Rag Radio: Geronimo Son & Steve Russell on Native American Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline

Son and Russell, a Dakota and a Cherokee, believe a united Native American Movement may be born.

Geronimo Son, left, and Steve Russell. Photo by Roger Baker / The Rag Blog.

Geronimo Son, a Dakota Indian, recently spent a week and a half at the Sacred Stone Camp near the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota with thousands of other Natives and non-Natives protecting water and sacred lands from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Judge Steve Russell, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is a columnist for Indian Country Today Media Network where he writes about Native American issues and other topics and writes for The Rag Blog.

On the show, Geronimo and Steve discuss the unprecedented action in North Dakota where thousands of indigenous activists and their supporters are protesting the proposed $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, where demonstrators were recently met with mace and violent attacks by security dogs. They say that construction of the pipeline threatens to contaminate the Missouri River and to encroach on sacred lands and burial grounds. Russell and Son also address larger issues, including the sovereignty of Indian treaty lands and what they see as the likely emergence — as a result of these actions — of an unprecedented unified Native American civil rights movement, tapping the tactics of nonviolent resistance introduced in this country by Martin Luther King.

Geronimo Son is an actor and musician based in Austin, Texas. He is originally from Minnesota, and moved to Austin from Brazil. He is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and has worked in independent films featured in festivals such as Cannes and Cine Las Americas. He recently had his live theater debut in Austin. Son also sings and plays the guitar on the show.

Steve Russell lives in Sun City, Texas, near Austin. He is a Texas trial court judge by assignment and associate professor emeritus of criminal justice at Indiana University-Bloomington. Steve, who wrote for the original Rag in the 1970s, is also a veteran of the anti-war movement and worked with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers.

Steve Russell wrote at The Rag Blog: “The Standing Rock Sioux, to maintain their peoplehood, must protect their treaty lands and their water supply. They have no choice… [They] are trying to assert control over a tiny sliver of their treaty lands in a manner that the settlers take for granted when it’s their property and their drinking water.”

Also read “Dakota Access Pipeline: Legal encounters of the third kind” at The Rag Blog, and listen to our 2010 Rag Radio interview with Steve Russell.

ragradio250x250Rag Radio is produced in the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, an all-volunteer, cooperatively-run community radio station in Austin, Texas, in association with The Rag Blog and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The host and producer of Rag Radio, Thorne Dreyer, is a prominent Austin-based activist and writer who was a pioneer of the ’60s underground press movement. The show’s engineer and co-producer is Tracey Schulz and the staff photographer is Roger Baker. The syndicated show is broadcast (and streamed) live Fridays, 2-3 p.m. (Central) on KOOP in Austin, and is later rebroadcast and streamed on WFTE-FM in Mt. Cobb and Scranton, PA., on Houston Pacifica’s KPFT HD-3 90.1-FM, and by KKRN, 88.5-FM in Round Mountain, CA — and is a featured podcast at VT. All Rag Radio podcasts can be found at the Internet Archive. Contact: ragradio@koop.org.



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