Stand­ing Rock bat­tle has lo­cal lessons

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION -

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

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