A film screening and discussion called, “Mni Wiconi ~ Water is Life,” was held to raise awareness on the current social movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline, addressing such issues as social and environmental justice, human rights violations, freedom of the press and state violence. Elisa Garrote Soto, an exchange student from University College Maastricht, Netherlands, said she helped organize the event to build solidarity around the issue.
At the event, which took place Thursday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Fish Screening Room of the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts, there were a short series of films to show what’s happening at Standing Rock, followed by presentations and a formal dialogue among panelists and the audience.
Panelists for the event included: Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Whitney Mauer; Professor of Anthropology and Sociology Jeffrey Anderson; Cornell University Biological and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. Candidate Grace Bulltail; Keeya Bighorse, member of the Turtle Clan, Cayuga Nation; and Jocelyn Jones, a member of the Wolf Clan, Cattaraugus Territory. Mauer chaired the panel. The experiences of each panelist highlighted their own areas of expertise, unpacking of issues and the connection and understanding of the Standing Rock movement.
“This is the first time in hundreds of years that hundreds of indigenous tribes of North America have united around a cause affecting their communities,” Garrote Soto said.
The event constituted this year’s installment of the Green Tea Connection, a program launched in the fall 2015 by the Office of Intercultural Affairs to connect conversations of social justice and environmental sustainability on campus. “Water Is Life” was free and open to the public.