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Image Courtesy of Revolution Messaging, Creative Commons

Nope, nope, nope. You can’t support Standing Rock and celebrate Thanksgiving. We can’t have it both ways.

If you’re a non-indigenous person that is in solidarity with the Sioux tribe at Standing Rock, North Dakota, then celebrating a colonizer holiday based in the murder and exploitation of Native American people isn’t just oxymoronic; it’s violent.

The reason is simple. The roots of Thanksgiving are the same, centuries-old oppressive colonization systems that continue to be upheld today and make indigenous, sacred grounds like Standing Rock a current site for environmental racism and capitalism.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is intended to be a 1,885km crude oil delivery pipeline running from Bakken, North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. If forcibly completed, it will transport as much as 570,000 barrels of oil per day and significantly damage the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, ultimately killing them.

The water protectors at Standing Rock have called for a week of action beginning Black Friday (another holiday based in colonization, violence, and capitalism), in which supporters will boycott and divest from banks and police departments that are financing the pipeline. Which is important to note the timing of this action seeing as how holidays such as Columbus Day and Thanksgiving are rooted in the same violence being reaffirmed with the implementation of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Recently, violence has intensified at Standing Rock between the police and all of the folks of the Sioux Tribe, indigenous folks in solidarity, and non-indigenous supporters. On Sunday night, the police fired tear gas and water cannons at hundreds of protesters in the below freezing North Dakota weather. An activist might possibly lose their arm due to the water cannons used against the protestors. This particular form of violence— using water as a weapon while also threatening the safety of their water as a life supply on their land— is the evidence of the current and intentional genocide of indigenous people.

The ongoing violence and erasure against Native American people across the country, but particularly at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, is a deadly reminder that indigenous people are continually harmed, erased, capitalized upon, and murdered — everyday. Any celebration of the violence against indigenous people would only reaffirm that erasure and our privilege and participation within it.

To support #NoDAPL:

Ashleigh Shackelford is a queer, nonbinary Black fat femme writer, artist and cultural producer. Ashleigh is a contributing writer at Wear Your Voice Magazine and For Harriet. Read more at BlackFatFemme.com.

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