This is Phyllis Young, leader of the Dakota pipeline protest

8 thoughts on “This is Phyllis Young, leader of the Dakota pipeline protest

  1. If Phyllis Young is leader of the Dakota pipeline protest, why have I not heard of her until now? I follow stories and feeds from the camps since August 2016. Also, why using the term protest instead of protect? It is confusing to watch the movement from outside. There seem to be at least several factions with separate ideas about defining the movement and deciding what to do or what not to do. I work for the rights of the Sioux and for clean water on social media, since I am ill and cannot travel, and I must say that getting all the conflicting messages gives the impression of disunity and is thereby demoralizing.

    1. Shirley – Hello! This is a very thoughtful set of comments and questions. It reminds me that I could always be clearer in my own communication. I should not have said that Phyllis Young is THE leader of the camp, but rather “A” leader of the camp. Althought I have not been there, my understanding of Lakota culture is that any movement or community has MANY leaders. Phyllis has been on the Standing Rock Tribal Council but is not currently on the Tribal Council there. My understanding is that she was one of the leaders of the camp community in the same tradition that the woman was the leader of the tee-pee / the home. She was working to make sure the camp was organized, everyone was safe, basic rules were being obeyed. There would have been many people working in this capacity and she was one of them. Also, you point out the word ‘protest’ v ‘protect’ and that is a great point as well. ‘Protectors’ is likely more how the Lakota would view their role. Finally, I do think it can be confusing to follow the activity because the ‘protection’ does in fact mean different things to different people and they are all expressing what it means to them. In traditional western eyes their activity can appear to be conflicting or not organized in a linear way. This was a historic challenge in negotiations and even warefare. An independet warrior might often decide on his own time to strike. Thank you for your important questions. I do not feel like I can give answers for the Lakota but rather just my own reaction or perspective to the thoughts you are putting forth. Wopila Tanka!

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