Sunday, September 4, 2011


After we left, the sit-ins went on.  With one day off to allow the police to deal with the emergencies arising from Hurricane Irene, the protests resumed on Monday, and each day the numbers of concerned citizens arrested at the White House grew.  Groups of Indigenous Leaders from the US and from Canada came one day.  Groups of ranchers from Nebraska came another day.  Daryl Hannah, another movie star, kept the celebrity focus going by being arrested.  An interfaith day brought ministers, priests, rabbis, imams, deacons and others together to sit down and be arrested in an effort to ask that we all be good stewards of God's creation.  Groups of young people who formed the Youth for Obama movement in the last presidential election came to be arrested, to try to pressure the man they helped elect to keep his promises and to be the leader they dreamed he would be.  NASA's top climate scientist, the filmmaker who made the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland, as well as hundreds of ordinary citizens who simply cannot stay home and watch this disaster unfold without doing something to stop it.  All came, sang, sat down and were arrested. 

1,252 people altogether were arrested.  About a thousand more came to rally and cheer and chant and support those who took the risk.  It was the beginning of a beautiful movement to try to rein in climate change before it spirals out of control. 

The next step is to take the movement home.  People are going to Obama for America offices all over the country to tell the staffers that they won't volunteer, and they won't contribute, unless Obama takes a stand, for once, against the forces of pollution and destruction that he has caved in to over and over again.  If you are reading this blog and you wish you could have gone to Washington, or wish you could do something more, that is something you can do. 

Or you can call the White House again.  Keep the pressure up.

Or, if you live in a state where the pipeline will go through, travel to your state's State Department public hearings scheduled for the end of September.  These public hearings will be to accept comments on the pipeline generally, but since the State Department has already decided that the environmental risk is minimal, you are encouraged to address the question of whether the pipeline is in our national interest.

The schedule of hearings is below:
Monday Sept 26    Port Arthur, TX          Bob Bowers Civic Center, 3401 Cultural Center Dr  4:30 pm
Monday Sept 26   Topeka, KS                 Kansas Expo Ctr, 1 Expocenter Dr 12 - 3:30 pm & 4 - 8 pm
Tues, Sept 27      Glendive, MT              Dawson Comm. Coll, Toepke Aud., 300 Community Dr 4:30
Tues, Sept 27      Lincoln, NB                Pershing Ctr, 226 Centennial Mall S, 12 - 3:30 pm &4-8pm
Wed, Sept 28      Austin, TX                 U of T, LadyBird Johnson Aud, 2313 Red River St, 12-8pm
Thurs, Sept 29    Pierre, SD                   Best Western Ramkota, 920 W Sioux Ave  4 - 8 pm
Thurs, Sept 29   Atkinson, NB                W Holt High Sch, 100 N. Main St 4:30 - 10 pm
Fri, Sept 30       Midwest City, OK        Reed Ctr Ex Hall, 5800 Will Rogers Rd, 4:30 - 10 pm
Fri, Oct 7          Washington, DC          TBA

We'll be trying to get people to go to Glendive from everywhere in Montana. Meanwhile, we thank everyone who has supported and encouraged us this far, and ask that you help keep the momentum going.  This is not a battle we can afford to lose.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


We've all gone our separate ways.  Margarita and Linda are back in their homes near Livingston.  Joanie is in Callifornia.  Tantoo is in Seattle making another movie.  Margie is stuck in the Salt Lake City airport, still trying to get home.

The Tar Sands Protest continues in Washington, DC.

On the 25th, we went back to the White House and stood on the other side of the street cheering, singing, chanting, and thanking each new protester as he or she was arrested and loaded into the paddy wagons.  The beautiful sunny weather we had experienced ended and the protesters that day were drenched by rain as they stood waiting to be handcuffed and led away.  We did our best to shout encouragement to them through the deluge, to offer support.

We had a chance to say one last thank you to the young organizers who had taught us so many lessons in tactics, attitude, love and happiness.  We all felt sad to leave, but so worn out and ready to go home that there was no doubt it was time to head home.

The next morning, as we parted from each other and from Kay and CB, who had given Joanie, Margarita and Linda a welcoming, comforting home to stay in during the week of our protest, we knew that the next group of protesters was getting ready - having their rally in Lafayette Park, marching to the White House gates and singing while they waited for the Park Police to arrest them.  And today as I write this, it is happening again.  Tomorrow, they have canceled one day of the protests in deference to Hurricane Irene, but on Monday they will be back. Each day next week another group will step up and sit down and be arrested. We hold them in our thoughts and our hearts and hope that President Obama hears the daily cry: Stop the Tarsands.  Stop the Pipeline.

