Standing Rock Movement Comes to Hollywood
Liz Goldwyn and David de Rothschild host an evening of culture and conversation in L.A. to celebrate the recent victory at Standing Rock and to bring awareness to the fight for clean water.
The fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline came to Hollywood on Wednesday night when author/filmmaker/fashionista Liz Goldwyn hosted a contingent of tribal members from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota for dinner and a talk about their movement to protect clean water rights.
Ladonna Brave Bull, who co-founded the first resistance camp on her land, Sacred Stone Camp, and her activist grandson Dj Two Bears spoke to a crowd at the Standard Hotel that included artists Doug Aitken and Rosson Crow, actresses Brie Larson and Rowan Blanchard, designers Melody Ehsani, David de Rothschild and Jasmin Shokrian, burlesque queen Dita Von Teese and stylist B. Akerlund.
"The reason this all came about is because [President-elect Donald] Trump appointed Myron Ebell, who doesn't believe in climate change, to oversee the transition of the Environmental Protection Agency ... and it really got me fired up," said Goldwyn. "I felt like I needed to do something immediately." Goldwyn and Rothschild were introduced to Sacred Stone Camp founders Ladonna Brave Bull and Miles Allard by music producer Sol Guy, who helped put the event together.
The evening began in the lobby with pow wow dances from Trae Little Sky and Jocy Bird, then moved to the restaurant Alma at the Standard, where chef Ari Taymor served dinner.
During the meal, Ladonna gave an oral history of Standing Rock, where members of the Sioux tribe and their supporters have protested against the proposed oil pipeline on their land for months. "We have always been the resistance," she said, reminding guests that the Lakota spiritual leader Standing Bull stood up against the U.S. government in 1876, when he refused to rent or sell the Black Hills. "Our history has not changed, we're still standing. ... What's happening on Standing Rock is way bigger than an oil line or a corporation. It's about mind and thought. It's about the world saying we don't want to live like this anymore. It's not about tribes or indigenous people, it's about changing the way we think or we're going to kill ourselves."
Dj Two Bears said he and tribal members were in Los Angeles to bring awareness — and raise some funds. "Hollywood has been very supportive overall," he said. "I work closely with Pharrell Williams, who has been supportive behind the scenes — Angelina Jolie, Leonardo DiCaprio, Shailene Woodley, Ezra Miller and Mark Ruffalo have been vocal, too. And a lot more Hollywood celebrities want to get involved, but they don't know how."
Hence the campaign. Although there was a brief victory earlier this month when the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would suspend work on the pipeline and consider rerouting it, that's just a small part of the bigger battle against climate change. "L.A. is in a crazy drought, so what better ground zero to start fighting for water?" Dj Two Bears added. "We're still building out the camp for everyone to come and learn, and we've brought together 350 tribes, which has never happened in history. Everybody is welcome. It's not just a native thing, it's a world thing."
Another Standing Rock event is being held in Los Angeles on Thursday, when the Depart Foundation hosts a discussion at 2:45 PT with Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, Jane Fonda, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and curator Bruce Kapson against the backdrop of an exhibition of Edward S. Curtis photographs. The discussion will be live-streamed on Facebook.com/Depart.Foundation.