We arrived from Missouri this evening to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We started out this morning with the presentation at William Jewell College in the political science professor, Alan Holiman’s class (see post on him two entries ago). The class, as it turns out, is one that focuses solely on the political system within the Israeli state, and somehow Palestinians do not seem to enter into the equation. He told me that he did have the students read one chapter on “Arab Israelis.” When pressed he admitted that those he identifies as “Arab Israelis” are actually Palestinians though it seems as though such a fact was likely not shared with his students–especially judging from the questions they asked. It seems that he had invited the bus to come because he thought the speaker would be an Israeli American and that there would be only one speaker. Although he had received my biography and also Paul’s (our Iraq speaker) he did not register through email, in his office, or in the classroom that both of us were speaking and that this is the point of the tour. After he only introduced me I reminded him that Paul was speaking as well and that our bus is about not separating the occupations of Iraq and Palestine. So Bill the bus driver introduced the bus and we introduced ourselves. After we spoke we engaged with the students for a while; the first student, however, had read my earlier blog post about his professor and defended him, particularly my comment about the brainwashing. While it may have been “unprofessional” as Holiman himself told me at the very end in private, I think that not revealing the sorts of Zionist entities one involves oneself in while conducting research or going on fact-finding missions is unprofessional, deceptive, duplicitous (on his part as well as the alumni magazine that published his article, see two posts down). In any case, given the level of indoctrination and one-sidedness these students have experienced this semester I think it was an amazing opportunity that we had to speak to them about the situation in Palestine and Iraq. Most of them wanted to know about “terrorists” and other typical questions leading me to believe that their knowledge of Palestinians remains in the realm of the stereotypical.
One big thing I forgot to share yesterday is that on Sunday, the day we spoke at the Methodist Church in Missouri (or Kansas?) there was a full-page ad taken out in the Kansas City Star that stated: “Teshuvah A Night to Remember, the Call to Repentance for Sins Christians Committed Against the Jewish People; We Christians Humble Ourselves Before the Almighty One in the Witness of the Jewish People to Confess and Repent for our Sins.” It was advertising some event on May 13th at the Kehilath Israel Synagogue in Overland Park, Kansas with Christian leaders. Here are photographs of the very disturbing ad:
Anyway, after the talk at the college we hit the road towards Sioux Falls. While we were headed north on I-29 I received an email on my phone from a friend about a protest near where we were headed:
There is a protest going on right now as we speak in Marty, South Dakota home of the Ihanktowan aka Yankton Sioux. There have been multiple arrests, including minors, as protesters seek to block front loader bulldozers from breaking ground on a new pig farm that will be occupied by thousands of pigs and their waste near a Head Start Program filled with Native children. A man was struck by the metal scoop of the front loader (which is used to excavate tons of dirt) and was medically evacuated by ambulance. State Troopers have violated their jurisdiction by arresting protesters on a BIA controlled road which is considered Federal land and therefore off limits to State Agencies and Law Enforcement. It was said that the arrests of the minors and others were conducted illegally by the State Police on the Federal Road and they were escorted to State Land nearby to receive their citations and were released. South Dakota Highway Patrol has informed the Officers that they are in fact in violation of their jurisdiction as this is being written and being told to stand down and not to detain anymore protesters. Dakota, Lakota and Nakota and other Native Activists including a AIM chapter are mobilizing to this spot to support and join their Indigenous Families to protect their Native children and community from this gross violation of Tribal Sovereignty and Basic Human Rights.
There is a video report from a local news channel showing the intense police presence, especially compared to the protesters. They also have a written report. I had asked my friend if he had any contacts there so we could take the bus and stand in solidarity with them, but unfortunately his sense was that it’s so difficult to do that sort of work here as white people have so totally screwed over American Indians again and again that trust levels bottomed out a long time ago. It’s sad that this is the state of affairs here as I know how powerful it can be in Palestine to have solidarity among internationals (technically what we are given we’re the colonizers here, the foreigners) and how much that helps–especially when it comes to police who are racist and trigger happy.
I’ll be watching the news to see what develops in any case and to see if I hear a response from the person in the tribe whom I emailed. For now here are a couple more photos from the road: