A steady-thumping beat echoed through the lobby of The Standard, Hollywood, as Native American dancers Jocy Bird and Trae Little Sky appeared and performed for a crowd. With a front row seat, Brie Larson, with Alex Greenwald, had her cell phone ready as she filmed the two.
“We were just talking about how we’re going to channel that when we get home,” said Margaret Qualley with sister Rainey of the lively pow wow dance. “Oh, we better go find our seats, I guess.”
The sisters and Larson and her boyfriend – alongside the likes of Dita Von Teese, Rowan Blanchard, Tennessee Thomas, and artists Doug Aitken and Tasya van Ree – were convened for a dinner Liz Goldwyn and environmentalist David de Rothschild organized at Alma at The Standard to bring awareness and fight for Standing Rock and clean water.
“This is about community, about the need for us in this country, especially in this town, to be less focused on me, me, me, but, instead, we,” said Goldwyn. “And going forward into 2017, with all the things we are going to face as a country, all the things we want to change, we need to start being in solidarity with each other.”
The event – which couldn’t have been more timely with recent reports of the Dakota Access Pipeline spill of tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Ash Coulee Creek in North Dakota, about 150 miles from protest grounds – came together after Goldwyn reached out to de Rothschild, following news that Myron Ebell, a climate change skeptic, would be leading President-elect Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition team.
“I texted David saying, ‘What are we going to do about this, what can we do?'" said Goldwyn. Together with Alma at The Standard owners Ari Taymor and Ashleigh Parsons, they brought the heart of the movement to Los Angeles, LaDonna Brave Bull and Miles Allard, members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and founders of the Sacred Stone Camp in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, along with DJ Two Bears, LaDonna Brave Bull’s grandson and an activist.
“It was a short-lived victory,” said DJ Two Bears of the announcement earlier this month that the construction of the pipeline, which threatened Lake Oahe and the Missouri River, the only water supply for the reservation, would stop and be rerouted. “It’s one battle of the war that is still going on. The fight will continue to go on.”
Over 350 tribes came together for Standing Rock, which is unprecedented, he said.
In the middle of the dinner, LaDonna Brave Bull introduced herself, shedding light on the issues, their peaceful protest, the violence they faced – and in the end, brought it back to the fight for clean water, referencing the drought in California. For 40 minutes, guests listened so attentively, you could hear a pin drop.
What did she hope guests retained from the night, after all that was said?
“To change the world,” she said after her speech. “It’s not about us anymore. It’s about the world. It’s about water. It’s about people. If they don’t change the world box, if they don’t change the way they look at their own selves, we’re in trouble.”
Guest were encouraged to visit sacredstonecamp.org and standwithstandingrock.net, as an iPad was passed around for donations.
“There are a lot of things that are going to keep happening, not just in Standing Rock, but across a lot of issues for the next four years, and we all have to be vigilant,” said Goldwyn. “I see so many people within my own age who have some degree of attention or celebrity be too afraid to share their views, because they’re worried about losing followers or their popularity,” she continued. “I say, stand with integrity and say what you believe in. Use your voice. Now is the time.”