We got there late. This
Native-American elder was explaining that every fiber of the Sioux
nation's being was being threatened by the Dakota Access Pipe Line
(DAPL). She was calling for every being who drinks water to take a
stand against the oil industry deals that are making it happen.
There were many people there with
signs, the gist of which I took to be "water is life, protect it."
DAPL is going to cross the path of the Missouri river, up in the
tributary areas where the Lakota Reservation straddles it. It's
not just the Sioux water we're talking about. It's clean water for
more than half of flyover country.
Hartman is a Wampanoag (sorry if I
spelled it wrong). That was the first people to have dealings with
the white man. He apologized for giving them Thanksgiving, which
helped them through their first winter.
Paul George from the Peninsula Peace
and Justice Center said that he was proud to share news of this
event with his email list. He invited everyone that wasn't already
on his email list to sign up before they left.
The next speaker was a member of the
Palo Alto City Council. He thanked us all for coming out on this
beautiful afternoon. He said the City Council is looking into
divesting their money from Wells Fargo Bank. DAPL is bad, but
slamming customers with fee sucking accounts is bad enough to make
the city do work on the topic.
The guy in the stocking cap is one
of the people that turned the valves on the pipeline that brings
oil from Canadian Tar Sands into the USA. He talked about stopping
a fifth of the oil flowing south with four friends. I gather he's
facing significant legal problems, but he's glad he did it.
Mel explained that now we are going
to march on the banks behind DAPL. Then she handed the mike off to
Bob, who went through some of the chants we'd be doing, "DEFUND
DAPL", "WATER IS LIFE", "KEEP THE OIL IN THE SOIL".
Then we started marching. First
There was supposed to be a green
sign with "Citibank" at the top the the number of dollars they are
putting up, but whomever was carrying it had some sort of "minor
technical difficulty". Oh well. We had some speakers about
problems the oil pipelines are causing in Indian Country.
In the background a woman from the
Sioux Reservation was talking about all the problems the "man
camps" bring in. It seems that they are filled with guys who have
money from the oil drilling and pipeline building operations. They
are spending it on drugs and prostitutes, luring the young women
with their money to do the things guys like to do. It's a disaster
for their local community.
For years I've told someone else "We
need a revolution where the pun is mightier than the gun" when the
opportunity presented itself. My belief is that it's a key part of
healing our ethnic politics. Consider Sioux. All you have to do is
listen to Johnny Cash's "Boy Named Sue" to realize something about
how tough that name is. Going around to the banks with the
Native-American drums and the screaming wailing songs in the
background is not doing violence to their property. Those
boardroom types are not going to see us in court, the way they
would if we sued them. (Maybe it will happen, but that's not my
department.) Then there are all those women who go by the name
Sue. They're welcome to their own opinions about what the name
means. It's just a coincidence that my father once told me he was
a quarter Sioux. Right?!
This speaker was from the Dakota Law
Project. They had been founded to keep the BIA from stealing
Indian babies to put up for adoption. Now that the pipeline
project is a big issue for the community they are fighting it in
This was the last picture I took
before my camera died. We'd just marched down to Comerica Bank.
Virginia took some pictures with her camera phone after that.
The march ended where it started, on
the plaza in front of Palo Alto City Hall.