The Last Stand

Hola mi gente,
With little attention from our corporate-controlled press, our First Nation brothers and sisters have staged one of the largest actions in decades, making what very likely be a last stand to protect our environment. I stand in solidarity with the people of Standing Rock.

As a person of Puerto Rican descent, I understand that it is crucial that I recognize that the struggle at Standing Rock is part of an ongoing struggle against colonial violence. #NoDAPL is one of frontlines in the struggle in the long-erased war against Native peoples — a war that has been active since first contact and waged without interruption. It is the same war that colonized my own people on another part of that front line of suffering and cruelty. Efforts to survive the conditions of this anti-Native society have gone largely unnoticed because white supremacy is the law of the land, and because Native people and people of the Puerto Rican diaspora have been pushed beyond the confines of public consciousness.

Hey-ya Hey-ya Hey Hey O O

profiles-of-courage_-2016_-001

where is it that you go
cars stopped and searched
on their way to the gathering
where others sing and pray
land protectors, land protectors
sing and pray, police, police
stop intrusive machines
that churn holy ground
that plow the sacred into memory

Hey-ya Hey-ya  Hey Hey O O

gather all ye tribes to save
life water in North Dakota
Standing Rock Sioux
started in prayers in April
avert the threat to sacred earth
defend clean streams
at this end of the fossil fuel era
battle pipelines which burst
which quench an alien thirst for profit
trespass on treaty lands

Hey-ya Hey-ya  Hey Hey OO

a german shepherd pants with blood on his mouth
his nose drips with Indian blood
his handler yanks him this way and that
other dogs snap at horses’ legs which dance away
charge protectors, bite and wound
other handlers advance, spray the eyes
of protectors, mace Indian faces

Hey-ya Hey-ya  Hey Hey OO

come all defenders
stand by those whose land
has been blooded by slaughter
drowned by dams, washed away
confront the threat to who remains
from 17 banks, $3.8 billion
arrayed to transgress, to dig under rivers
dirty the clean, desecrate holy places,
intruders threading poisons
through the precious warp of earth
to steal again First People’s land

Hey-ya Hey-ya  Hey Hey OO

this is prayer ground
this is sacred water way
this is where First Peoples stand
this is where protectors stay.

 — Akua Lezli Hope

Akua Lezli Hope is a creator who uses sound, words, fiber, glass, and metal, to create poems, patterns, stories, music, ornaments, adornments, and peace whenever possible. She has won fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Ragdale, Hurston Wright writers, and the National Endowment for The Arts.  She is a Cave Canem fellow. A crochet designer, she has published 114 patterns.  Her manuscript Them Gone won Red Paint Hill Publishing’s Editor’s Prize and will be published in fall, 2016.

* * *

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Resources

Please let me know of any indigenous sites/ resources reporting on the North Dakota Pipeline. I do not trust the mainstream sources such as the NY Times or the Washington Post will offer credible reporting in this area.*

Democracy Now: Not an indigenous source, obviously, but Amy Goodman has been at the forefront of this issue almost from the beginning.

Dallas Goldtooth

Indigenous Environmental Network

Unicorn Riot

Myron Dewey

*Many thanks to my friend, Ellen, for generously pointing out some indigenous sources.

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