Photo of the Day: Lakota grandmothers capture neo-Nazi flag

Lakota women stand with a captured neo-Nazi flag

Photo via Censored News

Leith, North Dakota is a small town with only 24 residents. Recently, the town has been targeted for takeover by a group of neo-Nazis, who are trying to make it a haven for white supremacists. According to NPR, white supremacist Craig Cobb has already purchased 12 properties, and has given most of them to other white supremacists. Cobb has said he wants to fly flags of the “formerly white nations of Europe” over the town:

“It would be extraordinarily beautiful when people enter the town, particularly at night,” Cobb says. “We will probably have the National Socialist hunting flag with stag horns and a very small swastika in the center — very discreet.”

This past weekend, he invited members of the National Socialist Movement, one of the country’s biggest white supremacist groups, to visit the town. The neo-Nazis were met by hundred of Native American and anti-Fascist protestors. You can see lots of images from the protests here and here. While the attempted neo-Nazi takeover is beyond disgusting, it’s inspiring to see people standing up to this hate. My favorite image from the protests is the one above, of a group of Lakota grandmothers who apparently captured one of Cobb’s precious flags. Talk about badass women!

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Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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  • destra

    As much as we may loathe racists and bigots and be pleased whenever they are taken down a peg– Feministing should not be endorsing theft and illegal behavior towards those with whom they do not agree. A good rule of thumb is if you won’t want it being done to those whom you support (say, a NARAL flag being stolen), then you shouldn’t be endorsing that same activity.

    • Sam L-L

      I agree completely, except that I think the rules of not stealing other people’s property and treating them as you would want to be treated – generally good principles – can sensibly have an exception for when one is dealing with actual Nazis.

  • mckali

    Thank you, Feministing, for honoring the leadership and bravery of First Nation Lakota & Dakota grandmothers creating justice and inspiring the people. The root of feminism is respect. Respect for female as source, respect for our own bodies, and respect for the earth’s laws as our ultimate mother. Though neo-Nazis have flags, and hatespeech porn streams on every handheld device, women don’t have to take it. As these grandmothers exemplify, we can band together with trusted allies, and do smart actions – whether they are legal or illegal, greatly depends on one’s POV. There comes a point when NOT taking action is to actually aid and abet the domination & violence perpetuated by the haters. Grandmothers know this.

    Destra, a good rule of thumb is remembering this is stolen land, and the Clan Mothers of the American tribal peoples carry a law far older and wiser than anything deemed illegal by dominant culture. Though some may call this act of indigenous law sabotage with an incredulous sneer of neoliberal shock, others, including myself and my radical feminist speak of it with admiration & awe. It is the indigenous women of the world who are standing up the most right now, and we would do well to support their heartspeak direct actions any way we can. In Chiapas they are blockading bulldozers, in India they are beating up sexual harassers and rapists,

    “I do not deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation and oppression of my people by the whites.” ~ Nelson Mandela

    • Sassi St Claire

      Well said. Not that I’m equating the two, but it’s worth remembering that it was established at Nuremburg trials that if a law is manifestly wrong and harmful then it is the duty of citizens to break it and to refuse to obey orders that tell them to do harm.

      Capturing a flag, in this case, is a political action borne out of a sense of what is right and what must be resisted – a long Indigenous tradition – not an act of “petty theft”, whatever the current law states.