Here is the "anthem" of the tar sands protesters that we sang as we sat on the sidewalk:

Never would have hitchhiked to Washington
If it hadn't been for love.
Never would have protested the tar sands
If it hadn't been for love.
Never would have fought this climate war,
Put myself behind the jailhouse door
If it hadn't been
If it hadn't been for love.

May our love for each other, for the earth, for the generations to follow, be the force that saves us from ourselves.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Day After

On Wednesday, we were all exhausted.  We took most of the day to stay home and relax.  In the afternoon, we played tourist and went to visit the brand new Martin Luther King memorial and the FDR memorial.

The MLK memorial was a mixed experience.  You enter it through a split faux rock, which has symbolism, but is a little corny.  Inside, his words were written on a long, curved wall with a  waterfall on each side of the entrance.  The words were beautiful and moving.  In the center was a faux mountain, with the side that faces the tidal basin carved into a giant statue of King himself, but it is monumental art in the style of China during the curltural revolution.  King looks forbidding and authoritarian and severe.  His arms are crossed in a protective or angry way.  I suppose there is some of the essence of strength and some of the message of "I shall not be moved."  But compared to the sculptures of FDR in his monument, where his head is up, his face looks confident but open and his hands are relaxed and open, the statue of MLK is not moving or attractive.  It is a shame.  Margie said,"He looks like Mao!"  Still, it was lovely to see all the families walking along reading the quotes to their children.

 We rode a pedicab from the Martin Luther King, Jr memorial to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial. The pedicab driver was a wonderful young woman named Shaady, an Iranian-American who was so excited when we told her about the Tar Sands Action that she recorded a video of us explaining it while she was pedaling her bicycle taxi with all four of us in it. 

After our bout of tourism, we dropped in on the training for today's protesters and stood up in front to tell them what we had experienced and observed and learned.  It is very moving to us to see how each group of protesters forms a community of love and energy.  Today we will go be support for them.

Then tomorrow we will go home.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Some more links

Arrested at Last...and Free at Last

Well, we did it.  It was too crazy yesterday to post to the blog, but we went to Lafayette Park in the Morning, had a rally in the park, then marched to the White House Fence and sat down and were arrested one by one.  We were handcuffed and loaded in paddy wagons, then transported to the Anacostia Park Police station where we were given the chance to "post-and-forfeit" or basically pay a fine and get out with nothing but a citation.

We were released just as a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck Washington D.C.  We discussed various ways to spin the earthquake:  "That was the Earth saying thank you for our effort on her behalf."  When we heard that the quake had also been felt in Martha's Vineyard where the Obamas are vacationing, "This might be what it takes to get his attention."  or "Hey, wake up.  There's something you need to pay attention to back in Washington."  Tantoo's friends and family were all saying "See, when they arrest Tantoo the earth shakes."  and finally, we decided the headlines should read, "Montana Women For Rock the Earth."

Here are pictures of our day

Monday, August 22, 2011

Protest-Eve Day

All five of us got together at Belinda's for lunch and spent the afternoon together in her leafy green backyard talking politics and getting to know each other better than ever before. 

In the evening, we went to the training, which was held in a church.  This has got to be the absolute best organized action any of us have ever seen.  The training was run by five or six luminous, brilliant young people whose energy and enthusiasm, leadership and organization were absolutely extraordinary.
 Bill McKibbon, the main leader of this whole action had just gotten out of jail after being there for three days.  He came by and thanked us all for not being intimidated by the harsh treatment the first people received.  He said everyone in jail had very high spirits, and they were supported by knowing that more and more people were coming after them. 
Several people who had been arrested in the second and third days of the action told what had happened to them.  Other than the first day, people have been simply taken to the jail, booked, given a citation, fined $100 and released.  That is what they hope will happen to us tomorrow, but there are no guarantees. 

We actually practiced how we were going to line up and get in position for the sit in.  There was legal advice, practical advice, social advice (they even had us buddy up so no one would feel like they were going through this unsupported). 

Then they fed us and we all sat around in the church pews eating and getting to know one another.

Before we left, they taped a video of us together speaking about why we came. The press coverage of this has been quite good.  Apparently the New York Times had an editorial that said, "Mr Obama, say No to the Keystone Pipeline."  The mood here is exultant. 

We managed to find our way home, back to Kay and CB's house, exhausted and wound up at the same time.  Tomorrow is the day.  Time for a good night's sleep.