By Christine Nobiss
July 31st, 2017
Little Creek Camp is Taking a Break
With some sadness and a little relief I want to make the official announcement that #LittleCreekCamp is taking a break. The reasons are many, but mostly, myself and the key people in this camp are burnt out. Not only that, but the population has been declining and we could not keep up the pace of trying to engage in social and environmental justice causes and simultaneously build a sustainable community. The weather in Iowa at this time of year is extremely hot and humid which makes things difficult in terms of our emotional and physical states. This is a good time to take a break and think about what we can do here in the future.
We implemented many great projects and created organic gardens, compostable toilets, a kitchen (to the best of our abilities!), solar showers, a plywood yurt, a drivable parking lot, a beautiful gazebo over the prayer fire, trails, a chicken coup, a goat house, a duck house, and many other interesting and forward-thinking ideas. Furthermore, we pushed Tiger Swan to utilize their resources to keep an eye on us. Basically, we didn't get as far as we wanted in terms of engaging with the Iowa Utilities Board, the legislature and the community to stop DAPL, but we sure made them think so. We were constantly being watched by them and harassed. In fact, many other members of the activist community in Iowa have come under surveillance by this entity. They attempted to frame myself and Lakasha for the vandalism that occurred to the pipeline in Iowa. As everyone now knows, this act was carried out by two Catholic Workers in Iowa that have come forward and explained themselves. There are other actions Tiger Swan carried out that I choose not to speak about at the moment but will come to light in the near future. Basically, we made them spend a lot of money to watch us work together, and argue a lot, while attempting to build a sustainable community, attend meetings, rallies and benefits around the state.
By starting this camp we managed to create a lot of visibility in Iowa for the pipeline fight and other causes. Many notable figures, media sources and organizations have come through as Standing Rock shut down such as The People for Bernie Sanders, Bold Iowa, Sage Sisters of Solidarity, Digital Smoke Signals, Activate Now, The Young Turks, Fusion, NBC, KHOI Radio, The Possibility Alliance, Umatilla Reservation Radio, The Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition, Vets for Peace, Seeding Sovereignty, The Des Moines Register, The Washington Times, Indigenous Environmental Network, 100 Grannies, Yes! Magazine, and so many more.
The camp also provided a platform for the people to raise their voices. I, myself, spoke in Washington DC at the Climate March in front of 100,000 to 200,000 people. I don't think this could have happened without the platform of the camp behind myself and all the good people that sacrificed their time, energy and resources to be there. Chris Truitt gave his first speech at our Gabriel Alaya rally in Des Moines last month. And not to forget the donors--there are too many to list but all of us at Little Creek will be forever grateful to you for allowing us to do what we did. All monetary donations left over will be put towards paying our accountant, continuing the website and our work in Iowa outside of camp.
Check out our Press Page at Indigenous Iowa for interviews, pictures, stories and blog posts.
The inauguration of camp was on February 26, 2017, when the Goodhouse family from Standing Rock came to light our sacred fire. And we officially took our break today, July 31, 2017. I am honored to know this family and will always be thankful for everything they have done. With their help, we managed to keep the fight against the pipeline going for five more months in Iowa and provide more media and resources for locals that have been fighting here for almost three years. The camp also provided a layover spot for activists, organizers, and water protectors from all over the country to stop and rest, heal and learn as they passed through. Many people prayed at our fire. Through this, we built an audience and a platform that I hope to keep working with; to make further change in Iowa and in this world where change is so badly needed.
When this idea of Camp came to mind I often thought of it as Indigenous outpost in non-Native country. Iowa is one of the most conservative states in the nation. And, Iowa is special due to the political climate here because of the caucuses that run early and the message that this state conveys during the presidential race. If we can continue to use this platform for social and environmental justice in Iowa we can possibly make change at a larger level in the nation. We can do this through our indigenous knowledge and ideas of sovereignty because it is time to listen to the voice of Indigenous people that have long fought for the Integrity of this planet. Our Earth Mother.
As for my own thoughts on the future of this camp and the land it sits on--for a long time Lakasha spoke of an Earthship. Then Chris spoke of something similar. It seemed far-fetched but I started to notice that people need something tangible to put their hands on and wrap their minds around when we are fighting government-backed conglomerates at a judicial level because the pipeline is already in the ground. After a lot of deliberation and talks with other people, I’ve concluded that many are interested in building a Highlander Center (of sorts) in Iowa and perhaps where Little Creek is located. As my good friend Mary K has said, “Earth Ships are a finite form of defiance to the system that is killing us.”
This center would mostly be built from abandoned and/or recyclable materials. When I say abandoned, I mean the walls are built out of tires which is not something that we can easily recycle on this planet. The vision is of a large community center with offices and greenhouses that recycle waste and that has a net zero effect on the environment when it is running at its highest efficiency. If you are unaware of what the Highlander Center does, please look it up. It's a place for people to educate themselves on the issues and learn how to make change. It's a place for organizations to network and build and also a place for individuals to find community. Iowa is not rife with Earthships, so not only would we be providing an essential outlet and hub for change in Iowa, but an example of what sustainable living can be and how wonderful and beautiful it can look.
We have no plans of shutting this place down permanently but to rebrand, refocus and reset with a clear vision and stronger support from the surrounding community. That does not just include Iowa, but water protectors from around the world. While we do this work, I have had the fortunate opportunity to work with a new organization called Seeding Sovereignty. With them I plan to continue everything that I've been doing through the camp and more. With an organization such as this behind me, I will be capable of creating a larger media hub in Iowa for climate change awareness through an Indigenous perspective. The next step is coming up this weekend with the KXL march in Nebraska. I intend to make connections between what we've been doing here in Iowa and speak about eminent domain, sacred archeological sites and government corruption as there are many similarities between these pipeline fights concerning these issues. And don't forget, there is still a chance that we can stop DAPL in Iowa. The fight is in the courts right now but we can still make a difference. I will continue to talk about this in my upcoming posts.
Again, thank you to everybody who became involved with this crazy endeavor. Thank you to the campers, the donors, the organizations in Iowa and all over the world that helped us. Thank you to our Earth Mother for giving us this place to make a stand.
We will continue.
For more information on Little Creek Camp, Indigenous Iowa, and Seeding Sovereignty go to: