Standing with Standing Rock: Day 5

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

Mekasi, Matthew and Lyssa insulate a solar barn.

Mekasi, Matthew and Lyssa insulate a solar barn.

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

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

Ed, Mekasi and Lyssa.

Ed, Mekasi and Lyssa.

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

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

Please like & share:

Standing with Standing Rock: Day 3

Tuesday, November 29, 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tipi under construction during the storm.

Tipi under construction during the storm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please like & share:

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)

Please like & share:

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

Please like & share:

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.

*******

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

Please like & share:

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.

####

Please like & share:

Dems’ caucus review panel a joke

Dear Friends,

Last fall, Dr. Andy McGuire, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP), approached me to discuss how to build a bridge to progressives and other disaffected voters who’d left the IDP. A few weeks later we met over lunch at Hoq Restaurant, where Dr. McGuire offered to convene a statewide meeting to hear the concerns of these voters. We stayed in touch and agreed to move forward with the idea after the Caucuses.

On February 1st, the Iowa Caucuses saw a virtual tie between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, followed by a slew of complaints about cramped venues, long lines and other glitches. That led to a clamor across Iowa and beyond to examine what went wrong and institute reforms. The IDP announced a task force. I told Dr. McGuire on two occasions I was willing to serve on it, and received encouraging responses that she would get back to me.

Well, she didn’t get back to me. A caucus review panel was indeed established, and its membership announced last Saturday.

Disaffected voters are nowhere in the mix. Of the committee’s 25 members, nearly every appointee is an IDP insider.

And the goal of the committee? As quoted in the Des Moines Register (April 2): “{P}arty officials — including those now serving on the committee — have all but ruled out major changes to the Democratic caucus process.”

That’s code for, “We’ll pretend to care, but let’s stack this committee to make sure nothing of substance gets done. And let’s minimize exposure by sending-out the press release on Friday — the slowest news day of the week.”

Like the Democratic National Committee and, presumably, state Democratic parties around the country, the IDP doesn’t get it. If Dr. McGuire was sincere about wanting to rebuild the Party and stem the hemorrhage of voters from its rolls, setting-up a rubber-stamp committee of insiders only digs the Party’s hole even deeper.

How deep is that hole?

– In Iowa in 2009, there were 111,000 more D’s than R’s.
– There are now 28,855 fewer D’s than R’s.
– “No Party” voters have solidified their spot as the largest voting block.
– Five of Iowa’s six congressional representatives are Republican.
– The Iowa House is solidly Republican.
– The Democratic majority in the Iowa Senate is razor thin.
– Four of six statewide elected offices are held by Republicans.
– Even my chickens have switched their affiliation to “No Party.”

If Party officials think they can woo back disgruntled former Dems with platitudes and rhetoric, they should think again. Want examples of what’s actually working?

Bernie Sanders. Look at the enthusiasm and political revolution his candidacy has sparked! Though it makes the corporate element of the Democratic Party quake in its gucci boots, THIS — not your phony caucus review panel — is the future of politics in Iowa and America.

– Speak-truth-to-power grassroots organizations like Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. These folks have a solid string of victories for the people Democrats say they represent, but too often don’t.

– New grassroots efforts like the Bold Alliance, which is building rural-urban coalitions to oppose Big Oil and the abuse of eminent domain while working for clean energy solutions.

On June 7th, I’ll vote in the Democratic Primary for Rob Hogg for U.S. Senate and Desmund Adams for Congress. On June 8th, I’ll switch my voter registration back to “No Party” . . . unless Party officials demonstrate that they’re prepared to change their ways.

I’m not holding my breath.

Listen to the Fallon Forum Mondays, broadcasting live from the Cultural and Culinary Cross-roads of America (a.k.a., Des Moines, Iowa) from 11:00-12:00 noon CST on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM and online. The number to call to add your voice to the conversation is (515) 528-8122. The program re-broadcasts Wednesday on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and Monday at 6:00 a.m. on WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans). Check-out podcasts here.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Please like & share: