The Pipeline has Always Existed
Oka Lawa camp was started in March 2017 in South Eastern Oklahoma to fight the construction of the Diamond Pipeline. The pipeline begins in Cushing, OK, who's claim to fame is being the 'pipeline crossroads of the world' and is slated to end in Memphis, TN after crossing through Oklahoma and Arkansas.
"We’re the first people who actually took others in. Just because of the love for ourselves and others. To have that totally turned around and see the abuse and to experience it and see others with the same story and actually know the facts and statistics. We just proved to the world that we don’t even need money, but when it comes to our positions as native people, I don’t even like saying ‘native people’, its a colonial term, but its how they determine us. We deserve [our rights] because we once lived in harmony as human beings, we were connected to the land and water. Now we’re fighting for it and some of our reservations don’t even have clean water. What is it going be like when these pipelines or these extractions keep going? whats going to happen to our populations? whats going happen to our youth and children, our women and our elders? Our traditions are already under attack, it’s a fight just to keep who we are, to understand who we are. If you understand who you are then you’re going to be able to navigate through this world a lot better. Sadly to say, economically, it has a huge impact on that, it leaves us at a disadvantage. What happens if the millions of dollars that were de-invested in this pipeline were to go back to the reservation? Go back to the people? We’d be able to go back to our tribal ways of life. It means a lot. It’s sad to say that this western society has no connection to that. That’s why they keep on doing what they’re doing. We have something thats worth more. Thats being indigenous, our languages, our culture, our traditions, our spirituality."
"Thats why we deserve it. I wonder how many people within these corporate entities actually pray? Actually got up and prayed, who actually practice their religion? Then they use religion as a way to profit and if you’re not part of that religion you can’t get help or support economically. We don’t have a religion, we have a way of life and its connected to this earth. It’s like our umbilical cord. Water is in everybody’s DNA. For us to protect it is what makes us human. All of us are related through water. That’s what made this fight so huge. Everyone found out that this isn’t just an indigenous issue, this is a human issue. Being indigenous, we’re fighting for everybody. It’s just sad to say, when you try to go to that indigenous way of life you find out that its the hardest, because its not about money."