KXL Pipeline Truthforce Coalition (Coalition)
March 24th Educational Forum and Concert
What’s the Truth?
****I have the utmost respect for Casey Camp, Richard Ray Whitman, JoKay Dowell, Dwain Camp, Earl Hatley and Rodney Factor, this is in now way any discredit to them, their body of work or them as activists.
Trouble is having a field day in the American Indian Community once called Indian Territory. With the possibility of having world attention focused on Oklahoma because of Buffy Sainte Marie and Indigenous on one bill in Norman, here we are with division and disruption abounding and the rumors and gossip is flying. What might you say is the issue? Us versus them is a good place to start, one could reply.
On February 26th, a flyer was uploaded to Facebook announcing an Educational Forum and Concert scheduled for March 24th in Norman, Oklahoma. Many people were tagged and began sharing the image and talking about how great this was – a few even created Facebook event pages. And this is where things started going south, and I don’t mean to the Gulf of Mexico via Texas.
At this point the Coalition consisted of very few members. As it was explained, this particular Coalition was only coming together for the purpose of organizing this event, so it was open for ANYONE or ANY organization with like-minded goals to join and help plan and implement the March 24th Educational Forum and Concert. The Coalition would dissolve after the event was over. The main focus of the Coalition’s effort is the Educational component concerning the KXL Pipeline and the musicians are the carrot on the stick. No-where in the materials of the formation of the event was it described as geared specifically to the American Indian Community. The pipeline affects everyone, red, brown, yellow, blue, white and black, so the target audience is EVERYONE concerned with keeping the environment safe for our future generations.
Without going into too much detail and not wanting to create further division in the community, just know that some of the people that signed off on the statement opposing the Coalition’s Educational Forum and Concert, had issue with a certain native person who had volunteered to help with the event. So began the questions about “who are the coalition members” and calls for transparency. It derailed the Coalition from time they could spend on building membership, garnering support, organizing, setting up and planning. The Coalition reports they did not receive any offers from the people who signed off on the opposition statement to help. It seemed to the Coalition that some of them were more worried about the wrong people getting credit than on getting the event planned, organized and implemented. From the Coalition’s point of view some were making demands that certain production and staging elements be in place, without understanding that the Coalition was seeking assistance to get those items secured. Unfortunately what followed were some communication issues between the Coalition and some members of the American Indian community that exacerbated heightened negativity probably on both sides.
One must remember there are three sides to every story: “us” or ours, “them” or theirs and the truth. The Coalition has chosen to focus their time on planning and implementing the Educational Forum and Concert of March 24th; instead of getting in to a public battle of she said he said and rebuttals point by point. Members of Indian Territory are told to make up their own minds concerning supporting the event, BUT the general pervasive attitude is if you go against these supposed leaders and activists and support the event, you are aligning yourself with an enemy. Pick a side – us versus them. There’s a line drawn in the sand and you better not cross it if you want to stay my friend or receive my personal blessing – is that how it goes? Maybe not, maybe so, you decide.
It is so unfortunate that this whole event has been tainted to this degree. There is a huge amount of good that could have come from working together on a project of such magnitude to educate about the KXL Pipeline. Yet here we are, divided, to support or not to support, to go or not to go....that is the question.
It is often asked, “What kind of ancestor will you be?” Think about that as you mull over the idea that sometimes you have to do the right thing no matter how unpopular or ostracized you may be. Whatever “side” you choose, at least choose based on your own beliefs and not to follow blindly based on loyalty. Take courage and believe in yourself to do the right thing, because I believe we all have it in us to be the most awesome ancestor our great great great grandchildren will ever have.
When Buffy Sainte Marie and Indigenous get here in a few days will they see a united community front in opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline coming through Indian Territory? The choice is up to you.
All my relations,
Input provided from current Coalition Members of March 19th, 2013.