When Thanksgiving rolls around, it always stirs feelings of guilt rather than that of appreciation. The waste, the excess of food, the family reunion served with a side of guilt. But nothing compares to the guilt attached to the history behind that extravagant meal.
My boyfriend and I decided to ditch both our families last minute this year to spend thanksgiving in North Dakota with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe supporting their (and now our) uphill battle against the infamous evil-corp Energy Transfer to preserve their sacred land and protect Native American Reserves.
Local to North Dakota, the Standing Rock Sioux—along with 300 other tribes from across the Americas— have been peacefully protesting since last summer, risking their own safety and comfort to stand up to corporate greed. Sworn to protect the the water and sacred land officially granted to Native Americans by law, the water protectors refuse to allow the land to be penetrated by the North Dakota Access Pipeline aka. black snake.
The earth raping, 1,172 mile-long pipeline will transport 570,000 barrels of crude oil daily from North Dakota to Illinois, inevitably contaminating the water and sacred burial sites promised to Native Americans via the Laramie Treaty of April 29, 1868, breaching the Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice, Pipeline Safety and Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act and Executive Order 13007 on Protection of Sacred Sites.
I can’t stand the thought of digesting my tofurkey while my tax dollars are spent by authorities to violently attack, tear gas, and abuse Native Americans gathered to rightfully resist such breach on environmental laws as well as the rights and sovereignty of indigenous people. They stand not just for their future generations but the children of the policemen holding the weapons, the businessmen building the pipeline, the politicians turning the other way and us, eating turkey at home. They are not resisting to protect ‘their’ land, they are there to protect ‘the’ land.
We over consume once a year to celebrate our appreciation for the harvest, the land, and the indigenous people who suffered to attain it with an official holiday while simultaneously building a structure that may have irreversible effects on the land that we celebrate. You can’t ignore the irony.
The eulogized story of the first Thanksgiving dinner the colonists shared with the native people is nothing but a feel-good tradition that veils an ugly truth — 500 years of genocide and betrayal of the indigenous people. WE CANNOT ALLOW HISTORY TO REPEAT ITSELF.
I’m going to Standing Rock to give my thanks, in person, through action. I can only hope it will ease the guilt. And next time I find myself around a thanksgiving table, and it’s my turn to announce what I’m grateful for, maybe I won’t excuse myself to the restroom.
I invite you all to take action this thanksgiving to help the Standing Rock Sioux protect what’s left of their land and heritage. It might help you sleep better after eating that juicy turkey.
Sign petitions against the pipeline:
Call for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be rescinded:
Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414
Call the Army Corps of Engineers (202) 761-5903
Call North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple (701) 328-2200
Call or email your Congressional Representatives and Senators
Support the Sacred Stone camp:
Tell the executives of Energy Transfer Partners, L. P. to stop building the pipeline:
Lee Hanse, EVP (210) 403-6455 lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com
Glenn Emery, VP (210) 403-6762 glenn.Emery@energytransfer.com
Michael (Cliff) Waters Lead Analys (713) 989-2404 michael.Waters@energytransfer.com