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The Women of Standing Rock Are Building Sovereign Economies

The Sovereign Sisters are transforming the Sacred Stone Village into a self-sufficient, sustainable community model in harmony with each other and the planet.

The Women of Standing Rock Are Building Sovereign Economies

For Sicangu Lakota water protector Cheryl Angel, Standing Rock helped  her define what she stands against: an economy rooted in extraction of  resources and exploitation of people and planet. It wasn’t until she’d  had some distance that the vision of what she stands for came into focus.

“Now I understand that sustainable sovereign economies are needed to  replace the system we support with our purchasing power,” she said. “Our  ancient teachings have all of those economies passed down in  traditional families.”

The first annual Sovereign Sisters Gathering brought together women  and their allies to talk about how to oppose the current industrialized  economy and establish a new model, one in which Indigenous women reclaim  and reassert their sovereignty over themselves, their food systems, and  their economies.

“When did we as a people lose our self-empowerment? When did we wait  for a government to tell us whether or not we could have health care?  When did we wait for them to feed us?” Allard asked. “When did we wait  for laws and policies to be created so that we could have a community?  When did that happen?

Part of being sovereign lies in strengthening and rebuilding sharing  economies, she said. And part of it lies in reducing waste, rejecting  rampant consumerism and the harmful aspects of the modern industrial  system, like single-use plastics and toxic chemicals.

These days, self-care is more important than ever, she said, with the  accelerating climate crisis, something that Native people are acutely  aware of and have seen coming for a long time.  Sacred Stone Village has installed four microgrids of solar power and  have two mobile solar trailers used to connect dwelling areas that can  also be taken on the road for trainings, and the neighboring town of  Cannon Ball has opened a whole solar farm. They’ve  been planting fruit trees and growing gardens, fattening the chickens,  stockpiling firewood. And in some ways, life on the reservation is  already a preparation in itself.

The Women of Standing Rock Are Building Sovereign Economies
Food security, traditional agriculture and local self-reliance are key to regenerative societies of the future.

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