Think globally and act locally. This is the intention behind the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights' Nov. 18 resolution in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.
"We wanted to support the Standing Rock Sioux, but also the actions of our local tribal leadership from the Coyote Valley Band and Kashia Band of Pomo, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and Ya-Ka-Ama," says human rights commission vice-chair Dmitra Smith.
The commission joins 19 municipalities around the country and more than 300 tribes who have rallied in support of the Standing Rock Sioux's stance against the routing of the Dakota Access oil pipeline under the Missouri River near their reservation. The $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile pipeline would cross both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers to carry fracked oil. The Army Corps of Engineers halted construction of the Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners' pipeline on Nov. 14 and called for "additional discussion and analysis."
Meanwhile, around 300 people gathered at the downtown Santa Rosa Citibank Nov. 15 to protest its funding the pipeline. It was one of hundreds of protests at Citibank around the country. Earlier this month, on Nov. 6, about 600 people attended an inspiring benefit at the Sebastopol Grange for the indigenous people and their allies, raising nearly $29,000.
"This is the rebirth of the native nation," declared Adam (who declined to give his last name), an indigenous man who led drummers and chanters at both events. "This is a spiritual movement connected to our legal rights."
Tribe elder Tom Goldtooth, interviewed Nov. 17 on KPFA's Flashpoints, called the pipeline "blood oil. They are degrading our sacred space. They are commodifying nature. We're fighting for everyone, not just native people. Seventeen million people live downstream from this Missouri River site, depending on it for their water, which an oil spill could pollute."
Standing Rock may seem far away from San Francisco's North Bay, but by joining in solidarity and educating each other about what's at stake, we can make a difference.
Dr. Shepherd Bliss has contributed to 24 books and farmed for the last two decades.
Open Mic is a weekly feature in the 'Bohemian.' We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write firstname.lastname@example.org.