From Chase Iron Eyes, Lead Counsel, Lakota People’s Law Project:
Judge Lee Christofferson has granted the Lakota People's Law Project (LPLP) extraordinary scope to obtain information from the state’s prosecutor, Energy Transfer Partners, law enforcement, and security contractors, including TigerSwan.
Our chief counsel, Daniel Sheehan, and attorney Lanny Sinkin explain in the above video why deposing the DAPL security companies is so important. TigerSwan’s role at Standing Rock is emblematic of a major threat to our liberty. Increasingly, corporations are hiring their own private armies to infiltrate activist communities, stir up violence, and run propaganda campaigns that marginalize and criminalize those of us fighting to protect our water and freedom.
LPLP will begin taking depositions this month. Getting the state and security companies into deposition rooms won’t be easy. For months, the state prosecutor has failed to respond to discovery requests.
Judge Christofferson’s court order gives us the legal leverage we need, and your support will give us the resources to secure key evidence. Fortunately, this effort has been quietly funded by caring people like you—but we still have many miles to go. A monthly gift from you can ensure that our defense has all the resources it needs for depositions, and can take us, victorious, through the finish line.
TigerSwan has mastered the art of disaster capitalism, making millions in underserved communities of color when things go wrong — at Standing Rock, in Houston, in Puerto Rico. With each disaster, we get closer to the edge. That’s why it’s imperative, it’s necessary, that we take our stand when and where we can. We don’t create the world we dream of all at once. We win it, one small struggle at a time. This is our struggle. Thank you for sharing it, and for making victory possible.
Pilamaya — we thank you for your continued dedication!
Chase Iron Eyes
Lakota People’s Law Project
Please consider donating to the most worthy cause.
Holatte-Sutv Turwv Osceola
That's what we did. Rose up and defended Mother Earth. And we got our butts kicked for it (see my books).
The New Seminole were outnumbered and out-weaponized. Now I'm holed-up in the Miccosukee Embassy doing Sanctuary. Those words above pretty much sum up what got me here with a quid pro quo violent defense of the Everglades and the "colonization" of south Florida that pit our sad little "tribe" up against the Mighty White Father aka Uncle Sam. Since that time, I've been giving it a lot of thought about choosing a less "proactive" approach, something closer to Ghost Dancing rather than Ghost Making.
At the end of the 19th Century Uncle Sam had pretty much brought the continent's indigenous tribes to their knees by one massacre, broken treaty, and forced settlement onto reservations after another. It would be safe to say that their spirits had been immeasurably broken. Around 1890 a Northern Paiute spiritual leader called Wovoka had a vision that would save the 500 Nations: if they danced the Ghost Dance they could summon the spirits of their dead ancestors to fight the colonists, make them leave the land, and restore peace, prosperity, and unity to all the tribes. In desperation, the idea caught on and spread through many of the tribes.
Of course, nothing came of it except Wounded Knee and the deaths of hundreds of Lakota Sioux (including Sitting Bull) all because Uncle Sam grew fearful that a few impoverished and broken people had begun dancing in a circle-- which the U.S. Army knew was a prelude to an attack on settlers and soldiers.
Like the founder of the New Seminole, Micco Busimanolotome Osceola, I came to the conclusion that dancing and chanting wouldn't change a thing. Praying, neither. We had to "take it to The Man," as he would say. Well, that didn't work out too well for us either. Although we didn't Ghost Dance, we did have our own Wounded Knee: at a nondescript hammock deep in the Everglades we called Rendezvous Point.
But as I've been told more than once by Special Agent "Micco Mann," that we, unlike the Lakota Sioux who were only dancing, had it coming. So, in retrospect, maybe it's time for another Ghost Dance. One that embraces technology to save the world instead of violence. Maybe the New Ghost Dance is a New Seminole floating in space, dancing pow wow style between the earth and the moon and the stars; always there to remind the crew all is sacred. Maybe it will be Nokosee. Or me. Or our daughter, Haalie.
Stop the insanity! Stop the "blood quantum." Counting your Indian blood today is about as practical as counting coup. If your head's not there-- where Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, and Crazy Horse lived-- even a full-blooded Native American is slumming on the rez and on the streets where the "Outside" lives. I'm a blue-eyed blonde married to what some of the anal Rez Police might call a half-breed. Nokosee on his dad's side is Seminole but his mom is a Cuban his dad met at Hialeah High when they were students. Of course, if you read my books, you know I had to prove my worthiness to Nokosee's old man, the founder of the New Seminole, Micco Busimanlotome Osceola. Doing a "walkabout" in the Everglades alone with only a knife and a compass was nothing compared to what came down the pike-- and got me holed up here at the Miccosukee Embassy in Miami doing sanctuary. But I proved to the old man I was worthy of his son, the first of the New Seminole who would lead an eco-war on the "Outside" to save the Earth. Not that we're still thinking about doing that. We have a daughter now, Haalie Osceola. That changes everything.
