Stepping Forward for Climate Unity

Dear Friends,

As we build to the big rally on April 29, I am all kinds of excited about the upcoming Climate Justice Unity March! We have 20 people planning to march each day, and if you’d like to participate for one day, or the entire week, there’s still time to sign up. Click here to sign up.

Within the past 24 hours, I’ve spoken with mayors of two of the small towns we will stay in. What they are most excited about is the opportunity for dialogue, as they agree emphatically that the level of political acrimony in our country today is beyond anything we’ve ever seen. So, the evening forum / dinner / music gathering will be just as important as the daily march.

Here’s the press release we sent out today.  The original release can be found here on the Bold Iowa website. Please share with others, and contact me if you have any questions or need information.

And yes, WE ARE LOOKING FOR DONATIONS! Email me at ed@fallonforum.com if you’re able to help.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 11, 2017
Contact: Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa: 515-238-6404, ed@boldiowa.org

Iowans to Embark on Eight-Day, Eighty-Mile March for Unity on Climate
Twenty-five marchers of diverse backgrounds to depart from Little Creek Camp on Earth Day (April 22), arrive in Des Moines on April 29 for People’s Climate Rally at State Capitol

Des Moines — A group of Iowans of diverse backgrounds will embark on an eight-day, eighty-mile Climate Justice Unity March later this month to help build a broader coalition organizing for action on climate, environmental and racial justice, and clean energy jobs — and build momentum leading up to the People’s Climate Movement Rally at the State Capitol in Des Moines on April 29.

WHAT: Climate Justice Unity March: 80 miles, 8 days
WHO: Bold Iowa and allies representing Native, African American, Latino and farming communities
WHEN: Saturday, April 22 at 9:00 a.m. through Saturday, April 29 at 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: Little Creek Camp (Millersburg) to Iowa State Capitol (Des Moines)
DETAILS: http://boldiowa.org/2017/03/09/climate-justice-unity-march

“The Climate Justice Unity March provides a unique opportunity to bring these voices together through the dignified, disciplined commitment of marching, and through non-confrontational gatherings each evening that will build momentum for the April 29 People’s Climate Movement Rally at the Capitol and forge new relationships essential to the work we must do going forward,” said Bold Iowa director Ed Fallon.

“The evening community gatherings will be as important as the daily marches,” added Fallon. “As we work to build the strongest possible alliance to push back against the failed policies of status quo politicians at both the state and federal level, it’s essential that we take time to listen to each other and embrace our common ground and destiny.”

“Little Creek Camp is an embodiment of the change that needs to happen at all social and environmental levels,” said Christine Nobiss, a Plains Cree woman from Iowa City and founder of the camp and Indigenous Iowa. “So it’s fitting that the Climate Justice Unity March starts here and ends at the State Capitol, where so many important decisions are made.”

“Foul air, polluted water, diminished natural resources, rising temperatures, injustice – these things have dire consequences – directly or indirectly, to every living being on Earth,” said Cynthia Hunafa, Chief Operations Officer for Creative Visions, an organization in Des Moines’ central city that provides services to economically vulnerable communities. “This, of course, is regardless of nationality, gender, ethnicity, religion, economic status, political ideologies, or any other human-made divisive barrier.”

Climate Justice Unity March Route

  • Saturday, April 22: Little Creek Camp (near Millersburg) to Deep River (12 miles)
  • Sunday, April 23: Deep River to Montezuma (8.5 miles)
  • Monday, April 24: Montezuma to Searsboro (10 miles)
  • Tuesday, April 25: Searsboro to Sully (8.5 miles)
  • Wednesday, April 26: Sully to Reasnor (10 miles)
  • Thursday, April 27: Reasnor to Prairie City (12.2 miles)
  • Friday, April 28: Prairie City to Pleasant Hill (14 miles)
  • Saturday, April 29: Pleasant Hill to Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines (6 miles)

Organizational partners for the Climate Justice Unity March
Bold Iowa
Indigenous Iowa
Sage Sisters of Solidarity
League of United American Citizens (LULAC) Iowa
Creative Visions
Iowa Farmers Union
La Reina KDLF 1260 AM
Hola Iowa
Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility
Great March for Climate Action

# # #

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Board that Approved Pipeline Again Under Fire

Dear Friends,

The Iowa Utilities Board continues to demonstrate how out of touch it is with both reality and public opinion. Check out this Bleeding Heartland story about Board chair Geri Huser’s unprecedented conflict of interest. Associated Press reporter Ryan Foley originally broke the story. Here’s the link to that: Iowa regulator keeps busy private law practice.

