Readers of this blog are familiar with me sharing my experiences on the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March. Participating on the March was one of the most significant things I’ve done in my life for a number of reasons, which are explained in the many blog posts I’ve written over the years since then (September 2018).
I recently began to put all those blog posts, photos and videos in one place on the Internet, to create a kind of library, which is now available at this web address:
The main menu consists of a Table of Contents of all the blog posts, a Marchers link to the photo and biographies of the Marchers, the Blog link is a way to scroll through the blog posts, and the Videos and Photo Galleries have their own sections.
There are links on the Home page to the three sections below. The March and Multimedia (videos and photo galleries) sections are complete.
There is a photo gallery for each day of the March. The photos occur in sequence, so you can visually/virtually walk with us. There are a number of different videos from different videographers.
The Next Steps section is what I am work on “Next” which is about what we have done since the March.
One of the reasons I’ve continued to write about the March since then is because the intention of the March was to create a community of native and nonnative people who got to know each other by sharing the physically demanding 94 mile walk from Des Moines to Fort Dodge, Iowa, along the path of the Dakota Access pipeline. Who had the unique opportunity of sharing our stories with each other, allowing us to get to know each other and begin to trust each other. It is because I am a firm believer in the importance of sharing our stories with each other, that I put the following quotations on the home page.
There were a number of obstacles we needed to confront in order to build that trust. There is the whole history of the White settlers colonizing the land known as the United States. While the vast majority of White people believe that colonization is a thing relegated to the past, I came to understand that trauma is inter-generational, described as an “open wound” in native communities even now.
As a Quaker, some of my ancestors were involved in the Indian residential/boarding schools. I spent some time in preparation for the March learning about those schools. One of the most powerful, and “scary” things for me on the March were times I brought up the subject, to discuss that history during the March. I am profoundly grateful my new friends shared their stories related to those schools with me. Each told me how that trauma affected their relatives and affects them even now.
I’m very glad a number of us have been able to work together on issues of shared concern since the March. I’ll be working on writing about those stories.
The following press release explains what the March was about.
March unites Indigenous people, farmers, others in support of precedent-setting lawsuit.
In an attempt to stop the flow of oil through the Dakota Access Pipeline in Iowa, Jeff Kisling of Indianola, will be one of nearly 50 Iowans and friends of Iowa marching from Des Moines to Fort Dodge, September 1-8, to bring awareness to the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit scheduled to be heard by the Iowa Supreme Court on September 12.
The 90-mile First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March, organized by Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa, unites Native people, farmers, environmentalists and other concerned individuals from a variety of backgrounds to highlight the historical and far-reaching implications of the lawsuit.
The lawsuit, brought by nine landowners and the Iowa Sierra Club, alleges the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) illegally granted eminent domain to install the Dakota Access Pipeline, which carries up to 500,000 barrels per day of toxic crude oil through the state.
“I’m marching because eminent domain was not used as intended and forced this pipeline through farms of Iowans who did not want it,” said Kisling. “And it is important to keep fossil fuel in the ground if we are going to have a chance of protecting our environment, so the pipeline isn’t needed.”
The March kicks off Saturday, September 1, at 9:00 a.m. with a press conference at the IUB’s office at 1375 E. Court Ave, in Des Moines. With overnight stops in Ankeny, Huxley, Ames, Boone, Pilot Mound, Dayton, and Otho, the March will finish in Fort Dodge on Saturday, September 8, with a rally and celebration at City Square Park, 424 Central Ave, at 1:30 p.m.
The March will be a self-contained community, with participants camping on farms or in parks each night. The March has its own “bathroom trailer,” complete with environmentally-friendly commodes and solar showers. Marchers will use a solar collector for much of their power needs. The “Veggie Thumper” bus will provide food, much of it purchased from Red Earth Farms at the Meskwaki settlement. Each evening, there will be a community dialogue facilitated by a Native American leader and an Iowa farmer.
Following are sections of the First Nation-Farmer Unity website.