How Your Youth Group Can Support Standing Rock
by Jaidyn Bryant and the 2017 General Assembly Youth Caucus Staff
So, Trump was elected president. Black, Latinx, Muslim, Native, LGBTQ communities are under continued attacks. What does that mean for Standing Rock? It means that the threat to Native sovereignty will continue. That degradation of our environment will escalate. Trump and many people in his cabinet will personally profit (because of their investments) if the Dakota Access Pipeline is successful.
The Dakota Access Pipeline puts the already polluted Missouri River at a major risk for for even more pollution. In an effort to transport oil 1,200 miles east from North Dakota to central Illinois, the DAPL will disturb sacred lands and burial grounds, as well as threaten the water source of millions of people. It is no secret that the indigenous people of this land have suffered in the name of American prosperity for generations. Thousands of people, both Native and non-native, are currently on the front lines serving as water protectors and calling for Native sovereignty. In fact, more than 50 UU clergy recently went to Standing Rock to join the action.
If you would like to be a part of a generation that fights to end this struggle, this is what you can do.
Oceti Sakowin is in the middle of winterization efforts as people prepare for the coming months. You can donate directly here.
There are a number of specific needs from the camp. The list changes often so stay up to date with the Oceti Sakowin Camp’s list.
Current needs as of November 14, 2016:
- Tipis, winter liners, and poles
- Yurts or other winter worthy structures
- Blankets, winter sleeping bags, sleeping mats, cots
- Insulated boots and other cold weather clothing
- Insulated gloves, work gloves
- Bulk Food Supplies
- Heating Stoves for tents
- Hay and Hay Bales
Think about ways in which your youth group can set up a drive. Anything is helpful.
There are many ways for youth groups to take action in solidarity with Standing Rock, wherever you are based. Below see a number of ways you can participate in these ongoing conversations and actions about Native sovereignty, contemporary iterations of settler colonialism and environmental justice movements.
- Call the White House (202-456-1111) or sign this petition and tell President Obama to permanently halt construction of the pipeline
- Call North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at 701-328-2200. (Ask for the support of his office and encourage the use of peaceful tactics.)
- Spread the word, start conversations with your family, neighbors, congregation and/or classmates. Seek out lessons on the environment, government, history, journalism and media literacy, culture and capitalism, or through broader concepts such as identity, solidarity and activism.
- Talk to your congregation about the UUA’s 2016 Business Resolution, Reconsidering Thanksgiving that calls our congregations to enter into dialogue with the local Native People in their areas about the Thanksgiving holiday and its history.
- Contact the Morton County Sheriff’s Department at 701-667-3330. Ask them to demilitarize their tactics and protect all North Dakota citizens and visitors.
- The No DAPL National Week of Action Facebook event has an even more in depth list of actions and contacts.
The Standing Rock Syllabus is prefaced with the following statement: “This syllabus project contributes to the already substantial work of the Sacred Stones Camp, Red Warrior Camp, and the Oceti Sakowin Camp to resist the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which threatens traditional and treaty-guaranteed Great Sioux Nation territory.”
Accomplices Not Allies: Abolishing the Ally Industrial Complex is a short zine by Indigenous Action Media
Learn about the Doctrine of Discovery, a 15th century principle of international law that sanctioned and promoted colonization and exploitation of non-Christian territories and peoples, and what UUs can do about it.
Tolerance.org offers information on how students can connect with Standing Rock. It provides starting points and information that help the reader understand the issues associated with the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Read about how other congregations are engaging with Standing Rock. Below is a quote from Rev. Karen Van Fossan, minister of Bismarck-Mandan Unitarian Universalist Congregation, North Dakota on how engaging with Standing Rock has changed her.
Standing Rock has facilitated a reflection between giving up, and giving over something of myself. In the process, even though my experience is still about me – it’s in a really different way. When I see the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) moving along the land, it takes everything in me to not go stop it: I have always loved that river. There’s a way I feel membership in the world in a deeper way. From what I have experienced from traditional Lakota values (what I have learned through Ronya and through folks at the camp), this is a space that has been created that if you are hungry, you can eat; if you are thirsty, there is water; if you are hurt, there is a clinic; there is space at the fire for you; there is always prayer. These are things that are given to each of us. I have lived in different places in my life, I have been accustomed to chronic loneliness. I have known pervasive, chronic loneliness. And that is gone.