Videos From and About Standing Rock, and Tribal Victory in Creating the “Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area”

hcmc3Below are links to some videos from and about Standing Rock. There are inspiring interviews with Water Protectors. There is a short interview with a 13-year-old youth leader from Standing Rock right after she learned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) easement. And if you haven’t seen it, there is a link to the Daily Show’s biting take on DAPL. The post ends with an uplifting report from the Native American Rights Fund on the creation of the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area.

Stories Straight From Standing Rock

There is a wonderful website called Where There Once Was Water: “an independent, feature length documentary film exploring California’s current water crisis and discussing solutions for a more sustainable future.” It is still in production but filmmaker Brittany Anzel App traveled to Standing Rock, spent time there, and did some filming about the water issues there.

Her blog has posted several great videos, starting with this 13-minute segment listening to Donna and Curly from Rosebud telling their story about volunteering at the camp and why this is such a crucial issue.

According to App’s blog Donna & Curly are leaders of Rosebud “Sicangu Oyate” Camp at Standing Rock: “They welcomed us in from the moment we arrived. They kept us safe, warm, fed, prayerful, and protected.”

Speaking on the video, Donna said: “We are not a battle camp … We are armed with our prayers, that’s it. … It all boils down to money, greed, aggressiveness. They are the aggressors in this whole thing. They have attacked our people time and again. But we are not going away. I don’t know when they will understand that. … They don’t know how to handle peaceful, prayer people.”

Check out the site.

Celebrating With Tokata Iron Eyes, a Standing Rock Youth Leader

If you don’t have time for a 13-minute video, here’s a great one that just runs about 90 seconds. It is an interview with 13-year-old Tokata Iron Eyes at the Oceti Sakowin Camp, just after they got news that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had denied the Dakota Access Pipeline easement under the Missouri River. It will bring a smile to your face or a tear to your eye.

Daily Show’s Take on DAPL

On December 1, Trevor Noah of the Daily Show offered his sharp analysis of the situation at Standing Rock (4 minutes 28 seconds).

Noah explains that the original route went close to the predominantly white city of Bismarck, but because of the concern about the number of water crossings there and the threat to the drinking water, the Missouri River crossing was moved south near Standing Rock:

Noah dissects the logic:

“The conversation seems to go: ‘The pipeline is completely safe.’

‘Well then, why didn’t you build it under the white people’s houses?’

‘Well, because it might leak.’

‘So it’s not safe, it is just safe enough for the Native Americans?’

‘No, it’s not a race thing. It’s that if the pipe leaks, there are fewer of them than of us.’

‘And why are there fewer of them? … ‘”

At Tribes’ Request, President Protects the Northern Bering Sea

Some good news from the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). At the request of more than three dozen tribes, President Barack Obama signed a historic Executive Order on Friday, Dec. 9, creating the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area.

The following is verbatim from NARF:

This is an incredible victory for our clients, the Bering Sea Elders Group (BSEG), and the 39 tribes in Western Alaska that BSEG represents. Yup’ik and Inupiaq tribal communities in the region have a deeply personal and cultural connection to the Northern Bering Sea and its rich marine resources. Their lives have been linked with the Northern Bering Sea for thousands of years. It is their highway, their grocery store, their way of life, and their children’s inheritance.

Today’s Executive Order establishes an important set of policies aimed at promoting resilient tribal communities and protecting the Alaska Native subsistence way of life in the face of increasing effects of climate change. It also, for the first time, creates a formal role for the region’s tribes in federal decision-making, so as to ensure that Native voices continue to be heard as they deal with the increasing pressure on their resources. The Executive Order elevates the voice of Alaska Native tribes and the role of indigenous knowledge in decision-making within the region by establishing a Federal Task Force on the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area (Bering Task Force) and mandating that the Task Force establish and engage in regular consultation with a Bering Intergovernmental Tribal Advisory Council, which will consist primarily of tribal government representatives with participation from Federal, state, and local officials for coordination purposes. As the White House noted, “[t]ogether, these two groups will guide the incorporation of valuable traditional knowledge and science into Federal resource management in the northern Bering Sea region, thus preserving this unique ecosystem and the indigenous peoples who rely upon it.”

NARF Staff Attorney Natalie Landreth applauds the decision, noting that “it is essential to remember that this action came from the tribes, the coastal communities, themselves. The delegates from the 39 member tribes of BSEG asked the President to take action to protect their communities and way of life. The Administration opened its doors, listened, and followed through in a way I have never seen before. This level of responsiveness to tribes is unprecedented. It’s not often that you find a President or Administration that values its federal relationship with tribes, but President Obama does. We are extremely thankful, and anyone who supports more local input in federal decision-making should applaud this decision.”

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