#metoo will transform our world. Keep watching, listening, sharing and supporting. Nurture this baby with all your might.
When the underdog becomes the conductor.
Our terrible habit of sweeping inappropriateness by powerful men under the rug is being called out. I have my fingers and toes crossed that when the dust settles, we’ll find ourselves surrounded by brilliant men and women who respect one another regardless of their rank or connections.
For me, this is a tough poem to read. For me, this is a holiday full of mixed emotions. Check out this version of Thanksgiving and this site in general. I downloaded their 50 Must-See Modern Native American Movies and Performances and realized how much work I haven’t seen. The list is pretty impressive!
by Jonathan Garfield
Thank you for relocating relations, relocating their hearts, some forgetting or ashamed of their Indigenous roots.
Thank you for alcohol that now courses like blood through reservation veins.
Thank you for teaching our young, impressionable, heavily reserved minds your history and overlooking ours in reservation schools.
Thank you for Catholic boarding school surgeons painfully removing our Native tongue without anesthetic until our mouths bled English.
Thank you for that old white man in the white-owned store on my rez that showed my 8-year-old eyes the color of my skin as he stalked me like prey aisle-to-aisle, always a thief in his adult eyes.
Thank you for the bruises that covered my sister like war paint, painted by fists, baseball bat and a love created and mixed by your reservations, in wars she never won, dying every time.
Thank you for the U.S.D.A. approved diabetes that has stolen uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, fathers, my mother.
Thank you for BIA and its IHS replacing our ceremonial medicine with prescribed addictions that have now stolen so many visions on the rez that it’s hard to see what comes next.
Thank you for compulsory sterilization creating and rewriting so many stories forever left broken and unfinished.
Thank you for the children starving reservations wide, left alone and staying up late, hoping their parent or parents didn’t drink or shoot up all the check.
Thank you for the alcohol-related car wrecks that have turned epic poems into tragic short stories.
Thank for the tiny white crosses plunged deep like hot knives into our land and the reservation roadsides that always claim another victim from families dying a little inside every time they drive past them.
Thank you for the F.A.S. and F.A.E. babies turned high school dropouts because the Caucasian teacher from a different world was never taught enough before coming to the rez to teach.
Thank you for the reservation suicides that have killed the spirits of those left behind.
Thank you for using us as mascots, making our young ones feel uncertain in their skin and redefining honor for them by turning us into a cold, unfeeling, symbol for a sports team where drunken fans honor us by mocking us.
Thank you for leading us on to reservations with no guidebooks on how to live in your world on our land, where we are still stumbling and learning, trial by heartbreaking error, to this day.
Thank you for your stereotypical portrayal of us in film and the movies where the white men are the heroes saving the Indians despite the Native-like titles like Dances With Wolves, Thunderheart.
Thank you for stealing our land, raping it like some woman you never knew the name of, leaving her crying, traumatized, bleeding.
* * *
Thank you for razing our homeland, cutting it up into states, poorly piecing it together and shrouding us in it like a quilt infested with smallpox.
I am thankful for all of this for making me feel too fucking much.
I am thankful for all of this turning me into a clenched fist in times when words don’t hit hard enough.
I am thankful for all of this, for stirring the spirits of warriors dormant in us for centuries.
I am thankful for all of this because, without it, I could never write this.
Thank you for the artillery, arrows for my bow.
Born a few centuries too late and raised on U.S.D.A. approved commodity everything, Jonathan Garfield is an enrolled Assiniboine tribal member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux reservation in Montana. His stories document the tragedy forced on “his people” (which he loves saying ‘cause it sounds cool) that is the rez. Jonathan has been published in various Art & Literature magazines and quarterlies. His short story, “Reservation Warparties”, became a short film, adapted to a screenplay and directed by Angelique Midthunnder. The short film was featured on the program, Independent Lens, on PBS. Jonathan Garfield continues to write poetry and short stories. He is also a practicing trickster.
Dakota Access, LLC, owns 75% of the pipeline while Phillips 66 owns a 25% stake. Energy Transfer Partners LP and Sunoco Logistic Partners LP own together 51% and MarEn Bakken Company, the joint venture of Enbridge (75%) and Marathon Petroleum, owns 49% of the Dakota Access, LLC. It gives the following indirect stakes in the pipeline:
Energy Transfer Partners LP and Sunoco Logistic Partners LP together – 38.2%
According to his federal disclosure forms, filed in May 2016, President Donald Trump held between $15,000 and $50,000 in stock in Energy Transfer Partners – down from $500,000 to $1 million in 2015 – and between $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66. This creates a conflict of interest when making presidential decisions affecting the pipeline project. The senior Democrat on the Public Resources Committee, Raul Grijalva, called this appearance of conflict of interest “disturbing”. The Washington Post reported that Trump sold off his shares in Energy Transfer Partners in the summer of 2016. The credibility of this claim has been questioned by liberal organizations.
Trump is also indirectly linked to the project because Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren contributed $103,000 to the Trump campaign. Trump has said that he supports the completion of the pipeline project. According to his transition team, this position “has nothing to do with his personal investments and everything to do with promoting policies that benefit all Americans.”
A former staffer of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad re-election campaign, Susan Fenton, who is now the director of government affairs with the Des Moines public relations firm LS2, is handling public relations for Energy Transfer. Texas governor Rick Perry was a member of the Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners boards of directors but resigned after Trump selected Perry as his nomination for Energy Secretary In December 2016. Kelcy Warren had contributed $6 million to Perry’s 2016 Presidential campaign.
What does Dakota Pipeline Access have to say?
If you go to the Dakota Access Pipeline Facts, you’ll find they have a page dedicated to misconceptions. Then within the misconceptions section, you’ll find a document called: The Dakota Access Pipeline is safe.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is built to survive the test of time, extreme weather, and natural disaster. It uses state-of-the art construction material, including heavy-walled steel pipe that is nearly 50% thicker than required by law.
What about current events listed on their page dedicated to News and Opinions?
Selected editorials by unknown authors saying things like “protesters aligned with powerful forces in the White House, with Hollywood celebrities, and with plenty of money behind them from wacky anti-capitalist financiers” and articles celebrating the $20,000 donations made to counties and photo ops that remind me of Trump asking Ricardo Rossello if the United States “did a great job” in response to Hurricane Maria.
Would you like to contact Dakota Access Pipeline? Here’s the contact info they share:
I am fond of this quote, in particular, because it is always a humbling reminder that I am not the center of the Universe.
“There is divine beauty in learning. To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me. And I walk in their footsteps. The books I have read were composed by generations of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, teachers, and disciples. I am the sum total of their experiences. And so are you.” – Elie Wiesel
Conversation reflects what’s on the mind. People do our jobs for us – they reveal themselves, if only we would listen. The problem is, we rarely listen carefully enough. – Noah Lukeman from The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life
I happened upon this quote in the context of learning how to be a better writer. But it struck me so strongly, I ended up plunging down a rabbit hole full of questions revolving around being a better listener.
I have a friend who talks. A lot. He has an incredible memory and his mind is like a set of encyclopedias running a marathon. Unfortunately, if someone is speaking to me, especially at breakneck speed in order to get everything out before he loses my attention or has to take a breath, he’s actually wasting his breath. My mind can only remember what someone else says for a few seconds, not necessarily in the correct order and I’m attempting to interpret and categorize as I go. And although I may be using ‘I’ while making these statements, I really mean WE.
our brains arbitrarily delete or redefine anything our Communication Partners (CPs) say that might be uncomfortable or atypical. Unfortunately, we then believe that what we think we’ve heard – a subjective translation of what’s been said – is actually what was said or meant. It’s usually some degree of inaccurate. And it’s not our fault. Our brains do it to us.
What if we just started by intentionally recognizing everyone with whom we’re speaking as a Communication Partner? And then move forward with the recognition of our CP as a goldmine of knowledge, experience, biases, “assumptions, triggers, habituated neural pathways, and memory channels that sift out what’s being said”?
Stay tuned…I haven’t even gotten to the part about listening to the voiceless yet.
The snow at our house is starting to feel like sand at the beach. It’s just a part of the terrain. You have to lift your knees a little higher when you walk and when you run, it feels like you’re starring in a slow-motion movie. It inspires me to train like Sylvester Stallone on a Russian countryside farm in Rocky IV. And…we’re only halfway through November. Bring on the snow, Montana. Let’s do this.