The New American Indian Movement

Leading the world by example



TUCSON (A-P) — At Sacred Stone Camp, North Dakota, a gathering point for resisting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across the Missouri River upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, a stack of handouts was left on a bench in Spirit Camp. Rained on, an attempt was made to dry them. I, having Indian ancestry, saved one and a transcript follows. Who "the authors" are is unknown to me.



We, the authors, are not experts in tribal law or treaty history. Yet, we have studied the U.S. court system in cases of community resistance to massive industrial projects. We are all in this together - not only on account of the impact this pipeline WILL have on the Missouri River watershed, but also because of its immense effects on our climate crisis, and for the terrible impact the worker "man camps" are having. Certainly, the truth is that we cannot allow the company to reroute the pipeline, or to negotiate any terms other than the complete abandonment of this project.

1.) Prayer is the basis of resistance. Prayer takes many forms, including embodied action. Work together to find the common root of prayerful activity, and develop trust with each other on that basis. We remember: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure."

2.) Leverage national sovereignty. Adopt a full Bill of Rights that includes rights of Nature. Mobilize a native national police force deputized with tribal legal authority to enforce those rights through concrete action such as closing highways to industrial traffic, expelling workers and federal agents from sovereign territory.

3.) Acknowledge and declare that treaties have been broken by U.S. government agencies and are now void, according to recognized contract law. Once the treaties are declared void, sovereign parties to them are free to set new terms for diplomatic relationships between the U.S. and native nations.

4.) Prepare an emergency management strategy for assisting reservation citizens who will be in dire need in the event of the suspension of federal entitlement programs. Prepare resilient avenues of in-kind donation, foreign assistance, Red Cross/Medicins Sans Frontiers assistance, etc. The benefits offered by entitlement programs are a trap.

5.) Demand diplomatic negotiation in a venue such as the U.N. international court, or a federal court equipped to hear cases of international law through "diversity of jursidiction [sic]," rather than suing for relief under U.S. law.

These measures described are bold and will require coordinated effort and enormous creativity on our part. If we recognize that nothing less will end the pipeline and begin to move in this direction, State and Federal authorities will be terrified and react with enormous show of force. We remember that in order for non-violence to be effective, it must be confrontational. Our lives are at stake, we must stop waiting for others to protect us. We must speak and act on behalf of those who cannot speak and act for themselves.

What seems to be envisioned, reading literally and between the lines, is the old American Indian Movement on steroids. American Indians will not merely demand their rights but will again rule the continent once Nature is accorded rights that only natives can correctly interpret. Those controlling the PA system at the camp often spoke of prayer and non-violent confrontation, but neglected to mention that, given that they "are powerful beyond measure," that per Lakota Sioux mythology they are destined to unite all native peoples whose united (under their "leadership") national sovereignty will extend beyond reservation lands, since all prior treaties are void, to include, eventually, all lands as needed to protect the rights of Nature. Protesters were told and reflexively believed that it is not a question of if but when the pipeline fails. It WILL fail and when it does the preschoolers on the reservation, about three miles from the pipeline, WILL be killed in two seconds (the blast traveling at 7 times the speed of sound) and the elementary school children, whose school is further from the pipeline, WILL be dead in five seconds. Based on this certainty, the activists must stop the pipeline from being built at any cost, both financial (donations avidly sought) or in terms of self-sacrifice, up to and including a willingness to die. Neglected will be any mention that, in all mass movements, all causes to die for end up being causes to kill for, e.g. the old American Indian Movement.

As for a new non-business-as-usual American Indian Movement, one can be envisioned. What must be opposed is not the adding of 1,134 miles of new fossil fuel pipeline to the over 200,000 miles already in the ground (just in the USA) that is also threatening to kill preschoolers, but the fossil fuel itself, as in use of. The New American Indian Movement (NAIM) will lead the world by calling for a total global moratorium on fossil fuel use in five years. This will entail using less and less each year until in five years no fossil fuels, directly or indirectly, are used. The transition will begin on all First Nation lands and spread by example to include all lands and seas.

NAIM's leadership will clearly assert that transitioning to a sustainable way of life, whose human footprint leaves room for Nature, will involve a chaotic human die-off if the transition is resisted. Those who join the movement will have foundational needs provided for as all members, including the leadership, will equitably share in a gifting economy all resources and work together until natural attrition reduces the human population (along with obligate birth control) to a level well below the planet's carrying capacity as the most ecolate, both native learned and by best-guess science, can determine it to be. Humans will work for Nature restorancy for thousands of years to come to partially redress the planetary life-support system destruction of the past 12,000 years secondary to unsustainable agricultural practices and megafauna extinction, and not merely that of the past 300 years of industrial growth.

To lead by example, NAIM Nations will transition to a prosperous life free from fossil fuel use, both directly in the form of coal, oil, and gas (natural and propane) and by eschewing all technology not made using alternative energy sources. They will do so in two years instead of five (solar/wind power may be used but only if the panels/generators are made using alternative energy). Tribal members who resist the traditional life, who may prefer playing video games, watching music videos, and sharing on social media instead, will leave the reservation (by car, pickup, SUV, or RV) to live in the industrial society and share its fate. First Peoples living outside First Nations, or those wanting to be numbered among the Last Peoples (the ones who support and live NAIM's ecolate mandate) will occupy other lands and follow the NAIM example until the planet has been retaken in the name of Aluna (stand in for all system metaphors — Gaia, Nature, the Environment). It's SOS time, time to put System Over Self.

Elites, those Elders who merit their guesses, will set an example by living without even alternatively generated electric power to show that a prosperous and full life is possible without any high technology as their ancestors would affirm. They will opt to walk when walking is fast enough rather than go by bicycle or horse to remind others that enough is enough. Those living on 5 watts of solar power for personal lighting and electronic devices will be forced to consider themselves perhaps excessively privileged to have so much electric power for personal use. Those favored by elite social standing will expect to have less material wealth rather than more, in precise opposition to the old growther ways and narrative. Those who know the difference between wants and needs will be honored. The oversold society of consumers will pass away.

As sovereign powers, First Nations have the awesome power to just say no to the fossil fueled life, to reject all entitlement programs from the USA or Canadian subsystems of the Euro-Sino Empire without asking other industrial societies for assistance. Instead, they will lead the world towards a prosperous way down by their ecolate example (as the Kogi do). Doing so would alone be revolutionary (BOLD). Driving a car from Red Warrior Camp 1.5 miles to the oil pipeline protest site (instead of walking), pushing a cattle fence over, shaking your defiant fist at police while taking selfies to upload to Facebook, is not revolutionary.

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