Oct 22

Tesoro refuses to answer any questions about Tioga Oil Spill

(all Timestamps reference this recorded live video)
Tesoro refuses to answer any questions about Tioga Oil Spill
October 13, 2013
        Unedited Media heard about the Tioga oil spill just like everyone else–11 days after it happened.  .It took eleven days for the biggest inland oil spill to be known to the public.
        The spill was eight miles north of Tioga, North Dakota and the media collective hadn’t seen much in the way of  photographs or video. Unedited Media journalists decided to travel to Western North Dakota. They traveled along rutted dirt roads grooved by vehicles and flanked by frack wells. oil well site near Tioga, ND The journalists had the general location of the spill but  they smelled it before they saw it. The Unedited Media team followed the scent of oil to a wide open field of recently harvested wheat. The site was about 300  yards from the road where 3 excavators sat behind tall mounds of earth.  They arrived to site of the 20,600 barrel oil spill.

        October 13th, 2013 3:34pm:

The team Walked up to the site of the spill hoping to ask questions and take photos/video of the spill. When the journalists walked halfway through the field of wheat stalks 3 people appeared on the mounds of black soil and pointed at them.  The journalists declared themselves and waved to draw attention and walked toward where the Tesoro workers stood. oil spill site A gentlemen in a Tesoro helmet walked up to team. At this point the Tesoro worker started repeating, “Please get off the site, you’re not authorized to be on the site.”

He continued to repeat his command.
        Our team of journalists moved back off the excavated mounds of dirt that spilled onto the wheat field  and asked him a string of questions.
 “Where can we stand to document the spill?” 2 photos of our closest shots of oil spill site combined
he responded,
“You need to get off site, you’re not authorized to be on the site.”
Our media team complied and moved back with him some distance from the site.
“Can you let me know how to get authorization.., Is there  a phone number?”
“You need to get off the site, you’re not authorized to be on the site.”
At this point the team of journalists were pushed back nearly 100 yards from the site of the spill.
“Is there a press or PR person I could talk to?”
“You need to get off the site you’re not authorized to be on the site.”
        During the one-sided conversation the Tesoro worker was asked to calm down, because he seemed  agitated.  When the encounter began the United Media journalists did nothing but announce themselves as journalists, and comply with the commands of the worker.
The Tesoro worker demanded that the journalists go back toward the road, and gave them no information on how to contact a press or PR person. He gave  no information about how to access the site in order to document it even after both clearly stated that they are journalists. We stated our intentions to document the site for the public to see and we were given no information as to how to access the site to accomplish that goal. The worker even went so far as to step in front of the journalists cameras and use his hand to shield us from documenting the Tesoro oil spill. The Tesoro worker demanded that we “put our camera down and go off site.”
       Unedited Media brought their cameras to document the biggest oil spill on United States soil. The two journalists declared themselves, stated their intentions and Tesoro responded by forcing them away from the site of the spill.
     Tesoro’s behaviour on Saturday October 13th, 2013, demonstrated that Tesoro was uninterested in cooperating with Unedited Media’s journalists. Tesoro claims accountability, but accountability to whom? Tesoro still continues to hold spill information close and away from the public. A public who waited for eleven days to learn about the biggest inland oil spill in United States history. A spill that shows the real risks and consequences of  pipelines. Pipelines that companies like Tesoro continue to claim are safe, but overnight can burst destroying the land around them and when pipelines burst companies like Tesoro seem to make every attempt to hide the information from the public.

Tesoro worker

     Unedited Media
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Sep 22

They call it Liquid Genocide.

posted on www.uneditedmedia.com                                  

  A story about perspective on childhood:

                                     A friend I’ve known for over a decade, whose indigenous to the lands I now call home, saw                                            this high school kid  fall off his bicycle. The kid fell backwards, and his helmet slipped towards                                      his nose. My friend, whose recent birthday inched him towards forty, said he watched the                                                EMT’s lift this teenager into an ambulance and hoped he was ok. Later we learned the kid                                              died, and this big brown man’s voice quivered, “Oh no,” He tipped against the wall and started                                      sobbing. He wept  at this complete strangers death. I watched unsure of how to react and just                                        told him I was there for him. A few hours later he walked up and hugged me, said, “I’m sorry.                                        Where I’m from, so many young people die.”


I recently visited the Pine Ridge Reservation to witness and stand on the side of the Lakota people who’d invited us. They invited us as allies and to take part of an ongoing struggle against Whiteclay, NE. Before getting into the flesh of that struggle, there are things I need to share, things I think we must look and try to understand before reaching the actions. See, there are facts, little factoids you learn about a place when you’re there. Sometimes about death and addiction. Statistics, and they mean nothing. It’s hard to grasp a % of a thing, when you’re not in the thing. You’re not the one living it.

Pine Ridge Reservation statistics:

Lakota people have the lowest life expectancy in America.

*       Life expectancy for men 48, 52 for women. Lowest reported 45 years of length life.

USA= 77.5 years of average lifespan.

*       Teenage suicide rate is 150% higher than the U.S. average for teens.

*       The infant mortality rate is the highest on this continent

300% higher than the U.S. national average
*      Alcoholism affects 8 out of 10 families.

* The death rate from alcohol-related problems on the Reservation is 300% higher than the remaining US population.

We heard these numbers as we crossed onto the Pine Ridge reservation. These death and alcohol statistics became more comprehendible as we listened to uncountable stories of known and recently dead: Cousins and siblings– relative upon relative, from car accidents, and acts of drunk random violence. Liver cirrhosis. Died from alcohol. I listened while on Pine Ridge, and everyone had stories, and lists of their known dead. The pizza hut worker who hated Whiteclay, whose brother died of cirrhosis, of alcoholism. A 35 year old women, who lived the streets of Whiteclay, who’d slur at me that she knew it was bad. That Whiteclay had to go, that her father died there. But we ran into her after she’d made the 2 mile trek to Whiteclay, NE from the Pine Ridge Reservation. My trip to the reservation wasn’t only to learn about the history of Whiteclay, NE, but also to listen to stories from the people who struggle against Whiteclay, and called the Pine Ridge reservation home.
We arrived to the Lakota’s homelands by crossing an imaginary border out of Nebraska, into what I’d learn wasn’t the Pine Ridge Reservation to the Lakota who invited us, but was really POW camp 344. Untitled This name referencing the tribal identification number assigned them by the federal government. We were told that each reservation, and thus tribe was assigned a numeric sequence to attach them to the lands their people were now isolated too. While the story of POW camp 344 is far too large for this small article, let it be known that I heard stories of warriors that once fought the Unite States government, and won victories. The Lakota warriors even decimated one of United States armies in the field. Warriors vs Soldiers.

Know that the stories shared with us came from a people that the United States government practiced “Total War” against, as they practiced against all tribes. Total War is what Germany did as it bombed London into rumble. It’s what the United States did when it vaporized Hiroshima with the atom bomb. Total War means that United States soldiers openly and purposely killed everyone. Infant, to elder, no limit to where to aim a bullet, but only to aim it at whatever breathed, that looked indigenous, that was brown. The Lakota’s experience with the United States government echoes at Wounded Knee located 18 miles north east of Whiteclay, NE.
Feather at Wound Knee
Where, the United State continued its practice of unfettered lies to indigenous people, and gathered them under a peace flag, and massacred the Lakota around their cooking fires. It’s reported that after the gunfire died down the soldiers called to the children who hid amongst their recently massacred families. The United States promised the children safety through voiced promises of the uniformed US soldiers. The children eventually came out of their hiding places. The United States shot the children dead.

This is part of the history of the Lakota people imprisoned in POW camp 344. See, if I understand it correctly, the Lakota people were a real threat to the United States, the Lakota warriors and leaders fighting for their way of life. Understand that after the United States confined the Lakota into POW camp 344, they tore the children from their families. The United States forced them into schools to learn how to be white, or western, or whatever you want to call it. These schools did their best to beat out the Lakota’s culture and traditions. The history of boarding schools is also one too deep and dark for me to be able to work through here, but it must be understood that, not only did the United States murder these people, but also did it’s best to destroy their cultures and traditions, and it seems the United States did it out of fear and while there learned this process of elimination continues through Whiteclay, NE.

What I witnessed in against Whiteclay, NE, was a moment of a struggle in a struggle that’s continued for centuries. It’s a struggle against the US government that fears a people, for their abilities to fight back, so much so, that it’s done everything to decimate them. We were told that this place of Whiteclay, NE was placed there on purpose, by the United States government, the same government who massacred the Lakota, who tore children out of their families and forced these kidnapped children into reeducation schools. The Lakota stated simply that Whiteclay, NE’s sole purpose for existing was to ensure that the Lakota never came together. It poisoned them. That Whiteclay’s sole purpose was to funnel alcohol into Pine Ridge. The Lakota aren’t the only one who believes so, the chair of the US Commissioner on Civil rights Mary Frances Berry said that Whiteclay, NE “only exists to sell beer to the Oglala Lakota,” on Pine Ridge

