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G.A. Minutes 11-30-13
We have been unable to hold an official meeting for over 2 weeks. A combination of direct actions, bad weather and bad colds going around have kept us from doing so. Tonight we hold the first meeting in what may become our temporary winter meeting headquarters.
We are meeting at the Amazing Grace Café, a small basement coffee house that attempts to practice whole foods dining and socially conscious activities. The café is located in Canal Park, the main tourist centered area in Duluth. While it leaves much to be desired, it’s the best we can come up with for now. We don’t expect anyone will attempt to throw us out for being too radical or weird.
We’d prefer to remain at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial which is located in the center of the city area most commonly frequented by the homeless population. However, once the temperatures get below 20 degrees in the evening, our fires are not big enough to keep us warm.
We acknowledge we are among the privileged people of the world. This allows us to keep warm when the weather is too cold for human comfort. Our goal is to participate in the establishment of a world where all people are entitled to this basic comfort.
Seeing as we’ve all been so busy and haven’t much time for talking we decide to touch base and see if we’re all still on the same page. An Occupier states we have been putting an awful lot of work into stopping the wolf hunt and asks if we remember how this came about. She reminds us that we had come to the conclusion awhile back that all issues were contingent on preserving our planet for tolerable habitation by future generations of human beings.
We realized the world’s indigenous peoples are the original keepers of the earth. In general they are the people who live most closely to the earth and have a deeper understanding her value. Many indigenous people also have treaty rights to the land and water. These treaty rights hold up in the courts and at this point are the strongest weapon in fighting against the corporations and governments that are destroying the planet in their frantic and endless search for the money obtained by stripping our Mother Earth of her natural resources.
During the time we were discussing these facts we came to the logical conclusion that Idle No More was structurally similar to Occupy and possibly the group with whom we could most easily align. We then presented ourselves to INM as allies and began working with them.
As time went by some Occupiers were confused as to why INM was not focusing on the Polymet and Gtac mining issues. An INM ally confided to an Occupier she had heard it said, “If they want us to work on the water, why don’t they help us to work on the wolf?”
A light went on in the Occupier’s head as she realized it was just a difference in perceptions. Native people tend to see the world as interconnected while settler people look at things in categories. While INM folks were working on “the women, the water and the wolf”, settlers were seeing each thing as a separate issue needing a separate group of organizers.
In our north central area of the U.S., most of the indigenous people are of Anishinaabe heritage. The wolf is a major player in the Anishinaabe creation story and therefore of very special significance to the culture. The women are seen as the bearers and protectors of the water. The wolf keeps the other animals from overpopulating the land which in turn keeps the land from being deforested which in turn keeps the water runoff from polluting the lakes and streams and on and on and on……….. Everything is connected.
As we began seriously helping with the wolf we learned much. We now have a deeper respect for this beautiful and magnificent creature. We are also watching some skilled indigenous fighters in battles with the proposed Polymet and Gtac mines.
The issue concerning the women has to do with human trafficking. In our area, the majority of people who are trafficked are of indigenous heritage. There is much government corruption and crime syndicate involvement in human trafficking so there is much personal danger involved. Work is being done but most will not be publically discussed.
Another Overpass Light Brigade/Stop The Wolf Hunt action was held last weekend in Cass Lake. It did not involve as much public exposure as our action in Duluth but many good connections in the Leach Lake area were renewed. Another action in the Twin Cities, one in Bemidji and actions in other areas are planned.
An Occupier asks how the Waterfront Protection Ordinance is coming along. Everyone says they would have liked to attend a meeting but all the meetings were scheduled at the same time that another meeting about something else was being held. Another Occupier says she’s heard there has been little attendance at the Waterfront meetings because of scheduling conflicts.
One more Occupier speaks about an online calendar he has made. It will contain all the events being held by all progressive/radical groups in the Twin Ports on a monthly basis. It will be easily accessible and easy to use once you access it. A few kinks are still being worked out but it will be ready soon. We all agree, this is much needed and we look forward to using it.
Someone says they were surprised by the election results for the City offices which were held almost a month ago. Both of our friends were not elected. We agree we expected one friend would lose but we were slightly shocked when our other friend also lost. We were astounded at the dirty and very untrue things that were said in the newspaper about this friend. These things were said by people connected to powerful people within city politics. They lack integrity and don’t want our friend exposing their shady deals.
We were also disappointed to see that many people who offered support in the beginning did not follow through as time went on. Then of course, there was the issue of money. Our friend had very little of it and that’s really all that the current political system is about. Watching our friend’s experiences only serves to strengthen our belief that the current political system is unsalvageable.
Even though it’s a little earlier than when we usually end our meetings at the Memorial, we find we’ve finished the evening’s agenda. This is because we’ve had little of the funny and /or dramatic interruptions we’re used to at the Memorial. We miss the place already but probably won’t be able to go back for about 4 months. Bummer….. We’ll try “The Grace” again on Tuesday.