community of responsibilities and interests.
Yesterday was the most significant event of my – and our – life.
Yesterday was the Tar Sands Blockade, a bicoastal march against the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, tar sands extraction operations and the future of the oil industry.
After a lovely early afternoon showing Ajala around Olvera Street, I joined the throngs of people. A thousand or more, ages 1-100, homeless and bourgeoise, all races, from all walks of life, bearing handmade signs with slogans like:
MY SON HATES THE PIPELINE
MR PRESIDENT TAKE A STAND, NO PIPELINE ON OUR LAND
I waded my way to the front lines, and found myself behind – would you believe it – the very people I am representing in the Founding Families project. The Tongva/Gabrieliño/Kizh people. Out of the 1000+ people there, about 1/4 were of Indigenous affiliation. Sioux, Apache, Tongva, Chickasaw, Muskogee, and more – even a displaced Kurdish man from Iran. And I found myself marching just behind them, with them, my heart pounding to their skin drums, my throat vibrating with their songs, my body swathed in clouds of sage smoke from the abalone shells they carried.
We marched 5 blocks from Olvera St to City Hall, and stood for 4 hours in the street listening to an incredible array of speakers, artists and activists speak on the effects of climate change, singing prayers and calling out to the people and the government, Obama, to do the right thing and stop the building of the pipeline and the continuation of oil dependency and climate destruction.
The protest culminated in the largest Round Dance ever – imagine 1000 people joining hands and stamping in a spiral around a drum circle!
And then these indigenous spiritual leaders joined together to sign the International Indigenous Treaty to Protect the Sacred against Tar Sands Projects, to be mailed to President Obama, along with the letter that has 1000+ signatures, asking him to protect our climate and our future.
I spoke with these leaders – they thanked me for my energy, told me that I have a native heart.
“We are all native,” said Uncle Danny.
SPEAKERS, PERFORMERS AND ORGANIZATIONS THAT MADE UP THE LA TAR SANDS BLOCKADE:
- Ed Begley Jr., Master of Ceremonies
- Congressman Henry A. Waxman (CA-33)
- Council Member José Huizar, 14th City Council District of Los Angeles
- Chief Phil Lane Jr., The Four Worlds International Institute
- Opening Prayer by Morning Star Foundation Indigenous Grandmother’s Council with the Humming Bird Drum – Intertribal Women’s Native Drum.
- Gloria Arellanes, Tongva Tribe – Elder/Wisdom Keeper, Grandmother’s Council
- Rachelle Figueroa, Clan Mother of the Yamassee Muskogee Tribe
- Dr. Josh Fischer, Climate Scientist
- Jack Eidt, Tar Sands Action SoCal & Wilder Utopia
- Aura Vasquez, Sierra Club Organizing Representative
- Brenna Norton, Food & Water Watch
- Torgen Johnson, San Onofre Safety
- Jordan Howard, Youth Sustainability Educator
- Rabbi Jonathan D. Klein, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice
- Finian Makepeace from The Makepeace Brothers, Singer/Songwriter
- Miranda Rondeau devotional singer, frame drum artist
- The Billionaires, a culture jamming political street theater organization
- Matt Sedillo, Grand Slam Poet
- Aja Janea, Poet/Songwriter/Activist
Tar Sands Action Southern California
Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign
Coalition Against Nukes LA
Food and Water Watch
Burbank Green Alliance
Citizens Climate Lobby
Long Beach Coalition for a Safe Environment
LA Green Festival