COVID-19 continues to hit our community hard on the Wind River Reservation. Help us prepare for winter so that our community may know sustainability and wellness and our futures can thrive alongside the Earth.
REGENERATION ON THE RESERVATION
UPDATE as of 6/18/20
The State of Wyoming has opened back up and our community's largest employer (Wind River Casino & Hotel) has demanded that their workers show up to work or be fired. There is a blatant lack of care being shown for our people as everything "goes back to normal". The normality of colonization has never supported our lives! I have witnessed white supremacy and anti-blackness in this state and it's not acceptable. There is an uprising happening in the world and we are creating a reality where our Black & Indigenous family can heal with the land and rest. We are needing to meet our goal before the winter starts creeping back up in the next few months and it becomes more difficult to move around freely. We are actively looking for land to purchase, so we are able to continue supporting our Northern Arapaho people and to create a safe space to share with our communities, here on the Wind River Reservation. We seek to regenerate the land and water to support clean organic plant life to share as sustenance with our relatives to start regeneration process in our bodies as well. Our site will act as a resource center; to be a place where our community can participate and learn about the different types of contamination we are exposed to, how these contaminates affect our bodies, the processes available to remove the toxins, providing access to clean drinking water, healthy foods, and showing our relations how to grow their own organic oasis. In addition by securing this space we can start to unpack the generational trauma and destructive tendencies within our communities to ensure a future that prioritizes wellness and joy. In conclusion, we are implementing our old ways of life by using today's technologies to create a blueprint that can be shared amongst our Indigenous & Black communities seeking sustainability and food sovereignty.
(if you cannot support financially but still have resources and connections you would like to offer , just send us an email.) firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are having trouble donating here you can send money via venmo: Mesiah Sweetgrass or paypal: email@example.com
PLEASE READ BELOW TO SEE WHAT WE ARE BRINGING TO LIFE.
We are carrying a beautiful vision and are ready to share it with all of you, it is in this time that our dream wishes to be actualized.
With clarity and presence, a seed has been planted and we have all been selected to ensure its growth. As we watch the systems that have failed us continue to fall short of what is needed in this time, our eyes are on the natural world. Listening to the call that Grandmother Earth is making, she is not asking us stop our movements but rather to use discernment in where we are putting our focus. The Earth is talking and we are listening. COVID-19 has revealed the urgent need for us all to start to take action not just to put a bandaid over a gaping wound but to actually start to clean it up and properly care for it. We are ready to lay the groundwork for long lasting change.
Year round Indigenous communities go without. From the earliest days of colonization we have been fighting to protect our land and water as it has continuously been unlawfully stolen from us. The reservations were designed to force Natives to live within clearly defined zones. This was never our way of life. This created an opening for missionaries and educators to follow through with their agenda to “civilize the savage.”
The U.S. promised to provide food, goods and money. All the broken promises and our people have been left with poisoned water, poisoned bodies, sick soil, and disconnection from our ways of life. Our communities have extremely high numbers of diabetic, cancer-afflicted, and immunocompromised individuals. This is all connected. Many have not had the ability to envision solutions because our basic needs are still not being met.
With your support, we will be using these funds to co-create a different way of life and bring back the old way of life. Reminding each other of our deep relation to the earth as stewards. We are taking food sovereignty into our hands and planting all the seeds. Making ourselves and our skills available to the community to clear the soil of toxins left over from extraction and get everyone growing organic crops to feed all the homes on the reservation. Having clean food and water will dramatically shift the wellness of the land, air, and all life. Everyone is ready for this shift and we are here to facilitate the actions necessary to make it happen. We are bringing to life an Indigenous-led certified organic community farm and resource center. By 2021 we plan to have 15 acres of certified organic crops available to our community and a base where pure, clean, purified water can be distributed. This will be a space of learning, of healing, and of creating alternative economies that will support and sustain life here.We are focused on the future generations and doing our part to leave behind a better world then the one we came into. Indigenous leadership is so essential in protecting our earth. Everyone needs to be listening to indigenous communities all over the world and following our instructions. You must support our efforts to protect the land and the water. This is how we change the world. Solidarity not charity
“The revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young always inherit the revolution.” - Huey P. Newton
Today is my 25th bearthday and the revolution has begun. As a Black & Indigenous Two-spirit femme. I am ready to commit to the change that my people will bring forth. Being in Wyoming a state that has historically celebrated massacre, American pride, White Supremacy, and settler colonialism the wound runs deep. As each year passes more lives are stolen and land is lost to the hands of capitalism. Today I miss my community but I know I am where I need to be. We all where we need to be. Regardless of how I choose to honor who I am the world will always see me as a Black womxn. My power is undeniable it cannot be ignored. My ancestors have requested that I celebrate my life by having a deep respect from what made it possible for me to be here. I am here because of riots and revolutions. Every instance where my people stood their ground and didn’t just say NO but put their bodies on the line to protect the land, their families and their precious future. Over throwing the system is nothing new to us. Since I entered back on to this Earth I have found myself walking in my ancestors footsteps. Standing my ground for the future. Black & Indigenous communities have been carrying the destructive impacts of colonialism for generations. Our communities have been connected through time and space through our distinct histories of resilience, resistance, and oppression. As interactions with the United States settlers become more frequent and violent hate tactics were deployed into Black + Indigenous communities. Indigenous and Black relatives were socially and politically forced, to define themselves within white supremacy. Blackness became synonymous with being impure, sinful, dirty, whiteness became associated with beauty, virtue, and cleanliness.
These racial understandings of White society seeped into many Indigenous communities.
“White supremacy is built on the public dehumanization of the Black body and the erasure and silencing of Indigenous voices.”
Anti-Blackness is real and ever so present in our Indigenous communities. It is easy to pin point the source but much more of a challenge to fix the issue. It is time for us to prioritize wellness and healing in our communities. I find every day receiving a deeper understanding of what my partner and I are bringing to life and why. We need these spaces of regeneration all over to hold our people up and weave our paths back together for freedom and liberation.
UPDATES as of 5/14/20
It has become apparent that we are up against quite a lot. We have really struggled to communicate the complexity of the situation we are facing.From all directions, we have experienced people trying to shut us down because they are threatened by our ability to get the work done amid turmoil. Tribal Leaders, churches and non profits have attempted to co opt our efforts yet are forgetting the most important part: community. It has been difficult trying to level with them because we are young, queer, indigenous femmes who organize from our hearts. As the state of Wyoming prepares to reopen and try to push for everything to return back to normal this upcoming week, we are here to push back and really question what is classified as “normal”. Since the virus first made its way to the state and onto the reservation, hardly any information has been circulated in regards to how to protect the community on the Wind River Reservation and how we can prepare to do better in the future. We are seeing this carry on as the tribe prepares to reopen the casinos. The same casinos where they have been quarantining those who tested positive. Instead of using this time to address existing issues and failures so new solutions can be presented. We have seen an excessive amount of fear mongering keeping our community tied to capitalism and its shortcomings. Many have shown that they do not understand and do not have access to the full picture or what is needed at this time. As some tribal members cry over the losses experienced by the oil and gas industries we link these extractive corporations to the sickness ever so present in our bodies, land, and water. We are here to lead by example and apply tangible actions to the scarcity we are up against. Before COVID-19 hit a majority of the households we served were going with out food and water. This was not a new issue but rather pre-existing the virus only amplified everything. with all of your support we have been able to continue to meet immediate needs that tribal members face. We have delivered diapers and formula to parents and grandparents who are caring for the youth, we have been able to show support to the families that are mourning the loss of loved ones in this time, we have kept the eldest Northern Arapaho Tribal member fed and safe, we have trained tribal members on how to properly sanitize and serve the community, distributed mask and hygiene kits and selflessly offered our care, love, and focus to all. As we watch everyone prepare to return to the way things were, our vision has become that much clearer. We know that the only way forward is to show up big. We are asking for more support then ever. This fundraiser will remain open as we are raising funds to purchase land of our own here on the reservation where we can open a certified organic farm and resource center. This will be a space that is geared towards supporting the youth in our community to have a safe place to be and learn. Although there are many homes and acres available in the bordering towns it feels essential that we keep the money within our community and support indigenous families in having the opportunities to make the moves they wish too. We are calling in worldwide support as there is little to no community here in our state . Help us bring our dream to reality so our future can know wellness. WE SAY NO TO FRACKING NO TO DRILLING NO TO HOMOPHOBIA NO TO RACISM AND NO TO BEING DEPENDENT ON SYSTEMS AND LEADERS WHO DO NOT HAVE THE EARTH’S OR OUR FUTURES BEST INTEREST IN HEART
-with love & solidarity
Little Wind + Mesiah
UPDATES as of 5/1/20
We have been equally busy as we balance recharging and continuing to show up for community. About a week and a half ago overnight we lost 4 tribal members to the virus . Thanks to all of your support we have been able to help these families with any cost that have come up, as well as supply their homes with food, water, and other necessities . There are so many different forms of help needed at this time. With great care we are tuning in so we can focus on the root cause of these issues and offer long lasting support. Hohou
UPDATES as of 4/16/20
Thanks to all of your support we have been able to get food to 300 families feeding over 2,600 people. This has made the “self-isolation” and the “stay at home order” a more tangible reality for many households on the reservation. We are happy to see our community inspired by our actions and ready to organize themselves to continue our efforts. This allows us to return to our original focus of long-term solutions. We are ready to take on the challenges that keep our people dependent on the system. It’s time for us to tend to the soil and the water. As we get ready to lead by example, we will be shifting our focus to cleaning up the mess that has been made by the fossil fuel industry and regenerating the land to its pure, clean, organic state. We are the regeneration. Our whole world is in need of some major shifts. We are asking that you support Indigenous communities. We are asking you to support us! We have got to start somewhere! So today we are inviting you to begin this journey. Join us in returning to the land. We are looking into getting ready to open a water center where we can offer clean toxin free water to the whole Reservation. For clarity we started our mutual aid efforts because we saw an immediate need to support families in having immediate food and supplies to stay at home. We have now been at it for a month and a lot of churches, non profits, and community members have followed in our footsteps. This allows us to return to our passion and main focus of sovereignty and sustainability. We are feeling really good with this transition and in deep gratitude for all of you, your love, prayers, and donations, please see below for more info about our long-term visions.
PLEASE STAY TUNED AND CONTINUE TO SHARE AS WE ARE STILL RAISING MONEY TO GET FOOD & WATER TO THE COMMUNITY AND THIS TIME IT WILL BE IN THE FORM OF SEEDS, PLANT STARTS, GREENHOUSES, GARDEN BOXES, AND SUPPORTING IN SOIL REMEDIATION.
Updates as of 4/5/20
Barely have the energy to post updates but please read and share:
We are still at it. We have almost served all the families who filled out our survey. The Tribal Business Council has decided to not join forces with us and in that has created a plan that is risking many people’s lives and is not well thought out but we PERSEVERE! We are in one of the 10 states that has not issued a stay at home order but rather only are “suggesting” that people stay home. We started this to ensure that families here on The Wind River Reservation could have their basic needs met making “self isolation” a more tangible reality. The virus will peak here in about a week in a half. As of now we are only able to provide about a week's worth of food to each family based on the size of their household. A lot of these homes range from 5-13 individuals in them. A majority of these homes are grandparents raising their grandchildren. Our ideal vision is to get each home stocked with a months worth of food and in order to make that happen we need a larger space to work out of so we can bring on some volunteers who have been taking the proper precautions to self isolate and access to bulk food in our area since the stores do not carry the amount we need and with new rules put in place to prevent hoarding we have a limit of what we can purchase. Today we are so grateful for all the support from near and far. We are actively trying to support the community in getting accurate information on how essential it is that we all take the proper precautions. No one including the state's representatives or the tribal governments are really taking this seriously and preparing the community for what is to come. We are doing our best, you can still donate or spread the word about our movements. As many are sharing the world is slowing down but THAT IS NOT OUR REALITY OR MANY OTHERS. THE LAND IS CONTINUING TO BE EXTRACTED IN FACT WE ARE SEEING AN INCREASE IN THE PRODUCTION OF FOSSIL FUELS AMD PIPELINES DURING THIS TIME. We are asking you to keep your eyes on the frontlines With love, courage, fury, and strength. WE ARE HERE . WE ARE QUEER and WE WERE MADE FOR THESE TIMES -Mesiah & Little Wind
Updates as of 3/30/20:
7 days in. Out here on The Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. One of my many homes. This is a day in the life. The tribe didn’t step up so WE DID. We have been shopping,sanitizing, and delivering. It’s 24/7 we know this essential in supporting the community in self isolating. But it is neither of our passions to grocery shop( Soooo much waste) we are committed to making sure everyone has what they need to get through this time and our dreams exceed this moment . WE WANT THE #LANDBACK IN ITS HEALED THRIVING FORM . We envision the water flowing in its pure crystalline form again. The soil rich with nutrients and mycelium. Our relatives together, alive and safe.WE WONT LET THE EXTRACTIVE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY TAKE ANYMORE! The Earth for quite sometime has been offering us an opportunity to reevaluate to whom and what we live in relation to. We should know by now that we live in relation to all. We are separate from no thing. This is a time of great connection. We have such expansive hearts and powerful minds. Soothe and charge them up with the right movements and the right content. This is me writing this to remind myself. So what’s next? We growing food! And we cleaning water! You can stay up to date with our magic moves on here for now.
ORIGINAL POST/CALL TO ACTION as of 3/21/20
Hey family what’s good!?
I am here on The Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, home to The Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone. I have been here since January with my partner Littlewind supporting and caring for our elders and lots of sweet babies.
Wyoming is one of the last states to come in contact with the Covid-19. As of March 21, 2020 we have had our first Tribal member test positive. Sadly, we will most likely see more confirmed cases in the days to follow. It’s apparent that this community is not prepared for this crisis, in fact most Indigenous communities aren’t because the government aid that applies to a lot of “U.S./ Canadian Citizens” does not apply to Indigenous communities and most media has ignored what is going on in Indigenous communities all over Turtle Island. These communities have extremely high numbers of diabetic, cancer-afflicted, and immunocompromised individuals. As of right now some precautions have been taken where we are. The casinos are closed, there is an 11pm curfew, and they are asking folks to self isolate to prevent the spread of the virus. The virus has closed the schools and many children are going without meals and are without activities and many people are losing their jobs or if they are still working they aren’t being provided the proper supplies to stay safe.
Where we are it is difficult to self-isolate because the average household is already so crowded and most are inter-generational. It is clear that the state is not prioritizing the well being of Indigenous people. Right now we are dependent on neighboring towns . Without having access to clean drinking water, it’s nearly impossible to avoid going to town . We are asking for help not just to show up if Covid-19 takes a turn for the worst in our community but to use this opening to explore the possibilities of self sustainability in the midst of having our water and land poisoned by uranium mining since the 1950s. The Earth is offering us a beautiful opportunity to create right now and we want to prioritize getting resources to have clean water and food here in addition to medical supplies because we are not prepared for this specific epidemic and are extremely vulnerable. We also want to use these funds to redefine what our sovereignty and health look like overall in our community to be more prepared for emergencies and crises in the future.
If you are based in a neighboring state such as Colorado or South Dakota and have access to resources and/or would be able to support transporting supplies here please reach out to let us know! Contact us for updates around what is needed. firstname.lastname@example.org ( if you would can support in ways that are not financial this is accepted as well just send us an email.)
If you are having trouble donating here you can send money via venmo: Mesiah Sweetgrass or paypal: email@example.com
Sending prayers of protection to your families right now. May we keep the ones who are most vulnerable in our heart's. Let this be an invitation to show up for the communities near and far who could benefit from your love and support.
THIS IS JUST ONE OF MANY INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES YOU SHOULD BE SUPPORTING RIGHT NOW. ASK WHAT FOLX ARE NEEDING. IN THE MIDST OF THIS VIRUS WE ARE STILL FIGHTING THE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY AND PROTECTING THE EARTH AND THE WATERS FOR EVERYONE. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE FRONTLINES
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