Standing Rock Solidarity

Dear Barkers,

Yesterday all seven armed militants who illegally occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge were acquitted.

In January the defendants, seven of a group of 26 armed militants, led a month-long armed occupation of a federal building, desecrated Indigenous sacred sites, and damaged one of our country’s most important bird refuges. Today they walk free.

We’re not surprised and neither should you be.

The charges against the defendants barely represented the havoc they caused and when the “patriots” walked into custody they brought demands for how they expected to be treated throughout the court case. This is not about a blind jury’s deference to the law; the cards were stacked in their favor from the beginning.

The news of their acquittal came as we witnessed the images of peaceful water protectors at Standing Rock under attack by police from four states armed with military-grade equipment.

Yet in January in Southeast Oregon as heavily-armed white militants proudly posed for pictures there was no line of military police, no use of mace, sound canons, attack dogs, MRAPs or other weapons moved from overseas war zones to local police units.

As a white American, I cannot in my lifetime unravel all the threads that keep me protected from the root injustices that occur everyday in this society. But, I see this moment of hypocrisy as yet another tool and another personal challenge to dismantle the racist fabric that lays over every inch of this land.

Perhaps like you, Bark is a group of people that I turn toward to defend the places I love the most. We are connected to all of the other campaigns for justice and protection of our land and water. Every action we take must be in solidarity with the systemic change that is integral to our future.

I would like to invite you to join me in taking these four actions in the coming days:

  • Send Money. I’m sure you’ve heard it from a lot of different places, but it cannot be overstated. The lives of the water protectors at Standing Rock have been changed forever and your support will help them continue to build this historical moment.
  • Be Accountable. If you aren’t sure you understand things like treaty rights, Indigenous sovereignty, or colonial tyranny, start reading and asking for help to learn more. Here’s a good starting point.
  • Join a Solidarity Action. Show up. If you can’t go to Standing Rock and you can’t make it to a local action taking place, make your own solidarity action by talking to your friends, neighbors, and coworkers about this historical moment.
  • Share Indigenous Media. One of the best ways we all can support an Indigenous-led movement is by reading and sharing Indigenous-led media reporting on Standing Rock and the many other campaigns to resist the wreckage of the earth.

In solidarity,
Amy Harwood in forest

Amy Harwood
Barker For Life, Board Member, former Interim Executive Director