Whiteclay, NE, sits 2 miles south of POW camp 344’s biggest city of Pine Ridge. Pine ridge’s population 3,308. Whiteclay’s population sits at 14. Whiteclay was created in1904 by an illegal executive order by President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s feelings towards indigenous peoples are summed by this quote, “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.” Before that Roosevelt’s illegal executive order a 50 mile buffer zone between POW camp 344 and the United States had been negotiated with Lakota elders. This buffers sole purpose was to create a barrier between the people, and illegal alcohol peddlers.  Roosevelt eliminated that barrier, breaking treaties by not consulting tribal elders and leaders, of that buffer zone. Whiteclay, NE was created. The first businesses that moved onto these stolen lands were liquor stores. Four of which operate today.

The liquor stores which serve the 14 person population of Whiteclay sell an average of 13,000 cans of beer a day, most of which gets bootlegged north to Pine Ridge. I went there before the march and days of actions wearing a small yellow flower on my lapel. I was warned to bring something from a good place . I was told I should leave the item there as a way to protect myself. I’m not spiritual or religious, but when I rolled into that town I wore a small yellow flower on my lapel. I brought the flower from a place we camped, where the owner of the land told us he hated Whiteclay. His father’s last words as he succumbed to liver cirrhosis were used only to beg to be taken back to Whiteclay, NE for a drink. I picked that yellow flower from what I was told was a good place.
The town itself seemed out of place and I reflected later that it seemed lost. I wore my yellow flower and was approached by the local street folk, a gathering of Lakota who spent their days begging for change, and hoping for alcohol. They rose up and screamed at me. I watched my Lakota allies talk to them and it was hard to watch as they tried to interact with this group of their own people, who drunkenly begged at the doors of these liquor stores. The drunks said for us to get out, that there was no more warriors left. It was their land, and that all they wanted was change for another can. One of our Lakota allies looked down, angry or sad, it was hard to tell, but I heard him say, “No, no we’re, right here. The warriors are coming back. ” I left the flower attached to the pole of a street sign.
Yellow Flower

The warriors did come back in the following days with the allies they’d invited. We walked Whiteclay, NE with Lakota warriors for two consecutive days. The warriors armed with their bodies and strong hearts. Lakota warriors stepped in front of Police officers as the officers tried to break up people blockading liquor store doors.
The warriors intercepted drunks who tried to approach, or attack their allies who come to support them. The Warriors turned a corner and 2 beer trucks made quick U-turns and retreated out of the town. For 2 days Whiteclay’s alcohol sales were disrupted. The bar owners turned to recruiting drunks off the street for protection, the police walked us out on the last day intermingled with a line of Lakota alcoholics. Our allies told us, that people need to understand that Alcoholism was a sickness, and never was it so apparent to me than seeing that line of intermingled police and drunks urging us back across the line.

I’ve left POW camp 344, but the Lakota live on there in their struggle. I’m left with the stories and memories resounding in my head and heart. A young women in fatigues telling me that she had been forced into the role of a warrior. That all the men were alcoholics now and so that she had to fight. I’m left with the words of one of the Lakota organizers of the Women’s Peace March. She said that Whiteclay, NE was created to funnel alcohol to the Lakota people”. That the United States government was still waging war on the Lakota through liquid genocide.” That for her people the epicenter for this battle continues to be Whiteclay, NE.

Whiteclay NE, sit’s 200 yards from POW camp 344. A camp ravaged by alcohol, by alcohol related death. Two hundred yards from a peoples’ land who the United States government feared so much, they lied to them under peace flags, and slaughtered them with bullets and cannon. Massacred them with uncountable broken promises. Feared them so much that they tried to organize a way to beat the Lakota out of these people, to break their connections to their history, and traditions. The United States feared the Lakota so much that they broke treaties and promises to elders and took away an agreed on buffer zone to funnel liquid genocide onto the reservation. The Lakota have faced generations of these continued assaults.

The day I left I was taken aside by one of the women organizers of the first days peace march. She looked at me and said, “the first generation is coming of age to not be forced into boarding schools.”The second generation removed from these forced reeducation camps is up and coming.” I stood side by side these generations of Lakota warriors, who unarmed, were able to disrupt the poisoning of their people for two days. I think back to a sign I saw on the edge of Whiteclay, NE which stated, “A sober Lakota is a dangerous Lakota.” Dangerous only to the forces trying to make sure they can’t fight back. Because when they do, like those few days. They win.

A sober Lakota is a dangerous Lakota


written by @uneditedcamera


Video on Whiteclay actions: http://vimeo.com/73831842

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Aug 07

Utah Canyon Country Action Camp


Utah Canyon Country Action Camp.

The action camp call was simple, a camp to come and learn the skills in nonviolent direct action(NVDA) to shut down the first tar sands mine in the United States. The camp did as it set out to do. The action stopped all work on the mine site . It was so successful that US Oil Sands, the company pushing to develop the mining site, reported a 13% loss of their stock price on the day of the action. People laid their bodies in front of the machinery to prevent them from carving out the Earth. The action itself was the culmination of trainings performed at the action camp that went above and beyond blockade trainings.

The buildup started at the Utah Canyon Country Action Camp. The nearest town to the camp (pop 863) was famous for its melons, Green River’s esteem for these melons is so high that the town holds an annual event to celebrate them. The camp was stationed at a desert cut open by the Green River. The terrain of sand, heat, and rock formations is so breathtaking that every local mentioned it to us.

The organizers’ call to action was under the banner of climate justice, a space where environmentalism and social justice meet. The action may have peaked that Monday July 29th, but it began its building wave towards the blockades at the first day of camp. Each morning we gathered, the rising sun yet to crest the plateau, in a circle where the camp would acknowledge the schedule of trainings and work being put forth to stop the mines, and also acknowledged the bringing together so many whose lives had traveled so many directions to be there. Each day opened with a different speaker, whose views on the meaning of the world around us were strange and foreign to me. One morning a speaker asked us to look at the rocks all around us, the plateaus and look at them as bearers of memories who see us right now, and see us for why we had come there. Our brief week somehow being marked in history of the rocks rising around us.

We had spent a week together; sharing food, and swimming in the green river whose waters kept everyone alive, and safe, from Utah’s constant one hundred degree heat. The people who gathered along the Green River that week arrived at different points in their own lives. They shared that space, and the camp’s organizers acknowledged the need for the people gathered to understand their difference, and to be able to view the multiple walks of life present. All these lives ran divergent directions, were speckled by specific experiences, but in this week intersected in the Utah Desert.

We listened to stories from front line communities who are experiencing climate change first hand. They spoke of the direct consequences of these extractions processes, lists of dead family members, cancers rising, water ways and ancestral lands threatened by pollution or already polluted. Communities under barrage, from extraction companies, but also those pushed up against refineries who’ve polluted the air until it lays still and brown over their homes.

We were told that this fight for people’s homes, homelands, and communities, wasn’t recent, it went back half a millennium, from the first step of a colonist, to the first lost lands in memory. It went back to the poisoning of watersheds and commoditization of life, where extractions companies and corporations stopped seeing that the numbers they pushed around to maximize profit were really people’s lives. Now people had come together to push back.


The people who’d come to learn skills and partake in those circles were as different as difference allows. I met someone from California straight out of any beach magazine, blue eyes and sun bleached short hair. He was interested, he said, interested in how else he could resist what he saw happening. He said he wanted to explore other options to approach the general degradation of land. I also met an eleven year old who taught a workshop on anti-authoritarian art and played us songs from his punk band and tried to raise money to help buy a building for a community center back home.

Sacred Water Sustains Life

There were mothers and fathers, there was a white haired woman whose life experience I cannot begin to fathom, but who would later thank us for not telling her she couldn’t do something because of her age. Trans folks and queer folk, the impoverished and undocumented. People from many walks of life were in this camp, and had to learn to live and work together. The organizers of the camp filled the spaces between workshops on NVDA; workshops on, media, and banner making, and opened spaces between them where the people who came to this place, to join this fight, could share with each other the stories of their homelands.

Giving out Sacred Water

The stories of each other lives shared in caucus after caucus: people of color, student caucus, queer caucus, male allies, women’s caucus, white allies and on and on. Between the trainings we spent time sharing our experiences in spaces that were safe to share those experiences. There were tears and misunderstandings, lines of communication broke down as the heat and days pulled at us. In the end, I witnessed nearly one hundred people sit silently for over two hours and listen to different representatives from front line communities share the stories they carried with them to this place.

That day, we sat and listened, as only we could listen, after days of heat and conversations about difference, about our struggles, and acknowledge that we can’t know each other’s lives, but that we can be willing to be here for them and listen as they tell it. These stories settled in the listeners, who never interrupted. The camp listened as dead loved ones were invoked in quiet tear-filled voices, stories of a mining vehicle shattering a loved one’s life, racism scaring children. Stories of systemic oppression brought to life, polluted waterways and shrinking and stolen homelands and everyone sat still that day and bore witness, and listened as a man broke down crying that his community has been torn apart for centuries and that he’s thankful that so many came to stand next to him.

