pedestrian focus of the roads, the recent blizzard just installed speed bumps in the form of snow drifts.

Security. So far the only security I’ve seen are the teams of 2-3 people who stop vehicles entering the camp. Think TSA. What exists here is the opposite. The routine is basically this: we roll down our window, the security guy asks where we’re going and if we’ve been here before, we smile and we’re on our way.

Ed assisting with dinner on a camp stove, peeling potatoes from his garden in Des Moines as Lyssa boils brussels sprouts and prepares vegetarian meatloaf. Photo by Lyssa Wade.

Ed assisting with dinner on a camp stove, peeling potatoes from his garden in Des Moines as Lyssa boils brussels sprouts and prepares vegetarian meatloaf. Photo by Lyssa Wade.

Food. There are now 8 or 9 kitchens at Oceti Sakowin. Lyssa and I volunteer at one today: Grandma’s Kitchen. We help prepare and serve supper for an estimated 400 people. The facility is divided into three areas, each in a separate tent. The smallest tent is the actual kitchen, equipped with four propane-fired stoves. Next to that is a larger space with a serving area, dish washing station and shelves for storing dry and canned goods. Finally, there’s the dining room, which has seating capacity for 50 — and yet somehow feeds 400.

Lyssa and I continue to cook most of our own food. This is tough in a blizzard. Enough said.

Water. Mini Wiconi. Water is Life. Oceti Sakowin takes the issue of water very seriously, so much so that I’m going to save that conversation for another blog.

Sanitation. Standard, chemically-based porta-potties are the backbone of Oceti Sakowin’s sanitation system. To say that they’re unpleasant places to visit is an understatement. As I stop in at one today, I think about the EcoCommodes we hauled along the length of the Climate March. The March’s mobile outhouses used sawdust instead of chemicals. When the “toilet” was full, instead of toxic waste, we had a byproduct that was compostable. As Oceti Sakowin continues to build systems that are more sustainable and eco-friendly, EcoCommodes would be worth looking into.

Public Health. We’ve paid two visits to the medic center, once to drop off supplies, once to volunteer. The center is made up of several separate tents that can handle 10-20 people at most. It includes one tent for western medicine, another for herbal treatments, another for massage, another for acupuncture. Lyssa volunteers to sort through a pile of snow-covered “stuff,” saving what she can and tossing the rest. Most stuff is salvageable, and Lyssa later delivers two bottles of hand sanitizer to the kitchen and a vial of eucalyptus oil to the herbal tent. My task is to light a fire in one of the tents, in a stove that had a stubborn streak and needed some coaxing.

Solar panels are everywhere at Oceti Sakowin. Photo by Lyssa Wade.

Solar panels are everywhere at Oceti Sakowin. Photo by Lyssa Wade.

Power. Wood is in high demand. Everywhere, there are piles of logs being converted into firewood. Even more impressive is the many solar panels that are popping up everywhere. Now that the three-day blizzard is passed, we’ll help construct solar barns donated by the Bold Alliance. As Manape LaMere told me yesterday, the buzz word for future of power at Oceti Sakowin is sustainability.

The incredible speed at which the water protectors have assembled such systems to meet the most basic human needs is a testimony to their passion for the cause. It’s also a testimony to the resilience and ingenuity of our species. More than anything, it’s a testimony to the wisdom and nature of the Native people who are rising again, at a time when we need what they have to teach us more than ever before.

Standing with Standing Rock: Day 2

Our tent. And that's before it got really bad.

Our tent. And that’s before it got really bad.

Monday, November 28, 2016. I have a knack for timing: our first night in a tent at Standing Rock coincides with the first snowstorm of the season. It’s a soft, wet, gentle snow. Yet it clings to the walls of our tent, threatening to collapse the fragile structure. Repeatedly during the night, we pound on the tent walls to free them of snow.

