Thursday, January 15, 2015

Who is Who

Below we are sharing an email correspondence between Rod Newton (new "land owner" of the Winter Grounds) and Wylden Freeborne (Michael) that came in shorty after we were arrested for going home (see previous post). It may help fill out the story and bring more understanding of the roles being lived out, for real, now.

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called Rod today and told him that I and my family are part of the community of the Cascade-Siskiyous and that I wanted to let him know that his actions are shameful and cowardly. To call upon violent forces to do our bidding is to remove ourselves from relation. He asked for an email address so he could respond. He sent this within the hour:


I appreciate your concern for Tipi Village, and for handling disagreements in a civil and collaborative way. I also hold those values. This has been very painful for us and I’ll share why I think we did the only thing that we could have done under the circumstances. 

In Feb and September of this year, we purchased two parcels of the Mosby ranch for the purpose of establishing an organic farming and land regeneration research and education institute. During May and June, Ande and Kayla livedon the first parcel we purchased before moving up to their summer site, since they had to move off of the Mosby property. As we got to know them we appreciated their vision of wanting to live in harmony with the land, but even then there were many uncertainties about the practicality and legality of their return to the second parcel we were buying from the Mosby's. 

In order to explore all options, we volunteered a considerable amount of time, energy, and money in a thorough and lengthy research of Jackson county law relating to living in a Tipi. Jackson county law is clear in defining Tipi living as a form of camping, and camping on privately owned land is allowed for a maximum of 30 days in any 6 month period. Unfortunately, we were unable to find any way that Tipi living could be legal on this land for more than the 30 days in six months. This made it clear that we could not give them permission them to return to the land in violation of the law, since they had already stayed more than 30 days in the past six months.

We then told Ande and Kayla that we couldn’t legally give them permission to move back to the land, because we weren’t willing to violate the law. They disregarded our concerns, and appeared determined to return anyway, so we had to inform them that if they moved back without our permission in a way that violates Jackson county regulations, we would be required to call the authorities, because if we didn’t, we would be in violation of the law. We had a number of meetings with them, but of all of their options, they seemed determined to move back on the land. 

We hold a lot of values in common with Ande and Kayla, have grown quite personally fond of them, and support their mission of bringing back low impact living on the land. But the one area where we disagree is about the willingness to break the law. In the end their dispute is more with Jackson County law than it is with us, but we became stuck in the middle. Sadly, when they decided to move back to the land without our permission, and in violation of the law,we believe that they chose an option that is not only disruptive to everyone concerned, butdestructive for the future of low impact living on the land. We wish them well, but cannot be party to breaking the law. 

Of course you might feel differently about breaking the law, and you might have made another decision if you were in my situation, but I hope from this you can at least why we made the decisions we made. They were carefully considered, with input from our council and elders who were unanimous in the decisions, and based on exhaustive research into the situation. 

I’m happy to hear any thoughts and feelings you have after reading this. 



This is my response to him:

Hello Rod. Thank you for the note. I am very interested in sincere communication. I do hope we can find that one day. In the mean time, i will respond to your message. I do feel differently about breaking the law, specifically when to not do so comes at the cost of our integrity. It was once against the law to harbor runaway slaves. It was once against the law for Native people's to dance, sing or speak their language. Law is meant not to protect or serve the people, but to protect and serve the rulers of the people. If you think for a moment that laws of land ownership and county codes against living on the ground are at all different than laws supporting slavery, you should ask Ande and Kayla how their shackles felt differently. 

You provide your story in a way that I read as you claiming powerlessness. This is sad to me as we are all empowered to make the choices we make. This is the privilege you and I were born with. You were not powerless when you picked up a phone and called upon violent forces to do your bidding. The police function out of fear. The fear of their violence is the motivating factor to abide by unjust laws. Period. When one is subjected to the violence, or threat there of, one will feel a sense of powerlessness, even briefly. When one chooses to call upon those violent forces to work in their benefit or on their behalf, that person loses touch with the reality at hand. You have purchased land that is older than you and I. Land older than tipi village. Older than laws and deeds and organic farms or solar panels or fly by night new age health spas. The land does not need cops, or men with guns, but those willing to listen. Those who come humbly will be gifted. There is no ownership, Rod. Only violence or love. You ARE empowered to choose your path. You can claim self righteousness concerning law, but we both know that this is disingenuous. When we speak of love, we speak not according to laws of country, state, county or city, we speak of opposition to law. True love is fearless, and just and integral.Law requires fear, hence the guns, the shackles, the jails. Land is not parcels, it is not packages, it is not fences or property lines. Land is life. Living on the ground is not a mission. It is living on the ground. Ande and Kayla, Rowan, Isla, Sequoia and Tamarack, are part of that land. They are born there. Are you? Can you be? Or are you there to till soil and tear out trees, reroute streams and all in the name of regeneration research? Stop researching. Stop searching. Start seeing. Start hearing. You can remove them with a phone call, you can get unanimous consent from a board, you talk to your lawyers and your elders, and get permission to act in a way that they choose for you to act, or you can listen to the land.  You can talk to those who you will be the ancestor of and tell them you did what was right, not what was legal. You have chosen a side to fight for, and you can choose again. Each moment is a choice, a potential adventure or a bland retelling. It takes a simple reading of a children's story to see where we stand sometimes. It is not hard to see who is who in this story. Can you see?


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