listening's blog

Olympia Musician Heads to Gaza Strip and is Bloggin'

Local Olympia Musician Richard Lopez is headed to the Gaza Strip with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla II with the US Boat to Gaza. Richard is also a Trauma Chaplain so his services are greatly appreciated. He is leaving in mid-June and is already blogging about his trip. Check it out here!

More news to come....

Native Student Alliance Calls for Allyship and Solidarity in Regards to "Medicine Wheel Ceremony"

The Native Student Alliance serves Native students at the Evergreen State College through various cultural activities that respect and honor the diversity of our student body. We share a responsibility to the land, the people, and the cultures of this region and all of Turtle Island to protect our communities from racism and oppression. NSA is also committed to serving the wider community by building cross-cultural awareness and solidarity with Indigenous peoples.

Most people know that while Native Americans have had many victories in resisting colonial oppression, they have also endured much sorrow and loss. Such losses not only resonate in our modern lives, but the process of colonialism continues to this day. The Native American struggle is alive though it has shifted in nature. A similar sense of entitlement held by the dominant society drives the usurpation of cultural property, as did the violent conquest of Turtle Island.

True cultural exchange occurs when both parties are on equal ground; however, western culture continues to dominate Indigenous peoples. The U.S. has subjected every tribe to generations of assimilative policies that have weakened the social and cultural foundations of tribes. Only 32 years ago, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act granted tribal peoples the basic human right to practice their religious ceremonies without fear of persecution. Such an unequal power dynamic has not only left a painful history, but has put tribes at a disadvantage in economic development. Financial hardship and injured self-respect may spur some Native people to commodify and sell their culture to non-Native people.

Native Student Alliance Releases Statement in Regards to "Medicine Wheel Ceremony"


 Who is NSA? The Native Student Alliance creates solidarity among Native peoples from all nations while providing a network of support for its members, who are both students and non-students. The NSA dedicates itself to allying with non-Native peoples and to further the cross-cultural understandings in order to provide a safe and respectful environment.

What is our stance on the PNW Medicine Wheel Ceremony and its Organizers?

Recently there has been a large wave of support for the PNW Medicine Wheel Ceremony in the Evergreen and greater Olympia communities. The NSA’s encounters with its figurehead, Bennie “Blue Thunder” LeBeau, his co-sponsors, and supporters have been dismissive and their actions continue to be disrespectful. NSA does not approve of the upcoming ceremony for the following reasons:

It is allegedly a Native-themed event but is a distortion of authentic Native practices.

  • Its lead organizer “Blue Thunder” has admitted to not being respected by Native Communities; he is suspected of being fraudulent and illegitimate.
  • “Blue Thunder” asks for money donations, which is seen by many Native communities as sacrilegious.
  • It intrudes into the Salish Sea territory while targeting a “New Age” audience, which in turn excludes Native Communities.
  • It has not been legitimized by the Elders and guardians of all the Nations affected by this ceremony.

It perpetuates stereotypes and misconceptions of Native Peoples and Cultures.

"Medicine Wheel" not representative of Native belief and culture - a dangerous precedent

 The people planning the Pacific Northwest "Medicine Wheel Ceremony" are not following respected tribal protocols for doing ceremonies on other tribal land and most of the people involved are not Native. Please respect Native traditions and do not participate in this phony ceremony. To support Native organizing on this issue visit Olympia Respects Indigenous Spirituality

The following is a video that speaks about the importance of being polite to local tribes and tradtitions:

The L. Frank Project


Record Turnout for Olympia Food Co-op Board Election

Olympia BDS


Tuesday Morning Earthquake

This morning there was an earthquake measuring 4.2. It was small, but definitely shook some furniture.

Along with the recent hurricane, maybe this is the Armageddon folks have been talking about since the food co-op decided to boycott Israeli goods. Watch out Olympia!

