Why Standing Rock is Still the Frontline for Policy Reform

 

Which way I flie is Hell; my self am Hell;

And in the lowest deep a lower deep

Still threatning to devour me opens wide,

To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heav’n.

John Milton — Paradise Lost, Book 3.

Approaching the Bear

In the first week of his presidency, Donald J. Trump released a memorandum to expedite the permitting process of Dakota Access. Standing Rock has become a uniquely potent leverage point against the policies of the Trump Administration. Offshoots are popping up around the world. Public opinion is largely in favor of rerouting Dakota Access. In light of Trump’s memorandum on Dakota Access, the Honorable Judge James E. Boasberg will hold a review of the easement denial and instatement of the EIS on January 30th.

In camp, the spirits were like embers beneath the dry twigs of this news. The flags lifted in a faint breeze coming out of the north. My friend Little Crow and I wander the blue icy streets looking for stories to tell the world. Continue reading

Love, Fish, and Dust: Fighting the Right Battle

 

Have you challenged a trained killer to a fight only to end up crying in his arms? Did you go to Burning Man exclusively to fight this person? I did. Was it worth it? Burning Man is always worth it. So was the cry.

 

Alaska

The graveled boatyard in Dillingham consisted of rusted cargo containers and fishing vessels up on wood blocks. I went to Alaska to find deckhand work in commercial fishing. Alaskan commercial fishing represented what joining the army might be to a boy from a red state. Rather than taking pride in notions of national service, you were catching dinner, for millions of people. The self-improvement vanities were similar too: become a man, pay for college, and learn discipline. I also wanted to stop feeling heartbroken for what seemed like an unfair amount of time.

My friend Kelly and I hitched to the boatyard from the small municipal airport and were dropped at the fishing vessel Shodan, a big-chested aluminum beast up on blocks next to a two story ramada and cargo container. Todd the skipper, Rubble the deckhand and their third member Mickey were very good to us, offering us chicken wraps and beer. Rubble had stubble and reminded me of a squat Sting. He was maybe in his late 30s, had intense blue eyes and a mohawk that was green. On his left arm was a fierce dragon tattoo that you could almost hear David Attenborough describing as “the creature’s way of signaling ‘beware!’.”

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