I traverse the immense camps of Standing Rock and marvel
deeply at the energy, knowledge, resources heaped generously even ingeniously – and received
with such graciousness – from within and outside these Indigenous communities.
The only other time I’ve seen community come together so
intensely from nothing, and create a thriving community with so much love and talent and skill has
been at Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.
It is really a miracle and a testament to the appeal that
has touched the hearts and opened the generosity of so many – of course Indigenous
peoples but I’m focusing here on non-Native, especially white and wealthy
(not to be redundant) allies.
And, although I laud the actions and sharing of resources
of white allies, I also deeply feel the pain of not just the lack of such
sharing with Native folks by white folks pre-Standing Rock camps but their (white)
actual hoarding of such resources and exploitation of Native resources
resulting in the extreme poverty and despair of Native peoples.
I wonder how Native people must feel, seeing the piles of
clothing, the abundance of food, the fresh water systems erected, Wifi swiftly set up, Yurts of medics and legal and
emotional support systems, let alone the $6000 dollar Yurts themselves and other temporary winterized structures
that often far outshine what Native people have to go home to.
It must be so bitter sweet to witness all these resources
freely given by and provided by whites for these encampments while many Native
people have to walk far from their homes early in the morning to fetch water or consume ‘cheap’ unhealthy fast food or send their children to substandard schools.
Let alone survive the rubber bullets of alcoholism, police brutality, drugs and violence.
I know I’m torn between enormous stirrings of pride and
amazement at this communities' accomplishments, and deep painful knowledge that
white allies should have been dedicating their lives to doing this for the past