The Standing Rock Sioux have been protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) through their land, where a spill would destroy not only sacred tribal artifacts, but the water supply for the tribe and everywhere downstream along the Missouri. Their nonviolent protests are being met with escalating violence from law enforcement and some arrested water protectors have been detained in dog kennels.
You can help. Warm up by calling the Office of Tribal Justice at 202-514-8812 and leaving a message like this:
Hi. My name is __________ and I'm calling about how the Standing Rock water protectors are being treated. A few nights ago, they were soaked with high pressure water cannons in freezing weather, and there have been reports of rubber bullets, tear gas, and high pitch noise cannons to break up unarmed crowds. The water protectors have also been arrested and detained, including being locked in dog kennels, which is inhumane.
The Tribal Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux has called for enforcing an injunction to keep ALL citizens safe, which means law enforcement officers and water protectors. I support this, but I would also really like to see a full review of all of the law enforcement bodies that are at Standing Rock. We need to investigate all abuses, unlawful arrests, and human rights violations.
Your do-gooding muscles are loose and you’re ready to write a letter. That’s right, a real letter.
Grab a pen and write a sentence or two demanding that the Army Corps of Engineers intervene and stop the DAP. Read these excellent examples from Standing Rock Youth’s “Rezpect Our Water” campaign for inspiration or use this as a template (but make it your own!):
To the US Army Corps of Engineers,
Please do not grant the easement to DAPL to bore under the Missouri River. Instead, please require a full environmental impact statement, and protect sacred sites and burial grounds that may be in the pipeline route. I support the Standing Rock Sioux and the work of the nonviolent, unarmed water protectors.
Mail the letter to:
US Army Corps of Engineers Northwest Division Office
P.O. Box 2870
Portland, OR 97208-2870
Finished the above? You’re doing great. Now comes the big challenge: Talking to a conservative family member over (or preferably after) Thanksgiving dinner.
Set aside 30 minutes. Read this handy guide, add the SURJ hotline to your phone for SOS SMS help during gnarly conversations, and practice using the “feel, felt, found” method (“I know how you feel. I’ve felt that way myself. But I’ve found that…”)
As a friend of the room says, “It can be hard to find that common ground of ‘I know how you feel.’ For me, I have definitely felt attacked when I've heard people talking about privilege, even though I've never felt like someone took my job. I could hide that in a ball of shame... or I could use it to help some other people understand more.”
Think through how people at your Thanksgiving dinner might feel. Figure out how to find common ground, and then how to move the conversation towards a deeper understanding. Don’t expect to eat at a politically divided table? Find a friend who does and walk them through this process!
For some bonus Standing Rock solidarity, you can find an action near you for the December 1 National Day of Action. Contact the organizer for your local action to find ways to support these peaceful movements.
No action near you? Read Adrienne Keene’s summary of the #NoDAPL situation and pick a different way to get involved. She includes several places people can donate.