Category Archives: Living Examples

The Defiant, Refugee-Loving History of New Mexico

How the state’s unique and open relationship with Mexico is overshadowing Trump’s immigration policies.

By . Published 7-11-2017 by YES! Magazine

“We’ve been known, historically, to welcome the stranger and offer refuge to persecuted individuals.”
YES! Illustration by Jennifer Luxton.

After two hours of public testimony, Ralph Nava was the last of 60 speakers to testify in favor of the Santa Fe City Council’s resolution to reaffirm and strengthen its welcoming policies toward immigrants. As a native of northern New Mexico whose family’s presence in the region dates back generations, he implored the audience and council members to consider the history. “All of this area was Mexico just a few generations back,” Nava said. “All of a sudden, we’re trying to make all of these artificial barriers and walls that don’t make sense.”

He went on to tell a story about taking his grandmother to Mexico. On their way back over the border, she kept telling the U.S. border agents she was Mexican even though she had lived her entire life in New Mexico. “She wouldn’t say she wasn’t Mexican,” laughs Nava, who insists that for her, it was not a symbolic stand. “She genuinely thought of herself as Mexican.” Continue reading

Share

Love in a time of fear: an interview with Dashni Morad

‘The Shakira of Kurdistan’ discusses feminism, Kurdish unity, and healing the scars of war.

By Benjamin Ramm. Published 3-30-2017 by openDemocracy

Dashni Morad. (Credit: John Wright, February 2016)

As the battle for Mosul nears its conclusion, the fate of civilian survivors remains uncertain. The Kurdish singer and humanitarian Dashni Morad, whose youth was defined by conflict in the region, aims to highlight the psychological scars of living under a brutal regime. In 2014, Morad raised funds for refugee camps outside Mosul, where she witnessed the impact of three years of war on displaced children. Tutored only in fear, the children are aggressive even in play: “it made me so upset to see that a kid can be taken from its inner child”, she says. “It is the worst thing you can do to a human being – to take away that magical world”. Continue reading

Share

Environmental activists in Honduras refuse to submit

One year after Berta Cáceres’ murder, indigenous peoples are in revolt, fighting for their rights to exist in a system that has no part for them to play.

By Michael Phoenix. Published 3-3-2017 by ROAR Magazine

Berta Cáceres. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Let us wake up! Let us wake up, humankind! We’re out of time. We must shake our conscience free of the rapacious capitalism, racism and patriarchy that will only assure our own self-destruction.

These are the words of Berta Cáceres, the community organizer, human rights defender, environmental activist, indigenous Lenca woman, leader and rebel who was shot dead one year ago, on March 3, 2016, by unidentified gunmen at her home in La Esperanza, the capital city of the department of Intibucá in southwestern Honduras.

Berta was a co-founder of the Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH), an organization fighting neoliberalism and patriarchy in Honduras and working for respect of human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples in particular. She was a long-term opponent of internationally funded exploitative development projects in indigenous territories in Honduras, such as the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam, set to be built on the territory of the Lenca people in the Río Blanco. Continue reading

Share

Why whistleblowers are essential to democracy

In a functioning democracy, it is absolutely crucial for power to be held to account. For this we need whistleblowers.

By Rebecca Sentance. Published 2-3-2017 by openDemocracy

Free Chelsea Manning.Grafitti in Vienna, Austria, 2014. Wikicommons/smuconlaw.

On January 17, 2017, whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s 35-year prison sentence was commuted to seven years from her date of arrest, in one of President Obama’s last acts before leaving office. At the time of her commutation, Private Manning had spent more time behind bars than any other person in US history who had disclosed information considered to be in the public interest.

The information leaked by Chelsea Manning – videos, diplomatic cables and reports relating to the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan – exposed corruption and human rights abuses, and is widely regarded to have been a catalyst for the Arab Spring that began in December 2010. Continue reading

Share

China Leaves U.S. in Dust With $361 Billion Renewable Energy Investment

World’s largest energy market looks to leave fossil fuels behind, while incoming Trump administration denies climate change and doubles down on dirty energy

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-5-2017

China already has the world’s largest installation of wind turbines. (Photo: Sandia Labs/flickr/cc)

While climate activists in the U.S. mount a resistance to the incoming climate-change-denying Trump administration, on the other side of the Pacific, environmentalists have reason to celebrate: China on Thursday announced that it will invest $361 billion in renewable energy by 2020.

Reuters reports: Continue reading

Share

2016 Person of the Year Named by OWW

Editorial Note: Occupy World Writes has selected our 2016 Person of the Year. Our criteria is based on contributions toward uniting various peoples for a common cause, gaining world attention for that cause, and through pressure from these gains, has been able to affect change for the united people’s concern.

In 2016, we can think of no better example than that of Sacred Stone Camp co-founder LaDonna Brave Bull Allard. Through her leadership, we now all appreciate the message that “Water Is Life.” Without her, a black snake would already be pumping poison under the sacred waters of Lake Oahe.

