By: Jesus Radicals
Last Saturday, November 19, Iconocast Canvas teamed up with the Eco-Pax and Social Reform clubs at Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana to host Standing with Standing Rock: A Benefit Event. Today, on #NoBlackSnakeFriday, we are glad to announce that the arts and awareness-raising event, raised more than $2,300 dollars to support water protectors resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline in Cannonball, North Dakota. All the proceeds will be donated to their legal defense fund.
The benefit, which was emceed by Canvas originators Nekeisha Alayna Alexis and Seth Martin, brought together a variety of local creatives and activists, including spoken word poets Mimi Salvador Lucero and Antonius Northern; musicians Nayla Jimenez, Josh Kinder of Good Edgar Oak, Abe Medellin and Nayo Ulloa; dancers Philip Chan and Nimoy Vaidya, and song leader Nicole Bauman. Nekeisha and Seth also performed, with Nekeisha offering poetry and song; and Seth playing guitar and singing alongside bassist Evra Tshisola. The video “Standing Strong,” the short film produced by the Indigenous Environmental Network, provided context for the months-long struggle.
The highlight of the evening was featured speaker Michelle Sky Walker, member of the Omaha tribe from the Buffalo Clan, who has been supporting the Standing Rock movement with her presence at the camp and through her organizing efforts among indigenous and other communities in Nebraska. Joining us live via internet connection, she reflected on the necessity of the resistance and the conditions on the ground, and took part in a question and answer session with attendees that was facilitated by Mimi.
Others who have experienced the struggle in brief and in ongoing ways also offered their perspectives, including Jimmy Betts, a long-time resister who has been active in Iowa; Katerina Friesen, who traveled to Standing Rock with Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition (read her story here http://mennoniteusa.org/intercultural-transformation/mennonite-delegation-shows-solidarity-standing-rock-encampment/); and Cecilia Lapp Stoltzfus, representing Goshen College students who recently visited the camp. Jason Shenk, organizer of People’s History of Elkhart and the Elkhart Environmental Health Group also shared information about a regional campaign against the AEP Rockport Coal Plant in Spencer County, Illinois—the sixth worst toxic polluter in the nation—and gave attendees the chance to speak up for water, land and air in our area by signing petitions for the plants close.
Standing with Standing Rock: A Benefit Event was conceived as a way for local residents to respond to calls for help by indigenous warriors and their allies—despite our distance from the front lines. It could not have happened without the generosity of Fellowship of Hope Mennonite Church, Elkhart Indiana, who opened their doors to organizers, and the contributions of all who showed up in solidarity. We are also grateful for the thoughtful planning of all the organizers; for all the performers who gave of their time and talents; for all the volunteers who provided food and assisted with setup and teardown; for visual artist Dona Park who donated funds from the sale of her poster and Nayo who donated the free-will offerings he received for his CD; for music and technical support by Caley Ortman; and for all who were not able to attend but gave funds in their absence.
#NoBlackSnakFriday marks the first day of a week of global action against banks financing the pipeline and against the sheriff departments who have escalated their aggression against the protectors, culminating in the obscene and unconscionable assault against praying, unarmed protectors on November 20. Jesus Radicals organizers take seriously the charge that the pipeline threatens the ecological health of the Missouri River; threatens the water and food supply for countless human and nonhuman creatures in the region; violates the boundaries of indigenous lands and their treaties; and desecrates the sacred and cultural sites of those whose communities have already survived historical acts of genocide and present-day indignities and injustice by White supremacist structures and their agents. We heed the Lakota rallying cry, “Mni Wiconi! Water is life!” and hope to inspire other creative and/or nonviolent direct action efforts toward ending the pipeline’s construction.
Sacred Stone Camp website
No DAPL Solidarity website
Red Warrior Camp on Facebook
Mississippi Stand website
Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock (Divided Films)
Kevin Gilbert at Standing Rock (November 20,2016)
Army Corp of Engineers “Statement Regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline” (November 14, 2016) -
Democracy Now Coverage of Dakota Access Pipeline
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Nekeisha Alayna Alexis
Liza Minno Bloom
Eda Ruhiye Uca