Create Starter Pack

We’re a pretty awesome and also pretty complex organization! Eventually, we’ll need a full starter pack to help recruit and onboard people into YPC.

Starter Pack Draft Here

@Far-Pritte @Sophie.Xu, I came across a really cool example of a starter pack from the Campaign to #DefundNYPD and so created this Hub topic in order to share it with the two of you!

Example of Starter Pack from Standing Rock courtesy of Stephanie N.

If You're Thinking About Going to Standing Rock

If You’re Thinking About Going to Standing Rock

First of all, thank you! The whole world has been moved and inspired by the water protectors at Standing Rock and many people feel called to go there. It’s important to think through whether you will be able to contribute best by going in person or by doing support work from home.

Good reasons to go:

  • To commit civil disobedience blocking construction of the pipeline.
  • To do needed physical labor
  • To deliver supplies
  • To bring a necessary skill
  • To bring messages of support from your national or tribal group and share your traditional ceremony and culture
  • To support the presence of young people or elders
  • To provide media coverage and documentation

Not good enough reasons:

  • To experience indigenous culture and wisdom
  • Because it seems cool
  • Curiosity
    Do not go to Standing Rock “just to see.” Every person in camp needs to pull their weight and contribute in substantial ways.

Important Notes:

  • Elders and families with children are welcome. Families must see to the safety and wellbeing of their children.
  • Currently (late October 2016), the main camp has moved north, closer to a major highway. Law enforcement has made it clear that anyone at the new camp is risking arrest. If you are coming and arrest-able, camp at the new camp. The leadership has implored supporters to be here and be ready to be a physical barrier to block the arrival of the black snake making its way quick toward us with militaristic police presence at its head. If you cannot be arrested, consider camping at the “old” camp, or south camp.

What is the best way for me to support Standing Rock?
There are many ways to support the water protectors at Standing Rock. If you are considering going there in person, please read the document “Joining Camp Culture” to understand what’s expected of allies at the camps.

The situation at Standing Rock is constantly changing. Check with the websites and Facebook pages of the different camps to determine whether you’re able to provide the specific kinds of support most needed:

Right now, in October-November, 2016, the most pressing needs are:

  • People to commit civil disobedience to stop the pipeline, and be arrested. There are urgent calls for as many people as possible to come and take part in direct non-violent actions.
  • People who can help with the physical labor of preparing for the winter. This includes moving equipment and supplies to the winter camp sites, building structures, sorting donations, and much more.
  • Lawyers who can join the legal support team and be observers of police conduct.
  • Media people who can document the water protectors’ peaceful prayers and resistance, and police conduct, and can risk arrest.
  • Skilled medical workers, especially with more advanced training, including EMTs, nurses and doctors.

If you can’t participate in any of these ways, assess what resources you have to offer and whether they will add more resource to the camp than your presence will use up. Some other useful roles include artists who create banners and signs for the actions, bodyworkers and other healers and people with construction skills.

Consider whether you would be more useful raising funds, organizing shipments of supplies, organizing support actions such as die-ins, flashmobs, demonstrations, guerilla theater, and phone and email campaigns, doing media work, creating and sharing art about Standing Rock, educating people around you, putting public pressure on investors, the Department of Justice, Hillary Clinton, sheriff departments being mobilized to support the pipeline and North Dakota state officials. This work is just as important as the work on site and may be a better fit for you.

Conditions at Standing Rock

  • The weather is very, very cold and very windy. Be sure you are able to tolerate it, and make sure you are well equipped with very warm clothing, a winter sleeping bag and shelter that can withstand the wind and the cold. Sleeping bags must be rated for subzero temperatures. Tents must be heavy canvas or made for winter camping.
  • You must bring all your own food plus food to share. You might be invited to meals, if you are it’s best to attend but be prepared to eat what you are receiving. Think about food in the spirit of mutual nourishment. The camp kitchens provide food for the indigenous community to stay. Help nourish others by bringing as much of your own food as possible, and contributing cash to support the food supply. Bring cooking equipment (keeping in mind the wind.) Bring food that doesn’t need to be cooked, or can be prepared by adding hot water. Protein bars, jerky, canned sardines, ramen, instant soups, dried fruit and nuts, crackers and so on. In addition to the main volunteer kitchen, there are smaller kitchens scattered throughout the camps. If you need food, don’t hesitate to ask. Mutual aid is the spirit of the camp. But be prepared to contribute ingredients, money or labor—if not at that kitchen, then at another.
  • If you can travel to Standing Rock in a vans and campers, especially with heaters that can help to save camp resources.
  • There is a team of health care providers and many supplies have been donated so there is care available for minor ailments, but the medic tent cannot handle serious medical conditions. Bring any medications you need with you and be prepared to be medically self-sufficient.

