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The Way of Life Printer friendly page Print This
By Mankh, (Walter E. Harris III), Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
Wednesday, Sep 21, 2016

“We are encrusted with riches and power. You in your poverty... put us to shame.”
    - Pope Innocent III to Francis of Assisi and his friends,
from the film, “Brother Sun, Sister Moon”

A reported 200 Native Nations have gathered and/or expressed solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux, plus visits from Indigenous Aztecs and Ecuadorians (a manifestation of the prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor[1]), and solidarity from the Kalgoorli People of Australia, and more. In a short amount of time, this gathering of Nations and Peoples has already shown the world what a true and peaceful United Nations or United States is supposed to look like. Some historical bits will put into perspective how the US, like the Church of the Roman Empire, became “encrusted with riches and power.” 

When exploring the atrocities of colonialism and the USEmpire, it is the African so-called Americans (abductions and slavery) and the Native so-called Americans (ecocide and genocide) that first come to mind. Though slavery existed before 1441, that year is cited as the “start of European slave trading in Africa,”[2] a business the Europeans would later 'export' to America.

It is not too surprising then to see that the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s was part of the inspiration for the American Indian Movement (AIM), and more recently, Black Lives Matter has preceded the sudden spirited gatherings at Standing Rock. In the '60s, as well, many young Whites, known as hippies (the males growing their hair long, like Native men), began to connect with Nature and were eager for change; more recently was the Occupy Movement, which lingers on with splinter groups.

From a 2012 interview with Sherry L. Smith, author of “Hippies, Indians and the Fight for Red Power” (Oxford University Press, 2012):
“What was it about American Indians that drew hippies to them?
“I think there was this perception that Indian people lived outside the mainstream of American culture, and in that perception of what Indian values were—I’m not talking about realities here, but stereotypes even—these were people who lived simply, lived off the land, and lived lives of deep spirituality. Also, hippies were seeking alternative ways of living. They were rejecting suburbia and white middle-class values, capitalism and they looked around the landscape and latched upon Indians—or their own ideas of what they assumed they were all about.”[3]
The Occupy Movement, though a mix of Peoples, was largely dis-enfranchised young White People, Hippies 2.0, and did not fully respect and embrace Native ways, one key issue being the name itself; Native Peoples had already been “occupied” for more than five centuries, and would prefer to un-occupy. Ironically, many of the Occupy Movement were bemoaning the loss of “white middle-class values.” The Occupy Movement’s rallying cry was the 99% vs. the 1%, and while this certainly helped draw attention to the economic imbalances at the heart of global disparities, “Water Is Life” is a message for everybody, for the 100% – and it is an affirmation not fraught with conflict energy, as similarly Native Peoples are referring to themselves as “water protectors” not “protestors.”

Occupy was nonetheless seen as such a threat to the system that it elicited a “coordinated crackdown,” from the FBI, on what was deemed a terrorist threat.[4] Akin to Standing Rock, Occupiers had set up camps, the most well-known being Zuccotti Park, and were essentially showing capitalistic society how to better live as community. The catch was, as ever, the land; they were attempting to occupy the occupiers' territory.

While the Occupy Movement was more focused on economic inequality, the ancient ways of the Original Peoples continue WITH the land and WITH all of the Nature-beings. Because of the timeless traditions espoused, traditions that have not gone away but rather were oppressed and in many case forced to hide so as to be protected, it would be inaccurate to call what's happening at Standing Rock a “movement.” Native spiritual practices are rooted in a timeless Way of Life akin to the Tao Te Ching of East Asia. Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II has called the current gathering, a “spiritual awakening.”
Before 1980, Phillip Deere (Muscogee-Creek) said:
 “In the prophesies of our people, during the spiritual rebirth of the Native people, the earth will purify itself. That day of purification is coming and it is beginning today. Spiritual movement is strong. Any organization with no spiritual foundations will crumble to the ground. It will never exist forever. There has to be a spiritual foundation and that spiritual foundation will keep the people strong. According to our prophesies that spiritual rebirth will bring about cleansing of the Earth. No matter how it’s going to happen, how it’s going to be done. Life will begin again. There will be another life.”
It is good to keep that in mind, as these cycles of Black, Red, and White Peoples surface again. It is also inspiring to see Black Lives Matter in solidarity with Standing Rock[5], along with many non-Native/Settler-allies of, perhaps, all colors. It is high time the discrepancies of the past be transcended so that the common good may be served; it is also important that the particular wishes of each group be respected.
Again from “Hippies, Indians and the Fight for Red Power”:
“In his [Vine Deloria, Jr.’s] writings he made it very clear that what Native Americans in the ’60s and ’70s were protesting weren’t Civil Rights, but treaty rights and the acknowledgment of sovereignty. They had a whole set of issues that were fundamentally different from those of African-Americans. ... On the other hand, the Civil Rights Movement was very important in terms of fermenting strategy. Hank Adams (Assiniboine-Sioux)—a real important person and I think the hero of the book, actually—was a brilliant strategist. He looked at the Civil Rights Movement and realized that some of the same techniques could be applied. For example: the fish-ins could be correlated to the blacks’ lunch counter sit-ins. I think Hank Adams was consciously seeking non-Indian allies in a way that African-Americans sought them.”
What happened to: a dog is a man's best friend?
The enemy is corporate-state White supremacy (emphasis on supremacy), or non-denominationally, those who have forgotten their connection with Mother Earth (why they behave like bastards).

Comparisons have been made between Birmingham, Alabama, 1963, where police used high-pressure fire hoses and attack dogs against Black People “during a peaceful walk”[6] and Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) enabling pepper spray and attack dogs against Native Peoples. (And here's news about the Indigenous Ngabe and the police/President of Panama, “Attack Dogs and Police Respond as Indigenous Fight Massive Project”[7])

Kelcy Warren is the Chairman and CEO of Energy Transfer Partners. To answer the Baha Men's hit song question, “Who Let the Dogs Out?”... it was Mr. Warren; the CEO has a lot at stake:
“...Warren built Energy Transfer Equity into one of the nation's largest pipeline companies, which now owns about 71,000 miles of pipelines carrying natural gas, natural gas liquids, refined products and crude oil. The company's holdings include Sunoco, Southern Union and Regency Energy Partners.

“Forbes estimates the 60-year-old Warren's personal wealth at $4 billion. Bloomberg [news] described him as 'among America's new shale tycoons' — but rather than building a fortune by drilling he 'takes the stuff others pull from underground and moves it from one place to another, chilling, boiling, pressurizing, and processing it until it's worth more than when it burst from the wellhead.'

“Warren lives in a 27,200-square-foot castle in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of north Dallas, a community that had restrictive covenants in place until 2000 limiting it to white people only (except for domestic servants). The neighborhood is also home to former President George W. Bush.”[8]
Think AND act
Meeting with the Standing Rock Sioux, Ecuadorian Sarayaku Indigenous Leader Franco Viteri said, “We are hear to globalize the resistance to oil.”

In the 1970s, “Think globally, act locally” started to become a popular phrase. Now we must do it all, think and act both globally and locally.

To convey the violent chaos that can stem from the insane addiction for energy resources, this is perhaps the most concise example that I have read:
“Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria.” — Robert F. Kennedy Jr., “Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria,” Politico[9]
Adding to that, most everyone now agrees that the invasion of Iraq was based on oil.

Perhaps now you can better appreciate the bravery and steadfastness of those non-violently protecting the sacred waters of the Missouri River (Mni Šoše).
Fear factor and beyond
“... the billionaire CEO of the pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners issued a memo to employees and outside media promising to 'reiterate our commitment' to the pipeline's construction. The memo[10]  pushed against three federal agencies' Friday [Sept. 9] request that the corporation voluntarily halt construction of the pipeline.”[11]

Hmm... “pushed against three federal agencies.” By US standards, that could earn DAPL the label of, wait for it, terrorists.

Yet labels aside, one of the best ways to stop the “black snake oil” is in the wallet.

“'This company [Dakota Access partnership] has lost $5 billion in market value' in the last couple of weeks, attorney William Leone said during a status conference before a federal judge in Washington, D.C.”[12]

Toxic energy resources are on the ropes; the oil industry magnates are, like Custer, facing their Last Stand. And they are scared:
“Leaders of the American Petroleum Institute and North America’s Building Trades Union on Tuesday say they are concerned the Obama administration’s recent move to delay construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline could slow infrastructure development.

“'We fear that President Obama has now set a dangerous precedent where political considerations can now thwart or delay every single infrastructure project moving forward,' said NABTU President Sean McGarvey, who, along with API President and CEO Jack Gerard, spoke during a phone conference with news reporters.”[13]
Francis of Assisi, with his affinity for Nature-beings, was perhaps as close to a Native person as a famous church go-er can get. In “Brother Sun, Sister Moon,” the lyrics of Donovan's title song reflect what's happening in so-called North Dakota:

Brother Wind and Sister Air
Open my eyes to visions pure and fair...

Brother Sun and Sister Moon
I now do see you, I can hear your tune

While skin color must be respected, part of the message of protecting sacred waters is that water, in its essence, is beyond color. Water is for everyone, and, when allowed to be itself, is crystal clear, without beginning or end.

With such wholeness, timelessness, and clarity the Standing Rock Sioux and allies are protecting and maintaining the Way of Life. Business can no longer be as usual. Protectors are needed everywhere, listening to and working closely with Mother Earth.

1. “Prophecy The Eagle and The Condor

2. “Slavery Timeline 1400-1500

3. “Hippies and Indians: Pathway to the Mainstream” 

4. “Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy

5. “Black Lives Matter Fighting Alongside Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters

6. “Birmingham campaign

7. See here.

8. “Meet the Texas billionaire and GOP donor behind the North Dakota pipeline controversy”
“Dakota Access Construction Will Continue, Pipeline Corp CEO Vows

9. “Assad’s Death Warrant” natural gas & see here.

10. See here.

11. “Dakota Access Construction Will Continue, Pipeline Corp CEO Vows

12. “Appeals Court Halts Dakota Access Pipeline Work Pending Hearing

13. “Industries fear 'dangerous precedent' will slow infrastructure development”

Mankh (Walter E. Harris III) is an essayist and resident poet on Axis of Logic. In addition to his work as a writer, he is a small press publisher and Turtle Islander. His new book of genre-bending poetic-nonfiction is “Musings With The Golden Sparrow.” You can contact him via his literary website.

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