The other day, I posted a little note, kind of a riff on a t-shirt that was being advertised on social media. I can’t find it now, but if I do I’ll give credit. My post said “Be persistent like Hazel, frank like Billy, inquisitive like Vine, smart like Winona, fierce like Hank….” Hazel Wolf, Billy Frank Jr., Vine Deloria Jr., Winona LaDuke and Hank Adams. These are the people whose lives inspire me when I get knocked off the path. I look to their stories and their examples because they survived seemingly insurmountable challenges and changed the world, changed people’s lives.
I don’t have to look very far, though, to find inspiration these days. Not everything that has happened this week has been bad.
For me, the lessons have been plentiful. My ability to really hear people has been increased (that will still need development). I have observed how the community comes together in ebb and flood tides. I have ‘met’ and ‘seen’ people I never would have had the opportunity to meet before. I have learned to trust my instinct when I sense someone’s ‘fishing’ with less than good intentions. I have learned, again, how to be humble and open and not react with those words that come with slings and arrows. And I have been convicted in my heart. Convicted to build more bridges and to be more open about the social inequities that exist in our community. I see through different eyes, and I am committed to being a better neighbor.
The women’s prayer march was a huge catalyst for solidarity in this city, I think. That kind of power evades those who oppose the fight for what is right. That power comes from the heart, so they don’t know what to do when people – especially women – bring their whole hearts into the game. This I know to be true. Not to disrespect our brothers….their hearts are fierce as well, but the power that we women hold is life-giving and undefeatable. Organized and led by Indigenous women, so many people came to walk with them, in prayer, in defense of the land, the water, the salmon and in search of a truly egalitarian government. Government representatives took the coward’s way.
The infiltration and accusations this last week are intentional and somewhat strategic for those who support the development of fossil fuel projects. These are people who have been gleaning from the knowledge in the group, not in an effort to understand, but to strategize. To appropriate the knowledge and twist it to their favor. They will take the information we have provided – which is based in fact and truth – and they are going to be building a new green-wash campaign. Watch. It will come.
While we are busy growing and learning about what words really mean in our community, they are likely busy devising a plan to create words with the intent of deceiving in the hopes of winning an election, and with that win, the right to destroy what’s left of our precious lands. If the lands and the waters die, what will we have to leave to our children, our children’s children.
We need to keep doing the work of healing and building the bridge between meaning and understanding. At the same time, if we can, those of us who can, need to be building a bridge that puts us ahead of the greenwash that’s coming. It will come in as a rip tide. If we aren’t prepared for it, and we could get trapped and beaten by it. Be prepared.
This work takes many hands. I know it’s wearying. I know that it’s disheartening at times….but keep telling the truth, keep doing the work, keep fighting the fight. Keep your composure and know that truth is the strongest foundation, which cannot be destroyed.
So, to all those out there who are lurking, churning, scavenging and scheming. We’re Squatching you.
And to those of you who are still in it for the best reasons, to leave a good legacy for future generations to live in a good, honest way, Kitchsabe is with you!