There’s little wind, so the sounds of camp nightlife are audible and drift towards us from all directions. The sounds are abundant and loud. They continue late into the night. Singing and drumming. Voices joking and strategizing. Our tent remains warm and dry, but between camp noise and tent-wall snow removal duty, sleep is minimal.

The next morning, the weather goes from bad to worse, with more snow and high winds that lead to blizzard conditions. Lyssa and I opt for breakfast at the casino, which is both satisfying in terms of the price tag, and unsatisfying in terms of nutrition and quality.

Lyssa and Ed braving the blizzard en route to the meeting of elders in the dome.

Lyssa and Ed braving the blizzard en route to the meeting of elders in the dome.

Manape LaMere, a camp leader and one of the seven elders, invites us to a meeting of camp elders. Lyssa and I lean into the blizzard for the grueling ten-minute walk from our tent site to the dome.

We assemble in a cold, crowded structure heated by a wood stove. The air is filled with a cocktail of smoke from sage, wood and tobacco. With people constantly coming and going, bursts of blizzard air slip in through the dome’s entrance. The interior never warms up much.

The meeting is long, interesting, important. The Elders talk about tribal unity, and the importance of non-native allies remembering that they are guests, and not here to provide leadership. The camp is governed by Native leaders using traditional structures and time-honored procedures. This is likely to be foreign, uncomfortable to non-natives at the camp. It is easy for those of us from a western mindset to slip into a mode of benevolent, well-intentioned colonialism. It is easy for us to want to take over, insist on a “better” way to do things.

It is solid advice. White folk still have this imperial mindset, where are the ones to fix things, the ones who ride to the rescue.

I don’t watch a lot of movies, but as I listen, Dances With Wolves comes to mind, where it takes a white guy, Kevin Costner, to help the Indians figure out how to save themselves (of course, he fails).

Ed, Manape LaMere and Julie LaChappa. Julie partook in the Farmers Defense Camp and civil disobedience in Iowa.

Ed, Manape LaMere and Julie LaChappa. Julie partook in the Farmers Defense Camp and civil disobedience in Iowa.

At what point will European-Americans, as individuals and collectively, move beyond the failed notion that we have all the answers? Clearly, we have a ways to go if Congressman Steve King can disparage non-white constituencies as “sub groups,” while making the outrageous statement that historically, all valuable contributions come from whites.

After each of the Elders has spoken, Manape invites me to share with them what’s happening in Iowa in opposition to the pipeline. I am honored to have been given this opportunity, and talk about landowner and farmer resistance, upcoming court hearings, and Jessica Reznicek’s open-ended fast demanding revocation of Dakota Access’ permit.

They appreciate my report and the commitment of their allies in Iowa. But here at Standing Rock, this movement is more than just a fight against the pipeline. It is a movement of historic proportions. It is a movement that is just beginning, a movement involving the cultural revival of traditions, I believe, that will supplant the failed, non-sustainable paradigms that have dominated Western civilization.

I ask Manape what happens after the pipeline fight is over, once we’ve stopped the Black Snake.

“The traditional chiefs who’ve been appointed to lead this camp are looking to build a future that is sustainable and eco-friendly,” says Manape. “We’re a community where people are showing up with wonderful technology, whether it’s heating or cooling systems or just general power usage.”

“And this new form of government we’re building is breathing life into our people, reviving the significance of our treaties,” says Manape. “Some people get it, some people don’t. But what we’re doing is going to save non-Natives as well as Natives.”

Standing with Standing Rock: Day 1

Sunday, November 27, 2016. Nothing about Standing Rock is normal or predictable. As Lyssa and I approach the Oceti Sakowin camps just north of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, our GPS navigator announces, “In six miles, park your car and walk to your destination.”

We ignore these instructions, as well as the sign telling us that the road ahead is closed. “Is this right,” asks Lyssa. “Shouldn’t we have taken that turn back there?”

