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.
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
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.
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.