|Photo by Natalie Hand|
|Resister Sisters Photo by Natalie Hand|
Cheyenne River Lakota Homelands, Dupree, South Dakota
By Natalie Hand
Lakota Media Project
Owe Aku International
The Moccasins on the Ground (MOTG) training camp opened on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe homelands on a cold February night. The Lakota people there put out a call for this non-violent direct action (NVDA) training to help them prepare themselves to defend their treaty territory from the potential construction of the Trans Canada KXL pipeline.
The event kicked off Friday evening with opening prayers for the sacred water and encouragement for the Cheyenne River Lakota people and the non-native allies from the surrounding area.
The training consists of an intensive 3-day curriculum that teaches community building; action strategizing; street medic training; media messaging; and identifying roles for direct action. The trainers came from all over Turtle Island to offer their expertise including members of the Indigenous Environmental Network, Ruckus Society, Tar Sands Resistance, Utah Tar Sands, Native Youth Movement, Warriors Alliance, Street Medic, Owe Aku, Lakota Media Project, Clean Water Alliance, Media Collective and Idle No More.
Trainers shared their experiences ranging from forming a blockade to washing mace from their eyes, to effective use of social media and knowing your legal rights. The participants included interveners in the South Dakota Public Utility Commission’s renewed application process by TransCanada, which has been scheduled for hearing in May, 2015.
Discussions at the training included understanding what kind of mischief is going on in Washington D.C. to get the KXL pipeline approved.
The frenzied pace at which the oil and mining industry is destroying this planet has caused native peoples and non-native allies to rise up and fight these corporations in a unified front. Presentations included the destruction of the boreal forest and Athabascan River Basin in Alberta Canada. Kandi Mossett of IEN presented on the devastation of the land, air and water in her homeland of the Arikira, Hidatsa, Mandan tribe in the Bakken oil fields. Updates on the uranium mining case against Cameco at Crawford, NE and an update on the proposed uranium mining in the Black Hills was presented by Debra White Plume of Owe Aku and Carla Marshall of Clean Water Alliance.
Bold Nebraska volunteer Doug Grandt of Lincoln NE is a retired engineer and one-time employee of Exxon has pledged the rest of his days to “retire oil refineries”. “My mother and grandmother were born and raised in northeast Nebraska, so I was motivated to fight to protect the land and water.” stated Grandt.
The effects of the tar sands mining in Alberta, Canada are evident and far-reaching. Indigenous Athabascan peoples whose homelands have been irrevocably altered by the tar sands mines can no longer practice their sustenance hunting and fishing due to the contaminated waterways.
Nina Waste’ Wilson, Nakota/Dakota/Nehiyawan, co-founder of the Idle No More movement in Canada stated, “To me, water is the most powerful medicine. We are water. As a woman, I have a spiritual duty to protect it! I love the Moccasins on the Ground training. It is the war horse for Mother Earth’s Army!”
During the camp, Dallas Goldtooth of IEN facilitated the Cheyenne River Lakota people through a consensus decision-making training session.
Jo Seenie, Anishinabe-Wolf Clan, of Warriors Alliance from Roseau River, Manitoba Canada said, “As a woman, I have a responsibility to defend the water. Babies growing in our wombs need the water, their first medicine, to live. I love the true warrior spirit here and am inspired that our nations are coming together!”
|Sedona Film Fest bound!|
Vivian High Elk, Minnecojou/Itazipco Lakota elder assisted Ivan Looking Horse with a water ceremony to conclude this 14th and final Moccasins on the Ground training camp.
The Tour of Resistance continues to Arizona for the premiere of the documentary “Crying Earth Rise Up” on February 28, 2015 at the Sedona International Film Festival.
More photos of Moccasins on the Ground at Cheyenne River