Peace Is Like A River - Invitation
Submitted by Mary L. Collins
To be held September 30th, 2006 At -
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Kiza Park, Manderson, S.D.
We are living in an age of fading compassion. Without compassion,we become insulated from and immune to each other's experience. Our world suffers through aggression caused by fear, through greed, through arrogance.
There are many of us who feel this is not the way.
And so, we invite you to join us in a collective voice as we make a stand for peace on September 30, 2006. On this day, the event, Peace Is Like A River, will be held on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. We have been invited to hold the event at Kiza Park, owned by Alex & Debra White Plume of Manderson, SD. We have received the support and promise of involvement of many prominent writers, activists, artists, educators, and actors. We hope that you will be able to participate.
No one will receive VIP treatment. This is not done out of disrespect to you or to other artists; rather, it is intended to show respect for our hosts, for all the Lakota people, and to create a community of equality and respect for all.
Simple, foods will be served. There are no hotels. Tents, tipis and self-provided RV's are all that is available. Each invited guest will need to bring their own camping gear. No invited speaker or artist will receive a fee. Appearances are being generously donated by all writers / poets / artists / activists / musicians participating. Any funds raised will be used to promote cultural tolerance, support peace intitiatives, and to underwrite projects assisting indigenous populations here in the United States and, as funds allow, Canada. We are allied with many deserving nonprofit organizations on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Any funds raised will be shared among them.
The event will be presented at no cost to those attending except for people wishing to reserve overnight camping sites or purchase event-related merchandise which will then fund the nonprofits. Donations are encouraged and gratefully accepted to help defray the costs associated with setting up the grounds, promotion, and underwriting some travel expenses for important Native artists who might otherwise not be able to attend. At this time, we have received the promise of support and participation (as schedules allow) from:
Paula Gunn Allen - Poet, Educator (Laguna Pueblo/Sioux); Jimmy Santiago Baca - Poet, Author (Apache/Chicano); Chrystos - Poet, Activist (Menominee); Tom & Loretta Cook - Running Strong For American Indian Youth (Mohawk - Oglala Lakota); Allison Hedge Coke - Poet, Writer, Educator, (Huron, Eastern Tsalagi); Manuel Cristobal - Activist (Tamaya, Santa Ana Pueblo); Carolyn Dunn - Poet (Cherokee, Muskogee Creek)
Gordon Henry - Poet, Educator (Chippewa); Lance Henson - Headman Dog Soldier, Poet, Activist, (Cheyenne); Linda Hogan - Poet, Playwright, Novelist, Educator (Chickasaw); John Fusco - Screenwriter, Author; Al Hunter - Poet (Anishinaabe); Layli Long Soldier - Poet (Oglala Lakota); Joseph Marshall III – Actor/Author (Oglala Lakota); Patricia Monaghan - Poet, Educator
Joe Montoya - Poet, Activist (Santa Ana & San Felipe); Kent Nerburn - Author;Luis Rodriguez - Poet, Author, Educator, Publisher (Chicano); August Schellenberg - Actor (Mohawk); Abena Songbird - Poet, Journalist, Singer/Songwriter (Abenaki); Luke Warm Water - Poet, Activist (Oglala Lakota); Suree Towfighnia & Courtney Hermann - Prairie Dust Films; Jason Yurcic - Poet.
Regretfully, this list had also included filmmaker, Gary Rhine, who was tragically killed in a plane crash in early January. Gary fervently supported this effort and event.
This is a grassroots effort:
It is not affiliated with any political or religious organization. There is no endowment. It is presently self-funded. We are seeking support through donations and sponsors to help underwrite the most basic expenses (food, shelter, etc) and to assist with travel for some of the poets and artists who might not otherwise be able to participate. It is intentionally intimate, inclusive, and informal.
We believe that this voluntary gathering of writers, artists, and activists will serve as a reminder to all of how exploitation of culture, religious arrogance, racial intolerance, and blatant greed creates violence and trauma that has spiraled out of control for generations. It is exploitation created by a lack of humility and has only served to separate people from one another while perpetuating the myth of one race or culture's superiority over any other. This event is intended to serve as a collective voice for every person exploited or abandoned by another’s quest for wealth at the expense of what is truly sacred.
Here are a few examples:
1. Alaska's caribou nation and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is being threatened by the oil industry who want to expand the pipeline which threatens to intersect with the caribou's ancient pathways.The coastal plain is the core calving area of the Porcupine Caribou herd and is home to polar bears, musk-oxen, wolves and 130 species of migratory birds.
2. The clearcutting of timber is probably the number one concern of Indigenous environmentalists in the Rocky Mountains and Pacific coastal ranges. The logging destroys sacred spots—such as California's Mount Shasta— and destroys fisheries through erosion and silting.
3. Bear Butte, the sacred Paha Sapa to the Lakota people, and sacred to over 20 other tribes, is being threatened with development. A group wishes to build an RV park at the foot of Paha Sapa. Sturgis, SD, is home to one of the biggest biker rallies in the country.
4. In northern Arizona, Dine CARE organizers have braved death threats to take a stand against tribally sponsored clearcutting in the Chuska Mountains.
5. Also in Arizona, the San Carlos Apache are working to protect Mt. Graham, a sacred site with old growth forests, from further development. There is a Vatican-sponsored observatory already on the mountain and the mountain, a source of healing to desert-dwelling Apaches for centuries, has been closed by the federal government.
6. Electric utilities and the nuclear weapons industry have historically targeted Native lands for both the front and back ends of the nuclear fuel cycle. Since much of North America's uranium lies under Native lands, uranium mining has caused radioactive contamination—particularly among Indigenous people and miners in New Mexico and Saskatchewan.
7. The storage and disposal of toxic chemical wastes has been the major impetus behind the new movement against "environmental racism." Many of these wastes have been stored in Native, African American, or Latino communities. At the Mohawk reservation of Akwesasne (St. Regis) on the St. Lawrence River industrial corridor, General Motors has been involved in a clean-up of PCB-contaminated wastes since 1990. The EPA recently proposed that the company be permitted to dump 171,000 yards of toxic wastes, rather than treat it. Toxic wastes may not grab the headlines on a national scale as nuclear waste or oil drilling does. In most cases, the dumping has been done by small companies, sometimes (as in the case of Wisconsin's Bad River Reservation), targeting Indian lands to by-pass state environmental rules.
8. The construction of huge hydroelectric dams has flooded Indigenous lands from Arizona to Papua New Guinea. In the US and Canada, the dams have also destroyed the subsistence livelihood of thousands of Natives—through blocking migrating fish, and through the evaporation or mercury leaching inherent in sluggish reservoirs. Dams along the Columbia River system in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho have been a major cause of the decline of the salmon fishery along area rivers.
The more our country perpetuates the myth of money and acquisitions as being what we should aspire to, the greater the imbalance between rich and poor; and the more the truly impoverished experience despair and desperation surrounded by this false wealth and arrogance. Greed is what drives the train in politics. It also fuels the lack of acceptance of any culture that doesn't fit the narrow, familiar mold of the most dominant or most aggressive culture.
We believe that it is possible to suspend the belief that power and money provide happiness; and come together in the spirit of honoring what is sacred in each of us - which has no price. Protecting, sharing, and exchanging resources of culture, wisdom, and respect for all living things is the only right action of any nation. If we are truly to protect the world for our grandchildren's grandchildren.
Thank you for your time. We look forward to speaking with you and to anyone who may wish to join their voice and support for this event and cause. You are welcome to forward this message on to anyone whom you believe should or would want to receive it.
Mary L. Collins
Peace Is Like A River
590 Railroad Street #4St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
TO SUBMIT an ARTICLE or OPINION PIECE to the Native Unity Digest, e-mail email@example.com.
NATIVE UNITY - A place for Native American Peoples to solidify their tribes to make a positive impact on the cultural, social, economic and political fabric of American society and a place for non-Natives to better understand the ways of the American Indian.
Visit Vietnam Vet. Larry Mitchell at http://www.potawatomivet.com and click on his blog at the site.