If you are considering being arrested

  • Conditions are constantly changing, so check websites (listed above) for the current situation for those arrested.
  • Again, at this point, enforcement has made it clear that anyone camping at the North camp (new camp) is risking arrest.
  • Remember that Standing Rock direct actions are a form of ceremony and prayer for the water and should be approached with calm determination and without any form of violence.
  • Training in non-violent direct action will be provided to every person going on an action.
  • You will be given a form to fill out with all your relevant personal information.
  • You’ll be told as best the leaders are able, what to expect.
  • As of October, 2016, some water protectors are being sprayed with pepper spray, and arrestees are being strip searched.
  • The legal fund will NOT pay your bail. Bail is being set at $1600. Be prepared to spend at least the night in jail.
  • Be prepared to request a public defender. Strategies constantly shift, but anything that strains local and statewide legal system resources helps build pressure to end the pipeline.
  • Try to take care of your business with the court right away, as there are no funds to pay for people to return for court dates. You will have access to people to help you do this.
    This document was created by Solidariteam, a collective of trainers. Creative commons (cc)
Joining Camp Culture

Joining Standing Rock

WELCOME to Standing Rock. Thank you for coming to be part of this powerful moment in history. The fight to stop the pipeline is part of our global struggle for liberation, to protect our planet from extractive capitalism, and to heal the devastation of oppression on all our lives. We are winning, and we still have a long way to go. We need everybody. That includes you. This is an indigenous led struggle, on indigenous lands, rooted in centuries of resistance and the specific cultural strengths of the Native peoples gathered here. This means it will look and feel different from non-Native activism.

This is a tool to help you join camp as powerful allies, with deep respect for its sacredness and for indigenous sovereignty and leadership, so that your contribution is as effective as possible. Our job as allies is to SHOW UP, figure out how we can HELP, and GIVE more than we take. Here’s how:

We follow Indigenous Leadership AT ALL TIMES:

  • We support this fight in whatever way its leaders decide is most useful. We come prepared to work and not expect anything in return. Every person who comes to camp must try to bring more resource than they use.
  • Ceremony and prayer are the bedrock of Indigenous peoples’ connection to land and water and are central in protecting them. Actions are ceremony and along with meetings, usually begin with prayer. Show respect. Take off your hat and be quiet during prayer. Stand if you are able. Notice how others honor prayer and follow their example.
  • Observe and follow: Don’t push your own ideas about what kinds of action should be taken; what is most radical; what the time frame should be. Indigenous leaders have been resisting settler colonialism for a long time and have good, culturally grounded reasons for their decisions.
  • Make sure any direct action you join has been approved by Indigenous leaders. There may be attempts by agents or self- declared leaders to provoke confrontations.

We Conserve and Share Resources

  • Use resources sparingly. Don’t waste food, water, or wood. Be as self-sufficient as possible.
  • Stay as clean as you can without using too much water. Wash your hands, or use sanitizer. Take sponge baths.
  • If you can charge cell phones or batteries tell the volunteer coordinator and share with anyone who needs it.

We Work

  • Wake up early and be ready for the day.
  • Listen, observe, and offer to help with projects. Don’t wait to be asked. While you need to follow the guidance of Native people about priorities, there is plenty of work to do.
  • Care for the space. Pick up any trash the wind might be blowing around.
  • You may be asked to do something in a different way. It’s more important to do as you are asked than to understand all the reasons for the request. There may be time to ask questions later, or you may learn by just listening and watching. Be open to doing things in a new way.

We Communicate Mindfully

  • Many campfires are places of prayer. Speak quietly, and don’t bring discussions of violence, police repression or other disturbing topics up at prayer sites.
  • Do not spread rumors or information you aren’t certain about. Don’t contribute to any tensions between individuals or groups.
  • Keep in mind that there are infiltrators in camp. Don’t gossip. If someone tries to persuade you to take action not called for by Indigenous leadership at the camp, check with an elder or other leader.

We understand this moment in the context of settler colonialism

  • Settler colonialism is a process of “destroying to replace.” A colonizing power exports resources and people, and seizes and settles on land, exercising violent control over the original inhabitants. Indigenous versions of governance, land management, cultural practices, etc. are destroyed through conquest, disease, land theft, and cultural genocide, and are replaced with the settler versions of those things. Settler colonialism is not an event that we can neatly box into the past, but rather a persistent form of violence that impacts every aspect of life in settler states. Settler colonialism is still happening.
  • Indigenous history in the Americas is one of uninterrupted resistance to colonization, from 1492 to today. You may be unaware of this history, or not recognize the forms it takes in indigenous cultures. Be curious.
  • We do this work as ourselves. We bring all of who we are and where we come from. This includes gender identity, race, class, sexual orientation, age, body/mind ability, culture and place of origin. We all have inherited historical relationships to sort out in order to become more powerful, effective and whole.
    • As white allies we must figure out how to shift out of European cultural modes, unlearn and interrupt settler colonial patterns and develop anti-racist awareness and skills.
    • As Non-Native People of Color we have many different historical relationships to settler colonialism and Indigenous struggles, and may have unconsciously internalized settler attitudes toward this land and indigenous people. Native leaders and scholars have asked us to recognize that although we are targeted by white supremacy, we also participate in settler colonization, and are settlers in relationship to Indigenous people.

