I imagine many non-native people would like to know how to engage with Indigenous peoples for a variety of reasons. Even as a teenager I wanted to know more about cultures that lived with what I call environmental integrity. Fifty years ago, when I decided I could not own a car, it was a lonely place. I had no success at all in convincing others to give up cars. Worse, I couldn’t get anyone to even agree it was an important idea.
But what little I did learn about native cultures showed peoples who lived with far more integrity than I was able to. When I first became engaged with fossil fuel and pipeline resistance in 2013, I began to hear stories of Indigenous peoples working to protect the water. Then the Cowboy-Indian Alliance came together to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. I was honored to be given this poster from the Harvest the Hope concert in 2014.
Then I had an amazing opportunity to learn from and become friends with a number of native people as we walked and camped along the route of the Dakota Access pipeline together in 2018. Over eight days and ninety-four miles we shared our stories with each other and built a community that would work together on various issues after the march, the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March. https://firstnationfarmer.com/
There are appropriate and inappropriate ways for non-native people to engage with native people. It is best for non-native people to wait to be invited into the work of Indigenous peoples. The point of this article is to let people know about such an invitation, in this case from my friends at the Great Plains Action Society (GPAS). Yesterday I wrote Your Invitation to become an ally. New Year, New Iowa is an invitation to non-native people to join in the work of GPAS.
I hope you will engage in the open letter campaign, to bring attention to matters of concern to Indigenous, as well as non-native people to those who have the responsibility to make change. Besides supporting Great Plains’ work, you will learn about Indigenous views of their concerns. Yesterday’s post described the New Year, New Iowa open letter campaign. https://www.greatplainsaction.org/newyearnewiowa
We need to stand strong together to create the change that so desperately needs to happen. This Open Letter Campaign is a means for us to unite our voices to call for change. You are welcome to use the words we share, or to express your own. If all you have it in you to do is share an article or use a hashtag, every little bit helps. If you have letters of your own you’d wish to share with us, we’d love to hear from you! Again, we look forward to putting our voices together with you, to call for the New Year/New Iowa we so desperately need. Thank you.https://www.greatplainsaction.org/newyearnewiowa