November 20, 2016, Métis journalist, Stephanie Cram publishes the following article for CBC News, highlighting some of the cultural differences she and her team reportedly saw between indigenous and non-indigenous residents of Oceti Sakowin. “To get the full experience of Standing Rock, we set up our tents for two nights, immersing ourselves in daily life at Oceti Sakowin.” Pardon me Ms. Cram but the “full experience” is not obtained in 2 nights. Ms. Cram, you have managed to take an incredible feat by organizers and made it look like a mess. “I do believe [some people] are here for like Woodstock, or a Burning Man-type thing,” said Josh Dini, who works as security for Oceti Sakowin.” Maybe so but when you make the possible intentions of the minority, central, it morphs out of control and turns into an excuse to dehumanize everyone in the camp. Your choice to interview LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard about the goings on at Oceti Sakowin is interesting considering that she does not live there and her comments were about Sacred Stone Camp.
November 28, 2016, Chris White from the Daily Caller picks up the story and runs with the Burning Man hippy meme. Now readers are led to believe the Natives have completely lost control and the camp is now filled to the brim with rude, drunk and high, Burning Man hippies who just want to party and not contribute.
November 29, 2016, enter Sandra Song of Paper to continue the out of control spiral that leads people to believe a false and vilifying narrative of Oceti Sakowin. The narrative is as follows: Native water protectors do not want white allies coming to Standing Rock. They just want money. Natives have completely lost control of their own camp and it is mostly white people looking for a party there.
NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! Oceti Sakowin is Indigenous led and Natives are still the majority. The vast majority of non-Native allies that live in Oceti Sakowin are there to participate and give. They are standing side by side on the front line, putting their bodies on the line for clean water and for Indigenous sovereignty. They bring support and supplies and their service is greatly appreciated. Non-Native allies are welcome and appreciated at Oceti Sakowin. Non-Native allies are greeted and treated as relatives. That is the truth that I witnessed and I spent more than two nights there.
This Burning Man hippy meme is the perfect Alt-Right Trogan Horse. It is a meme that looks like Social Justice minded concern on the surface. But when you scratch the surface, it is as dehumanizing to all of the residents of Oceti Sakowin and could very well be used as an excuse to clear the camp. After all, it is just a bunch of Burning Man hippies looking for a party and not the largest ever gathering of Native water protectors looking to save us all from death by poison water and paper sovereignty.