Heavy, Wet, Deep.

Tuesday is usually go into town day, but the town plow has not been out, and no one is going anywhere until the roads are somewhat cleared. The snow is around 15″ deep, very wet and heavy. It’s windy, too, supposed to be 30mph winds tomorrow. The photos are of bits of the two deck pines, one in front, one to the side. Click for full size.

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© C. Ford.

Standing Rock Syllabus: Learn, Teach.

Credit: C. Ford.

Credit: C. Ford.

The New York City Stands with Standing Rock Collective then met again and we talked at length about the syllabus and how to curate emergent sections. We want our readers and future teachers to understand that we take Sioux notions of history seriously but came to impasses with certain materials that we wanted to include, but felt inadequate to interpret. So we direct educators and students to the crucial archives of Lakota Winter Counts. One of the founders of the resistance camps at Standing Rock, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, has devoted her life to the interpretation of these counts and any responsible curriculum will point to them and invite students to think about and with them. Recognizing then, our limitations, we volunteered to work with our strengths and to curate specific sections of the syllabus, to take charge of, so to speak, the content and the form. Matthew Chrisler managed the group and ordered the text with Jaskiran Dhillon, New School Assistant Professor of Global Studies and Anthropology who stepped in at certain points to read over entries. Along with Matthew Chrisler, Sheehan Moore, a doctoral student in anthropology at CUNY, organized all of the PDFs to attach to our website for syllabus readers to view and download. In this way, there were multiple eyes on each section as it took shape. We also asked curators to narrow their selections to book chapters and specific articles to further focus the syllabus and keep it accessible for people who would read and download it in short amounts of time. We wanted people to read the syllabus and teach the material, but also to have access to the readings for themselves and their students and/or community members.

Although a “work in progress,” the current #StandingRockSyllabus places what is happening now in a broader historical, political, economic, and social context going back over 500 years to the first expeditions of Columbus, the founding of the United States on institutionalized slavery, private property, and dispossession, and the rise of global carbon supply and demand. Indigenous peoples around the world have been on the frontlines of conflicts like Standing Rock for centuries. The syllabus foregrounds the work of Indigenous and allied activists and scholars: anthropologists, historians, environmental scientists, and legal scholars, all of whom contribute important insights into the conflicts between Indigenous sovereignty and resource extraction. It can be taught in its entirety, or in sections depending on the pedagogic needs. We hope that it will be used in K-12 school settings, community centers, social justice agencies training organizers, university classrooms, legal defense campaigns, social movement and political education workshops, and in the resistance camps at Standing Rock and other similar standoffs across the globe. As we move forward, we anticipate posting lesson plans on our website that will be derived from individuals and communities using the syllabus in their respective locales.

While our primary goal is to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, we recognize that Standing Rock is one frontline of many around the world. This syllabus can be a tool to access research usually kept behind paywalls, or a resource package for those unfamiliar with Indigenous histories and politics. Please share, add, and discuss using the hashtag #StandingRockSyllabus on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media. Like those on the frontlines, we are here for as long as it takes.

The #StandingRockSyllabus and accompanying PDFs can be found here.

The full story on the syllabus is here#StandingRockSyllabus. As Peter D’Errico says:

True to the purpose of digging to the roots of events, “#StandingRockSyllabus places what is happening now in a broader historical, political, economic, and social context going back over 500 years to the first expeditions of Columbus, the founding of the United States on institutionalized slavery, private property, and dispossession, and the rise of global carbon supply and demand. Indigenous peoples around the world have been on the frontlines of conflicts like Standing Rock for centuries.”

Importantly, #StandingRockSyllabus aims for audiences beyond the standard academic world: The authors built it for use “in K-12 school settings, community centers, social justice agencies training organizers, university classrooms, legal defense campaigns, social movement and political education workshops, and in the resistance camps at Standing Rock and other similar standoffs across the globe.”

