A Memorable Evening of Food, Dancing, Music, and Stories
If you’re in Salt Lake City, join Peaceful Uprising on May 31 for a dinner party fundraiser for our Lakota friends with Owe Aku (“Bring Back the Way”), the group that’s organizing to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from coming through sacred Lakota land. There’ll be a delicious vegetarian and vegan dinner, dessert, poetry, music, dancing, a silent auction of skills offered by your fellow community members, and stories about their fight.
If you know anything about the cross-regional fight to stop the Keystone XL, you know we’re doing this in the spirit of solidarity, not charity. Our allies with Owe Aku are protecting not only their sacred waters and land, but a liveable future for all. Those of us with more resources owe them support and solidarity for standing boldly on the frontlines of a fight that will determine our collective future.
Tickets are $20–$75, sliding scale. Please give what you can to this important cause! Use the button below to donate and reserve your spot(s):
Wasatch Commons, a co-housing community in Salt Lake City. It’s just off Redwood Road, at 1411 S. Utah Street. If driving west down 1330 S, turn left on Utah St. and make a left into the parking lot. If you reach Redwood Road, you’ve gone too far. If driving north on Redwood Road, just make a right on California Ave (1330 S), a right onto Utah St., and a left into the Wasatch Commons parking lot.
We’ll serve dinner and dessert from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Starting at 7:30, we’ll have poetry and speakers sharing stories from their visits to the Pine Ridge Reservation. Afterward, there will be music and dancing. Stay as long as you want, or just come for dinner!
What’s happening on Lakota land?
Owe Aku is refusing to let the Keystone XL pipeline pass through their sacred waters that the Lakota depend on for life, the Ogallala Aquifer. One of the largest freshwater aquifers in the world, it provides water to people and agriculture throughout the central U.S. When tar sands pipelines leak—which is pretty much inevitable, because tar sands oil is extremely corrosive—they make rivers and aquifers toxic. The inevitable accidents that would happen over this vital water supply mean the Keystone XL would threaten the survival of millions of people, including the Lakota.
Furthermore, NASA climate scientist James Hansen has famously deemed the Keystone XL “the largest carbon bomb on the planet,” meaning that if it goes through, we’d lose all hope of averting catastrophic climate change.
Additionally, the presence of “man camps” for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline—worker camps where lots of young, transient men live, neighboring small rural towns—bring epic social problems. The men often use drugs to stay awake for the long work shifts, and abuse alcohol and drugs on their off days, leading to abuse of women and other serious social problems. A man camp near the Rosebud reservation, which would likely be one of the first problems the Keystone XL causes for the Lakota, would put women and girls on the reservation in serious danger. Groups like the Brave Heart Society are speaking out against construction of these man camps and the pipeline. Indigenous women and girls are already at serious risk of exploitation. They are 2.5 more times likely to be raped than white women, and most of the perpetrators—who almost never face any prosecution—are white. An article in Indian Country Today says, “TransCanada plans to house pipeline construction workers in three rural man-camps located close to reservations in South Dakota. Each camp will house approximately 1,000 workers.” The threat this would pose to indigenous women and girls in the area would be severe.
Meanwhile, the Lakota face many other forms of oppression, like the alcoholism perpetuated by the so-called town of White Clay, which lies just outside the Pine Ridge Reservation. Consisting only of a series of bar and liquor stores, it enforces a liquid genocide on the Lakota people. Lakota organizers who are preparing to fight the Keystone XL pipeline have also been engaging in a great deal of resistance against White Clay. As we’ve written before, to work toward climate justice, we must recognize that we are not dealing with single-issue fights but a web of oppressions that all impact a community’s ability to fight any one source of injustice.
What are our Lakota friends doing about it?
Owe Aku has been organizing regular direct action trainings called Moccasins on the Ground to prepare for the fight to stop the Keystone XL. Peaceful Uprising is answering the call for solidarity from Owe Aku by organizing this event to support and raise funds for the Lakota water protectors of Owe Aku. The funds will go toward crucial supplies, food, local travel, and other vital aspects of an ongoing direct action campaign. Climate justice means supporting those on the frontlines of the fight, and this is our chance to do that.
The Oglala Sioux Nation and the grassroots groups Owe Aku and Protect the Sacred, together with Honor the Earth, have released a statement saying they will never let a tar sands pipeline cross sacred Lakota lands and waters. In a press release for it, Owe Aku states, “We are in a time of prophecy, our collective action will be significant, with all the love in our hearts, we must all resist this destruction, and stand for sacred water and Unci Maka.”
So join us for a fabulous meal as well as a memorable evening of poetry, music, and dancing. Stay to dance and mingle, or just come for dinner! Either way, we look forward to sharing an amazing evening with you.