If you were fortunate enough to make it to Washington, D.C. amidst the throngs of people and protestors advocating against the Keystone XL Pipeline, you might have been lucky enough to come across the highly energetic activist and member of the 1491’s, Dallas Goldtooth (Mdewakanton Dakota and Di?e).
Dallas Goldtooth oversaw much of the logistics during the hustle and bustle of earth week, yet through his sly grin with a hint of sarcasm and fun, lies a serious side to the man who so often makes Indian country laugh.
In an interview with ICTMN, Goldtooth took a few minutes out to tell us his role at the week-long protest, his passion for his outreach in Indian country and what he finds to be important in his life.
Are You a big part of this Keystone pipeline protest?
I don’t know, I would say no.
What are you talking about? I saw you all day walking around with a microphone telling people what to do.
I am helping to handle logistics. Yes. I do tell people where to be. Yes. Maybe I am emceeing here and there, but the content is all of these amazing people. Those are the people that are filling the space. All of these folks that are on the front lines of the Keystone XL pipeline who are fighting this battle, those are the folks I would put more emphasis on and importance in. They are the reason why we are here.
My job is to help coordinate that effort to make sure it comes off as smoothly as possible.
Considering all this, I’ve been watching how much passion you exhibit, you are setting up a tepee camp and more. Can you tell me about this passion?
I do have a lot of passion. One of the primary reasons I think above all that I came onboard, is that I have family Involved in this fight. I have family involved in this action. I want to make sure that they are safe. There are a lot of amazing people that are putting their lives on the line to fight this pipeline, to fight against resource extraction and oil development in all forms.
I feel as though I have to do my part to help in that fight. It is more than just me, it is more than just my family and you, and it is our future and the seven generations and the seven beyond that. This is something that deserves that passion.
In addition to this work, you are also an active member of the 1491’s a hilarious performance group. I’ve seen a serious Dallas, and a lighthearted Dallas – which is the real Dallas?
I go both ways.
As a crew member of the 1491’s – We definitely do not like to be limited. We are passionate people, we are very focused on not only making people laugh, but making people think, making people celebrate life and all of its complexities. Why limit yourself to one avenue. If we see the need to address something in a more serious tone we are going to do it without any concern or worry about what people are going to think. That’s who we are as artists.
What would be the best outcome of this protest?
One outcome would be to Garner more awareness and more support. We want to see the decision toward no for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline – that is the projected outcome. Our hope is that we do a good enough job here to convince President Obama and all of those involved in the decision-making process to open their eyes and see the reality that this is not a good thing for the United States, the people of Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas or North Dakota or wherever else it may be. It is not a good thing for Native people. We want to send that message this is not something that we want.
What if the President were to hear your words?
Whoa, you stumped me. I’d say …’Wow, nice to meet you, Chief, Chief, ‘One who helps the people.’ I don’t know. That’s tough. I’d say, ‘look really deep, look beyond politics and money, Listen to the human level, listen to the families, these are people’s lives on the table, Our nation is on the table, look into the human part of this and go from there.”