Sunday November 06, 2016

Social media campaign launched to protect water

Eugene Crain created the social media campaign called "I am a Water Protector."

Eugene Crain created the social media campaign called "I am a Water Protector." (Facebook)

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Eugene Crain is a Cree man living on unceded territory in Vancouver. This week he launched a social media campaign called "I am a water protector."  

Crain was inspired by the situation in Standing Rock but didn't know what to do. Then he met Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Walas Gyam Beau Dick, Mark Anthony Jacobson and Jerry Whitehead, four high-profile Indigenous visual artists.

With their guidance, Crain came up with the idea to ask other high-profile artists to make a short video declaring themselves "water protectors."

"I thought wow, I'm so privileged and lucky to meet these four famous artists something has to come of this," said Crain. 

The Dakota Access Pipeline would carry crude oil across the Missouri River which is the main water supply for the nearby Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation.

Crain and other organizers hosted a kick-off campaign on Nov. 3 with the four artists who spoke about why the public should support Standing Rock.

He says that social media was the right medium in which to host this campaign.

"Everything that is coming out of Standing Rock is through Facebook ... Facebook has become our new moccasin telegraph and it's really critical where we just share the info," said Crain.

People at Standing Rock are calling themselves protectors as opposed to protesters.  

"A protester is someone who protests for a cause but is not opposed to other forms of protest that may use subversive actions to get their point across. Water protectors are using prayer and peaceful sittings and non-violent actions and social media to help with the message," said Crain.

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