I have been pondering Dave Archambault’s reasons for urging the Oceti Sakowin campers to leave camp. He’s been doing it since September that I know of.
Not knowing him, I wonder why he was urging people to leave…
…was it because they were straining resources?
…was he worried about them surviving the harsh winter?
…was he getting something out of it, personally?
Here’s what I have concluded:
1. Resources —
When I left camp in late October, there was $1.2 million in the Standing Rock bank account. Generous folks (thank you) had poured money into what they thought would be going to the campers. At that point in time, it had not.
The Standing Rock tribe had stated they were keeping the money for “legal fees”.
Then a member of the council came to a public meeting and stated they were not giving the money to the Oceti Sakowin camp because of the misdeeds by a few. This reminded me of the teachers who used to punish an entire class because of one acting up. Inevitably, it would be a popular kid who did the misdeed, but a poor kid with torn or dirty clothes, unkempt appearance would be punished. This irritated me to no end. To me, it was just an excuse.
If I had been in charge, I would tell the greedy lawyers “You have $500k. That’s it. If you’re not willing to sacrifice a little for the tribe, the Earth, and all that inhabit the Earth, there’s the door…”
Of course, the other $700k would have gone to Oceti Sakowin, with strings attached…as in, the money had to be spent broadly for everyone’s benefit, not just a few. This is the Lakota belief system.
2. Surviving the harsh winter–
Perhaps Archambault feels responsible for the welfare of those in camp during the harsh winter. I highly doubt it because of holding the funds so they could not prepare for winter. They continually made excuses as I noted above.
If this is the case, Archambault needs to let go of his ego, because this is not about him.
People are there because this is a magical moment of rediscovery and trying to live in a sustainable way with Mother Earth. Coming together in camp and living as the ancestors lived is powerful. Very, very powerful. Why would Archambault want to interfere with that?
If people are there, they are brave and courageous and the Lakota saying “This is a good day to die” means living as God intends, and if it means death, they accept that with pride. Another part of the Lakota belief is facing one’s fears, because in facing one’s fears, you realize your strength and you are less likely to be susceptible to the Dark side, which uses fear to pull people away from God and follow the wrong path.
3. Was he getting something out of it, personally?
–This I don’t know, but it would not be the first time I have read of Native folk whom have done the bidding of white folks. (Sitting Bull’s and Crazy Horse’s murders by their own comes to mind).
This morning, the radio broadcaster stated that Archambault has pretty much succeeded in getting the campers from Oceti Sakowin to leave — the numbers are down to 300. He stated that he supports energy, just “not on our backs”.
This is as bad as white folks saying “not in my back yard” — while allowing others (usually poor folks)to be subjected to radioactive, heavy metal (coal), and chemical poisoning via manufacturers, coal plants, and nuclear plants. This doesn’t include the chemical poisoning of all via Big Pharma and food manufacturers…and of course, oil polluted water.
Archambault’s statement also causes me concern because the traditional Lakota do not want the oil to come out of the Earth AT ALL. They see it as raping the Earth.
So for Archambault to make this statement that he believes in energy, is actually against the traditional view that Mother Earth is sacred. That is why I question whether he is benefiting personally from this. Again, I don’t know this for a fact — it’s just a hunch.
I just know that Standing Rock tribe was not supportive of Oceti Sakowin. That is why I put up the website with the address specifically for Oceti Sakowin, so generous folks who were giving donations would know that their money was going towards those dedicated to see this through…even if it meant giving their lives.
The thing is, if bodies are there, holding ground in Oceti Sakowin, it is a stand against Big Oil. Why would Archambault want to give up that powerful presence…?