So far, no new updates from our friends at Standing Rock, but it was gratifying to learn that they are/were safe and that they survived the sheriff's and mercenary attack on Sunday/Monday. The updates I've seen from others indicate that between 200 and 300 were injured -- essentially everyone who was "doused" with water in below freezing temperatures -- and that some 26 or more were hospitalized with their injuries, including one woman who practically had her arm blown off by an explosive munition and may still lose it to amputation.
The official lies about what happened are never ending, and they change from moment to moment. Nothing like what they say happened is confirmed by the numerous videos taken on scene during and before the police action against the Water Protectors on Backwater Bridge Sunday night and into Monday morning. In fact, nearly everything they say is starkly contradicted by the evidence.
That's the playbook of suppression though. Has been for as long as I've been alive and much longer. The lies are integral, the violence toward critics, dissenters and protesters is typical, the moral failure -- especially in the face of Native resistance -- is built in.
As most of my readers know, I've lived among Native peoples through my wife's family for most of my life. If it hadn't been for them, I'm not sure I'd be alive to tell about it, so that's something of a foundational matter for me. I can't claim any particular knowledge or understanding of Native culture and society. Although I am a member of certain Native organizations and am considered a welcome guest with others, I'm still a white outsider. That doesn't change. Ms. Ché on the other hand, as a Native with a Blue Card and CIB (tribal citizenship -- Cherokee Nation -- and Certificate of Indian Blood) is fully accepted as a Native everywhere she goes. It's especially true in New Mexico where Indians have perhaps a greater and more important presence than anywhere except Oklahoma and Alaska. And the way Natives are seen here is quite different than they are in those states, in part because of history, in part because of Native assertion of rights that have never been completely overturned or taken away. Even by the Spanish in the worst of times.
What I've learned from my Indian family and the many Indians we know in New Mexico is how ignorant I am. Not just from an academic point of view, but from a cultural and social one too. If I'd been born an Indian, it might have been different -- or it might not. Ignorance in and of itself is not a bad thing; sometimes it's useful, even necessary. On the other hand, "not knowing" can be disabling, too. I try to learn every day, but I'm so far behind, I doubt I'll catch up to my Indian family, friends and colleagues. That's OK, though.
The struggle at Standing Rock is an inspiration for Indigenous Peoples all over the world, and those brave activists standing firm at Standing Rock against the might of the State are showing us all what must be done in the face of Rogue Power. The North Dakota authorities shame themselves every time they attack the Water Protectors. They bring dishonor to themselves and the corporate interests they serve. They are not protecting the people, they are not protecting the water, and they are not protecting lives. They are protecting the private pecuniary interest of a rogue corporation against the interests of the people. Period.
It is obvious as sin.
And they know it.
We're told that dozens of the Pipeline Protectors have turned in their badges, saying "No more of this shit." But there are many more to take their place, eager to engage in Indian Fighting so it would seem. They live in a fantasy of supremacy and power, as if somehow, if they're just strong enough and just bad enough, they can finally defeat the Savage Other that's been tormenting them the entire time the settler/colonists have laid claim to this land.
It's the same theory of Power (White Power, let's call it what it is) that underlies the many overseas wars of aggression the US has engaged in and still does. Conquest of the Brown, Savage Other is so deeply rooted in the Anglo-American subconscious that even some of those who are not Anglo, not white, believe in it implicitly.
The Power must be employed to overcome and defeat the Savage Brown, or.... something something.
The logic of it has never made any sense, and the more it has been employed -- especially lately -- the less sense it makes.
The struggle at Standing Rock becomes a microcosm for the whole enterprise of White Power and its immoral, anti-human, anti-life, and ultimately anti-future underpinnings. They so hate the earth and everything on and in it that they would destroy everything they can without a qualm. It's their nature. It's their identity exposed.
The Sunday/Monday assault on the Water Protectors exposed the fraud of the Pipeline Protectors top to bottom. They may win the immediate struggle, who knows, but they cannot and won't win in the end. I won't call it "the war," because that's not what it is. It's not the moral equivalent of war at all; it's a contest, let's say, between a cult of death and destruction, and a way and understanding of life that has endured for endless generations, and cannot be defeated by the dark forces arrayed against it.
Cannot. Be. Defeated.
Efforts to defeat it in the Americas have been underway since First Contact hundreds of years ago, and they fail, inevitably. The efforts to defeat it overseas failed just as inevitably and miserably, and still the powers of darkness and rage carry on.
I've long asked "What are they so afraid of? What are they really struggling against?"
Why do the Indians scare them so?
In North Dakota, it's very obvious that the settlers are scared witless of this Indian Uprising, though no Indian I'm aware of has threatened the settlers in any way, at least not in this struggle. They don't threaten the militarized might arrayed against them. They don't even threaten the pipeline except from a moral and spiritual plane. In other words, they say the pipeline is wrong and those protecting it are doing wrong, and all that can change. They don't have to do wrong. They can choose to do right.
I think that's what scares the settlers and the pipeline protectors more than anything: deep inside somewhere, they know they're doing wrong, and they know they don't have to. They can choose to do right, and the Water Protectors are offering them a way.
The way is open, the offer is sincere.
And it's terrifying to the settlers and their protectors.
That's what I see happening throughout the Euro-American Imperial Project. It's being confronted with its own immorality and its death-love. The earth is resisting, not just the Indigenous victims.
I doubt we'll have a resolution soon. There are indications that the assault by the Pipeline Protectors was a deliberate distraction from the start of the drilling operation under the Great Missouri, the final stage of the pipeline completion. Could be, I don't know. Otherwise there was no reason for it at all. It was nothing but naked aggression against a non-threat.
Absurd on its face.
But that's where we are.