I confidently mutter a few words that belie my uncertainty. But we continue, and a few miles later over the crest of a hill, we gasp and fall silent. “Holy shit,” says Lyssa, as the sprawling, chaotic brilliance of Oceti Sakowin unfolds before us. The camps fill the valley, fill the imagination, defying all that is normal, conventional, acceptable.

the-sprawlng-camp-img_0946-sized-for-icontactI try to imagine the tipis of the Great Sioux Nation that once occupied these lands many years ago. I’m reminded that this movement is not simply about stopping an oil pipeline. As a coalition of our Native allies wrote, “Our fight is not just about a pipeline project. It is about 500 years of colonization and oppression. This is our moment, a chance to demand a future for our people and all people.”

delivering-supplies-img_0941-sized-for-icontactThere’s a check point at the camp entrance, and a young Native man tells us where to drop off donations. We have food, clothing, blankets and medical supplies, and each needs to be delivered to a different location. We get lost multiple times, ask directions, and each time receive conflicting instructions. The chaos visible from afar is quickly verified up close.

With our deliveries accomplished, we head across the Cannon Ball River to look for Mekasi Horinek, my colleague from Bold Oklahoma. We’re hoping to pitch our tent in Mekasi’s “neighborhood.” But given the massive size of the camps and nonexistent cell phone service, we’re unable to find him.

img_0961-copyFood service at the camps is stretched to the max, so we want to be as self-sufficient as possible. We set up our tent in a spot out of the wind on the south side of the Cannon Ball River. Lyssa pulls out her stove, and in less than an hour we’re enjoying a delicious meal of mac and cheese with peppers from my garden in Des Moines.

At dusk, along with a couple thousand other water protectors, we head to the nearby casino for a benefit concert featuring Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt. Lyssa strikes up a conversation with a man who tells her he was in favor of the pipeline until just last week. He’s very offended by the violent tactics used against peaceful protestors, and now dead set against the pipeline. He thanks Lyssa for being here, thanks her for speaking out, and gives her a casino voucher worth $21.95.

The last few weeks, I’ve heard from more and more people who haven’t been involved with the pipeline fight but are now fired up and taking action. Opposition to fossil-fuel extraction and infrastructure is only going to continue to grow.

As we leave the concert, it’s just starting to snow. We crawl along, following a long line of vehicles back to the camps. This is Lyssa’s first time ever sleeping in a tent, and I tease her about her good fortune. “Not only do you get cold temps but you get snow, too.”

I am confident we can stay warm and dry. Any discomfort we encounter while tenting will be minimal compared to the hardship and injuries inflicted on water protectors who have been attacked mercilessly by law enforcement on several occasions.

Whether or not we’ll encounter such violence remains to be seen. Tomorrow, we hope to meet with camp leaders, share with them an update on what’s happening on the pipeline in Iowa, and help build cold-weather structures for those planning to stay at Standing Rock through the winter.

Silver-linings in Election Day cloud

Dear Friends,

Being swamped with anti-pipeline work, I’ve been slow to process my take-away on Donald Trump’s Election Day victory. Bottom line: Trump’s presidency presents two tremendous opportunities.

More on that in a moment. First, it’s important to acknowledge that lots of bad things could happen over the next four years — especially with regards the U.S. Supreme Court and climate change. Trump has already backed-away from some of his more draconian campaign rhetoric on immigration and healthcare, although plenty of harmful changes could be advanced on those fronts, too.

With climate change, given his likely appointment of deniers Myron Ebell and Harold Hamm to key posts in his administration, Trump shows no indication of modifying his climate extremism.

So yes, we have reason to be scared. Americans who supported Trump in the general election, or Bernie Sanders in the primary, are justifiably angry and ready to topple the status quo. Sanders laid blame where it belongs. Trump’s supporters mistakenly blame constituencies who are themselves victims of the collusion of big business and big government.

But take heart. There are two silver linings. Silver lining #1:

We’re already seeing tremendous push-back against President-elect Trump. As Trump, Congress and Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country try to enact regressive changes on immigration, LGBT equality, civil liberties, eminent domain and the environment, the response from a wide swathe of Americans is only going to grow more vocal and more organized.

Many who join the fight against these changes will be disillusioned Trump supporters, just as many of President Obama’s most active and vocal critics were voters who campaigned for him in 2008. It’s important to welcome them into the fight, unconditionally.

Then there’s the incredible energy unleashed by Sanders during the presidential primary. That energy is now mobilizing millions of Americans through Our Revolution, building a reform movement like none this country has seen in a long, long time. This movement will temper some of the worst proposals put forth over the next four years, and be poised to shift power in 2020.

Which brings me to silver-lining #2:

Nearly everyone recognizes that the Democratic Party is politically and morally bankrupt. The elitists who control the Party have been fully exposed as out-of-touch corporate apologists. The moment for us to reclaim the Party for the people has arrived.

And let’s be clear: All this talk coming from the Democratic Establishment about getting the so-called two wings of the Party to work together is a distraction. Sure, the Establishment is a wing — and one so broken and battered it simply needs to be cut off and discarded. Progressives, on the other hand, are not a wing of the Party. We’re the bird!

The changes America truly needs are on the verge of coming to fruition. Accomplishing them will require patience, perseverance, sacrifice and wisdom. Success is contingent upon nurturing these two silver linings: (1) a grassroots uprising to fight against regressive policy change, and (2) reclaiming the Democratic Party for the people.

Are you ready to help make it happen? I am!

Thanks – Ed Fallon

NoDAPL National Day of Action Includes Des Moines, Omaha

Dear Friends,

People have been asking me my thoughts on the election, and why I seem to have been silent. Honestly, I simply haven’t had time to fully collect what I want to say and write, what with a string of summits, actions and concerts on the pipeline this week. After tomorrow’s big Day of Action, I’ll be able to get that done, and will welcome your feedback.

And it may surprise you that I have a somewhat optimistic outlook on how this is going to roll over the next four years.

And yes, the NoDAPL National Day of Action promises to be a really big deal. I hope you can attend the action nearest to you. Click here for detail on the action nearest to you.

For pipeline fighters in Iowa and Nebraska, I hope you’ll join us tomorrow at on or both of these events. Here’s the press release. Thanks! – Ed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 14, 2016
Contact Ed Fallon at 515-238-6404 or ed@boldiowa.org

NoDAPL National Day of Action Includes Des Moines, Omaha

On Tuesday, November 15, tens of thousands of people will be joining together at over 200 actions in all 50 states to stand with Water Protectors at Standing Rock and farmers and landowners in Iowa who are holding the line against the Dakota Access pipeline.

WHAT: #NoDAPL Solidarity Rally
WHERE: Neal Smith Federal Building, 210 Walnut St., Des Moines
WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 15, 1:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Afterwards, participants will carpool to join Native allies and Bold Nebraska at the Army Corps office in Omaha at 4:30 p.m. They will display banners, flags and signs with slogans such as:

Stand in Prayer. Stop the Pipeline.
Solidarity with Standing Rock and Iowa #NoDAPL
Pres. Obama: Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

“The Army Corps fast-tracked the Dakota Access Pipeline without proper consultation, and now bulldozers are approaching Standing Rock and working quickly to finish up construction here in Iowa,” said Bold Iowa director, Ed Fallon. “With coordinated, massive demonstrations across the country, we’ll make it clear that we will not allow the Obama Administration or the incoming president to sacrifice Indigenous rights, our water or our climate.”

One of the day’s largest actions is expected in Washington, DC, where hundreds are expected to risk arrest. At 3:00, pipeline fighters will meet at the National Portrait Gallery and walk to the Army Corps Headquarters for a peaceful sit-in at 4:00. That will be followed by a rally, then a march to the White House at 5:00.

# # # # #

Weaver a true ally in pipeline fight

Dear Friends,

obama-on-dapl-now-thisEvery day or two, there’s a new twist in the fight to stop the Dakota Access “Bakken” Pipeline. Last night, President Obama was asked about it on “Now This News.” (https://twitter.com/nowthisnews/status/793641140184461313). He spoke of the possibility of “rerouting” the pipeline. Sorry, Mr. President, but that’s not what we’re demanding.

If you are at all serious about climate change, you know full well that there is no safe “reroute.”

If you are the environmentalist we hoped and believed you were when you first campaigned in Iowa in 2007-2008, you know that this pipeline will eventually contaminate water and land where ever the inevitable spill(s) occur.

If you are true to the words you shared last year with our Native Allies at Standing Rock, you understand that a detour is not going to respect the passion and commitment they feel toward all land and water in their ancestral homeland, and beyond.

If the bond you formed with Iowans in 2008 still means something, you’ll empathize with the hundreds of farmers and landowners who have fought this pipeline for over two years, and you’ll stop this assault on their livelihoods and property rights.

So, no, we’re not interested in a “reroute.” We want this pipeline stopped. Period. And we are counting on you and the Army Corps of Engineers to do the right thing . . . and soon.

Kim Weaver speaks from the heart against the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Climate Revolution Rally.

Kim Weaver speaks from the heart against the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Climate Revolution Rally.

Among Iowa congressional candidates, there is only one who has been on our side in this pipeline fight: Kim Weaver — and she’s been with us from the beginning.

During my 400-mile walk along the pipeline route in 2015, I stayed with Kim in NW Iowa. Kim’s early opposition to the pipeline was strong and clear. She didn’t equivocate, hedge or pull any punches, as so many politicians are inclined to do. She was against the pipeline, and continues to speak out against it as she campaigns across western Iowa.

Kim is challenging Congressman Steve King. Yeah, that’s a tough assignment. But these are interesting and unpredictable political times. Kim’s running a great campaign. I fully support her, have donated generously, and hope you’ll take a couple minutes to do so, too. Here’s the link to her donation page: https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/weaverforiowaexpresss.

Beyond the pipeline, Kim and I share a lot of issues in common. I greatly admire her work with our elderly, which she does tirelessly, day after day. Her proposal for clean water is innovative, cost-effective and timely. And her policy proposals on education, health care and immigration make, well, a lot more sense than what we’re used to hearing from the Fourth District. Check out her website for more detail: http://weaverforcongress.nationbuilder.com.

Needless to say, I have never heard Kim malign an immigrant, foreigner, homosexual or Harriet Tubman. And I’ll bet you a dozen eggs she won’t decorate her congressional office with the confederate flag.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Texas Pipeline Worker Sent Home

Dear Friends,

ed-and-jane-on-covers-full-sizeFirst, a reminder about our exciting event this Sunday with Jane Kleeb and Josh Fox. We’ll watch Fox’s new film on climate, and Jane will update us on the battle to stop the pipeline. We’ll enjoy music from Josh and some of our Native allies and remarks from Adam Mason with Iowa CCI. Cyd’s Catering is bringing some wonderful snacks made from Iowa-grown food. Oh, and I’ll emcee, assuring that no other theater in America this weekend will feature a state’s “Number One Hellraiser” and another state’s “Most Controversial Woman.” Really, you don’t want to miss this. Details here.

Shirley Gerjets and her unwelcome guests: A large security force and an even larger pipeline.

Shirley Gerjets and her unwelcome guests: A large security force and an even larger pipeline.

What else don’t you want to miss?  #FarmersDefenseCamp! This week, we set up an encampment on land owned by Shirley Gerjets, a farmer who has fought the pipeline every step of the way. While the camp itself can accommodate about twenty overnight campers (let us know if you’re interested), we hope hundreds turn out for the actions, especially this coming Saturday. Deatils here.

If you ever feel that our efforts are in vain, well here’s proof that they’re not. Kudos to Marisa Cummings and her daughter for standing strong and speaking out against injustice. And thank you to Calhoun County Sheriff Bill Davis for pushing Dakota Access to do the right thing, and for pipeline fighter Heather Pearson for doing such a great job at being our liaison with local law enforcement. Here’s the press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 26, 2016

Contact:
Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa: 515-238-6404ed@boldiowa.org
Marisa Cummings, 319-621-6608mail4marisa@gmail.com

Dakota Access Employee Who Made Sexual Solicitation of Water Protector and Daughter is Fired, Sent Back to Texas
Dakota Access worker heard asking, “How much for the little girl?” out of his pickup trick window during Bold Iowa direct action on Oct. 15

Des Moines — The Dakota Access employee who made a sexual solicitation of a peaceful female Water Protector and her daughter during Bold Iowa’s nonviolent direct action on Oct. 15 has been terminated and sent back to Texas, Bold Iowa has learned.

The Dakota Access employee was driving a silver Ford pickup truck with Texas license plates when he shouted at the woman and her daughter, “How much for the little girl?”

Calhoun County sheriff William Davis reports that the employee, whose identity was not disclosed, has been identified by Dakota Access, and terminated from his position with the company as a result of the disgusting incident.

“When one asks to purchase a woman of color near a pipeline site, you evoke a feeling of threat and intimidation,” said Marisa Cummings, who along with her daughter was the target of the solicitation by the Dakota Access employee on Oct. 15. “Native American women are found missing and murdered throughout the oil fields of America and Canada. We are more likely to be raped by a non-Native male than any other racial group. Human trafficking and rape is a reality for our women. We want the man who attempted to intimidate and harass us held accountable for his actions.  I am disappointed that local law enforcement did not allow us to file charges.  I will not pat the Dakota Access Pipeline workers on the back for terminating the employee. The action against their employee was only taken after we went to the media and released our story and gained a public outcry for his actions.”

Video of the sexual solicitation by a Dakota Access employee of a woman and her daughter during Bold Iowa’s Oct. 15 action may be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/NowThisNews/videos/1197616650328457/

Bold Iowa sees this incident as indicative of what has already been documented at “mancamps” set up by pipeline companies to house construction and oilfield workers — increased violence, drugs, and human trafficking.

To date, more than 2,500 people have signed the Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance, which is supported by Bold Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, CREDO Action, and 100 Grannies for a Livable Future.

View the Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance here.

On Oct. 25, Bold Iowa set up an encampment in Calhoun County with farmer Shirley Gerjets, whose land was taken against her wishes via eminent domain by Dakota Access to build the pipeline.

(DETAILShttp://boldiowa.org/action/nodaplcamp)

On Aug. 31, 30 people were arrested during a Bakken Pledge of Resistance direct action to stop pipeline construction in Boone County.

On Sept. 10, 19 people were arrested at a Bakken Pledge direct action in Boone County.

On Sept. 22, more than 175 people participated in a “Midwest Mobilization” action that stopped construction on the pipeline in Boone County.

On Oct. 15, landowner Cyndy Coppola and Bold Iowa director Ed Fallon were arrested on Cyndy’s own property, which lies inside the pipeline route.

Bold Iowa Action Teams (BATs) have also participated in smaller, decentralized direct actions to stop construction on the pipeline at various locations over the past few weeks — including on Sept. 21 in Webster County, and at other sites in Boone County and near Farrar, in Polk County.

Between Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance actions, and the nonviolent actions that have been organized by allies at the “Mississippi Stand” encampment in southeast Iowa, to date close to 170 arrests of Pipeline Fighters have been made in Iowa while standing up to stop Dakota Access.

# # #

“How much for the little girl?”

Dear Friends,

I hope you can join me and the Bold Iowa team when filmmaker Josh Fox (“Gasland”) visits Des Moines on October 30th, the final stop on his Climate Revolution Tour. Should be an exciting event. Get your tickets here.

And don’t forget to vote for “Bold” to receive financial support from CREDO Action. It’ll just take a minute, cost you nothing, and very much help in our fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Click here.

In a press release today, Bold Iowa called on Dakota Access to terminate the employee who sexually harassed Marisa Cummings and her daughter at an action organized by Bold in Calhoun County this weekend. The Dakota Access worker was heard asking, “How much for the little girl?” out of his pickup truck window. Here’s the press release, including video of the incident taken by Marisa and published by Now This News.

Des Moines — Bold Iowa strongly condemns the sexual solicitation made by a Dakota Access employee against a peaceful female Water Protector and her daughter during our nonviolent direct action on Oct. 15 to stop construction of the pipeline, and call on the company to see that the employee is immediately terminated.

Video of the sexual solicitation by a Dakota Access employee of a woman and her daughter during Bold Iowa’s Oct. 15 action may be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/NowThisNews/videos/1197616650328457/

The Dakota Access employee was driving a silver Ford pickup truck with Texas license plates when he shouted at the woman and her daughter, “How much for the little girl?”

The Dakota Access employee violated Iowa Code on Harassment XVI, Subtitle I, Chapter 708.7 and Prostitution CVI, Subtitle I, Chapter 705.1 — yet local law enforcement and Iowa State Patrol present on site did not allow the victim to file an affidavit, and refused to otherwise file a report or document the incident.

“We were told that the Calhoun County District Attorney would not prosecute our case,” said Marisa Cummings, who along with her daughter was the target of the solicitation by the Dakota Access employee.

“When one asks to purchase a woman of color near a pipeline site, you evoke a feeling of threat and intimidation,” said Cummings. “Native American women are found missing and murdered throughout the oil fields of America and Canada. We are more likely to be raped by a non-Native male than any other racial group. Human trafficking and rape is a reality for our women. We want the man who attempted to intimidate and harass us held accountable for his actions and the cooperation of law enforcement and the county attorney,” added Cummings.

“We had 50 pipeline fighters at Saturday’s direct action,” said Bold Iowa director Ed Fallon. “The day started with nonviolence training, and all our participants were meticulously respectful and courteous toward law enforcement officers and pipeline workers. For that pipeline worker to say what he did to Marisa and her daughter is unconscionable. Someone who demeans two women peacefully protesting like that needs to be fired.”

Bold Iowa sees this incident as indicative of what has already been documented at “mancamps” set up by pipeline companies to house construction and oilfield workers — increased violence, drugs, and human trafficking.

To date, more than 2,500 people have signed the Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance, which is supported by Bold Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, CREDO Action, and 100 Grannies for a Livable Future.

(View the Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance: http://bit.ly/bakkenpledge)

On Aug. 31, 30 people were arrested during a Bakken Pledge of Resistance direct action to stop pipeline construction in Boone County.

On Sept. 10, 19 people were arrested at a Bakken Pledge direct action in Boone County.

On Sept. 22, more than 175 people participated in a “Midwest Mobilization” action that stopped construction on the pipeline in Boone County.

On Oct. 15, landowner Cyndy Coppola and Bold Iowa director Ed Fallon were arrested on Cyndy’s own property, which lies inside the pipeline route. Pipeline fighters shut down construction equipment across Calhoun County for a total of 7-8 hours at five sites that day.

Bold Iowa Action Teams (BATs) have also participated in smaller, decentralized direct actions to stop construction on the pipeline at various locations over the past few weeks — including on Sept. 21 in Webster County, and at other sites in Boone County and near Farrar, in Polk County.

Between Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance actions, and the nonviolent actions that have been organized by allies at the “Mississippi Stand” encampment in southeast Iowa, to date more than 170 Pipeline Fighters have been arrested in Iowa standing up to stop Dakota Access.

# # #