Muslims of Indigenous Descent Call for Muslim-Americans to Stand for Standing Rock
By YMN GHALYOUN
LaTanya Barlow answers the phone and immediately expresses her gratitude. Her compassion is fierce; her voice soft and soothing. The passion in her heart rings deep within her. This is augmented by the fact that she is speaking extremely fast – indeed she has no time. “I’m out getting food,” she says at 10:30 PM.
Barlow, a Muslim of Indigenous descent has been on the frontlines of raising awareness about the happenings and movement at Standing Rock. She has earned a reputation for her activism in different communities across the United States. In a Facebook Live video shared on her Launchgood page which she sent to me, she summons and requests the support of Muslim-American led organizations including ICNA Relief USA, Muslim American Society, Young Muslims, and CAIR.
“The Indian Removal Act, signed into law in May of 1830, is what the government, colonizers, and people with money used as a blue print to conquer our lands. And now we have history repeating itself,” she explains. “That is why Muslims-Americans need to wake up. This is happening in your own backyard.”
The peaceful protection happening at Standing Rock is vital. Barlow explains they are “fighting a multibillion dollar industry.” Big money investors such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, CitiBank, JP Morgan Chase and other international banks have contributed to the $3.8 billion project. But Barlow and other social activistist leaders are building their own army of truth behind them and are continuing to fight with resilience: action warriors, tribes from other reservations, and even nations have joined the resistance. And now, Muslim-American hubs across the nation are being called upon to bring their own communities out to Standing Rock.
“We have numbers too,” she says with wit. “We have numbers too.” She repeats it twice for emphasis.
“We have numbers too.”
Barlow explains that all proceeds of her Launchgood fundraising will provide all resources needed for protectors at Standing Rock. “We want sleeping bags for everybody. We don’t have money for that. We are encouraging everybody to get own camping gear.” Barlow says -25 or -40 sleeping bags and tents are the bests for the Winter weather in North Dakota.” “Don’t forget wool socks, battery chargers, and hand warmers,” she adds.
Things are getting serious by the day in Standing Rock.
“This is how we save life, save us as a people. Its not about religion. We’re all standing together in prayer. We are praying to one Creator. It’s a powerful time. It’s a powerful place,” says Barlow.