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.

# # #

Standing Strong at Standing Rock

Dear Friends,

I don’t believe I’ve ever included a mainstream media story in its entirety in this weekly update. Yet the story on the Standing Rock Sioux encampment in North Dakota by Des Moines Register reporter Kevin Hardy was so powerful — and the photos by Rodney White so compelling — that the piece warrants replication in its entirety.  View the original article here or scroll down.

Thank you to our Native allies for their powerful witness against the Dakota Access pipeline. And thank you to the Iowa farmers, landowners and environmentalists who have been fighting the pipeline here for the past two years.

credo-donate-pic-screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-9-18-54-amWe’re still fighting, and one thing you can do to help is “Vote for Bold” to receive CREDO Action funding to continue our work.

And please check out this week’s Fallon Forum, with Dr. Charles Goldman and me analyzing Sunday’s presidential debate, including a guest appearance from Rev Billy, who performs at Trinity United Methodist Church in Des Moines on Wednesday.

Thanks!
Ed Fallon

Near Standing Rock, pipeline protest meets a spiritual movement

kmhardy@dmreg.com

The Native Americans coming to the camp near Standing Rock Reservation have rekindled bonds among their tribes. The gathering is a peaceful protest of the Dakota Access pipeline construction.Rodney White/The Register

Dakota Access Pipeline

(Photo: Rodney White/The Register)

Oceti Sakowin Camp, N.D. — Margaret Two Shields holds her hands over a crackling fire dug into the earth as she stands next to her family’s teepee at the heart of one of the largest gatherings of native people in modern history.

They’re gathered in a show of solidarity to oppose the nearby construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

“If my mom was alive, she’d probably be right here,” said Two Shields, a 63-year-old member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “She told stories about this.”

To understand this sprawling tapestry of tents, teepees and campers, members of Sioux tribes point back to the tales and prophecies that their parents and grandparents passed on to them.

One foretold destruction: Specifically, a giant black snake would threaten Mother Earth.

Another was more hopeful: Black Elk, a holy man of the Oglala Lakota, prophesied that after generations of suffering, tribes of all bands would heal and unite as one.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said 46-year-old Melaine Stoneman, a member of the Sicangu Lakota tribe from South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian Reservation. “This is more than just protecting the land. This is a huge spiritual movement.”

Many native people interviewed here agreed, noting they believe this gathering is what a 9-year-old Black Elk envisioned nearly 150 years ago. To date, some 300 tribes and indigenous nations have staked their flags here.

The various camps here are home to many Sioux people occupying the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land as a peaceful protest of the pipeline, which many view as the fulfilled prophecy of the black snake. They’ve been joined by Native Americans from Hawaii to Florida, indigenous people from across the globe and white allies.

 

All are opposed to the 1,172-mile oil pipeline, which is set to run from North Dakota to Illinois, cutting through Iowa along the way.

Members of newly arrived tribes continually parade into camp. They offer gifts and tell of their own battles at home fighting deforestation, mining and oil infrastructure projects. Their arrivals spark singing, dancing and praying.

Numbers change by the day, though camp leaders estimate the population here has swelled to as many as 7,000 campers in recent weeks, spawning a vibrancy not seen here for decades, Two Shields said.

In the 1960s, when the Corps dammed the nearby Missouri River, life on Standing Rock’s reservation changed when many native people were forced to relocate, she said. Members of the tribe say traditional spirituality waned. Poverty ravaged families, and children fled the reservation in all directions, Two Shields said.

Morning arrives at the Oceti Sakowin Camp near the

Morning arrives at the Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Standing Rock reservation Thursday Sept. 29, 2016, near Cannon Ball, N.D. The Dakota Access pipeline passes less than two miles from the camp and will go under Lake Oahe in the background. (Photo: Rodney White/The Register)

 

“People should come and see how we live,” she said. “They put us on these reservations; it’s like living in a jail.”

Yet even as campers talk of poverty, drugs and alcohol devastating native families across the country, the mood in the main encampment is mostly uplifting. Aromas of burning cedar and sage mix with the overwhelming scent of glowing campfires.

“Once you’ve been there, it’s all you think about,” said Dawson Davenport, a 36-year-old University of Iowa student. Davenport, a member of the Meskwaki tribe in Tama, drove more than 10 hours to the North Dakota camp for a weekend in September.

The gathering was unlike anything he’s ever seen before. It hurt to leave.

“Some tribes didn’t get along for hundreds of years,” he said, “and they’re sitting next to each other having a cup of coffee and a cigarette, talking about life.”

Photos: Dakota Pipeline protest Standing Rock Reservation, N. Dakota
Crow Creek Sioux Tribe chairman Brandon Sazue leads a group of horsemen near the sacred lands north of Oceti Šakowiŋ Camp Thursday Sept. 29, 2016, near the Dakota Access pipeline construction less than two miles from the camp. Construction of the pipeline within 20 miles of the camp in each direction has been put on hold.  Rodney White/The Register

***

Like all the elements, water is held sacred among native people. They talk of the amniotic fluid that begins life and the water that makes up most of the human body.

The pipeline is set to cross the Missouri River near Standing Rock’s reservation, where people rely on the river for drinking water. Many believe the pipeline will eventually break, threatening life along the river.

“We’re the voices speaking up for the four-legged brothers that can’t talk for themselves — all the animals down the river that can’t speak out,” said Douglas James, a 64-year-old member of the Lummi Nation. “We’re just speaking out for Mother Earth.”

Dakota Access counters that the state-of-the-art pipeline is being built to strict safety standards, and notes that state and federal authorities have permitted its construction.

 

Protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline have set up a camp near Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. Rodney White/The Register

Last week, a group of Lummi from Washington state visited the camp, bringing dozens of King salmon from the Pacific Ocean. After an introduction, they promptly dug a pit and built a fire. Over the flames, they roasted salmon fillets on ironwood fish sticks to feed the camp.

James said the movement has given voice to native people everywhere.

“No matter how bad you tried to annihilate the native people, we’re still here,” he said. “We still exist. We’re still the protectors of the Earth.”

Native culture is rich with stories of spirits cohabiting the Earth with humans.

A Havasupai medicine man who goes by only Uqualla said native spirituality is difficult for those in mainstream society to understand. Divinity is not reserved for the creator, but is shared among people, plants, animals and the elements.

Havasupai tribe medicine man Uqualla, shown at the

Havasupai tribe medicine man Uqualla, shown at the Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Standing Rock reservation Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, says: “We’re here basically to be sentinels for a force that is unseen.” (Photo: Rodney White/The Register)

 

“Many people fantasize and glorify this. And we’re not here as fantasy beings or glorified beings,” he said. “We’re here basically to be sentinels for a force that is unseen.”

He said spiritual forces in the camp are working to protect the Earth from what is viewed as an assault by the pipeline.

“We’re praying to the rising sun. We’re praying to the setting sun. We’re bringing in the sacred songs. We’re building the sacred fire,” said Uqualla, 63. “So what we’ve created here is a huge vortex of such intensity that is growing skyward.”

After growing up divorced from her Crow Creek Sioux heritage, Blue Star Woman said she reconnected with her roots in adulthood. The 48-year-old now lives on the tribe’s South Dakota reservation and has been learning both the language and the culture.

She grew up in the Wesleyan Church and compared the feelings of her newfound spiritual revelations to what born-again Christians feel in being saved by Jesus Christ.

“But 20 times greater,” she said, “because I felt that connection to Mother Earth.”

Life at the encampment has only deepened that connection. After taming a wild horse, she said elders dubbed her a woman warrior. Men who oversee the rite of the sacred pipe invited her into a sweat lodge ceremony, where she sang and prayed.

“I don’t know my language,” she said. “But I knew those ceremonial songs.”

Blue Star Woman, 48, of the Crow Creek Sioux explains
Blue Star Woman, 48, of the Crow Creek Sioux explains how she reconnected with Mother Earth at the Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Standing Rock reservation Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. (Photo: Rodney White/The Register)

***

Life at the Oceti Sakowin Camp revolves around a central sacred fire, which is lined with canopies and folding camp chairs.

Here, many eat meals off paper plates from the adjacent volunteer kitchen.

Speakers standing on tripods and a large message board serve as the communication backbone in a place with meager cellular service.

It’s in this area where newly arrived tribes are formally introduced and welcomed.

On a recent weekday, about 20 Havasupai people sang and danced after driving from their reservation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. They wore traditional attire. The women donned bright blue dresses and red shawls and decorated their hair with small woven baskets. The men went shirtless and were crowned with curling ram horns.

They sang a song about water to a low and steady drumbeat. The bells they wore rang out as they pounded their feet in toward the fire and out toward the circled crowd.

The Havasupai told of their own environmental battles protesting uranium mining in the Grand Canyon.

Representatives of the Havasupai Tribe from the Havasupai

Representatives of the Havasupai Tribe from the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the Grand Canyon enter the Oceti Sakowin Camp near Standing Rock reservation Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, near Cannon Ball, N.D. The Dakota Access pipeline passes less than two miles from the camp and will go under Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. (Photo: Rodney White/The Register)

 

“We are living under a demonic entity,” said Jahmisa Manakaja, 35. “And we have been asleep for a long, long time. And today we have awakened.”

She said she was called by the spirits, and the creator blessed the group’s trip.

“Many will come and go, but we’re all here in spirit,” she said. “We never left. We’ve never left this land.”

The next day, a group of three indigenous Sami people from Scandinavia arrived at the camp.

The women sat on their knees, and their bright crimson and blue skirts flowed in front of them. They offered Standing Rock’s chairman gifts, including reindeer hide and a traditional cup carved from birch. Onlookers stood silent as they cried out a yoik, a traditional song that combines deep guttural sounds with strikingly high notes.

Sofia Jannok, a Swedish singer, told how her people combat mining and struggle to maintain natural habitats for reindeer, which many rely upon for food, fur and livelihood. The Sami ancestral area spans parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

“We are one. We hear you, we see you,” she said. “And the fight you have is also the fight we have.”

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Frank Archambault II,

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Frank Archambault II, left, is given a gift by Sofia Jannok, center, Inger Berit Gaup and Sara Marielle Gail, right, representing the Sami indigenous of Northern Europe during a gathering in the main fire circle at Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Standing Rock reservation Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, near Cannon Ball, N.D. (Photo: Rodney White/The Register)

***

Outside the camp, winding two-lane roads frame vast expanses of browning sunflower fields and yellowing pasture. Small boulders and rocks pock the hilly terrain.

The federal government once considered this Sioux territory: It was included in the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, which created the Great Sioux Reservation. But less than a decade later, Congress began to cede much of the territory back, including the gold-rich Black Hills, a move that the tribes here still contest.

Those longstanding grievances have fueled and helped define the pipeline protests, resurrecting for tribes the broken promises of the past.

The pipeline protest is “the most immediate concern,” said Walter Fleming, department head and professor of Native American studies at Montana State University. “But I think all tribes would be in agreement that this is a bigger question about tribes being able to assert their rights beyond the boundary of the reservation.”

Jahmisa Manakaja, 35, of the Havasupai Tribe from the

Jahmisa Manakaja, 35, of the Havasupai Tribe from the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the Grand Canyon addresses the Oceti Sakowin Camp main fire ring Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. (Photo: Rodney White/The Register)

 

Fleming, an enrolled member of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, says this occupation is reminiscent of others:

In 1969, 89 Native American activists undertook a 19-month occupation of Alcatraz Island in an effort to reclaim native land.

In 1973, Oglala Lakota and American Indian Movement members occupied the site of the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre. The dispute started over a tribal leadership issue, but also tapped into the federal government’s failure to honor past treaties. The 71-day occupation ended after federal agents killed a Lakota man.

Fleming said both of those movements were more militant than the Standing Rock effort.

“This one is certainly the opposite,” he said. “It’s peaceful and prayerful.”

A barbed wire fence in front of the camp proclaims to drivers along state Highway 1806: “We are unarmed.”

The protesters here, who call themselves water protectors, maintain they have no plans to bring violence to their struggle.

“We’re here in prayer,” said Joel Running Bear. “We have no weapons.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, nodding to protesters’ First Amendment rights, has indicated it will not evict protesters from the campsite. But many fear that the other side is gearing up for a fight.

State troopers, Bureau of Indian Affairs police and city police officers from as far away as Fargo constantly buzz past the camp. The North Dakota National Guard checks license plates at a concrete road blockade nearly 30 miles north of the camp. And a non-law enforcement helicopter, rumored to be private security, frequently buzzes overhead.

North Dakota National Guardsmen control traffic Sunday,

North Dakota National Guardsmen control traffic Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, just south of Mandan, N.D., on the road leading to a camp near Standing Rock reservation. They have been checking the license numbers of vehicles that head toward the reservation and Dakota Access pipeline work areas. (Photo: Rodney White/The Register)

 

Officials with the lead law enforcement agency, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, could not be reached for comment.

But Lt. Tom Iverson, spokesman for the North Dakota State Highway Patrol, said on-scene officers want to avoid confrontation with protesters. While activists have not been violent, he said their actions were aggressive toward police. Just this week, he said several protesters who ventured off the campsite wore gas masks and approached police in an attempt to intimidate officers protecting work sites.

“It’s not peaceful,” he said. “It may be nonviolent, but some of the actions and tactics that are taken out there toward law enforcement, toward citizens and toward the state of North Dakota are not peaceful.”

Running Bear, a 32-year-old Standing Rock member, said native people have been praying since the days of Christopher Columbus. They prayed when they were moved onto reservations. And they prayed when native children were stripped of their culture in state-sponsored boarding schools.

“We prayed and prayed and prayed,” he said. “We’re still praying today.”

He wonders how another race would have responded to the centuries of degradation and death the U.S. government has perpetuated against generations of native people. And he worries that the government isn’t finished.

As much as he wants peace, he believes the conflict could escalate to violence.

“On their side, yeah,” he said. “But I believe that they’ve been waiting since Custer to do this.”

International Indigenous Youth Council of Standing

International Indigenous Youth Council of Standing Rock and Oceti Sakowin Youth encampment teepee at the Oceti Sakowin Camp near Standing Rock reservation Saturday Oct. 1, 2016, near Cannon Ball, N.D. The Dakota Access pipeline passes less than two miles from the camp and will go under Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. (Photo: Rodney White/The Register)

***

In the daylight, campers occupy themselves with the mundane tasks of daily living. They chop firewood, wash their clothes in buckets and groom the many horses corralled in temporary confinements.

Oceti Sakowin began as an overflow camp for other nearby camps that formed early in the spring. Named for the seven bands that historically made up the Great Sioux Nation, it now serves as the heart of the resistance.

Every now and then, groups will trek to pray and sing near pipeline construction, and some risk arrest by venturing onto work sites. So far, more than 90 people have been arrested.

But more often, the camp is home to quieter shows of strength.

On a recent Saturday evening, Chet Stoneman prepared for an all-night peyote ceremony on the far edge of the camp.

Chet Stoneman, 62, far right, of the Rosebud Indian

Chet Stoneman, 62, far right, of the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota guides the assembly of a teepee for a peyote ceremony at the Oceti Sakowin Camp Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. (Photo: Rodney White/The Register)

Friends and relatives carefully raked the dirt inside his 28-foot-wide teepee as others gathered wild sage from the nearby hillsides. Such ceremonies, along with other sacred rituals like the use of sweat lodges, are all working to combat the pipeline, he said.

“This is how much of the indigenous people care about our Mother Earth,” he said.

Gerald Iron Shield, a Standing Rock member, drives to the camp most weeknights after he completes his workday at the tribe’s diabetes program. He finds peace and healing at the encampment.

Over the years, many native people seemed to lose their connections with traditional spiritual teachings, Iron Shield said. Mainline Christian churches planted roots on the reservation. Ancient traditions fell out of favor.

Now he sees a revival playing out before him.

“It’s our people coming back home,” he said. “It’s been prophesied that this time in our life is coming. There should be healing coming next.”

Gerald Iron Shield, 62, of the Standing Rock Sioux

Gerald Iron Shield, 62, of the Standing Rock Sioux talks at the Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Standing Rock reservation Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. (Photo: Rodney White/The Register)

Bug the Size of a Pterodactyl

Dear Friends,

pterodactyl

The bug that hit Ed’s eye.

