Day 7 at Standing Rock: Judgement Day

About the Music: “Judgement Day”

From the musician, Cee Goods:

The energy feels like it's coming soon. People are going to have to make conscious decisions of how they want our future to look. Are you with good? Or are you with greed?

An old Lakota prophecy says that a black snake will tear through the continent, ravaging the Earth and endangering all life on the planet if it is allowed to take hold. Similar prophecies exist across many different tribes, as do foretellings of the importance of the Seventh Generation in defeating the serpent and preserving life on Earth.

Many believe that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is the fabled black snake.

I have gotten to know a number of strong, proud, brilliant young Lakota men and women during my time here. They're a little younger than me, which makes them part of the seventh generation of their people to be born since their first contact with white European invaders. I'm not alone in sensing the power that flows through them from their ancestors. If you met them, I think you, too, would believe that we have all been called here to fight for Mother Earth as brothers and sisters.

We are the Black Snake Killers.

From Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota nation:

"A "disease of the mind" has set in world leaders and many members of our global community, with their belief that a solution of retaliation and destruction of peoples will bring Peace.

In our Prophecies it is told that we are now at the crossroads: Either unite spiritually as a Global Nation, or be faced with chaos, disasters, diseases, and tears from our relatives' eyes.

We are the only species that is destroying the Source of Life, meaning Mother Earth, in the name of power, mineral resources, and ownership of land, using chemicals and methods of warfare that are doing irreversible damage, as Mother Earth is becoming tired and cannot sustain any more impacts of war.

I ask you to join me on this endeavour. Our vision is for the Peoples of all continents, regardless of their beliefs in the Creator, to come together as one at their Sacred Sites to pray and meditate and commune with one another, thus promoting an energy shift to heal our Mother Earth and achieve a universal consciousness toward attaining Peace.

As each day passes, I ask all Nations to begin a global effort, and remember to give thanks for the Sacred Food that has been gifted to us by our Mother Earth, so the nutritional energy of medicine can be guided to heal our minds and spirits.

This new millennium will usher in an age of harmony or it will bring the end of life as we know it. Starvation, war, and toxic waste have been the hallmark of the Great Myth of Progress and Development that ruled the last millennium.

To us, as caretakers of the heart of Mother Earth, falls the responsibility of turning back the powers of destruction. You yourself are the one who must decide.

You alone - and only you - can make this crucial choice, to walk in honour or to dishonour your relatives. On your decision depends the fate of the entire World.

Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind.

Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger?

Know that you yourself are essential to this World. Believe that! Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this World. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending!"

Day 6 at Standing Rock: Life is Sweet

About the Music: “Life is Sweet”

(co-produced by Old Gold; vocals by @frankstickemz - aka Flowzavelt)

From the musician, Cee Goods:
Life is sweet. We value our lives. They can try and attack with any means of weaponry, but it does not match the level of commitment to stopping this pipeline. Our lives are worth too much.

(The following are actual text messages I sent to Spencer (aka Cee Goods) on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. It was too hectic to write anything coherent.)

"Please share, protest, donate - do whatever you can do. What is happening at Standing Rock is happening to all of us... whether we realize it or not."

"I fell asleep sitting up in my car from about 430 to 630. Woke up and something was going down off in the main camp in the distance. Police cars, and a call for all the protectors to come to the bridge [on Highway 1804, which has been blockaded and closed for several weeks]."

"Police are definitely here, but it's not clear if they are the perpetrators or if it's DAPL."

"Can't get through on twitter or Facebook right now. Two planes and a helicopter circling constantly right now. Lots of people shot with both gas and rubber bullets in face and chest. People have gotten tear-gassed, they're using a water cannon to soak people and things."

"Concussion grenades and rubber bullets. Shit is going down. Someone has already left in an ambulance. There are no reporters or news outlets here."

Day 5 at Standing Rock: The Stand-Off

About the Music: “The Stand-Off”

From the musician, Cee Goods:
How much can we take? Something has to give. We pursue with positivity, but has it reached a limit? Do we retaliate with the same energy that is received? Energy is shifting. Something is on the horizon.

We are here as protectors, not protesters. This young man threw himself down onto the tracks separating militarized police from peaceful demonstrators, a visible act of prayer.

As we eventually tried to leave the scene, however, police advanced. People were sprayed at point-blank range with OC gas -- a riot-caliber tear gas used in prisons. Women and Native elders were accosted and thrown to the ground. Many were arrested, many were injured.

It is said that capitalism becomes fascism when the government begins protecting the interests of corporations over people. We have long-since crossed that threshold. Please stand with Standing Rock to take back the power from the corrupt, morally bankrupt oil barons and give it to the people.

Our country was founded on a genocide of the indigenous people, and our legacy of "freedom" has been built on oppression and lies.

Will you stand by as our government attempts to quietly break another treaty? Will you stand by as our president-elect promises to abuse his power and double down on racist division and oppression?
Or will you stand with all people, with the Earth itself, by standing with Standing Rock?

Let's make America great again, just like it was when we found it.

Gwen Frost is a student in Bellingham, Wash. She grew up in Portland, Ore. She was sprayed in the eyes at point-blank range with OC gas by police in Mandan, ND. Why? Because she is peacefully standing up for what she believes is right, and that goes against the interests of the biggest pile of money.

Day 4 at Standing Rock: DreamsVille

About the Music: “DreamsVille”

From the musician, Cee Goods:
What foundation is this country built on? What values do we hold true for the land? Is it all but a dream? Do we as Americans live in a fantasy world? The harsh reality is nothing is ever what it seems.

The American flag is supposed to be hung upside down only in times of dire distress. I took this photo in Camp Oceti Sakowin at Standing Rock the morning after Trump's election, but every American flag in the community had been signaling distress for months.

The Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL (pronounced dapple), is the source of this distress, the source of the evil that is being confronted.

DAPL is spraying the camps with chemicals from low-flying planes at night. They have donated poisoned food. They are surveilling and infiltrating the camp.

They have herded up most of the wild buffalo in the region and are keeping them in pens without food or water. Sixteen had already died as of a couple days ago. I'm sure many more have already been lost.

The protest action that makes the news is real, but it is a distraction. The police are just a pawn in this game, and the fate of Mother Earth is at stake. The real atrocities are being generated and perpetrated by DAPL, the vastly monied corporation the police are protecting at the expense of the people.

We need your help. We are under constant attack. We are in dire distress, and so is our nation. Please stand with Standing Rock today by turning your flag upside down.

Day 1 at Standing Rock: Dark Love

About the Music: “Dark Love”

From the musician, Cee Goods
I wanted to find a powerful yet peaceful instrumental which sheds positive energy, but still is strong and forceful.

The photo in the video above is me at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in my home state of North Dakota.

I just drove out here from my adopted home of Seattle, because nothing is more important right now than what’s happening here.

The prayer camps springing up organically at Standing Rock are an example of fully communal, off-the-grid, back-to-the-land living, and the spiritual power here is overflowing. I am overcome and moved to tears multiple times a day, every day. I’m kind of a softy in general, but this is something else.

I know this blog is usually hyper-focused on schools and education, usually back in Washington State. But everything that is happening here at Standing Rock is happening for a cause. For every cause. This is about racial justice, social justice, environmental justice, economic justice, political justice, and about truly getting back in touch with the land, with our Mother Earth.

Standing Rock has been the front line of these battles for the better part of a year now. Trump’s election has intensified that reality nationwide (though I have been told that whichever candidate won, most expected the struggle to continue. As one Lakota man said to me, “We have never had an ally in that office.”), and the camp has grown noticeably since the election.

This place, what’s happening here, the community that’s steadily building…it is unlike anything that any of us, I promise you, have ever experienced. People are being drawn to this sacred land on the prairie for reasons they can’t fully explain, myself included.

Everyone is accepted and appreciated here. People who have been oppressed or unseen for generations are lifted up, and the privileged among us are expected to both leave our privilege at the door and to exercise it when it can benefit the community.

We are acting out the love and community and respect for the Earth that will save our country and our planet, if it is to be saved. Whatever your cause, it is calling to you now.

Please join us.

Here’s where to start:

Look over the Standing Rock Syllabus, an academic-style explanation of settler colonialism and the treaties and history specific to this region.

Take action through nodaplsolidarity.org. 

