Tomorrow, a panel of “water protectors” will take to the Umble Center stage to hold an open discussion about the Dakota Access Pipeline and the indigenous people that live there, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.The panel consists of Noemi Salvador and Naomi Gross, seniors, and Hannah Yoder and Chelsea Risser, juniors, who all traveled to the site of the protests that went on throughout 2016. Along with them, two Dine Nation speakers, Craig Tsosie and Theron Begay, will also share their experiences and answer questions about their time at Standing Rock.
The session will be a chance to have open dialogue for people who wish to learn more about the events happening at Standing Rock, as well as what these “water protectors” are doing now.
Tsosi, or Huggy Bear, served as an MC at the camp the students lived in during the time of the protests last month. Every morning, he would awaken the camp at 5:30 a.m., calling people to action to protect their land. Tsosi is also a Dine Storyteller, an important position in Indigenous Tribes. Many Indigenous people rely on storytelling and oral history to tell stories and important lessons.
“Telling stories is an important way of healing and processing events for many people,” said Yoder. “This is a good way to bring that on campus.”
Tsosie then spent time in Chicago after the protests, doing speaking events similar to the one happening tomorrow in places such as Northwestern University and the National Museum of Mexican Art.
Begay was a key organizer in the camp the group stayed at, which was the southwest camp. A well-connected part of the community, Begay organized resources, movement and cleanup of the camp. He is currently traveling around the region checking on members from the southwest camp to ensure they’ve arrived home safely.
“Some people at Goshen can feel disconnected to the issue,” said Gross. “We want people to be able to engage the problem in a structured and safe way, as well as understand some of the issues that are going on in this watershed.”
This event is in solidarity with Native Nations Rise, a marching event on Washington that happened March 7-10. The march was led by The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and indigenous grassroots leaders from across the United States, who decided to take the movement to the front door of the White House.
Though there was controversy within the march itself, as it was led in part by Dave Archambault, the tribal Chairman of the Standing Rock Reservation, the Goshen “water protectors” see the events as a sign of unity.
“It’s important to show solidarity, even though there is controversy,” said Gross. “We need to celebrate the water protectors, though they weren’t completely unified in this particular march.”
“DAPL Dave,” as some disgruntled activists have taken to calling him, has come under scrutiny after he urged many of the demonstrators to return home after the pipeline workers resumed drilling.
Though there was no demonstration in the area during the period of the Native Nations Rise March on Washington, tomorrow’s panel discussion will compensate.
The event will begin at 7 p.m. in Umble Center. There will be a reception with food that follows the discussion, as well as traditional Peruvian Music performed by Nayo Ulloa, assistant professor of Spanish. There is also a suggested donation of $5, with proceeds going to the legal bills and journeys home for “water protectors” across the nation.