G.A. Minutes 12-30-14

G.A. Minutes 12-30-14

Quite a few Occupiers are present for tonight’s meeting at the Amazing Grace. This is surprising as it’s the coldest night we’ve had so far this winter. Temperatures were barely above zero during the day and this evening at 6pm it’s a little below zero with wind chill of -20 or so.

Most have arrived so bundled up that only their eyes are visible. We take up the biggest table and add some extra chairs.

One Occupier, who we haven’t seen in a while, has just come from a meeting with the president of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Board of Directors. He and the president are personal friends.

We question the Occupier to see if there have been any new developments. He says, “No, I don’t think so. The president personally appears to support what you are doing at CJM but the BOD does not. I guess he thinks he has to go along with what the BOD says even if he doesn’t agree with their assessment. He’s actually a really nice guy, you know”.

We agree that the president is a nice person but we say our position hasn’t changed either. We know we are within our legal right to be at CJM and we believe we are doing good work there. Once spring comes around again, we plan on going back.

An Occupier says, “Maybe we should have a press conference or something and get this issue out in the open”.

Another Occupier responds, “No, if we make a big public deal out of this we will give the CJM BOD more power than they’re actually entitled to have. Also, the general public is not very supportive of homeless people or homeless outreach. We could end up shooting ourselves in the foot”.

The first Occupier replies, “Yeah, I guess that’s true.

The Occupier who has been working on a MN mining permit/delisting of MN wolves from the Endangered Species List timeline for the Northwoods Wolf Alliance has a first draft ready. He passes it around and asks for additions, corrections, comments etc.

Everyone is impressed with the timeline. It has a good look to it and is easy to read and understand. Many are amazed at the obviousness of the correlation between delisting of wolves and applications for mining permits.

The Occupier who hasn’t been around in a while asks for an explanation about what we are up to. He knows we are allied with NWA and Idle No More but is unaware as to the reasoning for creating this timeline.

We explain that during an NWA meeting a while back someone mentioned the theory that the wolves (called Maii’gan in Anishinaabemowin) are being used as a smoke screen issue in order to secure endangered species habitat for mining company projects.

Many people said they had heard that theory in passing but were unaware of any serious discussion of the issue. We all looked around a bit but didn’t come across any person or group who was doing that work. We decided to do it ourselves.

An Occupier offered to do the research and create a timeline to start the undertaking. He states, “I’m going to present this timeline at the next NWA meeting but I wanted to show it to you guys first to see what you thought. If NWA is satisfied with the timeline, the next plan is to get the information out to as many wolf advocate groups, educators, legislators and others who are interested.

We think that what this wolf delisting is really about should become general knowledge. The argument that wolves are evil killing machines and a danger to mankind vs the wolves are deeply spiritual animals very necessary to the balance of nature is a false flag.

The fact of the matter is that mining corporations want endangered species land for (mostly) sulphide mining projects. We go on talking about how indigenous people all over the world are on the front lines, defending their lands and our Mother Earth. We know we have much to learn from them.

An Occupier asks, “Well what about nation sovereignty? Why don’t they just use that?”

Another Occupier answers, “They do but they are just ignored. The highest courts always rule that sovereignty trumps everything else but the majority of world governments just ignore those rulings and keep on taking over Native lands or paying off corrupt tribal governments.’

“That’s why so many are making blockades, going on fasts, having protests, long marches, water ceremonies and all that stuff’.

“Part of our job is to get the rest of the people to see that Native folks are not ignorant troublemakers but the first and strongest line of defense in the battle for the survival of the planet.”

One Occupier asks to be able to read something to us. He reads a statement from an Occupy Wall Street group about not hating white people, cops, rich people, soldiers etc., but about hating the systems that empower them to do abominable things.

When he is finished, we notice some of the people at surrounding tables looking at us with puzzlement and/or curiosity.

A man comes over and asks us what group we are from. We tell him we are Occupy Duluth. He gives us a friendly look that seems to say, “Oh that explains it”.

Another man gets up on the stage, goes to the piano and plays a bluesy honkytonk piece. He’s pretty good and we all clap when he’s done.

We’re about to start another topic of conversation when we notice the lead server turning off the outdoor signs and cleaning off the counters. Previous experience tells us the staff would like to go home.

As we all pile on layers of clothing someone says, “Hey, did you know that on this upcoming Saturday the Jefferson People’s House is having a vegan Ethiopian dinner? Do you want to go?”

Most of us were unaware of the dinner but we all want to go. It looks like that’s where we’ll be on Saturday. Actually, it’s a good thing we’re closing tonight’s meeting early because most of us will be running around all day tomorrow helping our friends setup for the Indigenous Commission’s New Year’s Eve dinner at the Washington Center.