Sacred and Profane: A Tale of Two Americas

It’s not often you get a perfect juxtaposition like this. Two news stories, unrelated but happening concurrently. Two protests, together laying bare like an X-ray the hypocrisy, racism and colonialism woven into the infrastructure of a nation.

On one side North Dakota, where the Standing Rock camp opposing an oil pipeline was raided Thursday by police using rubber bullets, grenades and armored vehicles, among other things. On the other, a wildlife refuge in Oregon, taken over by armed men playing soldier back in January. They were found not guilty of conspiracy to impede federal officers by an Oregon court, also on Thursday.


A scene from Standing Rock on Thursday, from the Democracy Now! site.

The protests may look similar on a superficial basis — the little guy standing up to The Man — but ideologically and morally they could not be more different.

The Bundys and their friends subscribe to a view that control of federal lands should be devolved to state or private ownership; most likely so that they can graze their cattle on them. This is environmentally hazardous, not to mention selfish. To make their point, the Bundy-led militia took over a bird sanctuary, whose relationship to their articulated grievances was at best spurious. The standoff ended several weeks and an estimated $3.3 million worth of damage later.

Meanwhile, the Sacred Stone camp is designed to protect treaty land from the imposition of the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline, a behemoth well over 1000 miles long. Even the Department of Interior expressed concerns earlier this year about the pipeline’s proximity to the Standing Rock Reservation and the risk of water pollution from potential spillages.

Having already endured unlicensed security with attack dogs (following which Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! was threatened with prosecution for the heinous crime of doing journalism), camp members were subjected to a militarized police raid Thursday, during which 141 people were arrested. Police even used military vehicles and fired rubber bullets at horses. There were reports of beatings and live ammunition as well.

Any new oil pipeline is a grave concern in terms of pollution and global warming — but as this Truthout article reveals, this pipeline is wrong on another level entirely:

In discussing #NoDAPL, too few people have started from a place of naming that we, as Indigenous people, have a right to defend our water and our lives, simply because we have a natural right to defend ourselves and our communities. When “climate justice,” in a very broad sense, becomes the center of conversation, our fronts of struggle are often reduced to a staging ground for the messaging of NGOs.


Photo by USFWS: some of the damage done by Bundy and fellow occupiers.

Yes, everyone should be talking about climate change, but you should also be talking about the fact that Native communities deserve to survive, because our lives are worth defending in their own right — not simply because “this affects us all.”

So when you talk about Standing Rock, please begin by acknowledging that this pipeline was redirected from an area where it was most likely to impact the residents of Bismarck, North Dakota. When Bismarck’s population — which is over 90 percent white — objected to the risks the pipeline posed to their drinking water, their concerns were accommodated, and the pipeline route was shifted into treaty lands. Please inform people of these facts, and remind them that our people are still struggling to survive the violence of colonization on many fronts. People should not simply engage with stories related to our struggles when they see a concrete connection to their own issues — or a jumping off point to discuss their own issues. Our friends, allies and accomplices should be fighting alongside us because they value our humanity and right to live, in addition to whatever else they believe in.

Every Native at Standing Rock — every Native on this continent — has survived the genocide of 100 million of our people. That means that every Indigenous child born is a victory against colonialism, but we are all also born into a fight for our very existence. We need that to be named and centered.

Good grief. So in one case we have white ranchers feeling butthurt because they can’t do whatever they want, wherever they want. In the other, we have Native Americans pointing out that maybe 200+ years of genocide and colonialist land-grabbing is long enough, in the face of once again being squashed for the convenience of whitey.

To complete the picture of contrast, the damage caused by the Oregon occupation was found to have risked “the destruction and desecration of culturally significant Native American sites,” and actually to have included harm to tribal artifacts.

So colonialism is alive and well. I guess that’s no surprise when it’s an inextricable factor in a land built on the suffering of whole groups of people. It would seem there is still a long road ahead to a better nation and a better world. The only thing to do, it seems, is to keep traveling.

A couple of astrological footnotes. The chart for the Bundy case acquittals has Neptune rising to the degree: potentially a reference to the jury being swayed by Bundy’s 10-hour testimony (yes, really); this Ascendant is also exactly on Nessus in the U.S. Sibly chart. Meanwhile, as the raid at Standing Rock began, the Moon was on the MC (top of the chart), on the Aries Point and aligned with the Sibly MC within a few arc minutes. This by itself suggests that each of these events is a commentary on the state of the nation; put them together, and the point could not be clearer.


Chart for the acquittal of the Oregon occupants.


Chart for the beginning of the raid at Standing Rock.

3 thoughts on “Sacred and Profane: A Tale of Two Americas

  1. Len Wallick

    Absolutely wonderful reporting and analysis, Amy. Thank you especially for the charts. It would appear as though the mutable sign aspects from earlier this year are still resonating strongly, even though Jupiter has moved on to Libra. Obviously, Neptune has “proven” (to use one of Eric’s terms) to have an extraordinarily wide orb of influence. i’m also thinking that the lunar nodes have proven to be something more than just places where eclipses take place. What do you think?

    1. Amy Elliott Post author

      I’ve always been fascinated by the Nodes. They are so descriptive of the developmental journey we must all take. I’ve left out a lot of astrology from this post to focus on the story, but as you’ve no doubt noticed, Venus formed an exact square to the Nodes on Thursday (conjunct the Sibly Ascendant). In spite of everything, I take that as a message of hope: if a sincere effort is made to foster true unity and equality, it could transform the nation. I pray we all learn this lesson through conscious endeavour and not through less pleasant means.

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