U.S. considering rerouting N Dakota Pipeline

Obama says U.S. mulling alternate routes for N. Dakota pipeline

By Valerie Volcovici | WASHINGTON

President Barack Obama said the U.S. government is examining ways to reroute an oil pipeline in North Dakota as it addresses concerns raised by Native American tribes protesting against its construction.

Obama’s comments late on Tuesday to online news site Now This were his first to directly address the escalating clashes between local authorities and protesters over Energy Transfer Partners’ $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline project.

“My view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans. And I think that right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline,” Obama said in the video interview.


On Wednesday, protesters on the banks of the Cantapeta Creek confronted law enforcement, as they attempted to build a wooden pedestrian bridge across the creek to gain access to the Cannon Ball Ranch, private land owned by ETP, according to a statement from Morton County officials.

The U.S. Justice and Interior Departments along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers halted construction on part of the pipeline in September due to protests by Native American tribes who contend the pipeline would disturb sacred land and pollute waterways supplying nearby homes. The affected area includes land under Lake Oahe, a large and culturally important reservoir on the Missouri River where the line was supposed to cross.

Construction is continuing on sections of the pipeline away from the Missouri River, one of the owners of the pipeline and a U.S. refiner Phillips 66 said.

The 1,172-mile (1,885-km) pipeline, being built by a group of companies led by Energy Transfer Partners, would offer the fastest and most direct route to bring Bakken shale oil from North Dakota to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

North Dakota officials are girding for a long fight. The state’s emergency commission on Tuesday approved another $4 million loan to support law enforcement during the protests.

David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, in a Wednesday statement lauded Obama’s comments and called on the administration and the Army Corp of Engineers to issue a stop-work order on the pipeline on federal land. He also called for a full environmental impact study.

“The nation and the world are watching,” he said. “The injustices done to Native people in North Dakota and throughout the country must be addressed. We believe President Obama and his Administration will do the right thing.”


Obama said government agencies will let the situation “play out for several more weeks and determine whether or not this can be resolved in a way that I think is properly attentive to the traditions of First Americans.”

Morton County Commission Chairman Cody Schulz, in response to Obama’s statement regarding the pipeline, said that letting the situation play out “affords the opportunity to the out-of-state militant faction of this protest to keep escalating their violent activities.”

The Now This video, however, suggests that Obama was talking about the review process, not the protests. The president later in the interview says that he wants to make sure that both protesters and law enforcement are “refraining from situations that might result in people being hurt.”

The fight against the pipeline has drawn international attention and growing celebrity support amid confrontations between riot police and protesters. More than 140 people were arrested when a protest was broken up by law enforcement nearly a week ago.

Some have said an alternative pipeline route could be a way to get over the impasse.

In North Dakota, gubernatorial candidate Marvin Nelson, a Democratic state representative, said in an interview with Reuters last week that moving the route 10 miles north could make a difference.

“It would take some time to do that, but it seems to me to be a much safer route and it wouldn’t need to cross culturally sensitive land,” he said.

Environmental group 350.org urged Obama to reject the federal permit for the entire project.

“There’s no reroute that doesn’t involve the same risks to water and climate,” said Sara Shor, a campaign manager for 350.org.

“President Obama breaking the silence on Dakota Access is a testament to the powerful resistance of Indigenous leaders, but he shouldn’t sit back while people are facing violent repression from militarized law enforcement on the ground.”

This is an improvement. President Obama needs to stop big corporations from building the pipeline at all. It puts the environment at risk. Yesterday we saw an explosion of the pipeline in Alabama. Stop the pipeline! Save American land. Save our environment! Stand with the Native Peoples who are courageously protesting the immoral stealing of their sacred land. Write to President Obama and tell him what you think. America for our Native People.



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Displaced by Violence, Columbian Women build their own City

Traditionally women have been seen as and forced to be second class citizens. All throughout written history, they have been expected to obey their husbands, accept any and all violence. They have been supposed to tolerate adultery. They have been made to feed their families with little or no help from their man. Marriage was a business arrangement to solidify relations between countries, as a mediation between warring clans or families. Marriage also used to require a bride price. Marry my daughter and I will give you 10 horses, 12 goats, and 6 bracelets of silver. We like to think times have changed but women continue to cook, clean, have babies and never speak about anything important.

Violence is happening around the world to men, women and children, but the women and children carry the brunt of the scars of the violence. Women may not look strong, but millions are strong. This is the story of such women and what they chose to do when violence drove them from their villages.

To the bravery and strength of every woman who surmounts her poverty, illiteracy, and homelessness and carves out for herself and her children a better life: I say you are heroines. Be proud of yourselves and children be proud of your Moms. Their strength keeps you all alive. Their bravery has shown the people of Colombia that women and children do matter. It shows that violence does not always win.

Displaced by violence, Colombian women build their own city



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A True Heroine and an Inspiration in a Time of Hate

I found this on the “A Mighty Girl” Facebook site, a story of a truly remarkable, brave woman who, during World War II, was so ruled by love that she saved thousands of Jewish children.


I think, in today’s world where hate is dominating our lives, news and elections, we could all learn from her goodness and love.




A Mighty Girl
February 15 at 10:15am ·
Today in Mighty Girl history, Irena Sendler — one of the great, unsung heroes of the WWII who led a secret operation that successfully smuggled 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, saving them from almost certain death — was born in 1910.
Sendler was a Polish Catholic nurse and social worker who began aiding Jews as early as 1939 after the Germans invaded Poland. At first, she helped to create false documents for over 3,000 Jewish families and later joined the Zegota, the underground Polish resistance organization created to aid the country’s Jewish population.
In 1943, Sendler became head of Zegota’s children’s division and used her special access to the Warsaw Ghetto, granted to Social Welfare Department employees to conduct inspections for typhus, to set up a smuggling operation. She and her colleagues began secretly transporting babies and children out of the Ghetto by hiding them in an ambulance with a false bottom or in baskets, coffins, and even potato sacks. The children were then given false identities and placed with Polish families or in orphanages. To allow the children to be reunited with any surviving relatives following the war, Sendler buried lists containing the identities and locations of the children in jars.
After rescuing over 2,500 children, Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo, tortured and sentenced to death. Fortunately, Zegota was able to bribe the German guards as she was on her way to execution and she was forced to live in hiding for the remainder of the war. In 1965, Sendler was honored by Yad Vashem as one of the Polish Righteous among the Nations for her wartime efforts. She passed away in 2008 at the age of 98.
A fascinating part of Sendler’s incredible story is that it may have been entirely lost to history except for the impressive research efforts of several high school students in Kansas. In 1999, high school teacher Norm Conard encouraged three of his students, Megan Stewart, Elizabeth Cambers, and Sabrina Coons, to work on a year-long National History Day project. Starting with a short news clipping that mentioned Sendler, the girls conducted a year-long investigation into her life and, ultimately, wrote a play about Sendler entitled “Life in a Jar.”
The play ignited interest in Sendler’s story and it has been performed hundreds of times across the US, Canada, and in Poland. The young researchers also had an opportunity to meet Sendler in Poland in 2001; the forgotten hero whose amazing story they helped bring to light.
If you’d like to inspire your kids with Irena Sendler’s amazing story, we recommend the following titles for young readers:
– “Jars of Hope:How One Woman Helped Save 2,500 Children During the Holocaust” for ages 7 to 11 at http://www.amightygirl.com/jars-of-hope
– “Irena Sendler and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto” for ages 8 to 11 at http://www.amightygirl.com/irena-sendler
– “Irena’s Jar of Secrets” for ages 6 to 10 at http://www.amightygirl.com/irena-s-jars-of-secrets
– “Irena Sendler: Bringing Life to Children of the Holocaust” for ages 10 to 14 at http://www.amightygirl.com/irena-sendler-biography
For an excellent book about Sendler’s life and the Kansas students’ project to bring her story to light, we highly recommend “Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project” for ages 13 and up at http://www.amightygirl.com/life-in-a-jar-the-irena-sendler-…
There have also been two films produced about Sendler: “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler,” starring Anna Paquin, for ages 13 and up http://www.amightygirl.com/the-courageous-heart-of-irena-sendler) and a documentary, “Irena Sendler: In the Name of Their Mothers,” for ages 12 and up (http://www.amightygirl.com/irena-sendler-in-the-name-of-their-mothers).
And, for more books for children and teens about girls and women who lived during the Holocaust period — including stories of other heroic resisters and rescuers — check out the recommendations in our blog post for Holocaust Remembrance Week at http://www.amightygirl.com/blog/?p=2726


May we all be able to get past the hate and bigotry and walk in a world filled with people who practice  compassion and love. May we all have the courage of our convictions and not settle for just walking through this life asleep. May we all begin to take baby steps toward peace and acceptance. Ready to care about others and to stand up for those who can’t help themselves.




