As a member of the Barbareño/Ventureño Band of Mission Indians (Chumash) tribe, I love and honor the three sacred elements: fire, water, and the winds. So it’s very disturbing to see offshore oil platforms marring the coastline of my homelands and to consider the toxic fracking process that shatters rock formations to increase the flow of fossil fuels, a practice the federal government just allowed to resume following a court-imposed moratorium. The oil we burn fouls our water and winds.

There is a term used today, Settler-Colonialism, that describes countries like the United States where the colonists continue to control the land. However, the “settlers” here have really never settled. While shattering our Chumash community, the settlers move around too much to ever connect with and find balance with the natural world. This disconnect allows the powerful to extract and profit, while others tacitly approve through silence and inaction. These companies fill the holes they create with toxic fluids that pollute the water and poison the world.

I encourage all who live here to recognize those factors that separate them from the earth, our world. Say no, forever, to fracking. Say no to extraction. Say yes to building a new way which we, in our world, shall define.


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