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We are sharing the daily accounts of a 350 Mass Cambridge member and friend who are at Standing Rock providing medical support to water protectors in the aftermath of Standing Rock's eviction. You can read their perspective here on our blog and on the 350 Mass Facebook page.
This is just the beginning
By Susan Labandibar and Robert Master
The events of the past two days at Standing Rock, while appearing to be a defeat, are actually a victory that should be celebrated. In the face of intimidating power, the water protectors and their defenders had the courage and perseverance to adhere to their values of non-violent resistance. Thus, the tragedy of mass casualties for which our medical support team prepared, never occurred.
Why is this something to celebrate?
Think about Montgomery, the lunch counter sit-ins and the march on Selma. At another time and place, when a marginalized, oppressed and despised minority stood up in nonviolent resistance, they became a moral authority in the 20th century, and a shameful way of life was forever changed
At Standing Rock, another oppressed minority stood up to power in defense of both treaty rights and the Earth itself. As a consequence of their inspiring resistance, Native American water protectors have become a moral authority of the 21st century.
Those of us who have been privileged to support this effort know in our hearts that we are a part of this historic transformation in values and vision. Like the civil rights movement of the 1950s and early 1960s, there will be many battles lost and there will be pain and suffering. But a worldwide movement has been launched. There's no turning back.
We are sharing the daily accounts of a 350 Mass Cambridge member and friend who are at Standing Rock providing medical support to water protectors after Standing Rock's eviction yesterday. You can read their perspective here on our blog and on the 350 Mass Facebook page.
A veteran's perspective
By Susan Labandibar and Robert Master
Setting up the medical aid tent today at a camp just a mile from Oceti Sakowin seemed all too familiar, although it has been over forty years since I waited back at the fire base for corpsman to bring back the wounded. For many of the younger veterans in my group, the scene at Oceti Sakowin might evoke war memories still hauntingly fresh.
One such veteran stopped into the medical tent tonight. Remi Bald Eagle says he has seen the oppressive effects of U.S. government policy from both sides. As a Native American, his civil and human rights were systematically violated by the U.S. government. As a member of the U.S. military serving in Afghanistan, he became aware that the Afghan people were being subjected to the same forms of oppression his people had experienced. Not willing to continue in his role of oppressor, he left the U.S. military after 22 years and became an Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator for the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe. Despite years of honorable military service, when his tribe opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline, he was once again forced to confront an arrogant US. government that made promises it would not keep.
For Remi Bald Eagle, the return of the veterans to help defend treaty rights and tribal sovereignty over Native American land has restored his pride in being a U.S. Army veteran. And for many veterans who come to Standing Rock, including me, supporting the Sioux in their struggle against Big Oil interests has put them, for once, on the right side of a conflict. And that has been very healing.
We're still deeply immersed in the Oceti Sakowin eviction process. The last chapter of this story has not yet been written. More to come tomorrow.