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.

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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

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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.

# # #

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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)

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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

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Honoring a great American tradition

Dear Friends,

Filling in for me Monday, August 8th at 11:00 on the Fallon Forum is Maria Filippone. Her focus will be on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and her guests include Isaac Christensen with Jewish Voices for Peace and Kathleen McQuillen of American Friends Service Committee. An important part of the conversation often overlooked is the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. See below for details for how to listen to the show live, rebroadcast, or as podcast. And callers are always welcome at (515) 528-8122 during the live broadcast on Monday at 11:00 CT.

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In every fight against injustice, there comes a point when men and women of conscience must defy laws allowing that injustice to persist. In the protracted fight to stop the Bakken pipeline, we have arrived at that point.

The crowd at a South Dakota Farm Alliance Rally on Feb. 12, 1985 (from The Daily Republic).

The crowd at a South Dakota Farm Alliance Rally on Feb. 12, 1985 (from The Daily Republic).

Over the past two years landowners, farmers, tribes and environmentalists have done everything possible to stop the pipeline.

We have pursued legal and legislative channels at great cost of time and money.

We have held forums, rallies, protests, flotillas, press conferences and more.

We have written letters and opinion pieces for our newspapers, spoken with radio stations and TV reporters, and written countless letters to government agencies.

We have learned more about pipelines, climate change, watersheds and eminent domain than we ever imagined we’d need to know. With the knowledge we’ve acquired, we’ve educated others — and public opinion has moved our direction. The most recent Iowa Poll shows less than half of Iowans support the pipeline while 3/4ths oppose the use of eminent domain to build it.

We await court rulings on a lawsuit filed by ten Iowa landowners and another just filed by Tribal leaders in the Dakotas, and remain cautiously optimistic that the court will decide in our favor. But barring an injunction, those cases may take time.

Meanwhile our land, water, property rights and climate are being trampled.

From the perspective of climate change, it is unconscionable that our government enables this pipeline to go forward. President Obama claims to understand the seriousness of climate change, having said, “No challenge–no challenge–poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” Yet he hasn’t lifted a finger to stop this pipeline.

From the perspective of eminent domain, Republican Governor Terry Branstad campaigned against the abuse of eminent domain, yet now has no problem with its use for a powerful, wealthy pipeline company.

From the perspective of our environment, Democratic officials like State Senator Mike Gronstal and Congressman Dave Loebsack either openly support the pipeline or refuse to stand with their constituents against it, despite grave concerns about the potential impact on our land and water.

As with many great struggles before us, when those elected to represent and protect our interests fail to do so, it is incumbent upon the people to challenge an unresponsive government through nonviolent civil disobedience.

In this struggle against the Bakken pipeline, there are two key examples of the failure of law and government to respect and protect our rights.

First is the Army Corps of Engineers’ abdication of its responsibility to assure the safety of our waters. In issuing a permit to Dakota Access, the Corps failed to assess the full range of the pipeline’s probable impacts.

Second, the decision by the Iowa Utilities Board to issue eminent domain to a private company providing no service to Iowans is an assault on the sanctity of our right to own and enjoy property. If government can allow your land to be confiscated for an oil pipeline, where will the assault on liberty strike next?

Yes, it is time to defy an unjust law, time to defend liberty, time to fight the expansion of the fossil-fuel infrastructure and the accompanying destruction of our environment.

In the tradition of other great American struggles for freedom . . .

From the Boston Tea Party to the labor movement struggle to secure rights and freedoms we still enjoy and take for granted;

From the fight for women’s suffrage to the civil rights struggle of the 1960s;

From the Farm Crisis when farmers stood with their neighbors to block foreclosure auctions to the struggles happening now all across the country in opposition to fracking, pipelines and oil drilling;

. . . It is time to step forward and risk arrest.

Over a month ago, a Pledge of Resistance was circulated. The Pledge was initiated by Bold Iowa and supported by Iowa CCI, CREDO Action and 100 Grannies for a Livable Future. To date, over 1,000 people have signed the Pledge, which reads:

“{W}e are the conservatives, standing up for a safe and secure future for our families. It is those we protest, those who profit from poisoning our water, who violate our property rights, and who are radically altering the chemical composition of our atmosphere — and the prospects for survival of humanity — that are the radicals.”

If you are moved, please sign the Pledge and stand with us in a final attempt to stop this pipeline that our planet can’t sustain and most Iowans don’t want.

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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

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Native Youth Run to Stop Pipeline

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, I learned from sources in southeast Iowa that pipeline construction has started in Lee and Jefferson counties. This is a sad moment for Iowa. But after the Iowa Utilities Board ruling last month, we knew it was coming.

While sad, I’m hardly discouraged. We still have the court case brought by ten landowners over the illegal use of eminent domain. We still await the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision on issuing a permit.Run for Life 1

And remember: Construction was initiated on other pipelines elsewhere in the country (Keystone, Constitution, Palmetto) and they were defeated. Don’t give up! We can stop this!

Need more hope? On Friday, youth from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation will set-out on a 1,500-mile “Run for Our Water” to Washington, DC to protest the pipeline. They’ll cross Iowa from July 19 – 25, and they invite people to run with them, meet them, share a meal with them and hear their stories. They also need to borrow a couple of vans, if you have one to spare or would like to pay for one to be rented. For more information visit their Facebook Page or contact Bobbi Jean Three Legs at bobbi.jean@ocetisakowinyouth.com or Joseph White Eyes at joseph@ocetisakowinyouth.com.Lakota Youth Run

Need even more hope? Support for direct action to stop the pipeline continues to grow, with nearly 1,000 people signing the Pledge of Resistance! This is incredible and unprecedented. Thank you to those who have signed. If you haven’t, please read the Pledge and consider being part of what could be a truly historic moment.

It’s impossible to say exactly when or where direct action will occur, but it could be soon, and it could be anywhere in Iowa. I’ll keep you posted, and please visit the Bold Iowa Facebook Page for additional updates. Thanks again to Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and CREDO Action for partnering with Bold Iowa to help circulate the Pledge.

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Here are the segment topics from this week’s Fallon Forum, with Dr. Charles Goldman co-hosting. Please bear with us while we continue to work out the kinks in our new and vastly-improved podcasting format. Listen to podcasts here.

1. Shootings show America’s worsening racial and economic divide
2. Anna Kalinsky speaks out on Exxon
3. Our militarized police force an invitation to Fascism
4. Clinton foreign policy more hawk than dove
5. Abortion opponents lose…again

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

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A Fourth-of-July Stand Against Injustice

Dear Friends,

I sound like a one-trick pony lately, but that’s how serious is this fight against the Bakken Pipeline. Led by farmers, landowners, tribal communities, environmentalists and a dedicated legal team, we have so far prevented billionaire Kelcy Warren and Energy Transfer Partners from tearing through the heart of the best farmland in the world to build a pipeline that threatens to cause so much harm.

In a couple days, Bold Iowa and its allies will announce a powerful action after Independence Day — one we hope will ignite a prairiefire to inspire new allies in the battle to stop the Bakken Pipeline.

For now, there is one thing I ask you to do: Sign the PLEDGE OF RESISTANCE and grow our ranks to one-thousand strong by Independence Day.

Sign the Pledge if you ever said, “I wish I could’ve stood with Martin Luther King, Jr. and other freedom fighters who went to jail during the civil rights struggle.”

tarnick-arrest-kxl-white-house under 200KB

Farmer Jim arrested with Father Jim, protesting the Keystone Pipeline in 2013.

Sign the Pledge if you ever thought, “If I’d been around 100 years ago, what an honor it would have been to be arrested with the brave women fighting for the right to vote.”

Sign the Pledge if you would have stood with these Nebraska ranchers arrested for opposing the Keystone Pipeline.

All across America, the linked battles of climate action and the abuse of eminent domain are at the point where civil disobedience is needed.

If you haven’t already signed the Pledge of Resistance, please take a few minutes to read it over and consider in your heart if you want to look back at this epic moment in history and realize that you could have but didn’t stand with those of us risking arrest in this cause.

If you have signed the Pledge of Resistance, please take a few minutes to personally invite friends, family and others to sign as well.

