Saturday, 26 November 2016

Remember Tryweryn and stand by Standing Rock.

Wales may have more reason than many to stand with the Tribal members of Standing Rock and recognise  both the pain and the inspiration those Defending their land are experiencing.

Back in April, a few Standing Rock tribal members set up camp in a small valley where the Cannonball River flows into Lake Oahe. They were protesting a pipeline designed to carry oil 1,200 miles from the Bakken oil fields to a distribution center in Illinois.

Fueled by social media, the protest caught fire, and the camp is now larger than most small towns in North Dakota.

Standing Rock Tribal Chair Dave Archambault said he's been overwhelmed by the response to a carefully considered decision to fight the Dakota Access pipeline.
"This started with prayer, this started with ceremony," he said. "I think there's a spirit rising in all of us across this nation, across this world, saying, 'Enough is enough.' I'm not the one that's doing all of this. It's beyond people. It's the creator is taking over.""It's earth-shaking, something like this, where three departments come together and start to recognize and expand the jurisdiction for indigenous people and to look at what the wrongs are,"

"It feels powerful," said Galeson EagleStar, of Pine Ridge, S.D., as he stood overlooking a second encampment that became necessary when arriving sympathizers outgrew the first. It sits on land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Hundreds of colorful tents dot the landscape among motor homes, campers, cars and trucks. About three dozen traditional teepees are scattered across the campsite. There are rows of portable toilets, a camp kitchen, a tent school for children, dozens of horses and mountains of donated supplies.
And dozens of tribal nation flags flap in the breeze.
"I gathered information that there was over 100 different indigenous North American native tribes here camped out," EagleStar said. He's nearly 70, but he still proudly wears a T-shirt bearing the logo of the American Indian Movement, a protest group he joined in the 1970s.
EagleStar pointed to a large tent in the center of the camp. It houses the seven warrior societies of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota nations.

It is reminiscent of the Tryweryn

In 1956, a private bill sponsored by Liverpool City Council was brought before Parliament to develop a water reservoir from the Tryweryn Valley. The development would include the flooding of Capel Celyn an almost overwhelmingly Welsh speaking community . By obtaining authority via an Act of Parliament, Liverpool City Council would not require planning consent from the relevant Welsh local authorities. This, together with the fact that the village was one of the last Welsh-only speaking communities, ensured that the proposals became deeply controversial. Thirty-five out of thirty-six Welsh Members of Parliament (MPs) opposed the bill (the other did not vote), but in 1957 it was passed. The members of the community waged an eight-year effort, ultimately unsuccessful, to prevent the destruction of their homes.

When the valley was flooded in 1965, the village and its buildings, including the post office, the school, and a chapel with cemetery, were all lost. Twelve houses and farms were submerged, and 48 people of the 67 who lived in the valley lost their homes. In all some 800 acres (3.2 km²; 320 ha) of land were submerged. A new reservoir, Llyn Celyn, was formed. Many of the stones from the original chapel were re-used in the construction of the new Memorial Chapel.


The building of the reservoir was instrumental in an increase in support for the Welsh nationalist party, Plaid Cymru, during the late 1950s. Almost unanimous Welsh political opposition had failed to stop approval of the scheme, a fact that seemed to underline Plaid Cymru's argument that the Welsh national community was powerless.] At the subsequent General Election the party's support increased from 3.1% to 5.2%.



In October 1965 the Llyn Celyn reservoir opened to a sizeable Plaid Cymru organised demonstration. A year later, Gwynfor Evans won Plaid Cymru's first Parliamentary seat in Carmarthen. According to some commentators though, Capel Celyn did not play a major part in Gwynfor Evans's victory, since apart from Carmarthen's distance from Tryweryn, they claim that Plaid Cymru's victory owed as much to an anti-Labour backlash in the constituency's mining communities as it did to Plaid's successful depiction of Labour's policies as being a threat to the viability of small Welsh communities.

But like Standing Rock , Tryweryn was a symbol of the rights of an Indigenous people being overruled from outside.

There should be a Message of support sent to Standing Rock from the Welsh Assembly giving support from Wales in the name of Tryweryn and Capel Celyn.

1 comment:

  1. So many similar stories like this that have happened over the last 2000 years by a few people in power that are distanced from the area's in their control......shocking and sad.....

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