Idle No More LA: Poetry and Prayer at Petroleum Conference

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Idle No More Los Angeles offered drumming, prayer, poetry, and healing at the September 3rd protest at the downtown Pacific Oil Conference and Trade Show. Called “The Western Summit” for petroleum marketers, around 50 people demonstrated peacefully, holding down the corner of a busy thoroughfare of LA Live! for three hours, in the shadow of the towering new Marriott-Ritz Carlton.

tar sands, indigenous rights

Indigenous Grandmothers Rising Up, Idle No More at the Western Summit Petroleum Conference in LA. Photo By Jack Eidt.

Praying for Healing at Western Summit Petroleum Conference

The ceremony and sage burning mixed with strong words against the exploitation of indigenous lands and sacred places due to the “mental illness of greed.”

“We are American Indians of SoCal and friends, dancing in support of our First Nations brothers and sisters of Canada. We also dance for Mother Earth: for the protection of the air, the water and the land – for you, for us, for all that lives. For the generations of the future. Strong Voices. Good Hearts. In Solidarity.” – from the T-shirts made for the January 2013 Flash-Mob at The Grove Shopping Center in LA

Idle No More, Los Angeles, Western Summit Petroleum Conference, Tar Sands

Prayers along the Boulevard calling the stop the destruction for profit. With Anthony Sul, Valerie Stanley, Pomo Joe, Wicahpiluta Candelaria, among others.

Citizen activists and local native representatives joined members of SoCal Climate Action Coalition 350, Tar Sands Action SoCal, Sierra Club Beyond Coal, Food & Water Watch, and folks from Gathering Tribes in the SF Bay Area. They pledged solidarity with Alberta First Nations suffering from the tar sands, indigenous communities threatened by the Keystone XL and fracking, as well as local threats from refineries impacting LA’s low-income communities of color.


Idle No More LA – Prayer for Mother Earth at Western Summit Petroleum Conference

Canada, the most affluent of countries, operates on a depletion economy which leaves destruction in its wake. Your people are driven by a terrible sense of deficiency. When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.
— Alanis Obomsawin, an Abenaki from the Odanak reserve, seventy odd miles northeast of Montreal.

Idle No More, Los Angeles, Western Summit Petroleum Conference, Keystone XL

Honor the Treaties with First Nations of Canada and native communities in the US, Stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Cars honked, people walked by wondering or stopped to listen to the mesmerizing dystopic poetry by Matt Sedillo. The conferees either looked the other way or kept their heads down, maybe feeling shame before the overwhelming healing vibes sent out by the protesters. The most inspiring aspect of the action was the prayers. We saluted the setting sun and circled up on the street, calling for healing of our brothers and sisters, calling for the destruction and poisoning in the name of profit to stop.

Western Summit Petroleum Conference, Idle No More

When the Last Tree Is Cut Down, the Last Fish Eaten, and the Last Stream Poisoned, You Will Realize That You Cannot Eat Money.

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Planners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt