Thoughts on the pipeline after Obama’s injunction

Regarding the injunction against the pipeline, I don’t wish to throw cold water on what is obviously a great (though probably temporary) victory. But casting this as an issue of tribal rights and sovereignty is a dangerous diversion from a deeper and ultimately more important issue: the health and future of the planet.

While we should celebrate the actions of Obama and his justice department, we have to recognize that though the status of the tribes matters, the real issue is what the tribes are trying to tell all of us: water is the mother resource, and our lives, the lives of our children, and the very health of the planet are at stake. In short, it is Native values that really matter.

Unless we look past the political to the larger spiritual issue of our place and role as a species on the planet, any victory is hollow, indeed. Remember, we were the last species to emerge on the planet, and everything else survived well without us. We are the ones who can upset the balance because we have the capability of mastery and manipulation. Done without awareness, we can destroy the planet. Done correctly, we can be worthy stewards of this fragile world we have been given.

We need to raise up not just Native political status, but Native understanding and the Native way of seeing the earth. We must never lose sight of the fact that, beyond our political differences and our historical failures, we are common children of a common land. It is the Native way that can truly lead us to this understanding.

5 comments

  1. Krystyn Knights says:

    You said: “It is the Native way that can truly lead us to this understanding.” How wise you are. I believe with my entire being that the Native way IS the way. They have more understanding than we do about the structure of the earth, and the damage we are thoughtlessly doing to her. Look at our food, GMO’s, pesticides, all this dangerous cancer causing acts we are doing. Monsanto is a killer, but do we see that? No, most don’t. Poisoning our rivers by dumping waste into them, my God, I wish I were as Native as I am in my heart. It is OUR job now to stand with these people if we intend to save our planet!

  2. Eileen Grundstrom says:

    Native values are being portrayed. It’s amazing and coming through loud and clear. I hope you’ve heard Dave Archambault speak encouraging peace and non violence. The protectors are a mighty voice. First page of NY Times Friday. I’m concerned about the wording too.
    Thank you Kent

  3. I have been feeling a sense of deep spiritual despair this week. I am usually able to find my center, but this past weeks events have connected me to a place of sorrow that was not easy to put aside. Coincidentally, I saw the movie about the Four Chambers of the Heart, in which you are interviewed. That led me to your webpage. And your words express my sorrow and my concerns. And also offer me a sense of integrating my feelings and my fears, within a greater context. I have always seen the world from Native eyes. And love what you have shared in this post.

  4. Jeanette, read the Neither Wolf nor Dog series, it will change EVERYTHING for you. It is by far the most beautiful series of books I have ever read.

  5. ED SHAFER says:

    I would hope for a balanced view. While valuing the ‘Native way’, we should also value the advances of health care, life expectancy, creature comforts, intellectual development, etc., of Euro-American culture.

    While we might be ‘the last species to emerge’, everything else DID NOT survive well without us as Kent claims. Millions of species went extinct without our help.

    Of course, though, we want to join in protecting a balanced life system and avoid the poisons being unleashed by unbridled capitalism around the world.

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