Thursday, March 14, 2013

Native activists withdraw support from KXL Truthforce Concert Oklahoma

COALITION OF NATIVE ACTIVISTS WITHDRAW SUPPORT FROM KXL TRUTHFORCE CONCERT IN NORMAN
Casey Camp, Ponca
"Before long, we began to see a pattern that has played out repeatedly: Non-Indians armed with a savior complex, condescending tones and a penchant to show us a better way to do things, begin to plan strategy and events for us."

By Casey Camp-Horinek, Ponca, Marland, Okla.
Richard Ray Whitman, Pawnee-Euchee, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Glenda Sue Deer, Absentee Shawnee-Kickapoo, Shawnee, Okla.
Ben Carnes, Chahta/Choctaw Nation
JoKay Dowell, Quapaw-Cherokee-Eastern Shawnee-Peoria, Tahlequah, Okla. 
Dwain 'Buck' Camp, Ponca, Marland, Okla.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013 
Censored News 

Ben Carnes, Choctaw
We are a coalition of Native activists from all directions in Oklahoma. We have organized on crucial issues throughout the 1970s, 80s, 90s, even to this day. We were reared in Native traditional ways. We have traveled and worked locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. We do not hide behind shady names or elusive missions. We must be accountable to our community. We will be open and transparent. We will attach our names to this statement and to events we organize. We know it is the right way, among Native people when we travel outside our home communities to assist others, the people of that community take the lead on any strategies to address their issues.

The IDLE NO MORE movement began in Canada with four women, one a Non-Native. A call went out to Native communities in the U.S. to assist by holding instantaneous singing and round dancing in public places to call attention to serious human and environmental health concerns in Canada. It became our rallying cry, too, because we, in the U.S., suffer serious human and environmental health issues caused by abuse of our Mother Earth, our natural world and her resources, by exploitative industries.



A primary potential threat that stretches from the Boreal Forest of Canada, down through the Great Plains into Oklahoma and on to the Gulf of Mexico, is the Keystone XL pipeline owned by the foreign, Canadian corporation, TransCanada. Before INM became a rallying point, activists, community groups, and landowners all along the pipeline route, and in Oklahoma, publicly questioned the safety of the pipeline.

Too, the legality of a foreign corporation or country’s use of imminent domain to cross private lands and the lack of free, prior and informed consent to seize tribally owned lands, as required by the U.S. and Canada when both endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, offends many here.

Some tribes were notified as far back as 2008 that the pipeline was coming.
BUT, notification is NOT consultation or CONSENT. Oil and gas operations threaten Native communities and sacred sites with little or no compensation for the incalculable risks imposed by controversial practices like hydro-fracturing, or fracking, of Earth in earthquake zones; returning to the groundwater millions of gallons of fracking waste-water tainted with life-threatening benzene and toluene; huge pipelines running through pasture and playgrounds and beneath streams and creek beds; and, more concerns.

It is obvious that the need for clean water, air, soil, and food is imperative for the health of all people and all children for generations to come. Therefore, in an attempt to build coalitions across racial and other social strata, we invited our Non-Native allies to join us here in Oklahoma because the potential disasters from the pipeline present numerous human concerns.

Before long, we began to see a pattern that has played out repeatedly: Non-Indians armed with a savior complex, condescending tones and a penchant to show us a better way to do things, begin to plan strategy and events for us. We just show up and hand over the imaginary strings attached to our bodies, which they manipulate until the show’s over. They don’t ask for input from us, they even tell us which Indians will participate: this week that Indian is in. Next week, he’s out and another is in.

In the world of community organizing and coalition-building, there are agreements and understandings upon which the coalition is based. If one is a true organizer, attempting to bring communities together, they know this is the foundation of coalition-building.

If you are a Non-Native, and you want to come into our community to help us fight a fight, you offer your support; you list what you have to bring to the effort; and then, you ask how to help.

In the past weeks of INM rallies and round dances, many Non-Native allies have stepped forward. We’d like to think all have good intentions. However, two with stark differences stand out.

The first, an organized group, Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, has consistently acted in an appropriate manner. It identified its members; met with us in person; offered monetary donations; organizing skills like non-violent, direct action training; meeting venues; and, asked for input with every step as to what their role in supporting our efforts would look like.

The other, KXL Pipeline Truthforce Coalition, has consistently acted in remarkable contrast that signaled questionable intentions from the beginning. KXLTC announced it would hold a concert for the Indians fighting KXL; began to plan the concert without input from the Oklahoma Native activists working on the pipeline issues for more than a year while living in close proximity to the KXL; avoided relevant questions put to them by several of us about who is in charge of their “group,” as there is no leadership noted on the KXLTC’s Facebook page, only a fuzzy statement about a group concerned with telling the truth (as far as we can determine, it is a husband and wife team with one other person.).

Our interests in knowing the KXLTC leadership and assessing the real motivation of KXLTC’s intentions is relevant, is pertinent and IS REQUIRED on our part, considering the infamous history of provocateurs who infiltrate and agitate to perform illegal acts, and dissension-agitators exposed within past activist movements. KXLTC gave us vague, condescending answers to questions we posted on their page about leadership; invited first, one Native to speak and then kicked out that speaker who was replaced with another; planned the agenda of the concert with no input from Native activists who have fought the pipeline issue for months; and, more.

Frustrated by our repeated attempts to get some straight answers, an integral team member of KXLTC placed a call to a member of Resistance to lament about the “petty” political infighting of Indians. After all, it would be one white guy speaking, albeit derogatively, in presumed confidence to just another white guy, who would surely share KXLTC’s lowly opinion of trying to help a bunch of dysfunctional, aging, fame-seeking Indian activists, right? And, to summarize, the aging Indian activists will show anyway - just to be seen at such a high-profile event and for a photo-op with Buffy Sainte-Marie, he said to GPTSR.

However, the KXLTC’S rep did not understand he was speaking to a HUMAN in the GPTSR rep, who’s interests are not in saving us or teaching us better ways to handle our own issues, and sees Native allies as equals. KXLTC does not get that to help a community, you are to take that community’s lead, even if you do hold the strings to the pocketbook.

Those are but a few of the primary tenets of coalition-building, along with: WE SPEAK FOR OURSELVES.

For those stated reasons and more, we, the attached signatories, have withdrawn our voices and our support for the KXL Pipeline Truth Force coalition concert and “educational” event scheduled for March 24 at Andrews Park in Norman, Oklahoma, featuring Buffy Sainte-Marie and Mato Nanji of Indigenous.

While dedicated to standing with true allies and committed to continued opposition to the foreign invasion, occupation, and land theft in the U.S. of Native and Non-Native lands and future generations’ health, safety and peace of mind, we in no way are withdrawing from the KXL opposition, only the event of March 24.

We hold sacred our relationships with Non-Native allies who show real knowledge of coalition-building and equality. We will stand with them as human beings, all equal.

In respect and peace:

Casey Camp-Horinek, Ponca, Marland, Okla.
Richard Ray Whitman, Pawnee-Euchee, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Glenda Sue Deer, Absentee Shawnee-Kickapoo, Shawnee, Okla.
Ben Carnes, Chahta/Choctaw Nation
JoKay Dowell, Quapaw-Cherokee-Eastern Shawnee-Peoria, Tahlequah, Okla. 
Dwain 'Buck' Camp, Ponca, Marland, Okla.

1 comment:

Veggie Voyagers said...

I respect your decision and understand how frustrating this must be for you. We had Buffy St. Marie in our community (Chico, Ca.) tonight and my heart is very full. Many of us grew up with her music and she has been a central conscious voice for us in finding our way in the struggle for right livelihood and defending the earth. Her energy and presence were strong and her music almost popped my heart with both sadness and joy. She left us with a strong message to work to preserve the earth and community. If there is any way for you to at least hear her I think it would do your hearts good. We really appreciate your work for your homeland and our planet... all of you on the front lines of preserving the earth's climate. We will be in solidarity with the Unis'to'ten against the Pacific Trails Pipeline on the 29th. No Fracking. No Tar Sands. No pipelines.

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