We honor you, LaDonna, by presenting here a story told in your own words. Thank you for your gifts to all of us; may we all learn by the example you have shown.

Why the Founder of Standing Rock Sioux Camp Can’t Forget the Whitestone Massacre

We must remember we are part of a larger story. We are still here. We are still fighting for our lives on our own land.

By . Published 9/3/2016 by YES! Magazine

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard at Sacred Stones camp along the banks of the Cannonball River. Photo by Kat Eng.

On this day, 153 years ago, my great-great-grandmother Nape Hote Win (Mary Big Moccasin) survived the bloodiest conflict between the Sioux Nations and the U.S. Army ever on North Dakota soil. An estimated 300 to 400 of our people were killed in the Inyan Ska (Whitestone) Massacre, far more than at Wounded Knee. But very few know the story.

As we struggle for our lives today against the Dakota Access pipeline, I remember her. We cannot forget our stories of survival.

Just 50 miles east of here, in 1863, nearly 4,000 Yanktonais, Isanti (Santee), and Hunkpapa gathered alongside a lake in southeastern North Dakota, near present-day Ellendale, for an intertribal buffalo hunt to prepare for winter. It was a time of celebration and ceremony—a time to pray for the coming year, meet relatives, arrange marriages, and make plans for winter camps. Many refugees from the 1862 uprising in Minnesota, mostly women and children, had been taken in as family. Mary’s father, Oyate Tawa, was one of the 38 Dah’kotah hanged in Mankato, Minesota, less than a year earlier, in the largest mass execution in the country’s history. Brigadier General Alfred Sully and soldiers came to Dakota Territory looking for the Santee who had fled the uprising. This was part of a broader U.S. military expedition to promote white settlement in the eastern Dakotas and protect access to the Montana gold fields via the Missouri River.

As my great-great-grandmother Mary Big Moccasin told the story, the attack came the day after the big hunt, when spirits were high. The sun was setting and everyone was sharing an evening meal when Sully’s soldiers surrounded the camp on Whitestone Hill. In the chaos that ensued, people tied their children to their horses and dogs and fled. Mary was 9 years old. As she ran, she was shot in the hip and went down. She laid there until morning, when a soldier found her. As he loaded her into a wagon, she heard her relatives moaning and crying on the battlefield.  She was taken to a prisoner of war camp in Crow Creek where she stayed until her release in 1870.

Where the Cannonball River joins the Missouri River, at the site of our camp today to stop the Dakota Access pipeline, there used to be a whirlpool that created large, spherical sandstone formations. The river’s true name is Inyan Wakangapi Wakpa, River that Makes the Sacred Stones, and we have named the site of our resistance on my family’s land the Sacred Stone Camp. The stones are not created anymore, ever since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredged the mouth of the Cannonball River and flooded the area in the late 1950s as they finished the Oahe dam. They killed a portion of our sacred river.

I was a young girl when the floods came and desecrated our burial sites and Sundance grounds. Our people are in that water.

This river holds the story of my entire life.

I remember hauling our water from it in big milk jugs on our horses. I remember the excitement each time my uncle would wrap his body in cloth and climb the trees on the river’s banks to pull out a honeycomb for the family—our only source of sugar. Now the river water is no longer safe to drink. What kind of world do we live in?

Look north and east now, toward the construction sites where they plan to drill under the Missouri River any day now, and you can see the old Sundance grounds, burial grounds, and Arikara village sites that the pipeline would destroy. Below the cliffs you can see the remnants of the place that made our sacred stones.

Of the 380 archeological sites that face desecration along the entire pipeline route, from North Dakota to Illinois, 26 of them are right here at the confluence of these two rivers. It is a historic trading ground, a place held sacred not only by the Sioux Nations, but also the Arikara, the Mandan, and the Northern Cheyenne.

Again, it is the U.S. Army Corps that is allowing these sites to be destroyed.

The U.S. government is wiping out our most important cultural and spiritual areas. And as it erases our footprint from the world, it erases us as a people. These sites must be protected, or our world will end, it is that simple. Our young people have a right to know who they are. They have a right to language, to culture, to tradition. The way they learn these things is through connection to our lands and our history.

If we allow an oil company to dig through and destroy our histories, our ancestors, our hearts and souls as a people, is that not genocide?

Today, on this same sacred land, over 100 tribes have come together to stand in prayer and solidarity in defiance of the black snake. And more keep coming. This is the first gathering of the Oceti Sakowin (Sioux tribes) since the Battle of the Greasy Grass (Battle of Little Bighorn) 140 years ago. When we first established the Sacred Stone Camp on April 1 to stop the pipeline through prayer and non-violent direct action, I did not know what would happen. But our prayers were answered.

We must remember we are part of a larger story.  We are still here.  We are still fighting for our lives, 153 years after my great-great-grandmother Mary watched as our people were senselessly murdered. We should not have to fight so hard to survive on our own lands.

