Search

Call to Action! Solidarity with Water Protector Little Feather

support little feather.jpg

Michael “Little Feather” Giron is the first Indigenous Water Protector who was arrested in relation to the DAPL pipeline resistance at Standing Rock to be sentenced to a substantial prison term. He is currently incarcerated at USP Hazleton in West Virginia, a maximum-security prison over 1,000 miles from his home. At our UU General Assembly this June, in a nearly unanimous vote, delegates from our congregations adopted an important Action of Immediate Witness. This AIW calls us now to act in solidarity with Water Protector Little Feather.  

USP Hazleton has been on lockdown since August 6th. Little Feather's family, spiritual community, and even lawyer cannot reach him by phone, email, or visit. Visiting is suspended until further notice with no timeline or reasoning given. As part of the lock down, Little Feather has been denied access to his Indigenous spiritual practices, including inipi and pipe ceremony. Please be direct and unflinching in regards to Little Feather needing contact with his attorney, loved ones, and ceremony, but do not be confrontational for the sake of his safety.

Today, please call, email, and fax to ask that:

  1. Little Feather's loved ones be able to contact him by phone, email, and visit.
  2. Little Feather's lawyer be able to do a wellness check and contact him by phone immediately.
  3. Little Feather be allowed the weekly practice of inipi and pipe ceremony protected by his right to the free practice of his religion.  
  4. Little Feather's location of sentencing be reviewed. He is at maximum security USP Hazleton in West Virginia despite the judge's recommended that he be in a medium security prison within 500 miles of New Mexico, his home.

Regional Director Angela Dunbar of the Mid Atlantic Region of Federal Bureau of Prisons:
Email: MXRO/ExecAssistant@bop.gov
Phone: 301-317-3100
Fax: 301-317-3119
            (If you copy and paste the email address, use: MXRO/ExecAssistant@bop.gov)
 
Warden Joe Coakley USP Hazleton:
Email: HAX/ExecAssistant@bop.gov
Phone: 304-379-5000
Fax: 304-379-5039
(If you copy and paste the email address, use: HAX/ExecAssistant@bop.gov)
 
Central Office Federal Bureau of Prisons:
Phone: (202) 307-3198
Email: https://www.bop.gov/inmates/concerns.jsp
 
Also – please write to Little Feather, if you can commit to replying to him if you receive a response:
Michael Giron 25201-075
USP Hazelton
U.S. PENITENTIARY
P.O. BOX 2000
BRUCETON MILLS, WV 26525
 
With gratitude and in solidarity with all at USP Hazleton and solidarity with all political prisoners,
 
Leoyla Cowboy, Little Feather’s wife,
and Karen Van Fossan, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bismarck, ND

P.S. Sample Letter/Call Script
 
To Whom It May Concern,
 
I'm a caring community member inquiring about the safety and well-being of Michael “Little Feather” Giron 25201-075, a Water Protector who is a political prisoner being held at USP Hazleton. His family and lawyer have not been able to visit him by email, phone, or in person since August 6th and have not been given any information about his well-being or the timeline for future contact. As part of the lock down, Little Feather has been denied access to his Indigenous spiritual practices, including inipi and pipe ceremony.
 
I'm requesting that:

  1. Little Feather's family be able to contact him by phone, email, and visit.
  2. Little Feather's lawyer be able to do a wellness check and contact him by phone immediately.
  3. Little Feather be allowed the weekly practice of inipi and pipe ceremony protected by his right to the free practice of his religion.  
  4. Little Feather’s location of sentencing be reviewed. He is at maximum security USP Hazleton in West Virginia despite the judge's recommended that he be in a medium security prison within 500 miles of New Mexico.

 
In solidarity with prisoners at USP Hazleton and solidarity with all political prisoners and with regards,
 
__your name here_____
 
Free fax services:
 
https://www.myfax.com/free/ – can send up to 2 faxes free every 24 hours. Simply upload your document and press send. No account or sign-up needed.
 
https://faxzero.com/ – 5 free per day, max 3 pages per fax. No account or sign-up needed.
 
More at: https://www.freelittlefeather.com/call-to-action and follow on Facebook to stay in touch. 

Thank You!

When I joined Side with Love over four years ago, I could not have predicted the assaults, experiments and possibilities that were before us. I’m writing to let you know that my time with the campaign is coming to a close. It has been a pleasure to be able to connect with you - online and in person - helping us guide and grow Side with Love into who we will become. I am planning to spend some time in Georgia this Fall with Mijente’s Gente4Abrams team building power and getting out Latinx voters in support of Stacey Abrams for Governor (who is amazing & you should look into!) along with diving deeper into my interest in doula work, informed by doula training through with Ancient Song Doula Services (check them out!).

On my way out, I’m hoping to leave you with a few of my favorite things - a short bullet point list of reflections, a mixtape of some of my current favorite tunes and some questions i’m leaving with. The reflections are heavily informed by Black and POC organizers within and outside of the faith. Thank you for supporting our work and keep on building.

Solidarity Now with Indigenous Water Protectors

As minister from the UU congregation closest to Standing Rock, I have important news. In a sea of injustice, it is very good news.

Since the Water Protector camps went up in 2016, the movement at Standing Rock has been hailed as world-changing, showing us what prayerful resistance to contemporary forms of colonialism, like the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), can look like – and how crucial it is to maintain our commitment to the water and to one another, even as DAPL ultimately got pushed through Indigenous treaty lands. And even today, Indigenous-led resistance continues from Standing Rock to organizing to Stop the Bayou Bridge Pipeline and beyond

Before the Water Protector camps at Standing Rock were forcibly evacuated last year, UUs showed up – you showed up – with your bodies, resources, and prayers. As UUs, whether we came to camp or participated from home, we knew what solidarity looked like.

Overwhelmingly, we were welcomed as relatives – and experienced as relatives.


A World Where All of Us Thrive

I brought a lot of people in my heart with me when I and more than 70 people of faith went to #FloodtheDesert to put water out where people who are migrating need it and in solidarity with No More Deaths humanitarian aid workers facing criminal charges. I brought my father’s family who crossed the Mekong and then the Pacific Ocean as part of their migration journey. I brought the names of so many fighting deportation, keeping hope alive in detention, of Black, Muslim, indigenous, and undocumented organizers who are facing down charges and trials and prison time because the state is targeting them for their justice work. 

Organizers are calling for all current charges against humanitarian-aid workers to be dropped and for land managers in the west desert to ensure that civil humanitarian response is allowed on public land without fear of harassment or prosecution. Please sign on to the call to #dropthecharges and assert that people arriving at our border deserve to be met with #waternotwalls.

Humanitarian Aid is Never Criminal

During World War II, Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat, wrote illegal visas for Jewish families fleeing Lithuania. He did not follow the rules about who should get a visa and who should not. He followed his moral compass. He wrote them for anyone who asked. He issued 10-day visas for transit through Japan in clear violation of his orders. He decided he had the power - even though he could have assumed he had none. I have the seal to stamp the visas; I have my signature. He wrote visa after visa. 

I learned about Sugihara the same day I learned some children who have been separated from their parents at the border are being drugged to keep them listless and sleeping. The guardians  who have been reunited with their children find their children are not the same—they are changed from the trauma they’ve experienced. 

Just like Sugihara, we must all ask what our conscience requires of us in this time when the most inhumane abuse is being carried out against the most vulnerable by the government.

When asked what the most important commandment is, Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and ...Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”