As DAPL Moves Forward, a Reflection on the Power of Words

Words matter.

The label “Sioux,” for instance, is a derogatory term meaning “snake” or “serpent,” derived from Anishinaabe and French words. (See this article in the Lakota Times.) Those in power were able to impose that term on Minnesota native peoples through treaties and reservation names. The term “Sioux” continues to be used for historical reasons, but it is not the preferred term for many.

The proper term for the people referred to as “Sioux” is Oceti Sakowin, (Och-et-eeshak-oh-win) meaning Seven Council Fires, according to the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center. It refers to the people of the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota nations.

Oceti Sakowin also is the name of the main camp of Water Protectors trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, an effort that has brought native people together from across the country. Continue reading

Nov. 15: Day of Action at St. Paul Army Corps of Engineers; UN Expert Issues First-Hand Report on DAPL

sign-3Indigenous leaders are calling on us to take to the streets and disrupt “business-as-usual” and demand that President Obama‚Äôs Army Corps of Engineers and the incoming administration stop the Dakota Access Pipeline — and all those after it.

On Tuesday, November 15th, join a massive day of action in solidarity with those at Standing Rock, and demand the Federal government and the Army Corps reject this pipeline.

Details: Tuesday, Nov. 15 at noon at the Army Corps of Engineers Centre, 180 5th Street East, St. Paul. Event page here.

(The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a key decision maker in issuing permits to allow DAPL to drill under the Missouri River.)

As a reminder to allies, several faith communities have taken a position supporting the Standing Rock Nation and others opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline. Here are the statements from the:

If you are a member of one of these communities, please consider attending this event. (If you are not a member of one of these communities, please consider attending.)

Those sponsoring this event include: Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN); Honor the Earth; 350.org; Native Organizers Alliance; National Nurses United; Greenpeace USA; Food and Water Watch; Daily Kos; Natural Resources Defense Council; Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth.

Remember, too, that tomorrow (Saturday) several fundraisers for the Water Protectors are being held along Franklin Avenue.

For information on a recently released United Nations report on the situation near Standing Rock, keep reading. Continue reading