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Standing Rock: A Personal Account

Nov 20, 16
Araquel Bloss
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My time here at Standing Rock is coming to an end. Though I was here to support our indigenous relatives fighting #NoDAPL, the gifts I received were far greater than anything I had to offer. What they say is indeed true, if you are truly receptive, you leave Standing Rock a changed person.

The first day, I attended a Veteran’s March which took us to the bridge, the now infamous spot of burnt out vehicles, armored police vehicles, and militarized police in combat gear. The ceremony at the bridge was powerful, with the spreading of the ashes of a recently deceased native veteran, a ten-gun salute, and a prayer ceremony. As I tippy-toed to see above the crowd, past the people and horses, I see in the distance the police, standing at attention, holding their hats to their hearts during the playing of Taps. This began the tears.

The drum they played had to be carried by a group of men, walking together, the sound resonated widely but also, deeply. The entrance back into camp, had a spot for cleansing with an aluminum can with sage burning. For what we all carried with us into the camp from far and wide around this country, there did not seem to be enough sage.

After the March, I attended another veteran ceremony and stood in line to shake hands with every veteran. And then, to the communal kitchen, to watch how a community pitches in to feed all the people, and ate breakfast in the army-style mess hall with humongous pots of home-cooked offerings from donated produce and food.

From there, I walked behind the camp to the Cannonball River where it came to me to observe 24-hours of silence, spend less time talking and debating, more time listening and being present, which I did.

The next day, I attended a direct action against #NoDAPL. My locked-arms line of protectors were to keep closed the DAPL parking lots which appeared unused on a Saturday while the other water protectors blocked the road and protected a medicine circle ceremony. As it turned out, the police took a back way into the parking lot where we were blocking and I suddenly found myself in the middle of the front line. Provided safety gear in case of macing, ear plugs in case of sound bombs, we agreed to hold the line after the “unarrestables” left the line for safer places. An elder walked down our line with sage and prayers for our protection. There, in the silence provided by the ear plugs, the helicopter circling above was just a low hum, and along with others, I stood facing the militarized police not knowing if they’d approach, who might be hurt or arrested; just not knowing. We held a banner which read “Water is Life”, kept our arms locked tight, we kept one foot slightly in front of the other for balance in case of attack and then….we waited. But these events feel like you are looking into yourself, your greatest fears, and deciding what is truly worth the risk.

The ceremony up the dirt road was able to be completed with the police standing down and we were able to proceed behind the ceremonial group as we marched back down the road to safety.

Later in the evening, I walked the camp to finally take some pictures, reflect on my experience, when I found myself behind Neil Young who started walking with his guitar and harmonica playing for the camp. A group of us walked with him as he played, his humble presence and song was another form of sage.

The end of my evening was spent at our campfire with the great (to the 8th) grandson of Crazy Horse as he told us the many tribal prophesies which have come to pass at Standing Rock.

I am leaving Standing Rock but it won’t leave me. If you can go, go – it’s the spot where what we could have been meets who we have become and the battle lines test which side you belong.

I learned we live on Turtle Island and tribal prophesies tell us, the possibility of a tomorrow is being fought by us here today.

Araquel Bloss

Climate Change: Not a Conspiracy

Aug 17, 16
Araquel Bloss
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Climate change is not a conspiracy. We need water to live right? Everyone can agree humans need water. Life as we know it couldn’t survive without water. So if you submerge a person in a tub of water and shut the lid, they should be super extra alive then, right??? No. No they would die. You know that, we all know that. That’s easy to understand.
So, carbon. We also need carbon, maybe even a little more than water. Carbon is the primary element upon which life is built. Its unique ability to pair with so many different elements in so many ways is paramount to the survival and diversity of life. So throwing lots of carbon into the air should be good, right? Wrong. Just like the water example, too much of it in the wrong place is lethal. LETHAL to humans and many other types of life. Can a human person survive breathing his or her own air? If you seal (air tight) a bag over your head, and breathe in and out, with nothing coming in from the outside, what will happen? You lose consciousness. Why do you lose consciousness? You breathe in a mix of gasses mostly comprised of nitrogen and oxygen, (mostly) but you breathe out carbon dioxide (which is obviously also in the air in significant amounts because, duh, 7 billion humans, plus everything else that exhales CO2). However, when you keep breathing it in (just the air you exhale, nothing else), you exhaust your lungs’ ability to extract the oxygen your blood needs to keep your brain active because it all gets paired up with carbon.

But isn’t carbon dioxide vital to life, too? Yes. Trees and other oxygen producing plants ‘breathe’ it in and exhale the oxygen that creates the life sustaining balance we all experience every day. This is why people want to ‘save the rain forests!’ and other forests across the world. They ‘breathe in’ our ‘dirty’ air and clean it. Like a filtration system, which most water filtration systems rely on carbon, too. But too much of it in the wrong proportions or forms means certain death for us. It’s not difficult to understand. Many of these experiments can be done with little effort. If you don’t believe it, get together as a community and preform some of your own experiments to find the truth.

Question everything, by all means, but if you’re prepared to question it, you must also be prepared to find the answer.

Katherine A. Miller

American Privilege

Aug 06, 16
Araquel Bloss
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There is every indication WikiLeaks, possibly in conjunction with Snowden, will be dropping something very big today. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is set to be interviewed via live steam today at the Green Party Convention. We will wait and see…

But as mass media has not given us true national investigative journalism probably since 9/11, the public isn’t truly prepared for what might be revealed today or as time goes on. Sadly, we’ve had to count on these outside sources to reveal the truth of our government and other corrupt political entities as our own systems of checks and balances have been corrupted to the point of dysfunction.

What we, as a country, are facing is something I’d like to term American privilege – the blind spots in our perception which prevent us from seeing our country in its true light. For instance, we are no longer a democracy. Pretty big deal, right? But where is the outrage?

The strong sense of nationalism instilled in us from a very young age has created a strong collective denial, even when history shows us otherwise or proof is directly before us, our blind spots prevent us from acknowledging what our country has become and demanding accountability of our elected officials.

This is where we are and before it’s over, we will need a country full of activists. It’ll no longer be acceptable to be apathetic in your community, only voting once every 4 years, and leaving the rest of “governing” up to a minor few. We have taken our democracy and our liberties for granted and as such, we are losing them, not just for ourselves, but for generations to come.

This is not a “progressive” issue. Not a Bernie Sanders issue. Not a Hillary Clinton issue. Nor Trump.

This is an “us” issue. From small Midwestern towns to our great cities, from our desert lands to our mountain ranges, we do have so much to be proud of, and have every single reason to fight for what’s right about our country and every single reason to defeat what’s wrong. But this “us” is not just “me” but requires millions of “you”s to fight for what’s right, too.

Whatever may be revealed by WikiLeaks today or beyond, please take personal time to work through your American Pride and Privilege, challenge your natural bias to defend our country and her leaders regardless of facts. Our denial no longer serves us.

We are on the crux of a vital political revolution, an #‎UsNotMe revolution. But this is not doom and gloom; just as the morning light always appears the brightest where it meets the night, I believe our political revolution will inspire the next great American Revitalization. And this will indeed be something we will all be proud of…and rightfully so.

We are the 99%. Join us to continue the political revolution.

Araquel Bloss, Founder PIP

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