We DECENTER settler worldviews/ practices and RECENTER Indigenous worldviews/practices and leadership

  • Whiteness and Christian dominance, which are the basis of US settler identity, are built on perfectionism, superiority, purity, competition, individualism, binaries, and suppressed emotion. This impacts how we do our ally work, how we approach the tasks of dismantling oppression, and how we treat each other and ourselves. It’s hard work to recognize and abandon these familiar attitudes that don’t serve us, but it’s the only way forward. Harshness only reinforces settler culture. Practice compassion and humility with yourself and others.
  • Practice noticing and regulating how much space, energy, attention, and resources you take up. When you are with indigenous people, listen more than you speak. Let indigenous people speak first. When you feel the urge to speak, check with yourself about how important it is to the group effort?
  • If you have questions about how things are done, try to observe and follow by example. If necessary, find times to ask outside of meetings. Keep in mind that Native leaders have an enormous amount to do and think about. Practice being ok with not knowing everything you want to know.
  • For 500 years, white people have been exploiting, betraying and destroying Native people, culture and resources. You may feel the impact of this legacy as distance, coolness, cautiousness, or distrust. Do not take it personally. You have been invited here and your presence matters. While you are expected to keep indigenous people in the center, it’s not your job to make up for all the past devastation by yourself. But you do have the opportunity to start creating a new legacy. This will be built through practice, with many mistakes. Go easy on yourself when you trip, and practice getting up quickly when you fall.

We understand cultural appropriation and make every effort to not perpetuate it.

  • Being in this sacred space can be life altering, especially if you are not grounded in your own spirituality, ritual, healing traditions, ancestors, or connection with the earth. If you feel the pull to take on indigenous peoples’ spirituality, customs, and lifeways, know that it’s been a central feature of colonial oppression for non-Natives to help themselves to Native culture without building the necessary relationships, asking permission, or supporting indigenous survival. Although it can feel like respect or honor this dynamic is inseparable from genocide and colonialism. Remember, you are not here to ‘access’ Indigenous culture or knowledge; you are here to support a struggle for Indigenous peoples’ lifeways, and to protect water, land, and all of our futures.
  • Own your history. European settlers came bearing the traumas of violence, lost connection with the land, and severe repression of their spiritual traditions. Becoming settlers deepened that loss. Being around indigenous people who still have those connections can bring up feelings of longing for white people, or the illusion of having found “home” in Native
    culture. It’s important to face our own historical losses, and draw on our own roots, rather than trying to claim the cultures that Native people have fought so hard to preserve. If you feel this pull, make space to grieve lost connections and knowledge. Learn about your own ancestral traditions, and develop a spiritual practice rooted in them. Native people, non- Native white people and non-Native people of color are all healing from different aspects of colonialism. Seek out people who share your experiences and histories with whom to connect and find healing.
  • Never attend a ceremony without being expressly invited.
  • You must register at the media tent to use a camera in camp, and you MUST ask permission to take photos or video of anyone at the camp. Be very careful in how you represent Native people in images. Make sure to connect with the people you want to photograph. Think about the story you are telling. Avoid portraying Native people in stereotypical and objectifying ways. Never photograph ceremony unless you are specifically told it’s okay.
  • Impact is more important than intention. It is up to you to show that you know you are a guest and not an owner of indigenous traditions.

This document was created by Solidariteam, a collective of trainers. Creative commons (cc)

When You Return Home

When You Return Home

Here are some suggestions to continue to work for and support indigenous sovereignty movements:

  • Know whose land you are on. There are plenty of resources out there to help you educate yourself about the land that you—your school, your place of worship—are occupying and its original inhabitants. Here is one. Find out if the tribes or nations are still in that area. If they are not, find out why not. Have they been forcefully relocated? Pushed out in another way? Acknowledge that you are on occupied land when you say where you are or where you are from. This is an important way to disrupt the “myth of the disappearing native.”
  • Know your family’s history. How did your family end up in the U.S? Was it through a colonial process in another country? If your ancestors are from a colonizing country, what was your family’s connection to land, spiritual traditions, economies, etc. before that country began colonizing other places? Does your family own land in the U.S? If so, how did they come to acquire it?
  • Learn together. Encourage learning that is personal, emotional, spiritual, embodied, and communal. Host reading groups and discussions that build an understanding of settler colonialism and your and your community’s relationship to it that is tied to Indigenous solidarity. Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States is an enormously helpful place to start and there are numerous resources through Unsettling America, the BMIS Website, Colors of Resistance, Journal of Decolonization, No One Is Illegal, Queer Indigenous Studies, Critical Indigenous studies and more. Also, there are various amazing resources for anti-racist education through Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), The Catalyst Project, The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, Dismantling Racism Works, and other organizations.
  • Work for repatriations of land, upholding treaties, and funding Indigenous-led struggles and efforts for land return. This entails supporting Standing Rock, and other Indigenous led struggles in your region, building power to force the state to respect treaties, and doing creative fundraising campaigns such as door knocking for reparations as members of Resource Generation did in the Bay Area in solidarity with POOR Magazine’s “Stolen Land and Hoarded Resources Tour.” Read more here.
  • Ask Permission. Asking permission fundamentally shifts the entitlement inherent to the settler experience. Cultural appropriation is an extension of genocide, forced removals, and land theft, as settlers take what does not belong to them as if it is rightfully theirs. This can be countered by asking permission to be upon Indigenous peoples’ traditional lands. This practice can be extended in a variety of ways and open up new modes of relating and relationships. As one of the first steps of planning, ask permission for any gatherings, marches, etc. from an Indigenous representative of the land you are on. Invite them to collaborate in planning around gatherings, conferences, actions, campaigns for justice work on their traditional homeland and be open to the work shifting because of such collaboration.
  • Know where your water, heat, electricity, etc. come from. Lands that were relegated to Indigenous use under the Reservation system often because of their perceived barrenness are now resource colonies for the settler state. Indigenous communities in the U.S are among the hardest hit by the negative impacts of climate change because of the extractive projects and processing that take place on their lands. Coal mining and burning, uranium mining, copper mining, are just a few of the extractive projects that leave toxic legacies for generations to come. The profit from extraction on Native lands is rarely returned to the community who has paid the cost in destruction of lands and sacred sites, damage to health, and devastation of local economies and lifeways.
  • Engage in local struggles/ build relationships There are ongoing Indigenous-led struggles for land and self- determination taking place all over Turtle Island. Not all Indigenous spaces and organizations are looking for outside support, but many are. Educate yourself on this history of the area and current struggles. Reach out and take principled and accountable action by centering relationships in your work. The work will often be request-based and/or take on various forms of asking for permission, seeking guidance, and input. This is a nuanced dance of taking initiative while ensuring there is guidance and the work upholds, not undermines community self-determination. Your participation in decision making and giving input should be determined by the Indigenous people you work with and will depend on the specific goals. For example, an Indigenous community addressing its own Tribal government has different objectives and requests from non-Natives folks than if cross-community power is being built to challenge Federal and or State policies, energy policy, corporate power, etc.
  • Raise Awareness for Standing Rock Responsibly. Those of us who are not from Standing Rock cannot actually speak for those in the struggle or represent the struggle. As we push for visibility of Indigenous-led struggles, which are too often invisibilized in the movements for human rights, environmental justice and climate justice struggle, it is crucial that we are responsible in how we help in making it visible. Our goal as non-Native supporters should be to amplify the Indigenous voices from camp–not to speak for Indigenous people or replace their voice.
    • If you are asked to do an interview about your experience at Standing Rock, try and direct the interviewer to an Indigenous journalist or spokesperson instead.
    • If you are hosting an event to raise awareness or resources that is by and for white allies, be clear in your presentation of and outreach for the event that it is NOT a reflection or part of current Indigenous and POC conversations about decolonization.
    • If you are hosting an event to raise awareness or resources, always prioritize bringing out Indigenous people from Standing Rock to speak about the struggle.
    • If you absolutely cannot bring a person from Standing Rock out to speak about camp, please pair your talk with a screening of a video about Standing Rock made by Indigenous camp leadership, provide lots of literature at the event that includes Indigenous voices from camp, and make it clear in your advertising of the event that you, not someone from Standing Rock will be speaking.
    • If you do speak at a “Standing Rock event,” avoid giving a presentation about the struggle; speak clearly from your perspective about your experience as a supporter. Avoid romanticizing Indigenous cultures or struggles and focus on concrete and material ways that others can provide support. For example, make sure you have a current list of needs from the camp so people can provide needed resources, or have a way for people to donate to the camps at the event. Here is a link to a place to donate and a list of camp needs:

This document was created by Solidariteam, a collective of trainers. Creative commons (cc)

Update: The Governance circle may pick up writing the starter back related to governance. Meanwhile I just had the rundown call with Sikirat and Faria and they agree that a starter pack would have been really helpful.

Example of Starter Pack from Civics Unplugged

Example of Network Charter from Converge

Example from Provisional World Children’s Parliament

Example from OuiShare Network

I’ve officially created the Starter Pack category!