Long post about the current controversy about Standing Rock funding including the tribe’s decision to use some of the donated funds to address deficits from impact of the legal and logistical issues around the protest.
How we share resources is our biggest challenge today. The cause of most wars, our fight for clean water, protection of the earth, is all about those who wish a bigger piece of pie for themselves, sometimes the whole pie. In traditional indigenous cultures a core value is taking care of those in need. Those who have more, share, and it lifts everyone. Simple concept, but one we have gotten away from as modern life and the culture of self has supplanted the idea of care of others. The future is endangered by the 1% who use their wealth as power to produce more wealth at the expense of water and the earth and those who live upon her. It is the heart of colonialism. Money is power, and as the NoDAPL movement grows economic pressures are going to be essential to long term victory.
Standing Rock donations have come in from around the world providing vital support we would not be able to function without. However, as a movement, we are still in a gestational stage, working without traditional leadership, developing organically, and a source of pain as we labor right now revolves about money, donations, and how resources are allocated. We are trying to figure out a way to do things differently, that is more inclusive, less hierarchical, less based on colonial models.
At Standing Rock we are a microcosm of society as a whole, and as such are facing avarice, selfishness, egos, and competing agendas. There has been misuse of donated funds, I know people who raised money specifically for the Wellness space at Rosebud and not one dime reached us. There has been theft and resources not used or ruined because of a lack of organization and proper stewardship. But there also has been tremendous generosity, not only from those donating money or supplies, but those giving their time to do fundraisers and organize political events at home, and those who work so incredibly hard at camp. I have seen so many people give up well-paying jobs, put school and their lives on hold, all for Standing Rock. It gets into your soul and becomes the only thing that matters. I get it, I have a small business before Standing Rock making and selling herbal products. After I was gone months, had to lay off my part time staff, and no longer have the time to make products, and truthfully making and selling stuff is not how I want to spend my time, as my work with Standing Rock is so much more important to my grandchildren’s future.
I was a part of the Occupy Movement and see so many similarities with the early support and enthusiasm, then personalities, egos, lack of leadership and focus, the movement crumbled as much from within as from without. I was a midwife for 30 years, my role was support the natural birth process, yet be aware in case intervention was needed. Sometime intervention is simple sometimes complicated, but if not done in time, consequences can be devastating. As one of the many midwives helping birth this movement that started with Standing Rock, I am listening to the heartbeat with concern. While I am concerned about the misuse or theft of funds, I believe a greater threat is the infighting about it. The finger pointing, the accusations, the negativity, the divisiveness can sweep up good people as well as the bad. I have seen from personal experience how unfounded accusations, haters and Internet trolls can destroy someone’s life and important work. Transparency and accountability is important. We can make a full accounting with receipts for all the funds donated to either my Gofundme page or to Zaniyan.org, and will continue to do that. The Medic and Healer Council is in the process of organizing a separate nonprofit which will do the same.
While people are still braving the weather and a protest camp will remain at Standing Rock until the pipeline is gone for good, longer term sustainable community projects, including an integrative health clinic, a birth center, are all in the planning stages, and can result from some of the positive energy generated for this cause. We still need support and help from the global community to fight the black snake and protect the water for all of us. The Standing Rock tribe has incurred a lot of expenses and losses from this protest, monies donated will not go to any one person or family, and that is more than I can say for a lot of other fundraising efforts.
I see one of the biggest needs right now in terms of funding is paying the fines and legal fees of arrested water protectors. While there are specific camp needs such as firewood and propane we are still working on, we are now looking other protest camps in Texas, Cheyenne River, British Columbia, & Florida. At both the Medic Healer Council and Zaniyan, we are looking at how to allocate resources to best serve the most people.
Standing Rock needs continued support as well as a healthy discussion of donated funds and how best to use them. What we don’t need is people from outside, who do not know all the facts or whole picture making judgments or accusations that can result in funding being pulled entirely. Facebook is powerful weapon, use it responsibly. Let’s focus on what is needed, where, how it is best used, and how to have transparency. #nodapl #waterislife#divestbank
Protectors on horseback patrol the perimeter of the camp