Frontline Reporting: Turtle Island, Standing Rock, North Dakota

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Lone monk prays for peace at Turtle Island. Turtle Island hill has been the scene of various actions that took place between police and water protectors. It was here on November 2, 2016 that authorities fired a rubber bullet and hit journalist Erin Schrode while conducting an interview. 

 

Frontline Reporting: Standing Rock, Amnesty International Monitors Turned Away by Mandan Police

Police have responded to protesters in some instances with pepper spray, bean bags, and other controversial means, and used private security staff with guard dogs in one confrontation with protesters that included women and children. Amnesty International also reports that those recently arrested have reported being strip searched and forced to pay bail for minor offenses.Members of the media and legal observers have also been arrested or charged with minor offenses.

“People here just want to stand up for the rights of Indigenous people and protect their natural resources. These people should not be treated like the enemy. Police must keep the peace using minimal force appropriate to the situation. Confronting men, women, and children while outfitted in gear more suited for the battlefield is a disproportionate response” – Eric Ferrero, director of communications for Amnesty International USA. 

Frontline Reporting from Oceti Sakowin Camp, Standing Rock, ND.

Blackwater Bridge is the dividing line between the Water Protectors and Oceti Camp which is to the south of the bridge on Highway 1806. Law enforcement are on the north end of the bridge behind concrete barriers with military vehicles facing south. I was able to hitch a ride with strangers from Washington State and we joined a caravan of about one hundred cars to travel to the north side of Blackwater Bridge via backroads. We were spotted by a helicopter and were met by County law enforcement and several green and white US Border Patrol vehicles just short of the entrance to the north side of the bridge. To their credit they allowed the Water Protectors to hold a prayer ceremony on the highway without disruption.

On the way my fellow passengers were singing a Chief Dan George’s prayer song for safe travel into unknown waters – it must have worked because there were no clashes or arrest.

 

Frontline Reporting: Backwater Bridge, Standing Rock ND November 21, 2016

Frontline reporting, video and stills images with content available. Contact: Dave Banks dave@davebanksmedia.com  818.399.3670

Frontline Reporting: Water Is Life,Oceti Camp,North Dakota

Oceti Sakowin Camp.jpgFrontline reporting, video and stills images with content available. Contact: Dave Banks dave@davebanksmedia.com/818.399.3670

Water Protectors and volunteers gather at the top of a hill to find cellular service – two bars are outstanding and let me add that uploading images and videos is exasperating. 

FYI: The proper name for the people commonly known as the Sioux is Oceti Sakowin, (Och-et-eeshak-oh-win) meaning Seven Council Fires.
The original Sioux tribe was made up of Seven Council Fires. Each of these Council Fires was made up of individual bands, based on kinship, dialect and geographic proximity.
Sharing a common fire is one thing that has always united the Sioux people. Keeping of the peta waken (sacred fire) was an important activity. On marches, coals from the previous council fire were carefully preserved and used to rekindle the council fire at the new campsite.
The Seven Council Fires are:
Mdewakanton – Dwellers by the Sacred Lake
Wahpekute – Shooters Among the Leaves
Sisitonwan/Sisseton – People of the Marsh
Wahpetonwan – Dwellers Among the Leaves
Ihanktown/Lower Yanktonai – People of the End
Ihanktowana/Upper Yanktoni – People of the Little End
Tetonwan – People on the Plains

Standing Rock, North Dakota

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Dear Friends in the Los Angeles area,
On November 16, 2016 I will be leaving Los Angeles for Standing Rock, North Dakota to document (video and still images) the protest of the North Dakota Access Pipeline. I will check in with the Tribal Council in Fort Yates, ND and drop off donated goods. If you would like to donate items for the people of the Sioux Nation let me know I am happy to take them with me. Beyond my cameras and audio gear the space in my Kia Sorento is limited but I do have a roof rack. If by chance you have extra 9volts batteries, AA batteries and AAA batteries I could sure use them for the production. 
Thank you all for your support. – Dave Banks

Life in the City of Angels: Biding Time with Colors

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Green is the color of prosperity and abundance, of finance and material wealth. It relates to the business world, to real estate and property. Prosperity gives a feeling of safety to green.

