For months, protesters at North Dakota’s Standing Rock Indian Reservation have been demonstrating against the planned Dakota Access pipeline and dealing with mind-boggling, disgraceful violence from the authorities who are trying to remove them. The protests and the clashes are only growing bigger, and more and more people from the music world have been putting out statements in support of the protesters.
Last night, as Rolling Stone reports, Dave Matthews both organized and headlined a concert to raise money for the protesters’ resistance efforts at Washington, DC’s DAR Constitution Hall. Matthews performed with his longtime collaborator Tim Reynolds, and he shared the bill with Ledisi, Graham Nash, and Neko Case, who was backed up on guitar by former Archers Of Loaf/Crooked Fingers frontman Eric Bachmann. During Matthews’ headlining set, Case returned to the stage to join Matthews and Reynolds on a cover of the Daniel Lanois song “The Maker.” Watch fan-made video of that performance below.
Meanwhile, Neil Young, who recently joined the protests, and his girlfriend, the actress Daryl Hannah, have posted a long and impassioned joint statement on Facebook, reporting what he saw at the protests and calling on an end to the anti-protester violence: “We are calling upon you, President Barack Obama, to step in and end the violence against the peaceful water protectors at Standing Rock immediately.” Here’s what they’ve written:
Tales of a feast on Plymouth plantation in the Autumn of 1621, where of pilgrims from the Mayflower, celebrated the harvest, shared and broke bread with the first Americans are false. They are still used as inspiration and shared with children, teaching them the beauty of gratitude.
But it is now widely understood this Thanksgiving story is a fictional history. It was invented to whitewash the vicious genocide wrought upon the native inhabitants of this magnificent continent. Not only did the Europeans try to eradicate native populations, but they made every effort to eviscerate their culture, their language and eliminate them from these coveted lands.
From Plymouth Rock to Standing Rock, this lie has made our Thanksgiving Day a Day of Mourning for the First Nations, all the tribes big and small, those who came before us.
A few weeks ago we traveled to visit the Standing Rock Sioux In North Dakota. We arrived at this unprecedented historical gathering of over five hundred tribes and thousands of others standing on the front lines to protect water, to state the most basic human truth, to say water is life. Despite the painful history, today they fight peacefully for us all.
The camp grows as winter comes. Standing in protection of our most vital life support systems, but also for the rightful preservation of Native American cultural ways and their sovereignty. Everyone we talk with is committed to peaceful resistance. Weapons alcohol and drugs are forbidden there.
Standing together in prayer to protect water displays a deeply rooted awareness of life’s interconnected nature, and of the intrinsic value and import of traditional ways. This growing movement stems from love, it is the most human instinct to protect that which we love. An eager and engaged youth are at the core of this pipeline route resistance, learning from a population of elders who pass down unforgotten knowledge.
It is an awakening. All here together, with their non-native relatives, standing strong in the face of outrageous, unnecessary and violent aggression, on the part of militarized local and state law enforcement agencies and National Guard, who are seemingly acting to protect the interests of the Dakota Access Pipeline profiteers, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of tax-payer dollars, above all other expressed concerns. They stand against corporate security forces, the county sheriff and the National Guard. Standing while being hit with water cannons, mace, tear gas, rubber bullets. Standing without weapons and praying, the water protectors endure human rights abuses in sub freezing temperatures. Supplies arrive from all over as the social media universe shares the heartbreaking news to the world, that an American corporate media is not free to report. Thus, it is the ugliness of corporate America, seen around the world.
But they stand, their hair frozen from water cannons. They stand for all that is good and they stay strong.
We are calling upon you, President Barack Obama, to step in and end the violence against the peaceful water protectors at Standing Rock immediately.
We will be going back to support the water protectors again.
Let us all stand with them in thanks, in appreciation for the ancient wisdom they carry, In thanks for this opportunity for true gratitude.
For giving us a path forward.
For trying to show us a road to survival.
We offer our support and our respect. We hear the call to protect the water protectors to listen, learn and get engaged. They are brave. We thank them.
And we can give thanks for the bounty.
Like water on the garden of activism, America’s surprise president brings a bounty of opportunity. The great issues of our time are now brightly illuminated and people are becoming more aware of them than ever, from sea to shining sea, from Standing Rock to Wall Street.
The surprise president elect was not the winner of the popular vote, does not have a mandate for the change of ideals envisioned. Keep in mind, close to over two million more people voted for another candidate.
Nor is the surprise president the leader of the free world. Two hundred of the worlds nations believe in science, above the profits of the oil, gas and coal industries, and are committed to working together to protect the future from an unchecked climate crisis.
The surprise president claims he does believe in climate science nor the threats it presents and his actions and words reflect that claim in tangible and dangerous ways.
Do not be intimidated by the surprise presidents’ cabinet appointees as they descend the golden escalator. Those who behave in racist ways are not your leaders. The golden tower is not yours. The White House is your house.
Your growing activism in support of freedom over repression, addressing climate change, swiftly replacing a destructive old industries with safe, regenerative energy, encouraging wholistic thinking in balance with the future of our planet; that activism will strengthen and shed continued light on us all. These worthy goals must be met for the all the worlds children and theirs after them.
This is our moment for truth.
Unintimidated, stand, speak up and show up. Be counted. Be like our brothers and sisters at Standing Rock. Be there if you can. The progress we have made over two hundred and forty years as a nation, has always come first from the people
Neil & Daryl