"With their heroic stand to deconstruct the Dakota Access pipeline, the indigenous tribes gathered at Standing Rock are also deconstructing Thanksgiving." (Photo: Joe Brusky/Overpass Light Brigade/flickr/cc)
- With their heroic stand to deconstruct the Dakota Access pipeline, the indigenous tribesgathered at Standing Rock are also deconstructing Thanksgiving. And they are showing us a path for the future that should inspire us for the difficult times ahead: a future based on respect for Mother Earth and all species, cooperation, generosity, nonviolence, humility and love.
- Related: A Pipeline Fight and America's Dark Past
Medea Benjamin, Common Dreams
November 24, 2016 | It is with a heavy heart that I travel to Standing Rock to give thanks and serve meals to the water protectors who, in the freezing weather, have braved attack dogs, tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets, percussion grenades and other forms of state-sanctioned violence. This Thanksgiving comes on the heels of a particularly heart-wrenching day, Nov. 21, when over 150 activists were injured, receiving treatment for hypothermia, contamination by tear gas, and traumas from rubber bullets. One activist, 21-year-old Sophia Wilansky, will spend the holiday undergoing a third surgery on her shattered arm that was ripped apart by an exploding concussion grenade.
It is appalling that these fierce attacks against peaceful activists are happening under President Barack Obama’s watch, and these water protectors are anticipating even greater repression when Donald Trump gets to the White House. During the campaign, Trump promised to roll back regulations on the fossil fuel industry and unleash “a treasure trove of untapped energy.”
Medea Benjamin (email@example.com), co-founder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace,and author of a forthcoming book on Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of the Unjust. Her previous books include: Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control; Don’t Be Afraid Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart, and (with Jodie Evans) Stop the Next War Now (Inner Ocean Action Guide).
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A Pipeline Fight and America's Dark Past, Bill McKibben, New Yorker Magazine
The events at Standing Rock also allow Americans to realize who some of the nation’s most important leaders really are. The fight for environmental sanity—against pipelines and coal ports and other fossil-fuel infrastructure—has increasingly been led by Native Americans, many of whom are in that Dakota camp today. They speak with real authority—no one else has lived on this continent for the longterm. They see the nation’s history more clearly than anyone else, and its possible future as well.
For once, after all these centuries, it’s time to look through their eyes. History offers us no chances to completely erase our mistakes. Occasionally, though, we do get a chance to show we learned something.
Bill McKibben is Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and co-founder of 350.org. His most recent book is Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.