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  • Chesie Lee

Knowledge - Four Parts

First, an opportunity for a book study discussion on Zoom is this Wednesday, March 31, 6 pm to 7 pm, on An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (2014) by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Rev. Rodger McDaniel, a participant in the Wind River Justice Pod and pastor of Highlands Presbyterian Church, graciously welcomes us to attend. To receive the link, email Rodger at rmc81448@gmail.com.


I read the book 7 years ago but am reading it again. The author grew up in the treaty territory of the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho in Oklahoma but acknowledges that she did not have much interest in her Native American heritage on her mother’s side of the family until prompted by others. Bill Moyers wrote of the book, “Dunbar-Ortiz strips straight line from the sins of your fathers . . . to the contemporary condition . . . Best of all, she points a way beyond amnesia . . . toward our deepest humanity of truth-telling and repair.” This book offers an understanding for those of us seeking a path to justice in our community. I found that Amazon delivers the book in 3 days of being ordered.


Second, I failed a few weeks ago when writing about food sovereignty to include the ancestorial knowledge being recovered. For the Shoshone, Caroline Mills shares a video story at www.shoshone-ancestral-food.org and a recent article is found at www.uwyo.edu/uw/news/2020/11/ancestral-food-gathering-groups-efforts-document-shoshone-foods,-preperation.html. This knowledge is basic for indigenous people to regain control of health for healing. Food is medicine. The knowledge is the foundation for food sovereignty. Also, in the summer of 2020, the White Buffalo Youth Prevention program provided days for Northern Arapaho elders to share knowledge about food gathering with youth on the Wind River Indian Reservation along the Wind River Canyon.


Third, Big Wind (aka, Micah Lott), Northern Arapaho and climate change activist, was invited to Northern Minnesota by local indigenous tribes in November to protest Line 3 of the Enbridge Pipeline being built through fragile land at the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The protest is gaining more traction. While President Biden stopped the Keystone XL Pipeline, that decision has yet to impact Line 3. Watch the news for more information on this in the coming weeks. Big Wind led the Justice for Andy March here last September and offers much knowledge about environmental justice and other social issues for our community. Big Wind invites people to join the protest of Line 3.


Fourth, I commend Katie Roenigk for her feature article in today’s Riverton Ranger entitled “Poverty grips local children.” She notes that 40% of the poverty is experienced by Native Americans in the county, while only making up 20% of the population. The poverty especially impacts children under age 5. She quotes Nicole Schoening, Rendezvous Elementary School counselor, who says that the conversations can’t just be about poverty. “(We need to) talk about racism. (Let’s) talk about what is really happening in this town.” I say, Amen! to that.


We must continue our educational work and share knowledge. To that end, I urge you to join the book discussion beginning this Wednesday. Over the next few months, we will be promoting and putting together more educational events.


Thanks to you who are contributing financially. Help us meet our short-range goal of $10,000. You may make the checks out to Riverton Peace Mission and mail to PO Box 255, Riverton 82501.


Fear not. Be bold. Build relationships. Be humble. Do justice.

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