"Now it's a time for memory"

Feb 14, 2018

Standing Rock protest, September 3, 2016
Credit ©Reyna Crow. Used with permission.

When protestors and the news media began flooding the tiny town of Fort Yates, North Dakota in the spring of 2016, no one knew that the efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline would be so far-reaching.

Mark Holman is the director of the Sitting Bull College Library, and even a year later, he doesn't have a complete grasp on what happened in his small community.  What he does know, however, is that it's his job to assemble the bits and pieces and help make sense of it.

People interested in contributing memorabilia, photos or stories can contact Mark Holman via email or at the Sitting Bull College Library:

Mark Holman, Librarian
Sitting Bull College Library
9299 Highway 24
Fort Yates, ND 58538
Phone: (701) 854-8024

mark.holman@sittingbull.edu

Lisa's note: When I asked Mark about what books were speaking to him that that time, his first thought was that the book he was looking for hadn't been written yet.  But as a librarian, several books have come to mind since, including Age of Anger: A History of the Present by Pankaj Mishra.  Then he remembered a quote from Mikhail Bulgakov's famous novel The Master and Margarita that he said was running through his mind at the time of the protests. 

"There is a cynical commentary on the nature of fate in the first chapter, " writes Mark,  "where the character identified as the devil  describes to Berlioz how he will die. When Berlioz protests, the devil responds: 'Annushka has already bought the sunflower oil, and has not only bought it, but has already spilled it.' The implication being that once set in motion, fate cannot be changed. Once a pipeline has been set in motion, money behind it in play, money (oil) ready to flow through it, even with thousands gathered and legions of support, it cannot even be stopped for a few months to have a conversation that really needed to be had."