At 5:30 pm we all straggled into the Boone County Fairgrounds, 15 miles from our Ames camp. Everyone seems to be limping a little. I discovered I had worn a hole in my shoe, which resulted in a blister! Fortunately we have Miriam, who plugged the hole, and will treat my blister in the morning. Several others also developed blisters. It was a rough day.
Storms are predicted for tonight and tomorrow so we are glad to be inside. The building we are in is actually the site where the Public Utilities Commission actually had a meeting for public comments about the Dakota Access Pipeline in November, 2015. Peter Clay spoke and Miriam Kashia attended. That was where Peter had his first contact with Native Americans, who came from South Dakota, who were fighting the pipeline.
I’ll try to get people’s names later, but before dinner, someone described how they went to the Bakken oil fields to see what tar sands oil looked like. He was able to obtain a couple of quarts of it, and found an independent lab to analyze it. As expected it was full of toxic chemicals. I don’t have a report of what they were, yet. He did find that the tar sands product became suspended in water, so spill can not be cleanup up simply by skimming it off the top of the water.
Someone else talked about the damage to the fields done by the pipeline construction. Heavy treaded vehicles traveled over the fields in wet weather, compacting the soil. Where the pipeline was laid, the rich top soil was scraped off. It was supposed to be saved to put pack in place, but wasn’t. The clay layer was dug up, then a mixture of the topsoil and clay filled in the trench. The clay disrupts the flow of water and nutrients to the topsoil/clay mixture. It is a common site to see ponds of water over areas of the pipeline because of nonporous clay layer.
Dinner that included buffalo meat and fry bread followed. Looking around the table I thought it would be nice if this was a “real” Thanksgiving dinner. Someone said, we call it Thanks-taking.
Despite the length of this segment, it was the best so far. We have a smaller group, and individuals are spending more time sharing their stories with each other. But it is 10:45 and lights have been out for a while, so I’ll have to wait to tell most of them.
I continue to enjoy talking about photography and many other things with Matthew Lone Bear. He is a single father with four children. His brother lives with him, and cares for the kids when Matt is gone. He says the kids take his brother’s phone to text him. Today one of them said, “what are you doing, Daddy?” When we were taking a break, I asked if anyone was sitting the. He said, “you are, buddy.”
Tim Dwight walked with us today. He used to play with the New England Patriots. Now he works in solar energy. I learned a lot about how he can work with communities to build solar energy systems. There could be an opportunity to build solar installations that could supply electricity to several towns. We might be able to develop a solar system for Earlham, people in the Bear Creek area, and some surrounding town. He is going to talk more about that for the whole group tomorrow or the next night.
I’m guessing a number of you from the Bear Creek area would recognize the name Gary Clague, who grew up in Earlham. He knows the Knights and others.
We crossed the pipeline again, and had another ceremony there. Donnielle gave the prayer, and then was overcome with emotion. Being near the pipeline stirs up emotions.
I spent a lot of time visiting Foxy Jackson (Chichimeca). She said a lot that I would like to share with you when I have more time. I was also able to talk with Alton Onefeather. I learn a lot from talking with him, including that he and Foxy will be getting married in a couple of weeks.
Now its 11:15, so I’ll end for now. Some more photos from today follow. To see all of the photos of the march, click here: https://1drv.ms/f/s!Avb9bFhezZpPiaxruSxvL0I7XbA6Qg