Thank you!

Ed Fallon

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Pipeline Fighters Needed on Monday!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, June 5, 2016

Contact: Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa ed@boldiowa.org, (515) 238-6404
Adam Mason, Iowa CCI adam@iowacci.org, (515) 282-0484

BROKEN HEARTLAND” RALLY OPPOSES PIPELINE

Des Moines, IA
 – With the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) meeting on Monday, June 6 to possibly decide to allow construction of the Bakken Pipeline in Iowa, Bold Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition are set to rally on Monday, June 6 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. at the far west side of the west Capitol Terrace, on the large granite county map of Iowa, at E Locust and E 7th streets.

The groups will ask the IUB not to reverse its March 10 order requiring Dakota Access to secure all necessary permits and authorizations for the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline, set to cross 18 Iowa counties and all of Iowa’s major waterways. Participants will present a creative, visual representation of the potential impact of the pipeline on Iowa’s watersheds, with statements being shared by landowners in each of those watershed areas.

Since the March 10 ruling, Dakota Access has still not received the needed Army Corps of Engineers’ authorizations. On May 25, the US Fish & Wildlife Service revoked an Iowa DNR-issued Sovereign Lands permit after discovering a historic and culturally significant Native America site in the pipeline’s path in Lyon County.

Iowans remain concerned about the project’s impact on soil, water, property rights and economic interests.

Bold Iowa, Iowa CCI and the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition will continue building their “Summer of Resistance” against the Bakken Pipeline. At the granite county map of Iowa on the State Capitol grounds, seven Iowans will speak out about their ecosystems and communities that the pipeline imperils, against the backdrop of a huge patchwork heart in this “Broken Heartland” action.

Who:  Bold Iowa, Iowa CCI and Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition
What: Rally and creative political theater against the Pipeline
Where: Map on the West Capitol Terrace, E Locust & E 7th 
When: Monday June 6, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Bold Iowa and Iowa CCI are part of a growing number of organizations, landowners and everyday Iowans across the state committed to stopping the proposed Bakken Pipeline. Both groups work closely with and are members of the 30-member Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition. Visit www.nobakken.com.

Bold Iowa is part of the national Bold Alliance, now in five states and building unlikely alliances to fight fossil-fuel infrastructure expansion projects and promote renewable energy. Visit www.boldnebraska.org/tag/bold-alliance.

Iowa CCI is a statewide, grassroots people’s-action group that uses community organizing to win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics and polluters. CCI has fought to put people first for 40 years. Visit www.iowacci.org.

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Endorsements

Dear Friends,

Due to multitudinous requests for more detail about the candidates I’m endorsing . . . .

220px-Bernie_SandersPRESIDENT: BERNIE SANDERS – This is relevant if you live in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota, or if you have friends who live in those states. In other words, it’s relevant for all of you!

This race is not over. Not even close. If Sanders wins next Tuesday, the Democratic convention in Philadelphia is going to be, well . . . . HUGE! Any American who understands that a Donald Trump presidency couldn’t lead to fascism should be fighting as hard as possible for the candidate best able to defeat Trump in November. Nearly every single poll shows Sanders trumping Trump by significant margins. Hillary Clinton either wins by margins that are sometimes too close for comfort or, in some key states, actually loses to Trump.

A Trump presidency is a risk we can’t take.

I dislike polls as much as anybody. But as I learned when I ran for Congress, professional polls are remarkably accurate. Democrats supporting Clinton need to face the fact that Sanders is the strongest candidate to avert what could be the greatest threat ever to our liberty and freedom.

So, tell your friends and their friends in the states listed above to vote for Bernie Sanders on June 7. If you want to get even more involved, in a brilliant piece of campaign strategy, the Sanders campaign has launched a coordinated effort to ask supporters across the country to call voters in these states. Click here to get on the phone for Bernie.

Rob Hogg from iContactU.S. SENATE: ROB HOGG – I have good friends who are supporting Bob Krause or Tom Fiegen. I respect that. I would be content with either of them as my U.S. Senator. But Hogg has absolutely distinguished himself as one of not just Iowa’s but America’s most vocal and effective advocates for serious climate action. With Hogg in the Senate, the U.S. Congress will no longer be able to ignore the climate crisis. He feels that strongly about it, and understands it that thoroughly.