#NODAPL

10 Days, 10 Photos, 10 Songs: An Awareness Campaign for Standing Rock

For the next 10 days, I am collaborating on a Standing Rock awareness campaign with Cee Goods (who also happens to be my brother-in-law). He will be creating one instrumental track each day, each based on a photo I have taken at Standing Rock. This will end on Thanksgiving, because the way of life and respect for the land that the Native Americans have always fought for and tried to preserve still rings true today.

Day 1: "Dark Love"
Day 2: "K.I.N.G.S."
Day 3: "End of Trump"
Day 4: "DreamsVille"
Day 5: "The Stand Off"
Day 6: "Life is Sweet"
Day 7: "Judgement Day"
Day 8: "Diamond"
Day 9: "Major Keys"
Day 10: "Kings Return"

 

'The world owes more than they'll pay' #MusicMonday

"This was the era of Jim Crow -- when black people showed up at white-only hospitals, the staff was likely to send them away, even if it meant they might die in the parking lot."
– Rebecca Skloot, from "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"

Henrietta Lacks lived a bizarre, remarkable, tragic life. She was born in Roanoke, Va., one of 10 children in an impoverished African-American family. Listen to the craziness described in just these three sentences from her Wikipedia page:

When Lacks was four years old in 1924 her mother died giving birth to her tenth child. Unable to care for the children alone after his wife's death, Lacks's father moved the family to Clover, Virginia, where the children were distributed among relatives. Lacks ended up with her grandfather, Tommy Lacks, in a two-story log cabin that was once the slave quarters on the plantation that had been owned by Lacks's white great-grandfather and great-uncle. She shared a room with her nine-year-old cousin and future husband, David "Day" Lacks (1915–2002).

Henrietta had her first child, a son, at age 14, it seems while sharing a bedroom with her cousin. Henrietta's oldest daughter had developmental disabilities and died as a teenager after four brutal years in an institution.

A few months after her daughter was committed, Henrietta, at the age of 31, asked to be admitted at Johns Hopkins for perpetual abdominal pain. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer and remained in the hospital for nearly two months before dying of uremic poisoning. According to a partial autopsy, almost none of her organs were unaffected by the uncommonly widespread cancer in her body.

More of the medical background from the University of Washington's Clarence Spigner:

As a matter of routine, samples of her cervix were removed without permission. George Otto Gey (1899-1970), a cancer researcher at Hopkins had been trying for years to study cancer cells, but his task proved difficult because cells died in vitro (outside the body).  The sample of cells Henrietta Lacks’s doctor made available to Gey, however, did not die. Instead they continued to divide and multiply. The He-La cell line was born.  He-La was a conflagration of Henrietta Lacks.
Permission for doctors to use anyone’s cells or body tissue at that time was traditionally not obtained, especially from patients seeking care in public hospitals. The irony was that Johns Hopkins (1795-1873), an abolitionist and philanthropist, founded the hospital in 1889 to make medical care available to the poor.  Informed Consent as a doctrine came into practice in the late 1970s, nearly three decades after Henrietta Lack’s death.  The new practice grew out of the embarrassment over WWII Nazi medical experiments and the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment of 1932-1972.

The revelation decades later that Henrietta's cells "lived on" and were being used for such astonishingly vast medical research was hard on her surviving family members, both for the personal invasion (for example, according to Spigner: "Evolutionary biologist Leigh Van Valen (1935-2010) reported the He-La cells had developed into a new species and was no longer human. To Deborah, such crude unqualified information meant her mother was somewhere in a man-made hell.") and for the large sums of money that had been earned through the theft of Henrietta's body.

In 2012, a band from Brooklyn called Yeasayer (pronounced Yay-sayer, like the opposite of a naysayer) wrote and released a song, "Henrietta," based on Lacks' life after vocalist and songwriter Chris Keating read Rebecca Skloot's landmark book, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks."

Close your eyes, listen to the music, take a bath in the harmonies at the end, and give Henrietta Lacks a few minutes of gratitude by thinking about her.

 

 

Fever in the night, and the tremors come on
But it's you who'll survive, just like nobody thought
Nails turning red, lying cold on the bed
And now it turns out, death's not the end

She was a bone, we sharpened our teeth
A magnificent drone, was serving under our feet
You'll be making me rich, he'll throw you away
And after he's gone, oh HeLa's here to stay
Radiation makes you weak, tired okays leave your speech
The world owes more than they'll pay, in the wind I heard them say...

Oh, Henrietta, we can live on forever...