Waiting for a new lease on life, Bob sits in the late afternoon light to stay warm. Taking a break from reality, Bob looks for geometric colors with complex designs in flowers, and the shades of grays from long shadows that lean on the buildings around him. Bob then begins to count the color of shoes of passing pedestrians. So far the color brown is leading the pack with a pair of Nike neon yellow shoes coming in last.

Life in the City of Angels: A Day at the Beach

My name is Harold, yes that right, Harold. I’m a boat against the current in a land of make believe. Just a grain of sand in our galaxy, one pulse of light that will end in a flash as I carry my gallon of sun tea. Like the universe, I will expand and contract and accept the fact that I had boundless opportunities. At the moment my orbit is stationary as I play out my fate but for today I’m at the beach. God bless my friend.

Life in the City of Angels: Satanas Winds, You Old Devil You

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When heaven and purgatory collide over the Great Basin of California and Nevada, the upper atmospheric pressure is so great that cold air begins to sink violently downslope compressing with the warm air. The temperature rises, the relative humidity drops and birth is given to the Satanas winds. As Satanas exhales across the barren land an invisible assault of unpredictable chaos ensues.

Now unleashed beneath a sun splash sky the searing dry winds descent upon the Southland. It is the “Season of Suicide’ as the onrush is channeled through the passes and canyons that surround the City of Angels. Descending pass the sage, red willows and prickly pear the veiled breath of the devil sears the stems, exposed roots and unfolding blooms. Parched ravines become arteries of frenetic winds fraught with sweltering heat and are escorted with manic depression and bizarre behavior to the lost souls below. The mind-altering impact on some unwitting citizens can be explained away with the alibi, “the devil made me do it”.

The winds create turbulence manifesting vertical wind shear, which litters the sky with plastic grocery bags, splintered Styrofoam and showering pieces of debris. The decibels intensifies, mixing the wailing of the protagonist with the sounds of dismembered trees and wind gust that sound as if vast swarms of locust have arrived. A spark spawns Dante’s purgatory in paradise; sirens resonate across the Southland as the atmosphere is flushed with crimson and ash. The vast canvas of the Southland is painted with a dry brush of heat, valley fever and paranoia as the Satanas takes to the red carpet in the city of Angels.

  • The hot easterly wind is properly and historically called: SANTANA, not Santa Ana! Sailors have a phrase, “Beware the devil wind Santana.” Refer to two years before The Mast, published in 1840, by Richard Henry Dana Jr. The original spelling of the of name of the winds is unclear, not to mention the origin. Although the winds have been commonly called Santa Ana Winds or Santa Anas, many argue that the original name is Santana Winds or Santanas. Both versions of the name have been used. The name Santana Winds is said to be traced to Spanish California when the winds were called Devil Winds due to their heat.The origin of Santa Ana Winds with an Associated Press correspondent stationed in Santa Ana who mistakenly began using Santa Ana Winds instead of Santana Winds in a 1901 dispatch.

Fast Fiction:The Rabbit Hole

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Thirty-one years ago I came to the sudden realization that I was engaged in a pretentious attempt to fit in. That significant moment wasn’t life changing but life beginning. It was as if the neurons in my cranium erupted blasting the magma of conscious knowledge of my own character.
Admission and acceptance is difficult without counsel, so I sought out my mentor Ernest. My visit with Ernest was and is the most significant moment in finding the wisest course of action and direction.
This is what Ernest said that seemed so simple – but again a lot of things that seem simple aren’t so simple.
“Travis, let me put it in terms that you can best understand, life is not a dress rehearsal, this is it, this is all you get ” that was Ernest’s advice.
It’s been a good run with life experiences that most people only dream about. I didn’t want to live a life of quiet desperation and go to the grave with a song of missing pieces in my heart.
But don’t think that I don’t have regrets, just too many to mention here and that is my burden to carry. All and all I have accomplished as much as I could and have given to the point of emotional depletion. My world has gone from technicolor to monochrome with all the grays of confusion, angst, remorse and grief.
I once read that, “Life is difficult, once we accept that life is difficult only then can we transcend it”, so easy to say but such a hard task to employ. Where am I today ? I’m far away in a place where paradise is broken and only surrounded by pigments of a colorful past. There is no pill for the rabbit hole that I have found myself and all that is left are the winter days ahead – I have no more to give but to jump into the abyss.
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