Geri Huser, Chair, Iowa Utilities Board

The Iowa Senate has the opportunity to do the right thing relevant to whether or not Huser remains on the board. Writes Bleeding Heartland:

“Senators don’t need to make this into a complicated question. Iowa Code says each utilities board member ‘shall devote the member’s whole time to the duties of the office.’ Farming on the weekend or driving a cab at night isn’t the same as lawyering during regular business hours. Anyway, those other occupations don’t present potential conflicts of interest. It’s not a coincidence that no other attorney in living memory has continued running a private law practice while serving on the IUB.”

In the meantime, join Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa tomorrow as we call out the IUB for this and other conflicts-of-interest, and for failing to represent the public interest on so many occasions during the hasty approval process for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Here’s an excerpt from Bold Iowa’s press release that went out this morning about tomorrow’s IUB event. Read the full release here:

Members and supporters of Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa are invited to join a rally outside IUB this Thursday, April 6 at 1:30 p.m. In addition to comments by organizers and a chance for people to speak out, Native drummers and singers will perform, calling attention to the many ways in which the Dakota Access pipeline is an affront to Native communities in Iowa, North Dakota and across the U.S.

WHAT: Native-led Rally at IUB to Challenge Dakota Access Approval
WHO: Indigenous Iowa, Bold Iowa, Native drummers & singers
WHEN: Thursday, April 6, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
WHERE: Iowa Utilities Board, 1375 E. Court Avenue, Des Moines

###

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Climate Justice Unity March

Dear Friends,

To build momentum for the People’s Climate Movement, Bold Iowa and its partners are organizing an eight-day, 80-mile Climate Justice Unity March. Marchers will set out from Indigenous Iowa’s Little Creek Camp near Millersburg on April 22 and arrive at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines at 1:00 p.m. on April 29 for a huge rally.

The People’s Climate Movement is gaining momentum for a landmark day of action on April 29, marking the 100th day of the Trump Presidency. The major event is in Washington, DC — a march for climate, justice and jobs. Hundreds of sister marches, rallies and events are planned in cities across the U.S. and around the globe.

In Iowa, the People’s Climate Movement will rally at the Iowa State Capitol from 1:00-3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 29. A broad coalition of groups is working to make this rally a statewide event involving thousands of Iowans concerned about a broad range of issues.

The organizations partnering with Bold Iowa for the Climate Justice Unity March include:

Indigenous Iowa
Sage Sisters of Solidarity
League of United Latin American Citizens (Council 307)
Creative Visions
Iowa Farmers Union
La Reina KDLF 1260 AM
Hola Iowa
Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility
Great March for Climate Action

Here’s the route, overnight stops and approximate mileage:
Saturday, April 22: Little Creek Camp to Deep River (12 miles)
Sunday, April 23: Deep River to Montezuma (8 miles)
Monday, April 24: Montezuma to Searsboro (10 miles)
Tuesday, April 25: Searsboro to Sully (8 miles)
Wednesday, April 26: Sully to Reasnor (10 miles)
Thursday, April 27: Reasnor to Prairie City (12 miles)
Friday, April 28: Prairie City to Pleasant Hill (12 miles)
Saturday, April 29: Pleasant Hill to Iowa State Capitol (8 miles)

The evening forum and potluck is as important as marching. As we work to build the strongest possible alliance to push-back against the failed policies of status-quo politicians at both the state and federal level, it’s essential that we take time to listen to each other and embrace our common ground and destiny.

The Climate Justice Unity March provides a unique opportunity to bring these voices together through the dignified, disciplined commitment of marching, and through non-confrontational gatherings each evening that will build momentum for April 29 and forge new relationships essential to the work we must do going forward.

Sign up here to join the march for the entire eight days, or even for a day: https://goo.gl/forms/r638T4XCIEoqfCDY2

Thanks! For further details, contact me at ed@boldiowa.org.

Ed Fallon

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Native Nations Rise!

Dear Friends,

The sad news is that oil may soon flow through the Dakota Access pipeline. But there are several silver linings in that dark, oil-soaked cloud.

First, the lawsuit filed by Iowa landowners against the abuse of eminent domain is on its way to the Iowa Supreme Court. In a recent Radio Iowa story, the attorney for the plaintiffs, Bill Hanigan, said “if eminent domain was improper, then all of the condemnation easements are invalid. If the condemnation easements are invalid, then that pipeline and all of the crude oil in it is trespassing.”

And what is the legal remedy to someone or something trespassing on your property? Removal! If the court rules in favor of the landowners, Dakota Access should be required to tear out all that pipeline and find an alternative route. It’s important to support these brave landowners, so stay tuned for more on that.

The other silver lining is that President Trump is indeed making America great again. It is so uplifing to see how many new people are getting involved in the fight to defend justice and our environment against the full-frontal assault led by Pres. Trump and the corporate crocodiles he’s let into the swamp he promised to drain.

One example? The great work being done by Kelly Quinn, Jenny Miller, Shelley Buffalo and others with the Meskwaki Nation. They’ve organized the RISE WITH STANDING ROCK NATIVE NATIONS RALLY – IOWA this Friday at 12:00 noon at the Iowa State Capitol. Please come support them — and deepen your own commitment to push back against state and federal actions whose real motive is to turn over more and more of our rights and tax dollars to the corporate oligarchy that has bought and paid for too many politicians.

Here’s the press release Bold Iowa sent out today. The original release can be viewed here. Please share it!

*******

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12:00 p,m, CT, Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Contact: Kelly Quinn, krb.quinn@gmail.com or (515) 657-0179
Contact: Shelley Buffalo, buffaloshelley@gmail.com or (319) 333-2844
Contact: Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa Director, ed@boldiowa.org or (515) 238-6404

Meskwaki Women Organize “Rise With Standing Rock” Rally 
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe calls for solidarity as they march in Washington

Des Moines, IA — On Friday, March 10 at 12:00 noon, members of the Meskwaki Nation and their Iowa allies will rally on the west side of the Iowa State Capitol building in solidarity with the Native Nations Rise march and rally in Washington, DC at the same time.

“I stood with Standing Rock in the fight to protect water and I stand with all Native nations for their right to self-preservation and sovereignty,” said Kelly Quinn, a Meskwaki woman who lives in Ankeny. “What Standing Rock showed us is that tribal rights, agreements and treaties need to be honored by the US government. We support tribal autonomy, oppose any more oil and gas pipelines, and advocate for clean energy to save our water and planet.”

“All of creation is equal and the Earth is our mother,” said Shelley Buffalo, a Meskwaki woman who lives in Iowa City. “We practice gratitude for the Earth for providing us with all that we need. That’s why we are the protectors. That’s why we stand in solidarity with our Native brothers and sisters across the country and with all who have come together to defend our land and water.”

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other grassroots Indigenous organizers have called upon other tribes and all their allies to join them on March 10 in Washington, DC and in events across the country as they march, pray and take action. Participants will lobby Congress for Indigenous Nations’ rights to tribal sovereignty and to protect their homelands, the environment and future generations.

“The fight against the Dakota Access pipeline has ignited a historic alliance that is just beginning to exercise its political muscle and moral authority,” said Bold Iowa director, Ed Fallon. “Friday’s actions in DC, in Iowa and across the nation are another indication that our strength and influence as a powerful coalition of Native communities, farmers, landowners and environmentalists is growing deeper and more connected.”

Fallon will not be at the Iowa event as he is traveling to Washington, DC with members of Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa to participate in the march and rally there. Bold Iowa Program Coordinator, Shari Hrdina, will attend the Des Moines rally along with Lyssa Wade, who will speak on behalf of Bold and her work with landowners along the pipeline route.

In addition to Bold Iowa, organizations partnering with the Meskwaki women spearheading Friday’s Des Moines rally include Indigenous Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition and the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club.

