Three Ways to Stand with Standing Rock

As a mixed indigenous woman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe who communes with mostly white L.A. and NYC progressives, I’ve noticed the spread of #StandWithStandingRock among my crew both online and off. Now I’m very aware that no one likes to be told how to protest (except People of Color who looove feedback about protest correctness from white folks), but I’m here to offer some “Authentic Indian Wisdom” to my Earth-worshipping homies about how to show allyship to a people who’ve been protecting our privileged, water-wasting asses for over 200 years.

1. Read about it. Indigenous History can seem complicated because it’s linked to big concepts like sovereignty, colonization, and deceitfulness by our very own United States representative government. Check out the Standing Rock Syllabus located on the Sacred Stone Camp website for a clearer understanding of the history behind this movement told from indigenous perspectives; and then believe these perspectives!

2. Recognize and stand BEHIND Indigenous leadership. I’m hearing about white environmentalists treating Oceti Sakowin Camp like Coachella. Come on! Don’t get it twisted: this is a movement led by indigenous people who are asking for help from all nations. Primary word: HELP. Listen to Cherokee Professor Dr. Adrienne Keane report about white activism and DAPL on the podcast Another Round.

3. Stay activated. As you now know, the Army Corps of Engineers has denied the easement for DAPL to dig under Lake Oahe. I promise, they will not stop digging! Basically, Energy Transfer Partners DGAF about Indigenous sovereignty or clean water, so let’s block that pipeline through January and force them to lose millions of dollars in trade deals! Keep listening to news from and donating directly to where Water Protectors are living or, as the Tribe pays for infrastructure of the camp.

It’s easy to get lost in a Westworld marathon (in which the “Ghost Nation” narrative reaffirms Indian savagery) but do not lose sight of #NoDAPL! If Big Oil can move in on tribal land without question and poison the groundwater, who knows what – or who – they’ll exploit next.

Jana Schmieding