My letter to Barack Obama –
Dear Mr. President:
As a lover of the Earth and its natural resources, I am concerned about the way that Native Americans are being treated in North Dakota as they attempt to defend the sacred lands at Standing Rock and protest the Dakota Pipeline. These people are trying to protect our planet; not just for themselves, but for all of us. They recognize something that many of us are still attempting to understand – that we are intricately connected to this earth, and when it dies so do we.
Over the years I have learned much from the Indigenous Peoples of this nation. I have learned how to nurture this planet and how to form a relationship with it so that we can benefit from each other’s existence. I have learned how to sustain my life off the richness of its soil & the bounties of its waters. I have learned how to connect to my own inner spirit, and the spirit of all living beings.
As a Deaf person, many Native Americans have reminded me time and again that my deafness is actually a gift – that I have been blessed by the Great Spirit so that I might see things that others don’t, sense things that others can’t, and understand things that others might find incomprehensible. I have tried to keep this lesson close to me, and when I get depressed & discouraged – as I recently did during an difficult, intensive permaculture training course – it is tribal members who have supported me and comforted me, and given me the strength to continue.
I owe these people a great deal, and it is for this reason that my heart bleeds to see what is happening at Standing Rock. They are not merely trying to protect the land and its resources; they are also trying to protect the knowledge & wisdom that has been gained from hundreds, even thousands of years living so interconnected to that land.
Sadly, this is a knowledge of which we are growing increasingly ignorant & dispassionate. Big Business continues to strip away at those resources to fuel their own greed, and the Government continues to let them get away with it.
I am reminded of the line from a song written and performed by Charlie Murphy, a musician friend who recently passed away:
“We’ve got to love life enough to struggle.”
The Native Americans at Standing Rock love life enough that they are willing to struggle to maintain it – a life that demands that they protect and fight for those resources which sustain such.
I believe that like myself, you do care and you do understand the importance of treating the land with respect so that it lasts for centuries to come and is a place of wonder & beauty for our children.
Thus I ask you to please protect these people and the land that they are fighting for. Please use your power as our executive leader to stop the tension and violence that is happening in North Dakota and the abuse of our natural resources. Listen to these people, and use their knowledge to find solutions to allow us to utilize these resources in a respectful and sustainable manner.