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

# # #

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Bold Iowa to Occupy Offices

Dear Friends,

Christine Sheller and Arlo blocking construction equipment during a BAT action last fall.

The Dakota Access pipeline isn’t finished. Tomorrow, here in Iowa, we’ll continue to stand with our allies at Standing Rock and with Iowa farmers, landowners, Native communities and environmentalists who have fought Dakota Access every step of the way. Public officials and businesses who’ve supported the pipeline need to hear that a 30-inch pipe carrying 570,000 barrels of oil a day is wrong for Iowa and wrong for our planet. Those who helped bring this catastrophe to our fields and waters need to know that we’re not done fighting.

So, if you haven’t yet signed up for a BAT tomorrow — Wednesday, February 21 — it’s not too late. Just respond to this message and we’ll hook you up with someone in your area leading an action. Here’s more detail, in the form of the press release we sent out this morning. (You can read the original release posted on the Bold Iowa website.​​)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Contact: Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa Director, (515) 238-6404 or ed@boldiowa.org

Bold Action Teams (BATs) to Occupy Offices
In at least 10 cities, teams of Iowa pipeline fighters, some risking arrest, will occupy offices of politicians and banks that have supported the Dakota Access pipeline 

Des Moines, IA — On Wednesday, Feb. 22 throughout the day during business hours, Bold Action Teams (BATs) will mobilize for a DAPL Day of Direct Action across Iowa, targeting officials and businesses that have aided and abetted construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. Cities where actions will occur include Ames, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Grinnell, Iowa City, Newton, Sioux City and Omaha, Nebraska. Some cities will see multiple teams and actions at several locations.

“The Dakota Access pipeline isn’t finished,” said Bold Iowa director, Ed Fallon. “Here in Iowa, we continue to stand with our allies at Standing Rock and with Iowa farmers, landowners, Native communities and environmentalists who have fought Dakota Access every step of the way. Public officials and businesses who’ve supported it need to hear that this pipeline is wrong for Iowa and wrong for our planet. And they need to know that we’re not done fighting.”

Bold Iowa’s BATs were formed last fall to stop construction of the Dakota Access pipeline at targeted locations across the state. Teams of five people mobilized repeatedly, preventing construction equipment from working up until the point where BATs were threatened with arrest. On one day in Calhoun County, BATs were able to stop construction for 7 – 8 hours.

As further evidence of the effectiveness of Bold’s BAT approach to protesting the pipeline, DAPL’s attorney, Bret Dublinske, wrote to the Iowa Utilities Board on December 19, 2016 that Dakota Access had been unable to finish work on the pipeline in 2016, “due to the 90 day regulatory delay from March 10, 2016 until June 7, 2016, as well as several incidents of trespassers interfering with construction work.”

“We know this approach worked to slow down construction of the pipeline,” continued Fallon. “Now we’ll see how well it works to disrupt business-as-usual for the politicians who backed the pipeline and the banks that financed it.”

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

# # #

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Rally to Protest Trump Decision on Pipeline

Dear Friends,

If you live in Iowa, please join us Saturday, January 28 for a big event (that’s tomorrow!). Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa are collaborating on a rally to protest President Trump’s decision to fast-track the Dakota Access pipeline. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is partnering with us to spread the word. We need to show unity among farmers and landowners, Native communities and all of us concerned about climate, water and the abuse of eminent domain.

Let’s make it clear to President Trump and Dakota Access that we aren’t giving in and will continue to fight this pipeline!

WHAT: Rally to Protest Trump Decision on Dakota Access
WHEN: Saturday, January 28, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
WHERE: Neal Smith Federal Building, 210 Walnut St., Des Moines

Landowner Shirley Gerjets in front of Dakota Access Pipeline built on her land taken by eminent domain.

Landowner Shirley Gerjets in front of the Dakota Access pipeline, being built on her land which was taken by eminent domain.

On Tuesday, President Trump took action to fast-track completion of the Dakota Access pipeline.

To be clear, this action does not immediately authorize construction to resume, nor does it automatically grant the remaining permits needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

But one thing is clear: the President’s action signals his intent to move the Dakota Access pipeline forward — despite concerns about climate, water and eminent domain.

