One of the White Clay 5 Speak OutTweet
By: Dana Lone Hill
T.R. McKenzie knew he would be going to jail when he locked himself to four other members of the Deep Green Resistance group, and laid on the road in the small, unincorporated town of Whiteclay, Nebraska.
Some call him an environmental activist, but he considers himself an eco-warrior. His upbringing, one of being raised by a family of social workers and a grandfather who was a union organizer, filled T.R. with stories of helping the underdog and going out to help people in need.
He became a fan of the author and environmental activist Derrick Jensen, whose books often question modern civilization and it’s values. The author believes that “indigenous peoples have had the only sustainable human social organizations, and… we need to recognize that we [colonizers] are all living on stolen land.”
It was through a Derrick Jensen online forum that T.R. learned of the group Deep Green Resistance. Or as some call it, DGR. He became involved in DGR about a year ago. He knew that the movement was getting going through the (Derrick Jensen) Forum, so he then offered to coordinate efforts in the midwest. They called it DGR Great Plains, which encompasses the states of Nebraska,South Dakota, and Iowa.
When asked to describe DGR, T.R. said that Deep Green Resistance is “an analysis, a strategy, and a movement being born, the only movement of its kind.”
As an analysis, it reveals the last 10,000 years of human history–the rise and dominance of civilization–as the culture of death that is now threatening every living being on Earth.
As a strategy, it critiques ineffective lifestyle actions and explains their inevitable failure to stop the destruction of people, species, and the planet. In contrast, DGR offers a concrete plan for how to stop that destruction.
As an above ground movement just now taking its first steps, Deep Green Resistance is based on this analysis and implementing this strategy. And they’re recruiting.
No more ineffective actions – piecemeal, reactive, and sad. No more feel-good, magical-thinking, navel-gazing, consumer-based, capitalist-approved denial and dead ends.
The goal of DGR is to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet. This will require defending and rebuilding just and sustainable human communities nestled inside repaired and restored landbases.
DGR became involved in Whiteclay with the first protest back in May. They decided to stand with the Lakota activists against Whiteclay because that is what they (Lakota) wanted to do. They support and follow and put their bodies on the line while the Indigenous lead.
T.R. believes there will be as many times as it takes to shut down White Clay. The campaign is far from over, and growing everyday. Alliances are being built. Allies join weekly.
They locked themselves together on August 26th, 2012 in specially designed lockboxes that would make the Sheriff’s department deal with them one way or another. They wanted to see if the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Department would actually deal with white people surrounded by Lakota allies. Maybe then the people of so-called Nebraska and the so-called United States would listen. Especially when the Lakota have been screaming at the top of their lungs for decades about White Clay and nothing was ever done. DGR aims to change that.
I asked T.R. what he would say to the local community members who have negative things to say about the protest, and what he thought about the cartoonist who said that if they wanted alcoholism to end, they should just “quit drinking.”
He said he thought they are they are a little bit right, but they are viewing the problem from the lens of the individual, not on a systemic level. He went onto further explain that it would be great if everyone stopped drinking individually, but that is an impossible goal. When there are systems in place that destroy culture and language and take lives, Whiteclay is but one way in which these systems of assimilation and genocide function.
So five members of DGR, surrounded by Lakota, lay on the one paved road in Whiteclay and shut it down to see if the racist Sheriff’s department in Sheridan County would actually arrest white people for standing up for their Lakota brothers and sisters.
They did. They hauled them off in a dirty cattle trailer with manure on the floor to the county jail- where, once they realized they couldn’t unlock them, they let them go on P.R. bonds. Imagine if we saw this happen in another country. How appalled would everyone in America be?
White Clay Nebraska Arrests Video:
In the end, the Whiteclay 5 are raising legal money and have an online petition to drop the charges. Whiteclay is still open. Our relatives still lay up there in the streets. They die everyday from a sickness most have no control over. And all this on a piece of land that was originally a part of the reservation meant to control illegal alcohol from entering the reservation in the first place.
“We will never give up (on shutting down Whiteclay). I will go to jail 100 times.” -T.R. McKenzie
*Photos and Video Courtesy T.R. McKenzie and Deep Green Resistance