This is an invaluable opportunity for teachers, please take advantage of it. This is also an invaluable resource and opportunity for those who wish to understand. As this is supposedly Native American Heritage Month (more on that later), spreading this everywhere would be be a great gesture. Lila wopila to all who do. (Many Thanks).

Another Standing Rock Waits in the Wings.

Tohono O’odham Elder, second to last on the right in gray shirt. Credit: C. Ford.

Tohono O’odham Elder, second to last on the left in gray shirt. Credit: C. Ford.

Some of you might remember this from one of the many camp posts:

The Tonoho O’odham elder spoke again, about the loss of much of their way of life when they lost the Gila River. He spoke of Roosevelt’s “offer” to move them to Oklahoma (translation: you walk there), and how the people refused, wanting to stay on their own land, and how so many of them died. He spoke of Sihasin, saguaro, who are guardians. He spoke about the insanity of imposed borders where he lives, and the rabid people trying to keep people out. He spoke of a time when there were no artificial borders, and of how often he crosses this border himself, to get water or medicine. He said he is always stopped, but he speaks to people in his language, which they do not understand, and they always let him go. Other people had also spoken of the imposed borders, in the attempt to keep primarily Mexicans out, and pleaded with all tribes to offer people sanctuary, as these borders are not ours.

The Tonoho O’odham elder who was the head of their runners, those of their nation who ran all the way from Arizona to the Oceti Sakowin camp in nDakota, often spoke about the imposed borders his people had to put up with. Their peoples’ land extends past the artificial borders, and they feel free to ignore such impositions, especially when they need to get certain plants, or visit sacred sites. As far as they are concerned, wašichu borders are stupid and meaningless. Now there’s Trump, who plans to build a big old fucking wall, to keep everyone in. Oh, I mean out. The Tonoho O’odham have a different idea.

President-elect Donald Trump says that he will build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. It will stop undocumented immigrants from entering the country. It will stop drugs from entering the country. It will be 50 feet tall. It will be nearly a thousand miles long. And it will cut the traditional lands of the Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona in half.

The Tohono O’odham reservation is one of the largest in the nation, and occupies area that includes 76 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. However, the tribe’s traditional lands extend deep into Mexico, and tribal members live on both sides of the border: With tribal identification, they cross regularly to visit family, receive medical services, and participate in ceremonial or religious services.

The prospect of slicing their homelands in two? Not welcome.

“Over my dead body will a wall be built,” says Verlon Jose, vice chairperson of the Tohono O’odham Nation. “If he decides to build a wall, he’s going to need to come talk to us, unless he wants to see another Standing Rock.”

In other words, to build the wall, Mr. Trump will have to fight for every single mile of Tohono O’odham land—legally, and possibly even physically.

And they’re not the only tribal nation that would be impacted by the wall.

Robert Holden, deputy director of the National Congress of American Indians, points to the Ysleta Del Sur in Texas and tribes in California, such as the Kumeyaay, who have relatives in Mexico. “There’s significant tribal sovereignty at stake here,” Holden says.

[…]

This doesn’t mean things are peachy down on the Tohono O’odham reservation, though: Tribal members say they are routinely harassed by Border Patrol; cultural and religious items are frequently confiscated; and detentions and deportations of tribal citizens are not uncommon. In 2014, two tribal members were hospitalized after being shot by a Border Patrol agent. The situation has often been compared to a Berlin Wall-like scenario, but the tribe has fought for and maintained the ability to enjoy its traditional homelands—at least more than if a wall were running through the middle of it.

“Let me come into your home and build a wall directly in the middle of your house and tell me what impacts that would have on you?” says Jose. “This land is our grocery store; this land is our medical facility, where we get our medicinal remedies from; this land is our college and university. Our sacred sites are in Mexico; our ceremonies are in what is now Mexico. The border is an imaginary line to us.”

Full story is at YES! Magazine. Also of interest: Norway’s Largest Bank Divests From Dakota Access, Launches Own Investigation and What the Trump Victory Means for Standing Rock.