Filed under: Action, Anarchist Movement, Environment, Southeast
A message from Philip who is involved in one of the tree sits outside of Elliston, VA, which is actively blocking the Mountain Valley Pipeline, (MVP). The statement marks 200 day of active resistance to the pipeline.
These sits have now been up for an incredible 200 days.
In those 200 days the Tarpington Municipal Library has expanded from a half dozen books at the bottom of a tote to a motley assortment of books sprawled across a bookshelf, several crates, both tree sits, and at least one car. If I remember one thing from my time here it will certainly be the books I read.
The most recent book I finished was “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” and I consider it one of the most important books I’ve read here or anywhere. The book is about the history of the so-called United States, specifically the West, and how its indigenous people were exterminated. It’s the story of how the stars and stripes stole its last handful of stars- the story of the genocidal conquest of this land.
Of course, the story is incomplete. The book covers the years 1850 to 1890. During that time each western tribe experienced similar cycles of violence: native nations encounter and conduct friendly exchanges with settlers, colonizers discover resources and send in the army to protect the surge of new settlers, certain native people sign a treaty and retreat from some of their land, settlement continues in violation of the treaty, settlers force native people nearly out of their land and armed resistance to settlement ensues, the army wins through force of arms and mass killing of wild game, native people surrender on the brink of starvation and are forced to live on a small patch of barren land and depend on meager government rations.
Through this arc, entire civilizations were wiped out (or nearly so), including their language, religion, history, and culture. As someone fascinated with history, this kind of total obliteration is particularly upsetting. Imagine if all of French civilization was wiped out and forgotten entirely. Now imagine that loss repeated dozens of times. That is how this country came to be.
The book may end at the turn of the century, but the obliteration continued. Settlers were not content to have broken and destroyed native civilization. They went on to attempt to erase native culture as well. In the next decades native children were kidnapped from their parents and forced to attend Christian boarding schools where they were coerced into new names, new religions, new haircuts, and new outfits. Settlers would allow a few native people to exist, so long as they assimilated and stopped being native. Thus one of the most ambitious genocide projects in world history would continue.
Amazingly, native people continued to fight back. The American Indian Movement arose and boldly occupied Wounded Knee, the site of one of the government’s most famous massacres. In response the Federal Marshals, the National Guard, and the FBI were sent in. A standoff ensued, and more native blood was spilled.
Today, the remaining scraps of land left to native people are being stolen and poisoned by the latest form of extraction: fossil fuel pipelines. The story of Standing Rock is the same story that has been told all across Turtle Island since 1492, the same story that is still being told now.
We at this blockade may be seen as radicals. We know that. In response I can only say that knowing the history of this country leaves me no other choice. When this country has done justice to all native people, to all people descended from slaves, and to all its victims here and abroad then I will consider being proud to be an American.
Until then fuck the USA, fuck settler colonialism, and fuck the MVP.
To support ongoing indigenous resistance to extraction, consider donating to:
Unist’ot’en Camp- https://unistoten.camp/support-us/donate/
Black Mesa Indigenous Support- https://supportblackmesa.org/donate/
**We encourage people to learn the indigenous history of the land they are on and support local indigenous struggles
To support continued resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline visit: