Frank Ponciano | Special to the San Jose Mercury News | Link to Article
As the nation watched the World Series this Fall, Native people were being mocked as Cleveland fans reduced them to a mascot. They continue being mistreated and ridiculed when they protest to defend their image and are told to be glad that they are being honored instead.
What’s worse, as the nation watched the World Series, Native people were being unjustly arrested and otherwise mistreated while protecting their sacred lands from people who care for nothing more than profits. Even today, groups of water protectors are being violently arrested and harassed in the face of peaceful protest.
The purpose of all this injustice: To clear the way for an outside company to build an oil pipeline that will put a sacred water supply in great risk.
We cannot continue to act as if these things are okay. We must join the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe water protectors in any way we can. But how could we help? There are actions we could take to address the injustice we see today:
One is to join the ranks of the water protectors as I will this Thanksgiving in representation of PACT and the larger San Jose community. Support is sorely needed at Standing Rock right now as private interests and law enforcement get more and more aggressive in the name of profits delayed.
Join me and many others from around the nation as we come together in this historic effort to once and for all take a stand for the rights of our Native family to protect our environment from the destructive path of Big Oil and other profit-driven interests.
If you cannot physically go to Standing Rock, another option is to consider contributing to the cause by sending in anything from winter coats and camping gear to kitchen cooking supplies like large pots, pans, utensils, plates, serving bowls, kitchen towels, aprons, propane burners and anything else you can come up with.
At the end of October, camps were raided by the National Guard and countless water protectors were scrambling to find ways to survive. Contact PACT at 408-998-8001 for more information on how you can contribute to the cause of protecting our environment and the rights of our fellow citizens in North Dakota. Donate to Standing Rock
Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. If we really believe that, it is time to stand for native people being oppressed right in our backyard, right now. Our Native brothers and sisters need us. We cannot let the centuries of oppression and disregard continue without notice. If we have truly the will to stand against injustice as a community, then it is imperative that we react differently to the same old oppression that has dogged our most vulnerable communities throughout our history.
It is a shame that in this familiar situation, the powers-that-be are not acting any differently than they did 200 years ago when they massacred and strong-armed entire Native communities in the name of monetary and geographic “expansion”.
Let’s think about this in the shadow of the recent World Series between the Cubs and that racist team — and realize that we may have paid more attention to the fate of a baseball team that paints people as caricatures than the fate of the people that it supposedly honors.
The clock is ticking on justice in America. So long as environmental causes stand a chance in places like North Dakota, we must fight to liberate our sisters and brothers from the oppression they’ve been facing. The time is now.