After a meal, or rather a series of many meals, of prayerfulness and thanks at which she served hundreds of water protectors for dinner at the Standing Rock Community High School on Thursday, November 24, celebrated actress and activist Jane Fonda spoke about what she experienced and witnessed at Oceti Sakowin.
Fonda, an Academy-Award winner repeatedly recognized for her innumerable gifts, arrived at Standing Rock during the week of Thanksgiving and donated seven butchered bison for a celebratory meal hosted by actress Shailene Woodley. In an interview conducted by Native visionary Tracy Rector of Longhouse Media for Indian Country Today Media Network, Fonda observed that people such as herself who brought things to help the people standing in opposition to the Dakota Access Piepline “end up getting much more than we’ve given” thanks to the prayerfulness, resilience and hope that permeates the camps. She cited the meal’s opening prayer by Jesse Jay Taken Alive as having particular meaning, thanks to his sharing of indigenous wisdom. Most of all, she emphasized the palpable feeling of hope that filled her because of the positive attitudes of the people she encountered.
Fonda is no stranger to Indian country. She first stood in solidarity with Natives during the salmon wars of the Pacific Northwest, and supported both the reclamation of Alcatraz and the standoff at Wounded Knee in the 1970s (she helped medevac supplies sorely needed to activists besieged by armed federal forces). She told Rector that what she was fortunate to witness at Standing Rock was truly historic given the number of Indian nations that have come together at Standing Rock in unity.
“I’ve rarely seen so much love, gratitude, determination, resilience,” she reflected.
Her articulation of the power of the movement speaks not just to her considerable understanding of Indian country and NoDAPL, but is a promising indication that the message carried by the water protectors will be heard and understood by an increasing number of people. Watch the full video: