As I transitioned into the spring semester there was a whole lot of momentum still rolling from my from the work and experience that took place in the fall and winter surrounding standing rock. For my internship this semester I wanted to try to find a way to utilize the momentum in the mix and put it to use in a productive way. Due to the nature of this endeavor there were a lot variables associated with the intern ship track I chose but this translated into quite the beneficial learning experience.
The utilization of this momentum came to be in the form of working to create a non-profit called the Local Indigenous Network Collective or “LINC” with Joseph Grady and other committed community members. In the process of doing this I have learned a whole lot about what it truly takes to turn the idea of creating a non-profit into a reality. After numerous board meetings and countless conversations about the matter we are finally getting somewhere. The main focus of the organization is still evolving but were finally at the point in which we have decided to direct efforts on protecting the headwaters of the Missouri River and halting the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. There are a lot of variables still at play here but the trajectory is clear and our mission is well put together.
Throughout the process of doing this it’s been amazing to see how fired up, empowered and passionate people are about making a difference and doing something. Much of the inspiration for this energy in folks comes from their experiences at Standing Rock. It’s been amazing to see such productive energy come out of the situation over in North Dakota. One of the individuals that is notably empowered is Thomas Breck, who is now the Congressional Candidate for the Green Party in this upcoming special election. The connections I’ve made along the way, such as the one with Thomas, have presented some other interesting opportunities as well.
Work with LINC will most definitely continue into the summer and beyond. With that said, another pressing set of circumstances has arisen with this up coming special election. Thomas and Joseph have asked me to put some time into Thomas’s campaign and, in hopes to maximize the impacts of my efforts over the next month and a half, I intend to do what I can to help Thomas win in his efforts in conjunction with my work for LINC. To do this, I am going to organize and facilitate a much needed grassroots presences to his campaign and create the infrastructure needed to get boots on the ground to raise awareness and support.
Throughout the fall semester I have learned a lot about the nature of advocacy work and what it means to be an “activist.” I feel as though the way my internship has developed this semester was a great way to utilize and test many of the lessons that I’ve learned throughout the Wilderness and Civilization Program. When it boils down to it, in hopes to make a positive impact that aligns with my values, I have learned a lot about how to maximize the impact of my time. I have further developed the skill set required to work with people to do a lot with a little and I look forward to maintaining the momentum at play far into the future.