Water Protectors barred from entering the National Museum of the American Indian for wearing a Stand with Standing Rock patch that said “Water is Life, Mni Wiconi.”
In a stunning violation of free speech, Water Protectors attending the four-day Native Nations Rise event in D.C. were barred March 11, 2017 from wearing their Mni Wiconi, Water is Life patches into the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).
Native Nations Rise formed from the Standing Rock movement against the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota. DAPL will compromise the water supply for 17 million Americans when it leaks oil. Last year, in an unprecedented event, hundreds of indigenous nations and their allies coalesced to protect the Missouri River. This massive group will proceed forward in demanding that the Trump regime meet with Native Nation leaders to discuss the impact environmental racism has had on our tribes. Dirty energy extraction must stop.
A Tule River Yokut tribal member was told she had to take off her jacket because it had a Standing Rock patch on it.
The blatant free speech violation is shocking and then further compounded by the ironic action of not allowing Natives into a museum which should be honoring them.
Removal exhibit placed by Kevin Gover in 2015, more than a decade after the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian in 2004.
This museum is part of the Smithsonian, run by the Federal Government, and
does not address the mass genocide ordered by Andrew Jackson in 1830 called the Indian Removal Act. [I stand corrected, although I cannot find a link, apparently there is a Removal exhibit that Kevin Gover personally saw to fruition in 2015, more than a decade after the opening in 2004. A photo was sent to me.]
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), a United States federal law was enacted in 1990 and the Smithsonian plus other institutions began the long process of sending back tribal remains they had excavated. Exhibits at the NMAI often refer to tribes in the past tense, carrying on the misconception that we are extinct or existed in the past.
In the video below a powerful song is witnessed by other Native visitors and ends with Linda Black Elk projecting her voice from the museum’s open space to the whole museum that whenever you see signage in the museum that says the word “was” it is a lie. We are still here, we are alive, we are still vibrant and we still have our songs, dances, languages and culture. We still feel and we are still experiencing genocide on behalf of the U.S. Government. Stand with us, resist with us!
From Pennie Opal Plant who took the first video posted:
Excellent to know that the group in the video was not daunted by such ignorance.