My father is buried at the top of the hill, overlooking our camp on the riverbank below. My son is buried there, too. Two years ago, when Dakota Access first came, I looked at the pipeline map and knew that my entire world was in danger. If we allow this pipeline, we will lose everything.

We are the river, and the river is us. We have no choice but to stand up.

Today, we honor all those who died or lost loved ones in the massacre on Whitestone Hill. Today, we honor all those who have survived centuries of struggle. Today, we stand together in prayer to demand a future for our people.

This article is republished under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

If you want to know more about LaDonna, we recommend you start with this article.

Share

After Two Wars, Standing Rock is the First Time I Served the American People

‘I’ve been on the wrong side of history’

By Will Griffin. Published 10-30-2016 by Common Dreams

Photo: Standing Rock Occupation/Facebook

Photo: Standing Rock Occupation/Facebook

I was in Iraq when President Bush announced the “surge” in January 2007. I was in Afghanistan when President Obama announced the “surge” in December 2009. But it wasn’t until I visited Standing Rock in October 2016 when I actually served the American people. This time, instead of fighting for corporate interests, I was fighting for the people.

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), or Bakken Pipeline, is a 1,172-mile oil pipeline project that will transfer crude oil across four states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. From the Bakken fields of North Dakota, the pipeline will carry in excess of 450,000 barrels per day of crude oil to Patoka, Illinois, and possibly on to Texas and near the Gulf Coast areas for refinement or export. The project will cost $3.7 billion, while creating 8,000-12,000 temporary construction jobs and only 40 permanent operating jobs. Continue reading

Share

Standing Rock: A Moment of Clarity for Progressive Activists

By Rev. Billy Talen. Published 11-26-2016 by Common Dreams

"The force that upsets entrenched power the most is this compassionate living, this community in plain sight," writes Talen. (Photo: Dark Sevier/flickr/cc)

“The force that upsets entrenched power the most is this compassionate living, this community in plain sight,” writes Talen. (Photo: Dark Sevier/flickr/cc)

Earth-force meets money-force at Standing Rock. I’m so relieved I’m here. It scares me to think that I might have missed this.

We get up at dawn. Four hundred people walk slowly in a light snow to the river by the camp. A teacher is talking. His headdress is a crisscrossing of long, narrow feathers. He is of the Havasupai, the people who live by the blue-green waterfalls at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. He calls out across the river. “Water is life! Take me! My heart beats with you!”

It’s cold at 7am. The children don’t seem cold though. They run around in the mud and ice. There are 80 tribes here. Some say many more. As we stand on the shore with a slow drum beating, the people shout “water” in many languages.  Continue reading

Share

From Across the Country, Gifts of Tiny Houses Arrive for Standing Rock

How five large trees in remote Oregon ended up as winter housing for water protectors, including their first newborn baby.

By . Published 11-23-2016 by YES! Magazine

A volunteer paints the side of one of the cabins reassembled at the Standing Rock encampment from southwestern Oregon. Photo by Roger Peet.

A volunteer paints the side of one of the cabins reassembled at the Standing Rock encampment from southwestern Oregon. Photo by Roger Peet.

Eleven days ago, when Matt Musselwhite pulled into an encampment at Cannon Ball, North Dakota, in a 5-ton flatbed truck, he had no idea how he would unload the three tiny houses he had just hauled 1,500 miles from southwestern Oregon. Almost immediately volunteers emerged from the throngs of mostly Native Americans. Within hours, teams of 10 people were starting to assemble the first of the 144-square-foot wood structures while circulating free food and coffee.

“This feels like a new America I want to be a part of,” said Musselwhite, 41, a carpenter and woodworker based in a rural community tucked into the mountains that cross the Oregon-California border. Continue reading

Share

#PutMyFaceOnIt Launched to Begin Social Media Reality Check

As the fallout from the elections on Tuesday continue to take place, we are observing conversations on social media that are further deepening the divide that threatens the unity of this nation.

Most of us have friends or family that may have voted opposite of how we voted, if people chose to vote at all. (Only about half the electorate chose to exercise this right in the 2016 election.) Some have described this as “urban vs. rural”; others saying “intellectual vs. uneducated” and many other descriptors that fall in-between.

What ever it is, if each of us were to take that conversation that rips through you and enhances your fears or emotions, ask them to #PutMyFaceOnIt.

Insert your photo, copy and edit the following to make it personal. Tell that “friend” that when they are talking about these things, they are talking about you.

unknown

Insert Your Photo Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear “Friend,”
When you are talking about “those protestors,” you are talking about me.
When you are talking about “those libtards,” you are talking about me.
When you are talking about “those people,” you are talking about me.
If this is truly how you feel about ME, I can no longer look at you as a friend I can trust. I can no longer feel that you see me as equal to you; you have crucified me with the rest of “those people.” In order for us to all have a clear understanding of who my friends REALLY are, if that is how you actually feel, please “UNFRIEND” me.

Thank you,
One of “those” people

Embellish this as much as you can. Add every area that this has affected you. GET REAL.

Share