Spreading the Word
As allies, we do not speak for the Indigenous people gathered at Standing Rock. We speak for ourselves. Native perspectives are often excluded, censored and silenced in settler society, so one of jobs as allies is to amplify and promote Native voices, refer media contacts to Native sources, share and promote Native writings, interviews, videos, art and other media. The story of this struggle is theirs to tell. We also need to center the reality that the Dakota Access Pipeline is part of a 524 year war on Native people that has been ongoing, and that although this fight is part of the struggle to save humanity as a whole from climate disaster, Indigenous liberation, sovereignty and survival are at the center.
How to Talk About #NODAPL: A Native Perspective by Kelly Hayes
This doesn't mean we can't speak. It means we speak as who we are, allies to the water protectors. We can tell our own stories--why we stand with Native people in defense of their lands and lives, how this struggle is connected to our own, our experiences as allies, what we've learned, what moves us, what outrages us--and we can call on our own communities to join us in taking action. We can also make sure Indigenous calls to action, requests and updates get forwarded widely.
Those of us who are artists can do all of this through our various art forms, being careful to create out of our own cultural roots and experiences, and not appropriate Native symbols, images, and rituals, or portray Indigenous people in stereotypical ways.