If you read my books, you know my father-in-law and the founder of the New Seminole Busimanolotome Osceola was a Baby Boomer and loved the Broadway "Tribal Rock" musical Hair. In fact he named his daughter after one of the writers-- and had me believing for a very long time that Jerryragni met "Hair" in Muskogee (yes, he was a great "kidder"). His favorite song was part of a group of songs that are heard in the finale. It's called "The Flesh Failures" and summed up for him what was wrong with America. Plus, you could dance to it in the swamp which was very important to him and us. We did it many times between giant cypress trees, looking for the most part just like those who performed it on stage since we were and are a cockamamie collection of hippies and Seminoles. Here are the lyrics:
We starve-look at one another
Short of breath
Walking proudly in our winter coats
Wearing smells from laboratories
Facing a dying nation
Of moving paper fantasy
Listening for the new told lies
With supreme visions of lonely tunes
Somewhere inside something
There is a rush of
Greatness, who knows what stands in front of
Our lives? I fashion my future
On films in space
Silence tells me secretly
The song then segues into the upbeat hit song Let the Sunshine In. Here's a version by Jennifer Warnes I've been listening too lately. Enjoy on this Earth Day. Make Earth Day Every Day.
K-i-s-s-i-n-g (spell it out)
First comes love.
Then comes marriage.
Then comes baby in the baby carriage,
Sucking his thumb,
Wetting his pants,
Doing the hula, hula dance!
From a kid's taunting rhyme to Whitman's sublime choice of words to describe his life in the world. All of that came rushing back to me when I saw that picture above, reminding me of my time with Nokosee up in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g (and other things-- and if you read my books, you know what I'm talking about). The picture-- from a recent post on Brain Pickings-- spoke to me of that wonderful, unforgettable time Nokosee and I lived in the Everglades. At first, as a city girl, the silence-- aside from the mosquitoes-- was the hardest thing to get used to. I had doubts about making it in what I use to think of as "bumfuck nowhere." That all changed after I saw the stars above me for the first time without any interference from city lights. Until that moment when I was up in a gumbo limbo with Nokosee and looked up at his insistence, I had no idea what was going on above me and what I had been missing all my life. It was a wildly thrown veil of stars across the night sky. That picture above by Margaret C. Cook from a 1913 edition of Leaves of Grass brought all the magic back because that is truly how I felt in Nokosee's arms: taken away as if on a cloud.
As for that childish rhyme, it all came true except for the last part: our baby Haalie came in a bithlo.
I love Pow Wow dancing. And I know it's a spiritual thing for Native American tribes which is cool. But the New Seminole do it because it's fun. Especially once a year at Ultra Fest in downtown Miami. There was a time however when I danced with Nokosee many times under a full moon in the deep Everglades at one of our secret hammock camps. Camp Disco had its own disco ball and if you've read any of my books you know how we got electricity to power it, the lights, and the music. Ah, those were the days and nights.
That picture of me and Nokosee was taken on our wedding night at Camp Disco.
"More than 50 state bills that would criminalize protest, deter political participation, and curtail freedom of association have been introduced across the country in the past two years. These bills are a direct reaction from politicians and corporations to the tactics of some of the most effective protesters in recent history, including Black Lives Matter and the water protectors challenging construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock.
If they succeed, these legislative moves will suppress dissent and undercut marginalized groups voicing concerns that disrupt current power dynamics.
Efforts vary from state to state, but they have one thing in common: they would punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."
Some of these bills want to impose criminal penalties and devastating fines simply for offering food or housing to protestors. For instance, a bill currently being considered in Wyoming would impose a $1 million penalty on any person or organization that “encourages” certain forms of environmental protest. Legislation introduced in Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, and North Dakota would have allowed drivers to hit protesters with cars without criminal repercussions.
Legislation is not the only tool the oil and gas industry is deploying in its effort to silence opposition. Six months ago, Energy Transfer Partners filed a $900 million dollar lawsuit against several environmental groups, including Greenpeace, alleging that a “criminal enterprise” was put in place to stop the pipeline project.
Similarly, 84 members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to the Department of Justice earlier this fall, asking officials to prosecute pipeline activists as “terrorists” — a troubling policy that resembles the one being lobbied for at a federal level by the American Petroleum Institute.
When did America become a "government of the corporation, by the corporation and for the corporation"?
In my books I mention when the Miccosukees had legendary lawyer Morton Silver fighting their case to be recognized as a sovereign nation but the U.S. wasn't interested. So Silver threatened to take the case to the UN and the World Court. Still nothing from Uncle Sam. But when he and some Miccosukee delegates had the audacity to meet in 1959 with the new Cuban leader Fidel Castro re recognition of their sovereignty-- and got it!-- Uncle Sam "saw the light" so to speak and bestowed sovereignty on the tribe (hence giving me the chance to take Sanctuary at its Miami Embassy).
But my tribe the New Seminole doesn't have a silver tongued and muy clever Morton Silver representing us. We're on our own, using weapons of a different kind to protect us and our children. To paraphrase a piece of American history that has been long forgotten re the new bills introduced to usurp our basic freedoms, "don't try that shit with me?" I'm New Seminole and we won't stand for it.
To read more, please click here.
Listen up and then warrior up for Autumn Peltier, a 13-year-old from Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada. She told world leaders yesterday to "warrior up" and start protecting our waters in a World Water Day speech at the UN General Assembly. "Many people don't think water is alive or has a spirit," the Anishinaabe girl from Wikwemikong First Nation told the diplomats gathered in New York City in her speech on World Water Day. "My people believe this to be true. Our water deserves to be treated as human with human rights. We need to acknowledge our waters with personhood so we can protect our waters."
The five-foot tall teen stood on a stool behind the podium so she could reach the microphone-- but her spirit needed no stool to be seen and heard. Gotta love her. I hope to be as wise and brave as Autumn.
I woke up this morning in the Miccosukee Embassy where I'm doing Sanctuary to discover the tribe may be behind a babynapping. Apparently a high ranking tribal grandmother got tribal police to leave the rez, drive 32 miles to Miami and snatch the newborn baby of Rebecca Sanders, a Miccosukee, and her white boyfriend Justin Johnson, while she and her baby Ingrid Ronan Johnson were still in the hospital following her birth March 16th. According to the Miami Herald, the parents have "filed complaints with Miami-Dade police, state prosecutors and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs" alleging that the "tribal court order was a sham, concocted by the baby’s vengeful maternal grandmother, Betty Osceola, who simply did not want a white father to be a part of the child’s life."
This brought back memories of my daughter Haalie's birth (Book Two). It was a moonless night deep in the Everglades. Nokosee and I were on the run from Army Rangers who were trying to kill us. With the help of Nokosee's father Busimanolotome (Busi) Osceola who helped us escape-- and died for it-- I gave birth in a bithlo (a dugout canoe) hidden among the sawgrass with the sound of the firefight going on in the background. I will never forget looking up into the black night sky from the wet bottom of the bithlo as I screamed to push Haalie out. It was glowing red from the distant fires that were burning down our secret hammock hideout.
Although I'm an Osceola by marriage to Nokosee, Betty Osceola is not Nokosee's grandmother. Almost everyone in the Miccosukee or Seminole tribes is an Osceola. That said, if you read my books, you know that my getting accepted into the tribe by marriage was a major undertaking that included a prequel Busi dreamed up-- like the New Seminole-- he called a "Walkabout" in the Everglades that would prove my worthiness. I call it an Everglades Death March which left me abandoned, starving, bleeding, mosquito bit across every part of my body, and naked-- all because Busi didn't want to have anything to do with me. So, if what they said about Betty Osceola is true, that she didn't want her granddaughter to marry a white man, I can relate. Although Busi never said it outright, I'm pretty sure he wanted Nokosee to marry within the tribe-- which is nuts when you consider Nokosee's mom is Cuban. She once was Demaris Rodriguez before she met Busi at Hialeah High where they were both students. But then again, Nokosee is the "First of the New Seminole" so I suspect the old man was hoping to start the new tribe off with a pure bred. Anyway, it's not like intermarriage between the tribes and "Outsiders" is rare. It's been going on for years with white and blacks so when I read this news today, I had to wonder what this is really all about. I suspect there is more than one side to this story. But in any event, you don't snatch newborns from their mother's arms no matter what the reason.
UpDate (3/22): The Miccosukee Tribal Court has ruled baby Ingrid must be returned to her mother and father.
Holatte-Sutv Turwv Osceola.