Six Calvin alumni spent Nov. 24–27 in the Oceti Sakowin Camp near Cannonball, North Dakota. The Oceti Sakowin Camp was part of the movement to stop the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline across ancestral Dakota/Lakota Sioux land and the Missouri River at Lake Oahe. Thousands of people and hundreds of tribes joined the Standing Rock Sioux since the formation of the first camp in April 2016.
“Over the decades, there have been many fights to protect indigenous land and water, but this is the first time that technology and communications have allowed for so many to join the fight and share live updates,” said Sierra Yazzie Asamoa-Tutu ’06. “In addition, a new generation of Native youth are rising up, and they possess a great motivation for change that has been missing for some time. Native communities were intentionally dismantled and cultural ways of life were destroyed; it has taken generations for families to rebuild and begin to see some open doors to healing and change.”
Asamoa-Tutu believes that the original peoples of this continent can lead the charge for a more environmentally sustainable society.
“Traditional tribal teachings hold the wisdom of relationship with the earth, rather than dominance over it,” she said. “The tribes are finding many allies who are ready to join them in the face of global warming, resource depletion and societal unrest.”