As people gathered, they were reminded that they were meeting, “on the traditional homeland of the Mashapaug Nahaganset (Narragansett), along an ancient trade route, in what is now The Roger Williams National Monument Park.” We came together on the cold windy Sunday afternoon as “a peaceful gathering in solidarity with the people of Standing Rock, protectors of the water and the land, defenders against abusers of their human rights, as they seek to stop the pollution of the Missouri and Cannonball Rivers now under attack by the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).”
The event was organized and hosted by Crow DogWidow.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the appearance of Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, who asked permission to attend and speak.
Elorza said, “Here in Providence, we’re standing together and we’re standing with Standing Rock… I want the word to get back to folks in Standing Rock, to let them know that we stand in solidarity with them, because we abide by and we live by these same principles: That we are going to stand up and protect what is sacred in our communities, and in our country.”
Elorza went on to list some of the plans he has for Providence to stand against Climate Change. “The City of Providence ha a goal to be carbon neutral by the year 2050,” said Elorza, to cheers, “that’s as ambitious as it gets and I know we can achieve it.
“Here in Providence,” continued the mayor, “we say no to LNG in our city because we’re not going to protect the fracking industry, and we will continue to be leaders in sustainability and environmental justice in every one of our communities.”
Chief Wounded Bear
Daryl Black Eagle Jamieson
Raymond Two Hawks Watson noted that “in the past couple of weeks since the election people have been saying, ‘What’s happening to the country? We’re entering such dark times!’ and you know, of course, we as Indian folk here know that this is just getting back to business as usual for this country. But we do like to say to the rest of you, who might be a little surprised, ‘Welcome to America.'”
Sandi Andersen is a descendant of survivors of the Trail of Tears. She said that reports she’s read indicate that it’s not a matter of if a pipeline will fail, it’s a matter of when. And when they do, its ecological disaster.
Singing Voice noted that many Lakota children are being forced into sexual slavery to meet the needs of the “man camps” that have sprung up along the fracked gas and pipeline routes to build the infrastructure that extracts and transmits LNG.
The event concluded with music from the Drum and the Eastern Medicine Singers.