I have just returned from a horror filled conflict in South Sudan
to an escalating conflict in North Dakota. I take heart knowing that you stand
in support of NP and our work to protect people from the devastating effects of
armed conflict whether it takes place across the globe or here in the U.S.
I’m reaching out to you because you
have provided the financial support for NP to have a presence at Standing Rock.
I need your help right now to send a message of nonviolence to authorities at
The clearance of Oceti Sakowin camp
at Standing Rock is set to begin at 2:00 pm central time this afternoon.
Please call North Dakota Governor
Doug Burgum, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeirer and the Army Corps of
Engineers to insist that law enforcement remain nonviolent, follow due
process during arrests and treat all water protectors with the dignity they
Governor Doug Burgum: 701-328-2200
Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeirer: 701-667-3330
Army Corps of Engineers: 202-761-8700
Take a few minutes to call them now. The more attention we can focus, the less
likely the violence.
The situation is highly volatile.
Tensions are high and many people are fearful that that evacuation could become
Thiago and Martha, NP staff on the
ground, will accompany the community protection teamthey have trained and
supported to the blockade outside the camp where they will monitor and provide
a protective presence. It is significant
that the team is leading the action.
They will continue their protective presence and accompaniment as people
are bused to Bismarck and to the county courthouse in Mandan. The community protectors will be present in
coming days to monitor and deter violence.
This weekend, NP will train
additional people to join the community protection team. In early March our team will convene
multi-faith religious leaders to discuss their ongoing role in reconciliation.
The dramatic events of this week
reveal deeper reservoirs of hatred, fear, trauma and racism. We are helping prepare the community
protectors to create space for long-term dialogue, truth telling and healing. We have seen this approach work in places
like Mindanao and Sri Lanka. It can
happen in North Dakota as well. Long
after the water protectors, armed forces and NP leave, the local people will continue
to live together as a community.
Standing Rock is an early battle in
growing conflicts around the world over water and energy extraction. Fighting
for control of oil and water fuels the wars in Syria and South Sudan. NP is
working in some tough places. And the
lessons we learn will help other communities to handle these conflicts with
effective nonviolent methods. Conflict
will increase in the future. It is
unavoidable. But we can equip people to
transform these conflicts nonviolently.
Yesterday I watched a stream on Face
Book as a Sioux leader gently told one of the Governor’s staff:
wish you wouldn’t come and hurt people.
If there is a line, where are you going to stop?”
Let’s help them draw the line where
they won’t hurt people.
Thanks for your help and tolerating
my jet lagged rambling. Please stay
With hope and resolve,
Co-founder and Director of Advocacy