Tara Houska Continues to Defend the Sacred
"If people don't feel that sense of urgency, they should. They really, really should. There's nothing more sacred and more important to your survival than water."
Tara Houska of the Couchiching First Nation is a tribal attorney and Indigenous activist featured in Necessity: Oil, Water & Climate Resistance and Necessity: Rails, Rivers & the Thin Green Line. She is also the founder of the Giniw Collective, a two-spirit led resistance that defends Indigenous rights on the frontlines every day.
Houska has been camped in Minnesota at the frontlines defending the land and water against the construction of Enbridge’s Line 3. This week she was brutally arrested. Democracy Now! reported on August 4 that “Houska and 19 others were held in Pennington County Jail over the weekend, where several water protectors say they were denied medical care for their injuries, were denied proper food, and some were reportedly held in solitary confinement.” Houska said that the “level of brutality that was unleashed on us was very extreme.” She posted photos on her personal instagram of welts on her arm from the police shooting rubber bullets at her before the arrest.
In an interview with Democracy Now! hosts Amy Goodman and Juan González, Houska states:
“It is so clear to me and to the many young people who are part of not just this movement, but movements across the globe, the Indigenous people who are leading the struggle to protect the last beautiful sacred places, that it is simply not working fast enough.
And for myself, if it takes seeing Indigenous bodies being brutalized to understand what is really occurring in real time, what is happening to the people as we are defending these last places, that’s what I’m willing to do. And that’s what many, many others are willing to do.”
In Necessity Part I, Houska shares her expertise in environmental and treaty law, and her knowledge of resistance strategies. She describes the disparate impact of environmental issues on Native people, as well as the unequal treatment received in the criminal justice system. She calls on allies to join this critical juncture in the fight and use their privilege to help the frontline communities.
"The resistance at Standing Rock couldn't have happened without allies. It was a beautiful coming together of people from all walks of life and all places, so you know, native people, especially here, have survived genocide, but the genocidal policies were very effective. We have very small numbers, and that is why, I think, a big reason why we remain invisibilized."
Tara is currently living at the frontlines protesting Enbridge Line 3 and calls on activists to join her during this crucial time. Visit www.stopline3.org to learn how you can help.
You can see Tara Houska on her personal social media site: @zhaabowekwe, and the Giniw Collective site: @giniwcollective.
Tara with the Necessity production team