By Rachel Woodward, March 7 2017—
As part of a new six-part podcast, CJSW 90.9 FM will air Standing Rock Pt. 2, which documents a trip that CJSW’s Curtis Lefthand and a few others took to the Standing Rock Sioux Reserve in North Dakota on Dec. 27, 2016. The podcast aims to capture the stories of those occupying the space in peaceful protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“That podcast specifically is just creating [a] narrative and dialogue on the indigenous resistance camps out in Standing Rock,” Lefthand, who narrates the series, says. “I collected footage for a documentary I am working on. I also collected footage for the podcast and also delivered donations that were donated to the camp from a lot of reservations within Treaty 7 and people in Calgary.”
The first part of the series aired in late-January and will continue airing until late-April. Lefthand says that because of his experiences in Calgary’s indigenous community, being able to travel to Standing Rock was an important personal moment for him.
“I am traditional in my upbringing as a Blackfoot man. I know those traditions and I know living in Calgary, it’s hard to be in ceremony with elders because there’s not a lot of access to that. Once we were there, every single thing was done in ceremony,” he says. “Non-indigenous people and indigenous people were working really hard to provide for the camp in any way they can, making sure people are getting food, people were just constantly working. You felt welcome immediately.”
Since Lefthand’s trip to the camp, the situation at Standing Rock has changed dramatically, with occupants evicted from the site. Lefthand says that even though the status of the camp has changed, the value of sharing the stories couldn’t be more important.
“Students need to know that in Canada, the last residential schools closed in 1996 in Saskatchewan and the fact [is] there are still people at University of Calgary that don’t know that unless they take an indigenous studies course or they’re in a political science course or a law course that talks about it briefly,” he
The trip to Standing Rock was daunting. Lefthand said that his crew were initially stuck at the United States border, but once they got through, they got trapped in a blizzard that extended their travel by an extra day. They spent four days at the camp where they brought donations, supported those working and gathered interviews for the series.
Lefthand believes that the Standing Rock movement is an important step in working towards indigenous sovereignty.
“You know everyone was working towards occupying this territory with the traditional national inhabitants of that territory but also everyone was focused through ceremony and working,” he says.
Lefthand says that the movement has been building in many communities.
“It’s been a long time coming. It’s not even just for Standing Rock — the idea of indigenous sovereignty and fighting for that level of sovereignty has been an ongoing thing. Right now, it’s a turning point where we’re casually getting into those spaces. We’re becoming legally recognized intellects and federally recognized intellects that can create that opportunity for indigenous education on that level and fight for indigenous sovereignty.”
Standing Rock Pt. 2 airs throughout the next few months. Past episodes are available to stream online.
For more information, visit cjsw.com