Dear White People: DAPL is “not Burning Man”

November 27, 2016



Demonstrators at North Dakota’s Pipeline protest have spoken out about the amount of white people who have turned up to “colonise” the camp.

The concerns have been raised by protestors in a series of tweets and Facebook posts. According to them, people have turned up to the Standing Rock demonstration to soak up the “cultural experience”, and are treating the camp like it is “Burning Man” festival or “The Rainbow Gathering”.

“White people are colonising the camps. I mean that seriously. They are coming in, taking food, clothing… and occupying space without any desire to participate in camp maintenance and without respect of tribal protocols,” said protestor Alicia Smith on Facebook. “I even witnessed several wandering in and out of camps comparing it to festivals. Waiting with big smiles expectantly for us to give them a necklace or an ‘indian’ name while our camp leader was speaking.”

She added that many protestors appeared to be living off the native Americans, and were taking full advantage of the donations that people had been sending in for the cause. This was a trend noticed by another Twitter user, who witnessed one protestor turn down tap water to spend donations on “fluoride free” water.


“They are literally subsisting entirely off of the generosity of the native people… who are fighting to protect their water just because they can,” Smith wrote. “Some literally will not even prepare food but will take food that is prepared, again, having not done anything else all day.”

The situation has reportedly got so bad that an open letter detailing the camp’s ground rules has started trending on Twitter. Responding to the new influx of support, it reminds demonstrators that the camp is “not a vacation.”  It also says that protestors should avoid drugs and alcohol, engage with the elders, and refrain from playing “guitar or drums” around the fires



13 Responses to “Dear White People: DAPL is “not Burning Man””

  1. Bob Doublin Says:

    Thank you Peter for posting this. These guidelines are so important.

  2. It’s unfortunate that this needs to be posted but thank you, Peter, for doing it. It is very difficult for me to imagine that anyone would show up at Standing Rock and expect to just hang out there indefinitely without pitching in to help with any number of tasks which must be executed daily in order to sustain the community.

    I hate to say it, but this situation reminds me of the Occupy Boston encampment through which I passed daily in the fall of 2011 on my way back and forth to my nearby place of work. I did a lot of back end support work for Occupy so was in and out of the site at least once a day and could not help but notice how many people were just hanging out there, helping themselves to food, water, donated clothing and gear, first aid supplies and so forth while doing absolutely nothing to contribute to the daily maintenance of the site.

    To me personally, it is incredibly arrogant to even consider showing up at Standing Rock expecting to be housed, fed and outfitted for the winter weather. I am embarrassed to see that so many non-Native people seem to be doing just that.

  3. dumboldguy Says:

    I’m going to have to modify my statement that the human species is “unworthy” by adding to it “especially white people”. It is absolutely incredible that such a document as the “If you are coming to Standing Rock” guidelines had to be published. It’s no wonder that we’re on our way to planetary disaster.

    A note to Darling V: Veterans are a different breed of cat from “ordinary” citizens. We live by a “code” that most who have never served are unaware of. Unfortunately, the flip side of that is that many vets sometimes go a bit overboard, become motivated reasoners, and end up too far to the right.

  4. shastatodd Says:

    i honestly dont care where these titanic deck chairs are located.

  5. Tom Bates Says:

    So the racists who are claiming to be indians are all offended when wackos who the racists call whites show up at the riots. Where are the blacks and asian? The tribe was asked to provide a pipeline route. The tribe wanted to much money so the pipeline builder got a route outside the reservation for less money. Suddenly the rioters who are indians decided the lands were sacred and water would be harmed. Bunch of racist wackos who simply wanted a bigger bribe.

  6. mboli Says:

    Do we have any indication that this document is a straightforward description of a real problem?
    — The situation could be as described, hordes of outsiders joining the encampment and behaving in the ways described.
    — It could be somebody riffing on stereotypes. Or there are a few people who behave this way, and this document is funny to the rest
    — It could be a very cranky person blowing it way out of proportion.
    — It could be a fake, made-up click bait.

    Given that I cannot find other copies on the web, I’m guessing it is not fake.

    • mboli Says:

      I have no reason to believe that FB poster Smith isn’t serious. But her concerns do not mean that there is a massive problem. (Of course there *could* be a massive problem.)

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Why are you even asking these questions?

      “…hordes of outsiders joining the encampment and behaving in the ways described” says it all.

      The only thing that makes me think twice is that it’s getting pretty cold, and these latter day hippy types do NOT like to be uncomfortable.

  7. florasforum Says:

    Some of the privileged kids of “ME GENERATION” and “Generation X” parents think NoDAPL is all about their pleasure and entertainment? Big surprise! Probably the same kids who demand trigger warnings and safe rooms at universities and who throw temper tantrum riots when the person who is elected president isn’t the one they “wanted” to win.

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