Olympia Food Co-op Board candidates questionnaire

Olympia BDS, Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights (POWER), Sustainable South Sound, and Bridges Not Walls came together to create a short questionnaire for all Olympia Food Co-op Board candidates in order to provide a more in depth look at their stances on social justice and sustainability issues facing the Co-op. The four questions were:

  1. What is the Co-op currently doing to address class barriers to membership and participation in the co-op and what are your plans to expand that work? (POWER)
  2. What do you feel is the co-op’s role in moving our community toward being fully sustainable? (Sustainable South Sound)
  3. What would you do to ensure that the Co-op upholds it’s mission to “encourage economic and social justice”, and how does that pertain to the current boycott of Israeli products? (Olympia BDS)
  4. We’re are an immigrant rights organization that recognizes that boycotts have historically been a tool for social justice, for instance the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Chateau St. Michelle, and the United Farmworkers, how do you see boycotts as being a tool for social change that recognizes the human rights of all? (Bridges Not Walls)

These are the responses we got:

Port Townsend Co-op rejects boycott proposal on technicality following Israeli Consulate visit

Following the intervention of the Israeli Consulate and a national lobbying group, the Port Townsend Food Coop Board of Directors decided to reject a proposal to boycott Israeli products on Tuesday night.

A similar proposal had been passed at the Olympia Food Co-op on July 16, the first of its kind to pass in the country. “This kind of interference by the Israeli government and a national organization show how important boycotts are to Israel,” said Anna-Marie Murano, Olympia Food Co-op member, “Boycott supporters are telling Israel that it will not benefit from the ongoing oppression of Palestinians.”

In July, a group of Port Townsend Co-op member-owners presented a proposal to the board, asking that the store pull Israeli products from its shelves until Israel complies with U.N. decisions regarding the occupied territories, lifts the siege on Gaza, ends its hafrada (apartheid) policies against Palestinians, and recognizes the refugees’ right of return. Over 350 members signed a petition supporting the boycott.

The meeting, held at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, was attended by approximately 120 people and at times very emotional.

“In 5, 10, or 15 years, when the full impact of what happens in Gaza, the West Bank, and in Israel becomes as known to the world as earlier crimes, I want to be able to look my daughter in the eye and say we did everything we could to stop the killing,” stated boycott supporter Dena Shunra, drawing on her family’s World War II experience and placing the boycott proposal in a historical context.

The reason stated for rejection of the proposal was that “the boycott proposal is inconsistent with the [Co‑op’s] boycott policy.” Board president Sam Gibboney said that there is nothing in the boycott policy that permits the boycotting of a country. The board’s vote was 4 to 2 against the proposal.

What do Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Roger Waters have in common? They love the Olympia Food Co-op!

Desmond Tutu has released a statement supporting the Olympia Food Co-op Boycott of Israeli goods. It was published in Ha'aretz here. Also, Roger Water's from Pink Floyd has signed on as a support of the boycott. He did a version of We Shall Overcome about the situation in Palestine.

...and don't forget the Palestinians (which are invisible in many local conversations about this). All the major Palestinian Agricultural Unions have endorsed the boycott (here). That means something to folks who work for food and environmental issues here in Olympia.

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." Archbishop Desmond Tutu

UPDATED 7/23: More news about the Olympia Food Co-op boycott of Israeli goods

Here is a brief news round up of the media's take on Olmypia Food Co-op Boycott of Israeli goods.

KPFA Soujorner Truth Show here

Seattle Times here

An announcement on Democracy Now here

Ha'aretz, an Israeli nespaper, here

On the front page of the Olympian here

UPDATED JULY 23 with more news:

Alternative Information Center in Israel/Palestine here

Olympia KOMO News here

Olympia Covers Support Rally here

There are lots and lots of anti co-op posts on crazy right wing blogs and news sources that I will not repost.

Also, there have been a ton of horribly, hateful phone calls to the Co-op staff. They did not make the decision and it is harrassment. These are NOT supporters of the boycott who are doing this.

Those that support the boycott are directed to contact the board or sign the petition. Visit on directions how to do so. The flood of calls do not represent the sentements of our community.

Other news on Boycott Divestment and Sanctions:

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