I attended a protest in Washington Saturday in support of Standing Rock and its fight against the North Dakota Access Pipeline. It was on the National Mall near the U.S. Capitol and it was very moving.
Native Americans, representing a variety of tribes, told their story. In native languages and in English. The crowd chanted "Water is Sacred." There was a robust drum session and prayers.
The importance of spirit was explained in a comment by one woman in a video: "Our only force is the spiritual side."
Standing there I could not help think of Guam, particularly after reading Guahan Mommy's post "In Solidarity with Standing Rock."
One of the speakers, an older fellow, representing one of the Native American tribes, whose name I did not write down, said something that may be particularly relevant to Guam.
This speaker described his participation in the civil rights demonstrations of the 1950s-1960s. The mainstream media was "our friend," at that time, he said. The newscast showed of the brutality faced by the protestors. The broadcast of dogs being unleashed on protesters helped to change public opinion, he said.
But this speaker was particularly critical -- very harsh actually -- of the media today. The news outlets weren't showing the harms being inflicted on the protesters at Standing Rock.
Another speaker, however, pointed out that social media is providing an alternative way to reach an audience.
People at this protest were encouraged to record and livestream (Facebook live broadcast were singled out as particularly helpful.) the events. Many appeared to be doing just that.
Getting the word out is Guam's problem as well. How many national news outlets have traveled to Guam to report on the buildup only to produce a news story that in some way fails to tell the story?
A message at this protest was to use social media to the best extent possible and present the reality without filter. #standingrock
Meanwhile, not too far from the protest site, workers were installing the reviewing stand for the inauguration parade for President elect Donald Trump. The protesters were told that Trump intends to approve the North Dakota Access Pipeline.
This protest was touching in an unexpected way. I definitely did feel the power of the spirit and its powerful resolve.