Standing Rock battle has local lessons
Dear Editor: I recently returned from a week at Standing Rock in North Dakota. I traveled there to be in solidarity with my sisters and brothers who are fighting to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, and to protect water, sacred sites and their traditional lands.
This extraordinary moment in history remains vividly with me as I have watched with horror the escalating violence and brutality of the police response. Even more powerful for me has been watching with awe the extreme courage and bravery of the water protectors who are determined not to allow this pipeline to be completed.
Thousands of people are camped at the resistance and prayer camp at Standing Rock, many for months, representing hundreds of indigenous nations and tribes from across the continent standing in solidarity for the first time in over 100 years. There are allies from every corner of the world — from Black Lives Matter to immigrant rights groups, labor and faith groups to environmental groups, radical activist groups and more, all following the direction of Indigenous leadership.
The Dec. 5 eviction deadline announced recently by the Army Corps of Engineers is just another removal order in a long history of U.S. Army removals of indigenous people from land granted by treaties. Despite the diversity of points of view in the camp, all the leaders have made it clear that they will not be removed. Enough is enough.
Something has been built here that will never be destroyed, which is a model of working together to protect our lands and build a world for the next generations. It takes the wisdom of elders and youth, it takes enormous respect and trust for each other, it takes prayer grounded in action, it takes courage, it takes leadership from our indigenous sisters and brothers, and it takes understanding the deeply embedded racism we face.
Our fight against Pilgrim Pipelines here in the Hudson Valley is a sister battle, and we take inspiration from Standing Rock, learning lessons of cooperation and bravery.
Sue Rosenberg Saugerties