What Dance Did Right: Coachella Team Campaigns For Native American Land

Finally, it’s not just talks about spirituality, yoga and getting to know your 2nd chakra. The organization behind the biggest electronic dance music stage on Coachella Festival has taken action and turned their community’s attention to the controversy over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Despite their disavowal to be perceived as a political organization or have a political stance, Do Lab along with Symbiosis decided to proactively support the protection of the Sioux lands and is calling for donations along with exercising civic democratic rights. 

If you havent heard about the Dakota Access Pipeline protests its because the media has not taken much attention to it until the very last months. The protest has initially burst over the construction of a $3.78 billion crude-oil pipeline that would cover four states, including a section that, according to the Native American tribal leaders of The Standing Rock Sioux, would run over burials of ancestors and culturally sensitive sites, or could possibly pollute water supply. Stopping the pipeline construction became an important target to the environmental activists, who after endless attempts to impact fossil fuel industry laws. They have aligned with the Native Americans, therefore impacting the core means of fossil fuel transportation. Supported by various environmentalist groups and front face politicians, such as the leader of the Green Party Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders, the tribe aims to call the media attention, halt and eventually indefinitely stop the construction.

What Do Lab is doing is taking use of its communication and logistics channels to help raise the attention to the issue, encourage the exercise of the democratic rights by contacting the officials, sign official White House petition, contact the Executives of the pipeline company, raise direct financial donations to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as well as practical donations, such as tents, banners and sleeping bags, to help the protestors camp through the winter.

Indeed well done, Do Lab, for giving a fuck and for taking the time and effort to do the right thing. All this is noble but I can’t help but wonder how much more effective and engaging this could be should Do Lab embrace a political ideology. The thing troubling about this action comes with the first sentence on the campaign page of Do Lab: “We’re not a political organization.”.  However, despite the good intentions, this disavowal of being political in the dance music industry and beyond it, is the roots of the disengaged society and inaction. Claiming an environmental focus, already places one under the obligation to take a political stance. Actually it already IS a political stance, which is to debate and discuss in the community, find the best means of action, to put the issue on the desks of the politicians. Especially if you are an organization, a voice, behind some of the most renowned electronic dance environmentally focused music festivals in the West Coast – Lightning in a Bottle, Woogie Weekend, Dirtybird Campout, you’ve got to not be afraid of calling oneself political.

Thus from event organisers, fashion brands (especially ones borrowing the Native American themes for their sales), individuals, artists to the participants of Coachella, that are claiming either environmental focus or respect for Native American community, this is a chance to put the words in action, like Do Lab and Symbiosis is doing. For more information on the Do Lab call to action:

Do Lab

See also: What Dance Did Right: Peloton Musique Funds For Environmental Awareness

Photo credits: Denis Balibouse / Reuters