Message to Chairman Archambault

I agree with Chairman Archambault about his intentions and where he is coming from. I have watched and read about how the tribal council has tried to handle this problem. On the other hand, the powers arrayed against the indigenous do not play nice. They could care less about prayers, they laugh at good intentions and always have. As long as money and profit are the ends to the means, the corporation will be ruthless. Ruthlessness in business is an asset for them. They want you to go away, walk away in peace. When you walk away, you will lose. If you stay and force them to do something publicly, they absolutely hate that and with public opinion on your side, with actual world opinion on your side, you will win. That is why there is a media blackout and media control of the narrative. I want you to revisit the Civil Rights Movement and how it was won, and how it was successful. #1 There were clear goals laid out, and there were always legal strategies used and made very public. #2 Then, there was the public opinion strategy which required sacrifice. Many were hurt, many were arrested, many were brutalized, and many were killed. All of it was on national TV. I witnessed it back then as a child and it affected me. Every day there were protests, and there were police actions filmed on unarmed peaceful citizens. #3 The next strategies used were speeches and organized marches that spread the message through word and song. This worked on the people and forced the powerful elite to make concessions. If at any time the people had relented and relaxed, nothing would have been won. What has been missing from this very important fight for our water is accurate mainstream media coverage, detailed and repeated public messages about what needs to happen, what is the clear, stated goal. And very importantly: the constant peaceful actions need to continue. As long as the public witnesses that people are laying their lives on the line for this, that this is THAT important, you will get their support in increasing numbers. Water is THAT important. ANY battle will have sacrifices and I know when I entered Standing Rock, I went in with my eyes wide open and my heart wide open, knowing that I could be killed or seriously hurt – that this movement is that important. More important than my comfort and my safety. See, as long as that pipeline is being built, all of our safety is currently being put at risk. In fact, Chairman Archambault is totally correct in saying that safety is the main concern. You cannot walk away from cultural sites and burial places being destroyed, you cannot walk away from the people who went in willing to sacrifice their comfort, their lives, and their financial security. In fact, just as with the Civil Rights Movement, this thing became bigger than this one pipeline and this particular reservation next to this particular river. We need to record everything, walk away from nothing, and know that we will protect our people as much as we can, but this is a battle and we are battling for all of those unknown millions of future generations. This is bigger than just us now. Chairman Archambault, I was honored to be a guest at your home. I respect you and your words. Just as I know you care number one for the safety of the people, know that many people have totally changed their lives to support this movement and as you pointed out, it is not just at Standing Rock, it is all over the United States. But you have the special honor of being on the front line – Standing Rock is now a symbol and a monument to a world struggle by indigenous people against the destruction of their lands and water, and a world struggle to end the reliance on fossil fuels and to end climate change. I want you to think carefully about the untold numbers of people that will die if we do not change course. Now.

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