Guam residents are getting ready to ‘Fanohge with Standing Rock’ through three upcoming events planned this month, including a wave and chen’ chule drive on December 9 and a prayer ceremony led by a member of the Pawnee Nation at the Guam National Wildlife Refuge in Ritidian on December 10.
The events are aimed at showing support for Native American protesters in North Dakota, who hope to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline from running through their ancestral burial grounds. The $3.8 billion project would construct a pipeline that stretches across four states and 1,172 miles, and would serve to carry Bakken oil patch crude from North Dakota to a hub in Patoka, Illinois.
The proceeds of the two fundraisers will go towards the Water Protectors’ Legal Fund, which serves to benefit Standing Rock protesters and help cover the costs of injuries or legal fees sustained during protests and arrests.
The pipeline is being protested because it would cross over large sections of sacred Native American lands and waters, and strikes concerns of environmental pollution and potential contamination of drinking water.
The Oceti Sakowin Camp protesting the project is a historic gathering of Native American tribes, allies, and people standing in solidarity to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline.
According to their website, the camp “represents a first of its kind in recent history, gathering many indigenous nations. The most recent such assembly of tribes occurred when the Great Sioux Nation gathered before the Battle at the Little Big Horn.”
Solidarity on Guam
“This is being organized by a group of like-minded people who feel sympathy and empathy for the native peoples at Standing Rock,” said Monaeka Flores, a local artist helping to organize the events. “As indigenous people here, we feel really intertwined with the protestors in our shared cultural values and deep connections to the land and water. It’s important to show our native brothers and sisters across the ocean in the United States that we stand with them.”
Our Islands Are Sacred (OIAS) and a coalition of individuals calling themselves Guahan Stands With Standing Rock are behind the events. The OIAS campaign was launched in response to U.S. military plans to expand their training and testing activities in the Mariana Islands.
Flores said Ritidian was chosen as the site for the prayer ceremony because of its sacred and historic significance to Chamorro people – and since the U.S. military will soon restrict public access to Ritidian for much of the year due its proximity to a planned live firing range.