We cannot and will not sit back and do nothing. A vocal, public response is needed. Join us on Saturday to send the strongest possible message that we won’t remain quiet and we aren’t going away!

Bold Iowa continues to petition the Army Corps to include Iowa in its environmental analysis. Click here to sign the petition: http://bit.ly/dapleis.

I hope to see you tomorrow!

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Florida farmers robbed through eminent domain

Dear Friends,

[Read the original article here: BOLD IOWA WEBSITE LINK HERE]

Banner welcoming visitors to the Sacred Water Camp near Live Oak, Florida and the path of the proposed Sabal Trail pipeline.

Banner welcoming visitors to the Sacred Water Camp near Live Oak, Florida and the path of the proposed Sabal Trail pipeline.

“Water is Life!” A cry started in the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline has become a national rallying cry in the growing movement to beat-back Big Oil. Pipeline fights across the country have brought the reality of the importance of water home to millions of Americans. More and more are jumping on board, working to protect water, land, property rights and our climate from the largest build-out of fossil-fuel infrastructure in America’s history.

Between Christmas and New Year’s, I had the honor of spending two days working with tireless water protectors in northern Florida, battling the Sabal Trail Pipeline. At one of two camps set-up to help organize water-protection efforts, I met a woman who shared this story with me:

About 50 people stay at the Sacred Water Camp opposing the Sabal Trail pipeline.

About 50 people stay at the Sacred Water Camp opposing the Sabal Trail pipeline.

“I headed out recently to get produce for our camp, which has grown to fifty water protectors. We stopped at a farm stand about 30 miles from here at the Georgia-Florida line. We were buying a lot of food, and haggling a bit with the farmers, trying to stretch our donation dollars as far as possible.

“The family running the stand wasn’t very friendly at first. They asked me why we were buying such a large quantity of produce. I was a little hesitant to tell them, since I thought they might be for the pipeline. I said we were from the Sacred Water Camp, and we had a bunch of new people showing up that we had to feed. Then I took a chance, and told them that the whole purpose of our camp was to stop the Sabal Trail Pipeline.

One of the Sacred Water Camp’s organizers: Debra Johnson, nearby landowner and long-time local resident.

One of the Sacred Water Camp’s organizers: Debra Johnson, nearby landowner and long-time local resident.

“Well, one of the people working the farm stand, a young woman around 23, lit up, saying that the pipeline was wreaking havoc in Florida. Her father and brother, also working the stand, started going on about how strongly they opposed the pipeline and the abuse of eminent domain.

“They told us they grow oranges. They didn’t want a pipeline running through their grove, so the pipeline company took their land by force, through eminent domain. The company gave them $6,000 for destroying land that produces $1 million a year in orange sales! They were outraged, and couldn’t believe their government could let this happen. The father point-blank told me there was nothing in the eminent domain negotiations about giving them fair market value for crop loss. They felt robbed. Their land was gone, part of their family-farm business was gone. This is a fifth-generation orange grove, dating back to 1900, and their family had never seen anything like this.”

Pipeline fighters Connie Byra, Adam Dubbin (holding camera), Lisa Kay, Anita Stewart and Janet Barrow (not pictured) monitor the Sabal Trail pipeline company extracting water from the Withlacoochee River.

Pipeline fighters Connie Byra, Adam Dubbin (holding camera), Lisa Kay, Anita Stewart and Janet Barrow (not pictured) monitor the Sabal Trail pipeline company extracting water from the Withlacoochee River.

True story, and frightening. This fight cuts deeper than water, climate and individual property rights. If a bought-and-paid-for government can hand over the power of eminent domain to a powerful private business that can give a fifth-generation family farm a pittance in compensation for a $1 million loss, is there anything still sacred in America?

This fight is only going to get more challenging with Donald Trump as President. Not only does President-elect Trump deny climate change and disparage the importance of protecting water and land, but he has personally used eminent domain for his own private gain.

Action is the antidote to despair. And building a strong, broad, outspoken, well-organized coalition of farmers, landowners, Native communities, environmentalists and defenders of liberty is how we push back and win against the escalation of Big Oil’s war on America.

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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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