On that Monday in Utah, over a hundred people came to the US Oil Sands mine and shut it down. They fought for those in Utah who invited them, but they also knew that they shut them down for the communities in Alberta where tar sands mining has killed and destroyed families. It stopped these mines for the all the indigenous folks who shared their stories, who have been lied to by every government agency ever created. They stopped those mines for the communities who are experiencing climate change now, whose homelands sink under the ocean. They shut them down because the hope that they felt through each other reverberate on that plateau.

Those hundred people said, “No more.” No more environmental destruction, no more climate racism, no to lies, no to letting our only planet die. Together a step was taken to fight back and shut down those mines in the name of Climate Justice, in the name of a future we are all going to write. In the future where I hope to meet you one day.

If You Build It We Will Come


Video of action:

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May 27

Red River Seed Library Celebrates Grand Opening 05/25/13

Red River Seed Library
Red River Seed Library celebrated its Grand Opening Saturday, May25th, 2013 in the Moorhead Public Library. Twenty five or so people shared their experiences with gardening and learned how the Library would operate. Organizers’ Jamie Holding Eagle, and Kailyn Allen explained that the Library had something for everyone regardless of gardening experience.


When asked if they planned the Grand Opening on the same day as the March Against Monsanto; they explained it was an unplanned “synchronicity,” but that the libraries emphasis, “Heirloom Open Pollinated Organic Seeds” excluded Monsanto GMO seed. The seeds themselves are checked out through a self-serv process which was explained and is also provided at the library.


The Red River Seed Library, Kailyn Allen said, “encourages people to take ownership of not only produced food, but also the production of food.” The library provides a way for people to connect to a wide array of gardening at many levels of experience. The library will hold classes on gardening and seed saving through the summer.


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May 24

Fargo March Against Monsanto, 05/25/2013

Saturday, May 25th, 2013 over 100 people Marched Against Monsanto in Fargo, North Dakota. They marched with two other North Dakota cities and over 400 cities world wide. The March aimed to raise awareness about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) specifically focused around Monsanto GMO seeds.


The March gathered at Island Park in Fargo, ND. When asked why they Marched Against Monsanto, Molly McLain said, “We march for what we want to see which is a sustainable future.” The hundred or so marchers joined a global estimate of between two hundred and three hundred sixty thousand people.(Based on facebook events)
Fargo, North Dakota’s March Against Monsanto marched with Williston and Bismarck in North Dakota in what March against Monsanto organizers dubbed, “A global day of action.” The main organizing webpage released a flyer for why they march which stated various goals of the march from spreading awareness about the harmful effects of genetically modified foods, to exposing cronyism between big business & government.


According to marcher Betty Stieglitz, “The US[United States] is the only developed nation in the world that doesn’t require labeling. Even Russia and China have labeling for genetically modified foods. As consumers in America we have a right to know what we’re eating.” This information, Betty said, would allow families to make healthy decisions for their loved ones. The labeling of GMO foods came to the forefront in the United States when Prop 37 was proposed in California. Prop 37 would have required the labeling of GMO foods in California. The food industry spent 46 million dollars to ensure that genetically modified food would not be labeled. Monsanto alone contributed 8.1 million dollars, a stunning amount compared to the total pro labeling budget of 9.1 million dollars.

Jamie Holding Eagle spoke about Monsanto as well, “We all know that Monsanto is bad, but what can we do about it?” Jamie explained about the brand new Red River Valley Seed Library which had opened up in Moorhead,MN. She said that this type of library strengthens local foods, and would get people to start sharing seeds with their neighbors which would weaken Monsanto’s grasp on the food system.


The marchers began the day by signing postcards asking their local representatives to oppose the recently passed “Monsanto Protection Act.” Which shields Monsanto from lawsuits which may stem from the negative health effects of any of their GMO seed products. The march streamed down Broadway from Island Park lasting about an hour before returning to the park. Marchers various chants included, “Hey hey, hoho, we don’t want no GMO’s.” to “Hey! ho! Mon san to! We don’t want no GMOS” The march ended back in Island Park for some final words.


Bob Shimek ended the march by saying, “He was pleased to hear that all over the world people were saying no to Monsanto.” He said that it’s hard to remain reasonable while these “Huge multinational corporations wreak havoc with our communities, our environment, the planet we live in.” Molly Mclain told us that the Multinational Corporation Monsanto portrays itself as a food company, but that Monsanto’s work with Agent orange during the Vietnam war shows the truth about GMO corporations. She said GMO corporations are chemical corporations first, and foremost, and should have nothing to do with our food.


(video recap of Fargo, March Against Monsanto)

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