Sherri Mitchell, Penobscot, an Indigenous lawyer, writer and activist, has a new book, “Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change,” which explains her personal journey to activism and both how our societies have arrived at this time of grave threats and what we can do to create change. Some of our tasks are to recognize that colonization has not ended, the ways it manifests itself and how to begin the process of decolonization. We can do that, in part, by working to protect water sovereignty. Sherri talks about the mobilization at Standing Rock and the rise of Water Protectors. Then we speak with RaeLynn Cazelot, United Houmi and Pointe-au-Chien, who is a Water Protector working to stop the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP). The BBP is being built by Energy Transfer Partners, the same company that built the Dakota Access Pipeline in the Dakotas. Currently, Water Protectors are holding a week of action against the BBP in Louisiana.
Relevant articles and websites:
NoBayouBridge.Global (for the week of action)
Sherri Mitchell was born and raised on the Penobscot Indian reservation. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Maine, and received her Juris Doctorate and a certificate in Indigenous People’s Law and Policy from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. Sherri is an alumna of the American Indian Ambassador program, and the Udall Native American Congressional Internship program. In 2010, she received the Mahoney Dunn International Human Rights and Humanitarian Award, for research into Human Rights violations against Indigenous Peoples. In 2015, she received the Spirit of Maine Award, for commitment and excellence in the field of International Human Rights. In 2016, Sherri’s portrait was added to the esteemed portrait series, Americans Who Tell the Truth, by artist Robert Shetterly. And, she is the recipient of the 2017 Hands of Hope award from the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine.
Sherri was a longtime advisor to the American Indian Institute’s Healing the Future Program and currently serves as an advisor to the Indigenous Elders and Medicine People’s Council of North and South America. She is the Founding Director of the Land Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to the global protection of Indigenous rights and the preservation of the Indigenous way of life. Prior to forming the Land Peace Foundation, Sherri served as a law clerk to the Solicitor of the United States Department of Interior; as an Associate with Fredericks, Peebles and Morgan Law Firm; and a civil rights educator for the Maine Attorney General’s Office, and; she was the Staff Attorney for the Native American Unit of Pine Tree Legal.
Sherri speaks and teaches around the world on issues of Indigenous rights, environmental justice, and spiritual change. Her broad base of knowledge allows her to synthesize these many subjects into a cohesive whole, weaving together the legal, political, and spiritual aspects surrounding a multitude of complex issues. Her work is featured in the documentary film titled Dancing with the Cannibal Giant, released in October of 2017 by New Story Film, and her first book Sacred Instructions is now in print. Sherri is also the cohost of the radio program Love (and revolution) Radio, which focuses on real-life stories of heart-based activism and revolutionary spiritual change.
RaeLynn Cazelot (United Houma Nation, Pointe-au-Chien) is a Water Protector from Louisiana.