Walter Kirn, who writes the “Easy Chair” column in Harper’s, reported on his August visit to Standing Rock in the December 2016 issue.
In August Standiing Rock was
“a spectacular sight: thousands of Indians camped on the banks of the Cannonball River, on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. . . awaiting a federal court decision on whether construction of a $3.7 billion oil pipeline from the Bakken region to Southern Illinois will be halted.” — New York Times
On the fourth of December, with thousands still standing ground but now in freezing cold
“the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes.” — standwithstandingrock.net
“an executive order that reversed a decision by the previous administration of Democratic President Barack Obama to delay approval of the Dakota pipeline, a $3.8 billion project by Energy Transfer Partners LP.” — New York Times
It was a very personal article, quite thoughtful and revealing both about the happenings at Standing Rock and about Kirn himself. But the highlight in it for me, and the reason I sought out his website which has led me to add his books to my reading list, was the next to last paragraph. A little mistake caused me to chuckle. It wasn’t the error that the editor appended to the Letters section in January 2017’s edition, so I know they check for errors.
“Because of an editing error, “Standing Rock Speaks” [Easy Chair, December], by Walter Kirn, misstated the year of the American Indian Movement’s occupation of Wounded Knee. This event occurred in 1973, not 1972. We regret the error.”
Here’s what made me smile. Kirn wrote:
On my way to the camp, I parked along the river’s banks and watched it drag last spring’s Montana snowmelt slowly south across the prairies. There was a crow, of course, yakking on a tree branch, grouchy, ornery. Crows are often considered tricksters, and in some legends crows created the world. But now it is all ours, not theirs. It belongs to us, the two-legged ones.
Crows have two legs, the right one is peaking out from behind the left, believe me.