Warning: this interview with actress and activist Margot Kidder could change your life. Margot was a brilliant spokesperson for the underdog and the dispossessed, who cared deeply about wilderness and the fate of the planet. Margie was also my friend, and one of the most generous, hilarious, smart and beautiful people I have ever met. Margie enjoyed a successful career acting, known, in particular, for her role as Lois Lane in the Superman Series alongside Christopher Reeves.
This interview was done in December, 2016, shortly after Margie returned from unprecedented protests at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, aimed at stopping a pipeline from being built under the Missouri River. Within a week of this interview, the Trump administration ordered the razing of the protest site, forcible removal of all remaining protesters, and completion of the pipeline.
The time then did not seem ripe to publish this piece, but Margie passed in May, 2018, and I feel that others could be empowered and inspired by her perspectives and experience at the protest. She offers insights here that have not been covered in the press. Margie shares a powerful and clear vision for improving our relations with each other, and the importance of challenging the dominant role of the extractive energy industry and tackling perhaps the most important problem of our time: climate change.
"[At Standing Rock], there’s a sense of community and shared purpose. We’re all fighting climate change in our way, we’re all fighting for water, we’re all fighting these big oil corporations that are destroying our planet for our grandchildren…So there’s a shared purpose -- and then there’s this spiritual and emotional and literal sharing of your tent, your food…your thoughts, your love, your hugs…"
"The most emotional part of it…was that some tribes had not spoken for 100 years -- the American wars against the Indians were so genocidal and horrible. In particular, the Crow, who decided very early on when white guys came West, they would side with the white guys. And the other native bands did not appreciate that…then the Crow came in from Montana on horseback in full dress, greeted with hugs by the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Oglala, Cheyenne, who had been their enemies…There was not a dry eye in the camp... the weeping was extraordinary."
"Here’s what nobody’s getting…this is a goddamn Canadian pipeline. This is not an American pipeline. This a foreign country getting poor white people in North Dakota to pay, out of their taxes, in these tiny little dirt-poor towns for what they’re calling “security.” Which is, in fact, the worst advertisement for these pipelines in history."
"…Can the wisdom, the love, the caring, the unity of all of us and these indigenous peoples rising up together, beat the most wealthy, powerful industry in the world that basically owns our government?"
"I got to grow up -- I was really blessed in the wilderness -- literally, our backyard were the boreal forests. … I grew up with Indian friends, and as a young woman I could never resist a handsome young brave, I’ll tell you."
"When I think of the destruction of the boreal forests, I could break down and sob at the drop of a hat. We had Northern Lights at night in the winter, and snow for infinity… And I think now of climate change, and that that no longer exists."
"… I haven’t felt this much at home and myself since I was fourteen years old…God at 68, I got to finally come home, on this funny patch of Army Corps of Engineer land, with all these tents and a lot of aboriginal people who’ve never seen snow before, and driving their cars into snow banks…"
"So, it’s time these Native kids grabbed the mantle, took their education to heart, and took that wisdom and said: “Back off, we’re going to take over because you made a big mess.”