Protecting not protesting. The Dakota Access Pipeline resistance efforts have been framed by all, so far, as a protest movement. The authorities and DAPL know the camps as protest camps.
In the context of the ‘Battle with DAPL’ (we’re feeling creative at NDN today) the idea of protest doesn’t seem to even begin to convey the reason for this movement’s existence. This isn’t a simple disapproval. The efforts of those involved are more than a strongly worded letter and a benign chant outside of a nondescript City Hall.
The goal here is to save the water. To guard it. To PROTECT it. This is a movement built on prayer, carried out in ceremony and one that exemplifies our relationship to Ina Maka – Mother Earth. For many, this is also a time of prophecy.
To use the term protest is to find words and phrases that help the authorities and the media paint a picture of a small cute protest, but a protest nonetheless and the blame game stage is set if and when they decide to escalate their response. It’s the calling card of the colonizer. The Indian wars were justified against the ‘Red Devils’ or ‘The Savages.’ They sold copy by crafting a false narrative that described the indigenous people as violent thieves, savage murderers, rapists and ungodly heathens. Our guess is that we can expect more of the same over the next several months.
The people on the ground, a supporting act made up of a legion of online allies and local politicians engaged in legal battles (and getting arrested!) all understand that this is us standing up for our relative, Mni Wiconi, the Water of Life.
We are not protesting a contentious idea that should be up for debate. For our Protectors the message is clear, We are here to protect the water from those who would risk it. We are here to stand up for and defend those who would be damaged by a leak from the pipe.
So Water Protectors. Land Protectors. We are protectors. Let us, not them, control the narrative of who we are. When you see someone on Social Media using the term protestors, correct them and tell them, they/We are PROTECTORS!
Earth Defenders, Water Protectors.