https://nplusonemag.com/online-only/onl ... ding-rock/
Sometime in mid-October, a school bus full of New Orleanians pulled into Oceti Sakowin, the largest of the prayer camps at Standing Rock. It was followed by a truck hauling poles for a forty-foot tipi. They raised their shelter at the western edge of camp, near the tent of a Lakota elder named Grandma Redfeather. They came to stand in solidarity against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which threatens the waters of the Lakota people as well as millions who live downstream.
The bus and the tipi were owned by white folks from the Rainbow Family, a loose network of hippies united by utopian principles. Through the free gatherings they host on public lands around the world, the Rainbow Family practices various forms of counterculture. These particular Rainbows had been serving food for flood victims in western Louisiana when they heard about the prayer camps in North Dakota. They stopped in New Orleans, where they picked up some locals: Creole folks, Mardi Gras Indians, white allies, Choctaws from Louisiana, and others of indigenous descent. The Rainbows and the New Orleanians journeyed together to Standing Rock.
While they were setting up camp, some indigenous elders came by to offer advice. Many had never seen such a tall tipi, and they wanted to make sure it stood strong. The Rainbows refused help. They’d slept in this thing at plenty of gatherings, where they’d dug latrines, built fire pits, and run kitchens outside. They knew what they were doing—and soon enough, they promised, they’d be serving food for everyone.
Lit by a fire inside, the giant tipi became a social melting pot, where people of all skin tones came to eat gumbo and learn songs like “Li’l Liza Jane.” The eclectic delegation from New Orleans became known as “the tribe of the Gumbo Ya-Ya.” They connected with Grandma Redfeather, who knew some of the Rainbows from attending their gatherings. One of the original members of the American Indian Movement, Grandma Redfeather took up arms against the government in the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee and hasn’t stopped fighting since.
The Gumbo Ya-Ya stayed for a few days, trading stories and songs, and left on the night of a full moon. The Rainbows and their tipi stayed behind.
As the full moon rose, the night was alive with drumming and yelps. A group of women and Two-Spirits from the Ojibwe tribe led a moon ceremony. It was a moment for the many different peoples at Standing Rock to come together and heal. The suppression of their efforts to protect the river was the latest trauma in a long history of colonial violence.
The next morning began with a fierce wind, which Grandma Redfeather said was going to blow some bad energy out of camp. Not two hours later, a cry went up around the spirit fire at the center of Oceti Sakowin: the giant tipi’s coming down!
The winds had torn the canvas flaps where the tipi poles come together, threatening the entire structure. Some Natives rushed over to try to help, taking hold of the canvas and explaining how the tipi might be saved. Once again, the Rainbows didn’t listen. They insisted on handling the crisis alone. Soon, their canvas was ripped all the way around, leaving only the poles standing. It looked like a giant ribcage.
The Rainbows packed their stuff and were gone from camp by nightfall. Nobody asked them to leave; they just couldn’t find their place.
This article is a great example of how white people and those who haven't debunked their own relationship to the patriarchy have a hard time deferring to the marginalized and disenfranchised when they show up to "help". I have to admit, if I were at the Standing Rock camp, I would've had a hard time figuring out how to not leave a troublesome footprint in my wake, or do things to harm the collective. But the obvious thing would be to defer to the native eldership, see what is needed, and see how it can best be done.
This is why when people in the west point fingers at misogyny overseas and how we need to rescue women, or POC, or poor people, we need to turn inward and examine our own tendency to want to correct others on OUR TERMS. It has been the source of a lot of suffering in the world.
IMO if we can't take the queue from the people we want to help, then we shouldn't bother.