Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

a basket of writing from author Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner



I’ve been following what’s been happening in Dakota, reading updates from Dallas Goldtooth’s facebook profile, saving links and reading them when I can. If time/money/baby permitted, I’d love to be out there fighting alongside these tribes who are standing for something so purely simple  – clean water. The lack of  media attention is shocking also. In one of the articles I read, I came across an image of a girl named Naelyn Pyke sitting in grass. Her quote that accompanied the photo struck me more than the others.

‘Our ancestors are looking at the people with tears in their eyes because they know all the pain and suffering yet to come. They know there is no tomorrow for those yet to be born.’


It reminded me of last summer, when I first came to full weight of the loss of our islands, or the possibility of it.  I was sitting in grass too, feeling the haunting loss of generations to come. I don’t like to think about that moment often. I wrote about it once and that was enough. But I tapped into that memory, at least skimmed the surface a bit, just to feel what she must be feeling, what her people must be feeling.

Today I read a post about dogs that attacked six of the campers, pepper sprayed too. I watched a video of Dallas Goldtooth explaining that one of the campers bit was a pregnant woman. According to the facebook post from Sacred Stone Camp, they were able to shut it down anyways. The image is below.



Working off of these two images, I wrote a poem for the water protectors as a small offering. From the Marshall Islands. From your ally who is a shark.

for the dakota water protectors

When we are attacked today does
our unborn children
feel it? Do the teeth dig
across realities does the blood stain
across oceans?

When we raise our fist
is a song written
by our great grandson?
When we lay down to sleep
in wild grass does
our ancestors’ heart beat
with the three thousand
in dakota starlit night?

You were never meant
to be leashed

You were meant
for a life
pure enough
to drink


If interested in helping this is a post I copied and pasted from Linda Black Elk in the Standing with Standing Rock facebook community. If others have more links or ways to support feel free to post in the comments section below.

“Here’s everything you need to know to help fight the Dakota Access Pipeline!

1. You can donate items from the Sacred Stone Camp Supply List:
2. Contribute directly to the tribe to support the Red Warrior Camp:http://standingrock.org/…/standing-rock-sioux-tribe–dakot…/
3. Call the White House… (202) 456-1111. Tell President Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
4. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund:https://fundrazr.com/d19fAf
5. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp gofundme account:https://www.gofundme.com/sacredstonecamp
6. Call the Army Corps of Engineers and demand that they reverse the permit: (202) 761-5903
7. You can sign the petition to the White House to Stop DAPL:https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/…/stop-construction-dakota…
8.Call the executives of the companies that are building the pipeline:
a. Lee Hanse
Executive Vice President
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.
800 E Sonterra Blvd #400
San Antonio, Texas 78258
Telephone: (210) 403-6455 Lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com
b. Glenn Emery
Vice President
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.
800 E Sonterra Blvd #400
San Antonio, Texas 78258
Telephone: (210) 403-6762 Glenn.Emery@energytransfer.com
c. Michael (Cliff) Waters
Lead Analyst
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.
1300 Main St.
Houston, Texas 77002
Telephone: (713) 989-2404 Michael.Waters@energytransfer.com



Author: Kathy

Kathy Jetnil Kijiner is a Marshallese poet and activist. Her writing highlights the traumas of colonialism, racism, forced migration, the legacy of American nuclear testing, and the impending threats of climate change. Bearing witness at the front lines of various activist movements inspires her work and has propelled her poetry onto international stages. She has performed her poetry in front of audiences ranging from elementary school students to most recently over a hundred world leaders at the United Nations Climate Summit, where she performed a poem to her daughter, "Dear Matafele Peinam". Currently she lives and works in the Marshall Islands, where she teaches Pacific studies courses full time at the College of the Marshall Islands. She is also Co-Director of the youth environmentalist non-profit Jo-Jikum, which empowers youth by educating them on the importance of environmentalism and mobilizing them to work toward solutions for environmentalist issues. Check out their website: www.jojikum.org

4 thoughts on “#noDAPL

  1. Beautiful poem and heartfelt reflections on the pipeline standoff. I am grateful that the Native Tribes care enough to stand up to the oil powers in blocking the pipeline and trying to protect the water for all of us. Thank you for caring too. May we wake up and join together in protecting our precious planet.

  2. Watch this links of the young girl in the photo you shared and her quote. Look her up on Facebook or google her. (Naelyn Pike) This fight is one that is happening all over Indian country. It is a time to stand and protect

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