Women’s Lives

When Rock n Roll first started, musicians were men, roadies were men. Groupies were women. Since the first Beatle set foot on American soil, not only has music changed and morphed but many women have join the ranks of singers/songwriters/musicians. We have all changed and music bloomed to inspire Vietnam War protests and protests for rights for women and children.


We are indebted to the women who entered the professions where they weren’t really welcome. Medicine, accounting, factories, the law, music and the arts are now open to women and women have added a lot to our world. These pioneering women pushed open the doors and raised the ceiling on what a woman was allowed to do. Women weren’t let into these fields, they pushed the doors open until they could enter these fields at will.  Increasingly, women are breaking the ceiling of achievement, moving further up the ladder of responsibility than has ever been permitted before.


Today, we have women who are homemakers, building cars on an assembly line, working in an ER, being a cop or a fireperson. Some women combine jobs with having a family, as is their right and choice. Some women volunteer instead of working at a paid job because they feel they need to give back to their communities. So, in the twenty-first century everyone can contribute as they feel led to do.


The problem is that women do not earn equal pay for equal work. Many employers think that women don’t know, but we do. The government also knows and periodically puts out the numbers. This is a form of sexism and is illegal by federal law. Is the enforced? No. Not really.


Even for disabled women, there are many who want to give to their communities. They want to be useful and assist other disabled women and men.


Thank you to every American who grows and gives to their communities. You are heros/sheros. We appreciate your wisdom, generosity of spirit and for your time.



“One woman weaves a message

singing the sounds of silence

another wheels her chair to the center of the stage

changing minds and attitudes

with eyes that hear, and hands that see

these women, working, living…independently

and I look to you

I look to you

for courage in my life.”

—Holly Near


All women are, in a sense, differently abled, not by biology but by socially constructed mythologies from which they have had to liberate themselves. We do indeed look to them for courage in our lives.


Namaste, Barbara








possible doctor

Don’t Let Fear Stand in Your Way

I wanted to share another TED Talk with you, by Priya Parker.  Priya is an advisor to leaders and organizations on strategy, vision and purpose. Her company, Thrive Labs, works with individuals and teams to help them identify what they care about most and align it with market realities. Her research includes identifying what are the driving factors that lead people to thriving and what blocks them from it. She helps organizations keep and grow their culture and values as they scale. Drawing on 10 years of conflict resolution facilitation in the United States, India and the Middle East, Priya designs visioning and innovation labs that help organizations grow from the root.


She shares 7 techniques on how to know if you need to reboot your life.  It’s an interesting take on life, and encourages us to overcome our fears and follow our passions, whatever they may be.








Follow-up: Feminist Afghan Artist Forced into Hiding

This entire story has really caught the imagination of women around the world.  The bravery of this talented, courageous, creative woman lit up hope in the hearts of many women and feminist men.  Now, she has had to go to ground to protect herself.  Even though there will be those who say “well, she shouldn’t have done it in the first place”, progress is made by those who extend themselves beyond the normal bounds of society to the betterment of all.

I will be keeping up with this story, as best I can, so we all know what happens to this wonderful young woman.


After Protesting Sexual Violence, Afghan Artist Forced into Hiding

Another Woman Who Worked to be Equal

Susan Griffin is a poetess who has published two collections of poetry. She worked in many stereotypical female jobs. Her poetry reflects much of the experiences she gained in these jobs. She lives in San Francisco. This poem is one of my favorites.


I Like to Think of Harriet Tubman


I like to think of Harriet Tubman.

Harriet Tubman who carried a revolver,

who had a scar on her head from a rock thrown

by a slave-master (because she

talked back), and who

had a ransom on her head

of thousands of dollars and who

was never caught, and who

had no use for the law

when the law was wrong,

who defied the law. I like

to think of her.

I like to think of her especially

when I think of the problem of

feeding children.


The legal answer

to the problem of feeding children

is ten free lunches every month,

being equal, in the child’s real life,

to eating lunch ever other day.

Monday but not Tuesday.

I like to think of the President

eating lunch Monday, but not


And when I think of the President

and the law, and the problem of

feeding children, I like to think to

think of Harriet Tubman

and her revolver.


and then sometimes

I think of the President

and other men,

men who practice the law,

who revere the law,

who make the law,

who enforce the law

who live behind and operate through

and feed themselves

at the expense of

starving children

because of the law,

men who sit in paneled offices,

and think about vacations

and tell women

whose care it is

to feed children

not to be hysterical

not to be hysterical as in the word

hysterikos, the greek for

womb suffering,

not to care,

not to bother the men

because they want to think

of others things

and do not want

to take the women seriously.

I want them

to take women seriously.

I want them to think about Harriet Tubman,

and remember,

remember she was beat by a white man

and she lived

and she lived to redress her grievances,

and she lived in swamps

and wore the clothes of a man

bringing hundreds of fugitives from

slavery, and was never caught,

and led an army,

and won a battle,

and defied laws

because the laws were wrong, I want men

to take us seriously.

I am tired wanting them to think

about right and wrong.

I want them to fear.

I want them to feel fear now

as I have felt suffering in the womb, and

I want them

to know

that there is always a time

there is always a time to make right

what is wrong,

there is always a time

for retribution

and that time is beginning.



 Ms. Tubman also worked in the women’s movement. She believed in equality for all people regardless of gender or skin color.She was tough and determined. Ms. Tubman crossed the Mason Dixon line hundreds of times to bring runaway slaves north to live in freedom. She also gave lectures to abolitionist groups, which wasn’t done. She was a woman and a woman of color standing up in front of  a room of mostly white people speaking her truth. Explaining what slavery was really like. Perhaps God did touch her and give her an angel to protect her as she went about her very important work. In my heart and soul, Harriet Tubman earned a Medal of Honor even though there was no such thing in the 1800’s. There wasn’t a Medal of Honor but she wouldn’t have been awarded it if there had been. But, when I think of Harriet Tubman, she is a woman who has earned all medals and whose bravery and determination helped to change the world and helped end the horror of slavery.














  No matter what gender we are, or what skin color we have, or what religion or spiritual system we practice, of if we practice any system, no matter if we are Oxford educated or street educated, we are all one people and we are the family of man. We have a journey of one life and we are all equal. We have one planet and we must preserve her to preserve our lives.


The Danger of Reading the Newspapers

Caribbean sunset. Photo taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio.

Caribbean sunset. Photo taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio.

I have been a news hound my entire life. I want to know what is happening. There are times when I am almost sickened. Yet I watch and try to understand why we humans commit the deeds that we do. I have friends who no longer watch the news or read the papers. I accept their right to make this choice. However, from my point of view, the deeds will happen anyway. But that is for each person to decide. I know that I have allowed pain into my heart that I could have escaped.

I have been unable to close my eyes to events, to chemical bombs, mass shootings, police shooting unarmed men. My soul prays and my heart hurts. I think if we turn away, we are giving into evil, to a dirty vile world.

So my remedy is to seek beauty. There is so much which surrounds us and we have but to look. Beauty is the antidote to evil and hatred. It might be a sunset, the fragrance of a flower, or a surprise email from a dear friend.

Courage is required to walk this journey through life. Some people are stronger than others. We can only do the best we can at the present moment. The gift of beauty does help us journey with bravery, strength, and dignity. I strongly depend on beauty. I surround myself with it and I metaphorically breathe it in.

I don’t say I don’t cry for victims because I do. But I hold on to my truth. I hold on to the memories which lift me up. I rejoice in the people who give me strength. Friends are such a rich resource in our lives and are worth more than gold.

It is Dangerous to Read Newspapers

While I was building neat
castles in the sandbox,
the hasty pits were
filling with bulldozed corpses.

and so I walked to the school
washed and combed, my feet
stepping on the cracks in the cement
detonated red bombs.

Now I am grownup
and literate, and I sit in my chair
as quietly as a fuse

and the jungles are flaming, the underbrush
is charged with soldiers,
the names on the difficult
maps go up in smoke

I am the cause, I am a stockpile of chemical
toys, my body
is a deadly gadget,
I reach out in love,my hands are guns,
my good intentions are completely lethal.