While cruising along at 20 mph on my bike recently, my left eye had an intimate encounter with a bug that, from a centmeter out, seemed as big as a bird. That collision managed to tear the retina in nine places and detach it in two.

Fun times for me.

End times for the bug.

So, this past week I’ve been recovering from surgery, which has been complicated by a sinus infection and blowing out a blood vessel in my eye. My body’s response has been to adopt the sleeping habits of my cat. If I’ve been slow to respond to inquiries, you know why.

But I’m happy to report that I’m starting to feel better, and was able to host the Fallon Forum this week. Our guests included Emily Schott from Iowa CCI on the Fight for $15, Michael Dineen from We Are Seneca Lake on fracking, Kathleen McQuillen on Col. Wilkerson’s Iowa tour, and David Goodner from the Iowa City Catholic Worker on the #NoDAPL campaign on the Mississippi River. Check out the podcast.

credo-donate-pic-screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-9-18-54-am

In other very cool news, the Bold Alliance has been selected this month as one of three nonprofits to receive a grant from our friends at CREDO!

Here’s your chance to financially support Bold Iowa and the Bold Alliance without spending a penny, simply by voting for “Bold.” 

Click here to Vote for Bold!

The money raised from CREDO will help fund Bold Alliance’s current organizing to stop the Dakota Access pipeline that is abusing eminent domain for private gain, and threatens our land, water and climate. Our Alliance of unlikely partners is growing, and is now active in four rural states:

Bold Iowa created the Pledge of Resistance, and has helped organize nonviolence trainings and direct actions that have so far resulted in 156 Pipeline Fighters being arrested while stopping construction on the Dakota Access pipeline. Bold Iowa continues to stand with farmers opposing eminent domain for private gain.

Bold Oklahoma coordinator Mekasi Camp Horinek — also a Ponca Nation member — has been embedded at the Standing Rock camps in North Dakota for weeks, and is a leader there helping to organize nonviolent direct actions to stop construction on the pipeline.

Bold Nebraska is spearheading a fundraising campaign to support the Pipeline Fighters and Water Protecters in North Dakota and Iowa, and has sponsored a number of supply runs to donate food, firewood and other items needed at the Standing Rock camps.

Bold Louisiana is organizing fisherfolk and frontline communities to end offshore drilling, and preparing to open a new front in the Dakota Access pipeline fight at the export refineries where the oil from this pipeline would be headed.

Thanks for supporting Bold! Please share the link with your networks. And next time you see me out biking, look for my spiffy new pair of bug-proof goggles.

Ed

Saturday Oct. 1: Join the Mississippi Stand

Dear Friends,

Thirty people participated in Civil Disobedience against the Bakken Pipeline on August 31 near Boone, Iowa.

We’re calling on the more than 2,500 of you who have now signed the Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance, to join pledge co-sponsors Bold Iowa and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement on Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Mississippi Stand nonviolence training and direct action to stop construction of the Dakota Access pipeline in southeast Iowa (near Keokuk).

For those of you willing to risk arrest, you must attend a nonviolence training. Earth First will be leading a nonviolence civil disobedience training at 10:00 a.m. We will also need many supporters not risking arrest to assist with the booking and release of anyone who is arrested, and to stand in solidarity and help document the action.

  • WHAT: Mississippi Stand Nonviolence Training & Direct Action to Stop Dakota Access
  • WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016
    • 9:00 a.m: Water Ceremony
    • 10:00 a.m: Nonviolent civil disobedience training by Earth First
    • 12:00 p.m: Direct Action planning, depart for direct action
  • WHERE: Mississippi Stand: 3333 Mississippi River Road, Keokuk, IA 52632 (map)
  • DETAILS: Visit the Mississippi Stand event on Facebook.

CAN’T JOIN US ON SATURDAY

Chip in $5, $8 or whatever you can to support those risking arrest with legal costs and fines via the Bakken Pledge of Resistance Legal Fund.

Thanks for continuing to stand with us, in solidarity with Standing Rock and the Tribal Nations at the Sacred Stone Camp, to oppose the Dakota Access pipeline that threatens our land and water.

SLAPP Suit Dismissed!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 21, 2016

Contact:
Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa, 515-238-6404ed@boldiowa.org
Adam Mason, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, 515-314-2655adam@iowacci.org
Jane Kleeb, Bold Alliance, 402-705-3622jane@boldalliance.org

Dakota Access Withdraws Federal Lawsuit That Sought Restraining Order Against Bold Iowa, Iowa CCI to Silence Peaceful Nonviolent Actions to Stop Pipeline Construction

“Midwest Mobilization” event Thursday at Boone County Fairgrounds is next in series of direct actions by 2,400+ signers of Bakken Pledge of Resistance

Des Moines — Dakota Access, LLC on Wednesday completely withdrew its federal lawsuit against Bold Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and Bold director Ed Fallon and Iowa CCI policy director Adam Mason, wherein the company had sought a preliminary injunction and a restraining order aimed at silencing our ongoing peaceful, nonviolent direct actions to stop construction of this pipeline that threatens land, water and climate.

“This validates our belief all along that this was a frivolous lawsuit designed to silence our voices against the Dakota Access pipeline,” said Bold Iowa director Ed Fallon. “But we have refused to remain silent, and all our actions have been and will continue to be peaceful and nonviolent expressions of our First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceful assembly. We continue to urge Pres. Obama to halt construction on Dakota Access in Iowa and along the entire pipeline route.”

“This dismissal is one more small victory in our fight to stop Dakota Access and the pipeline,” said Cherie Mortice, Iowa CCI board president. “We’ll continue to use all of the means at our disposal; building a bigger base and moving them to peaceful non-violent action until President Obama steps in and shuts this pipeline down.”

“Today’s dismissal is one more small victory in our fight to stop Dakota Access and the Bakken Pipeline, said Cherie Mortice, Iowa CCI board president. “We’ll continue to use all of the means at our disposal; building a bigger base and moving them to peaceful non-violent action until President Obama steps in and shuts this pipeline down.”

“When citizens are attacked by Big Oil for standing up for their property rights and free speech, we win,” said Bold Alliance president Jane Kleeb.

Iowa CCI and Bold Iowa’s next direct action is today’s “Midwest Mobilization,” which will take place from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Boone County Fairgrounds. The event will include a nonviolence training, a simultaneous Just Transition teach-in, a session featuring landowners’ perspectives on the pipeline, and cap off with a nonviolent direct action to stop construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

WHAT: Midwest Mobilization to Stop Dakota Access
WHO: Bold Iowa, Iowa CCI, 100 Grannies for a Livable Future and signers of the Bakken Pledge of Resistance
WHERE: Boone County Fairgrounds, 1601 Industrial Park Rd., Boone, IA 50036
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 22, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Bold Iowa and Iowa CCI are co-organizers of the “Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance,” which has now been signed by 2,400 citizens, including over 550 who have pledged to risk arrest in acts of peaceful nonviolent civil disobedience to stop construction on the pipeline.

To date, nearly 100 citizens have been arrested in Iowa in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience to stop construction on the Dakota Access pipeline.

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

# # #

“BATs” Block Pipeline Construction

Dear Friends,

Are you ready to join a BAT to help stop the Dakota Access pipeline? Check out the press release describing yesterday’s inaugural BAT action, and let me know you’re ready to help. Thanks! – Ed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
8:00 a.m. CT, Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Contact: Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa Director, (515) 238-6404 or ed@fallonforum.com

“BATs” Block Pipeline Construction
Bold Iowa launches “Bold Action Teams” 

Christine, Ed and Cyndy approach construction equipment.

Christine, Ed and Cyndy approach construction equipment removing topsoil in Webster County.

Des Moines, IA — Yesterday, Bold Iowa launched a new initiative called BATs (Bold Action Teams), aiming to stop construction along the entire length of the Dakota Access pipeline in Iowa. The first team of Christine Sheeler, Cyndy Coppola, Lisa Homann, Ed Fallon and Christine’s dog Arlo blocked construction in Webster County for over an hour Tuesday morning. When law enforcement arrived and asked the team to leave, they did — and traveled to Boone County where they interrupted construction for another 20 minutes.

Christine Sheller and Arlo blocking construction equipment.

Christine Sheller and Arlo blocking construction equipment.

“BATs are small teams of pipeline fighters who mobilize across the state to stop construction of the Dakota Access pipeline whenever and wherever they find it,” explained Ed Fallon, the director of Bold Iowa. “Yesterday marked our initial foray into this escalation of Bold Iowa’s commitment to working with our allies to take a peaceful, nonviolent stand against this assault on our soil, water, climate and property rights.”

While adhering to the firm code of nonviolence central to Bold’s philosophy, BATs are decentralized and autonomous by design. Teams deploy whenever and wherever they are inclined. When they find pipeline construction or vehicles heading to or from a worksite, they physically and cautiously block those vehicles and equipment. When law enforcement officials arrive, team members have the discretion to continue to block construction or to leave, possibly moving to another site.

Christine, Ed, Arlo and Lisa.

Christine, Ed, Arlo and Lisa.

“Swarms of BATs covering the state could effectively shut down construction in a meaningful, significant way,” said Fallon. “If dozens and dozens of BATs step forward, we could halt construction the way Iowa farmers shut down farm auctions during the 1980s Farm Crisis, standing with their neighbors and preventing the auctions from going forward.”

Earlier this summer, Bold Iowa and Iowa CCI launched the Pledge of Resistance. Over 2,400 people have signed the Pledge, committing to help stop the Dakota Access pipeline through risking arrest and/or supporting those risking arrest. Other Pledge partners now include CREDO Action and 100 Grannies for a Livable Future.

Ed and Cyndy approach bulldozer in Boone County.

Ed and Cyndy approach bulldozer in Boone County.

Bold Iowa is part of the Bold Alliance, building a coalition of small-and-mighty groups in rural states to fight Big Oil, protect landowners against the abuse of eminent domain, and work for clean energy solutions while empowering a political base of voters who care about the land and water.

####

Listen to the Fallon Forum:

– Live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, listen live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA)
– KICI.LP 105.3 FM (Iowa City, IA)
– WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Whirlwind

Dear Friends,

When it comes to fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline, this past week has seen a whirlwind of activity. Not counting the amazing work being done by our Native allies in the Dakotas — and all the solidarity organizing happening around the country — check out just a sampling of action in Iowa:

– Saturday’s nonviolence training and action (here);
– Tuesday’s solidarity rally as part of the National Day of Action (here); and
– Wednesday’s press conference and petition delivery (here).

And still to come this week . . .
– Thursday’s court appearance for the 30 arrested on August 31 (here);
– Friday’s court appearance for the 18 arrested on September 10 (here); and
– Saturday’s direct action at the Mississippi River (here).

More activity is in the works for next week. Stay tuned for details, and “like” the Bold Iowa Facebook page for the most immediate updates.

What started as a regional fight to stop an oil pipeline has now become an international “cause célèbre.” This is one for the history books, and to all who value our planet, our water, the treaty rights of Native communities and the property rights of Midwestern farmers, thank you for helping to make history. And please join us as we continue the struggle!

*******

Thanks to Lora Fraracci for guest-hosting the Fallon Forum this week. Among other topics, Lora and her guests discuss how insane it is that C-section rates remain so high, and why tribal leaders are rising to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline. Check out the podcast here.

Listen to the Fallon Forum:

– Live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, listen live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA)
– KICI.LP 105.3 FM (Iowa City, IA)
– WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

A Letter from the President

Dear Friends,

Our battle to stop the Dakota Access/Bakken Pipeline has gone from regional to national, and now to international. Yesterday in Laos, a student actually asked President Obama about the pipeline. Click here to see the exchange.

Also this week, I  received a letter from the President in response to two letters I and others wrote to him in April and May. The first letter, signed by Jane Kleeb, Dallas Goldtooth, Frank James and me, commends the President for rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline. Our specific request reads, “{W}e ask you in the strongest possible terms to exert the same clarion leadership with regards to the proposed Bakken Pipeline.”

His response (included here) is disappointing.obama-letter-8-31-16

Click here to view the two letters we sent to the President.

Let’s help President Obama do the right thing here. So much is happening right now, including direct action organized by Bold Iowa and Iowa CCI this Saturday, September 10th. For details about that, visit the invitation posted on Facebook:

Direct Action to Stop the Dakota Access/Bakken Pipeline

Between what’s happening in North Dakota with our Native allies, the continued efforts of landowners and environmentalists in Iowa, and now students in Laos, momentum continues to build to stop this pipeline. That said, it saddens me to hear reports from landowners who continue to have their property rights trampled by Dakota Access. One landowner told me that after four inches of rain, the bulldozers still showed up and worked his soaking-wet topsoil.

Another landowner told me pipeline workers failed to put up a fence to keep her cattle away from construction. Her cattle broke out on several occasions and got into her corn. One cow even fell into the pipeline trench and died.

Along the Des Moines River in Boone County, vigilant pipeline fighters monitoring construction noticed construction crews actually working in the rain. They called local law enforcement, who came to the site and ordered the construction crew to stop.

The bottom line is this: Everything we continue to do to fight this pipeline is a small victory, a step forward, another reason why President Obama will eventually have to weigh in, like he did with Keystone. So please, keep at it folks. Do everything you can, within the parameters of nonviolence, to help stop this pipeline. We are gaining momentum, and we will win!

*******

Listen to the Fallon Forum:

– Live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, listen live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA)
– KICI.LP 105.3 FM (Iowa City, IA)
– WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Pipeline Protesters Stand For The Rights of Workers

Dear Friends,

Wednesday morning, en route to Pilot Mound for nonviolence training and direct action, Adam Mason and I co-authored an op ed titled “Pipeline Protesters Stand For The Rights of Workers,” which appeared today in The Des Moines Register. Here it is:

As we celebrate Labor Day, all Iowans and Americans should remember the thousands of laborers throughout America’s history who have fought and sacrificed for the benefits most of us take for granted. Their sacrifices included the use of civil disobedience and non-violent protest that required great courage and often came at great personal expense.

There are many examples of Labor’s embrace of nonviolent action, including the use of sit-down strikes organized by the Industrial Workers of the World and the Congress of Industrial Organizations’ free-speech confrontations. These peaceful strategies were instrumental in the passage of child labor laws, improved working conditions, and establishment of the 40-hour work week.

Both Iowa CCI and Bold Iowa are strong supporters of the rights of workers. As a state lawmaker, Ed stood with workers on picket lines dozens of times, and over the course of 14 years in the Legislature, accrued an 88% pro-labor voting record. Iowa CCI fights for low-wage workers victimized by wage theft and has been a leader statewide in the “Fight for $15” movement.

So, it was discouraging to read Bill Gerhard, president of the Iowa State Building Trades, disparage our organizations and our fight to defend working farmers, landowners and the environment we all share against the Bakken oil pipeline. {North Dakota Lawlessness Threatens to Spill Into Iowa, August 31, 2016}

For Gerhard to imply that alleged isolated incidents of violence (and yes, they are only alleged, not documented) by pipeline opponents in North Dakota suggest that violence will “come to Iowa” is unfair and illogical.

Spreading rumors and misinformation like this only helps to divide our movements and distract from our shared struggle against corporate control of our labor system, food supply and environment.

Both our organizations are firmly committed to direct action that is 100% peaceful and nonviolent. We take our inspiration from the 1960s civil rights struggle, the women’s suffrage movement, and yes, the labor movement itself.

If detractors want to review the most recent example of our strong commitment to peaceful nonviolence, just look at the mass action we organized against the Bakken pipeline this past Wednesday. Over 100 people participated in that action, and 30 were arrested. Law enforcement members of both the Boone County Sheriff’s Department and the Iowa State Patrol repeatedly commented on how cooperative, well-behaved, and yes, peaceful were all participants.

Again, both personally and through our respective organizations, we stand with labor in the fight to bring renewable-energy jobs that provide long-term, good paying jobs to Iowa, jobs that don’t tear up Iowa’s farmland, threaten our water and climate, and trample the private-property rights of rural landowners.

{Ed Fallon is the director of Bold Iowa. Adam Mason is the state policy director for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. Contact Ed at ed@boldiowa.org and Adam at adam@iowacci.org.}