We Stand With Standing Rock

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In late July, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stating their concern that a pipeline slated to be built encroached upon ancestral lands.


It’s a five dollar donation to get in the doors of the Standing Rock Solidarity Benefit show, to be enveloped in the warmth, the glow, the murmur of conversations cut frequently by loud laughter. It looks like someone’s family reunion with folding chairs and cheap plastic table cloths, a buffet set-up with six donated Two Cousin’s Gut Buster pizzas and cheap booze. As the place slowly fills with people, the room becomes a beacon in the cold night, a bright light in a row of dim buildings, a convention of friends new and old, setting the stage for solidarity.


September 4th, Dakota Access begins clearing ground for the pipeline, bulldozing over sacred sites and burials. Protesters are attacked by dogs and pepper sprayed.


It took just under two weeks for Aurelio Villa Luna Diaz, Mark Sebastian Jordan, Kathy Fetzer-Goodwin to bring this event into the public eye, being touted in the local papers and drawing over a hundred contributors and participants. It even received threats, though none came to fruition. The K.E. McCarthy building was donated as a space for the show and by door time, all money spent on food, drink, and entrance would be sent to the Oceti Sakowin Camp.

Mark Jordan opens the show as MC and performer and along with Jason Kauffman, Lucas Hargis, and Nate Weiland presents a spoken word piece (Pronouncement: An Invocation for the Standing Rock Benefit Concert). He repeats the question: “who speaks?” over the murmur of the settling audience and we listen, and finally erupt into applause on his final call-to-arms, that “We speak!”

This becomes the theme of the show, the different voices no longer silenced, but calling for an end to injustice. This is a shout for self-expression and for claiming a space in the land.

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Pronouncement: An Invocation for the Standing Rock Benefit Concert, Mansfield, Ohio, December 9, 2016

Pronouncement

 

who speaks

who speaks

 

who speaks

who speaks

 

who speaks

who speaks

 

the hollow-cheeked mother of winter

is pulling her gray cloak across the sky

is pulling her white blanket across the ground

 

who speaks

who speaks

 

memories of the dead, the ones

who shaped families and lives

and hunted and farmed and worked

still linger in the still air

 

who speaks

who speaks

 

coyotes on a distant hill

snarl for scraps of power

until their masters in tall towers

blaze their shock collars

 

who speaks

who speaks

 

all the sad madmen rumble their trucks

hulking on the horizon—drill baby drill—

star-n-barring it from the land of kingdom went

to the door of the bulging bank

 

who speaks

who speaks

who speaks

 

We speak.

 

 

By Mark Sebastian Jordan