And now, to utter words that the Iowa Democratic Establishment dreads . . . . I will not vote for Patty Judge in November. I will vote for Hogg, Fiegen or Krause if any of them wins the nomination. But not for Judge, and I know there are lots of Iowans who feel the same way. The last thing the U.S. Senate needs is another pawn of corporate interests. On this account, Judge has a long and distinguished record. My interests, and I suspect your interests, will be not be those that drive Judge as a U.S. Senator. As when she was Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Lt. Governor, it will be corporate donors who have her ear, not us.

So, not only is Hogg the best candidate to fight the climate crisis, he’s also the best candidate to beat Judge in the primary and Chuck Grassley in November. Want to learn more from the man himself? I’m hosting a house party and concert for Rob at 735 19th St in Des Moines this Sunday, June 5th from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Donations to Rob’s campaign appreciated but certainly not required. Here’s the link to the Facebook invitation.

Vernon_Monica_circle - Version 2U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 1: MONICA VERNON – The First District is the northeast quadrant of the state. Honestly, I don’t know Monica Vernon that well. I’ve met her a few times, like her well enough, and hear good things about her. But I know Pat Murphy really well, and when I think of people I enjoyed serving with at the Statehouse, Murphy is not on even on the long list. He was difficult to work with, and often opposed me and others on progressive legislation that the vast majority of voters supported.

This primary election is pretty much a repeat. Murphy won last time, only to lose in the general election in a district that is overwhelmingly Democratic. He had his chance and blew it. I say it’s time to give Vernon a shot.

Desmund Adams orignal from net - Version 2U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 3: DESMUND ADAMS – The Third District includes Des Moines, Council Bluffs and southwest Iowa. I’ve been crystal clear that Desmund Adams is my guy. (Click here to see the video from my house party for him.) Adams is a fast study on issues, and as our Congressman, he’d be Iowa’s lone progressive voice in Washington. (Someone pass that along to Congressman Loebsack for me.)

The other Democratic candidates are Mike Sherzan and Jim Mowrer. I’ve only met Sherzan once and don’t have a good sense of his priorities, though I could conceivably vote for him in November.

But as with the U.S. Senate race, I’ll make it perfectly clear that, should Jim Mowrer win the Democratic primary, I will not vote for him in the fall. The last thing Washington needs is another foreign policy hawk whose main claim to political viability is a tenacious ability to rake in money from special interests.

Besides, in terms of winning the general election, Adams presents the greatest contrast with Rep. David Young — and contrast is never a bad thing in a swing district such as the Third.

Rep. , Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

IOWA HOUSE DISTRICT 29: DAN KELLEY – Dan Kelley has done an excellent job over the last six years representing Jasper County at the Statehouse, where he’s admired for his sincerity, integrity and hard work. He’s been Iowa’s most vocal opponent of the Bakken Pipeline — which is, I suspect, one reason he has a primary opponent from . . . you guessed it: The Democratic Establishment.

More than anything, Dan needs boots on the ground, so to speak. Come join me in Newton on Saturday, June 4 at 10:00 a.m. to knock on doors for Dan so we can send him back to the State Capitol where he has done so much good for his constituents and for all of Iowa. Click here for detail on Saturday’s door knocking event.

EddieMauro - Version 2IOWA HOUSE DISTRICT 41: EDDIE MAURO – I first met Eddie Mauro when I was helping deliver meals to the homeless along the Des Moines River one day. No, Mauro wasn’t homeless. He was delivering meals, too. That impressed me, and suggested that he has the heart and sense of compassion needed of a true public servant. So, if you live in Sherman Hill, southwest Des Moines or west-central Des Moines, please consider giving Mauro your vote.

 

 

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Check out podcasts from this week’s Fallon Forum:

1. Trump Watch
2. Pipeline Grinds to a Halt
3. Allergies Worsen in New Climate Era
4. Veggie Thumper
5. Soylent Beef

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

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