Even my
passive eyes transmute
everything I look at to the pocked
black and white of a war photo,
can I stop myself.”
——Margaret Atwood, feminist writer
Author of The Handmaid’s Tale

Cleveland Botanical Gardens. Photo taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2011

Cleveland Botanical Gardens. Photo taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2011

“Glory be to God for dappled things—-
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow,
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim,
Fresh-firecoal chestnut falls, finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced–fold, fallow, and plough,
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled ( who knows how? )
With swift, slow, sweet, sour, adazzle, dim,
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.”
——–Gerard Manley Hopkins

Garden grown and photographed by Barbara Mattio. Copyright 2009

Garden grown and photographed by Barbara Mattio. Copyright 2009

In Memory Of All the Brave People Who Died So Bravely

It was America's second attack

It was America’s second attack

We all know where we were on 9-11-2001. I was sitting in a hospital waiting room because she was having surgery. I asked if I could turn the television on. I did turn it on and before I could sit down, I watch Matt and Katy go pale and ask what was that. The rest we know.

The plane was about to hit The World Trade Center

The plane was about to hit The World Trade Center

The PentagonThe Pentagon

My father always talked about Pearl Harbor. The first time America was attacked. He saved newspapers with screaming headlines that the Japaneese attacked Pearl Harbor many service people were killed. Many ships from our Pacific fleet were docked and sunk due to the bombs.

All day long, I like many, talked to everyone we knew. Just to be sure they were safe. I was lucky. So many American families were no so lucky. Not only were the victims brave but their families continue to live bravely every day. The passengers and crew on Flight 93 were amazing and I am so impressed by their courage. The fact that they fought back must bring pride through the grief to the surviving family and friends. Bless them all.

Two planes flew into the World Trade Center

Two planes flew into the World Trade Center

Of all the bravery we saw that day and in the following days, to me, the passengers that fought back and made their plane crash were the bravest. I am sure as each of them made the decision to fight, an angel was with them and took them to their afterlife.

So many are lost, Not all of them were Americans. There were people from many countries and they experienced a new kind of warfare. America was experiencing a kind of war called Jihad.

People running from the collapsed towers

People running from the collapsed towers

Looking for family and friends who were not found yet.

Looking for family and friends who were not found yet.

9-11tragedy                                                                                                                                                                         The hijackers

Our country survived this unimaginable attack

Our country survived this unimaginable attack

America will never forget any of you

America will never forget any of you

Thank you for your bravery.

Thank you for your bravery.

America also remembers and honors the brave first responders.  Being a nurse, I can imagine a little bit what they saw and had to deal with. I know that every first responder was miraculously selfless.  Many gave up their lives to get people out of the wreckage. Many now have to live with the after effects of their bravery. Each day, our country owes them so much. They saved many lives. They found many victims buried in rubble. May God bless every first responder and all of the workers who suffer illness because of their desire to help the people. Thank you all for what you did for America.

There Will be a Huge Birthday tomorrow here in America

sparkling 4th of July

sparkling 4th of July

Americans are getting ready today for our birthday. The day which we think about beaches, picnics, visiting friends who live far away. We buy sparklers, we make the deviled eggs, red, white and blue cakes. We get the grill out. There is baseball to be played as well as horseshoes, lots of cold drinks.
We have the privilege to celebrate our freedoms in our own country.

And we have gratitude that we must express to our Founding Fathers. Their decision that they must have freedom and a new country. How hard that must have been to be placed in the middle of a historic choice. Will you remain the English person you were born and raised to be or do you turn your back on your Mother Country. Do you stay neutral? Do you fight? This land was huge and mostly empty except for the few established colonies, the wild animals and the Native Indians.

We can almost hear the discussions in log cabins, at balls, and among neighbors. It took so much courage to pick your side. That courage would be tested by the ensuing war. A war fought by England’s well provisioned professional army.

For the people who chose the new country, most were farmers, not well-versed in combat or in possession of many guns. They often used their farm implements as weapons. They had no real uniforms, or boots and not many supplies.

They fought because they wanted freedom. Most people will fight for freedom, and Americans did. It wasn’t an easy accomplishment but we succeeded. So Happy Birthday America. I am proud to be an American.

I hear American Sing

“I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be
Blithe and strong.

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work.
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat,
The deckhand singing singing as he sits on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutters, the ploughboy’s on his way in
the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife
at work, or of the girl sewing or washing.
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

—–Walt Whitman
American poet


Celebrating the birth of a nation.

Celebrating the birth of a nation.