Category Archives: letters

unified pulse


this is where we live, the eye-balming place where water, air and plants feed and protect us, and birds and animals have the same hearts and eyes as us.

we support indigenous peoples standing up for human and land rights thru idle no more and other actions.  we believe in protecting the earth–our precious mother, friend, and magic maker.

we feel it’s not okay to kill life for profit or fear; it’s never been okay.  the haunted should be allowed to heal.

“what happens to the land and what happens to people is the same thing” said linda hogan.  to pollute our streams puts meth in our veins.  to separate ourselves from nature makes us go insane.

fracking, tar sands, clear cutting, dam building, pipelines, genocides, war and other assaults against the earth are unjustifiable desecrations that need to end now.

we plan to work together and make art, in order to recreate the world.

“whoever degrades another degrades me, and whatever is done or said returns at last to me” – walt whitman

Global Day of Action News:
On Friday January 11th, First Nations leaders from across Canada will meet with Prime Minister Harper to discuss the dispossession of First Nations lands and the dismantling of vital environmental laws for the benefit of the oil and gas companies in Canada. We have been asked to stand in solidarity with the First Nations peoples as they stand up for their own rights and for the protection of Mother Earth. Please join us as we gather to show our support on this important day and as we send a strong message that our support will not waiver as a result of a symbolic meeting.We will continue to stand united…until the Indian Act has been dismantled; until all First Nations lands are adequately protected against exploitation; until all of the environmental protections that have been set aside are put back in place; until all Indigenous peoples are freed from Apartheid, we will continue.What will be left when all of the Indigenous lands have been forcibly taken out of Indigenous hands and given to Industry? What will we eat and drink when the waters are all poisoned and the soil is destroyed? The words of Cree ancestor, Obomsawin, are as prescient today as they were when first spoken:”When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, you will realize you cannot eat money.”  The Indigenous people have realized this from the beginning and have been standing up for the rights of all living things. Today we ask all people to stand with us and be IDLE NO MORE.
FOR THOSE IN MAINE: 11 Jan 2013, 12PM–The location of the rally is off of Exit 305 I-95 North. The very last exit right after the 1st Houlton exit. Right before the American/Canadian border. If you’re coming from Rt. 1 get on I-95 and head to Canada. If you’re coming from Canada go past the over pass and immediately take your first right on exit 305 around the sharp turn. Drive Safely and hope to see you all here.



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big boss man, jimmy reed

jimmy reed that drummer with you tapping the beat of our hearts
jimmy reed how you make our eyes break with stormy joy
the way you slur your words so easy
and mama sings behind you reminding you of all you forgot
the way your throat hums
jimmy we love this talking down to the boss
because the man works us so hard
jimmy reed we love this talking down to the boss
because you were so thirsty and they wouldn’t let you stop
you are our hero     you are our rebel prince
kissing the harp so soft
letting us dance out of imprisonment
thank you for calling out the evil abuses us workers must suffer
in such a classy jam as this
thank you for letting us laugh at the boss who thinks a big man belittles his subordinates
we know the real big man has a huge heart like you jimmy reed
jimmy reed the way you sing slower than the stars
jimmy reed the way you sing slower than the cars
the way your lips are sweet fruits
and you kiss your harp so gently
and you brush the strings so lightly
jimmy reed they took your blues and gone
gave you no pay and stole your songs
left you dry with a jumping mind
left your body numb
but always in control      soul come out your teeth
of course you learned to play guitar in mississippi under the willow tree
after you were so tired from working the fields
gonna get myself a bossman, one who treats me right, work hard in the day time, rest easy at night, workers of the world are going to unite
jimmy    though you could not read or write
you are a genius of soul
you are
playing for us now
you can have our poems     you can have our skulls
to read with     our hands to write with
these we give to you as thanks
for all the blues you lived thru
you whisper through our veins
you teach us how to feel

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the ills of Casella and Juniper Ridge Landfill

what we're trying to protect

society for roots and trees is appalled that the sacred place where we live is becoming an ever expanding toxic chemical dump.  We like to live and breathe and coexist in health and happiness.  We don’t like it when heartless aliens come in and kill all the magic for money.

Maine’s a gloriously beautiful place, what is worth destroying it?  When it is destroyed, we are all destroyed.  Poisoning our land and water and air poisons us.

Right up river from the home of the Penobscot Nation – Indian Island – the state of Maine has allowed an out of state corporation, Casella Waste, to operate Juniper Ridge Landfill (JRL).  Casella Waste has been continuously making shady deals that severely undermine the environment and people who live around the landfill.

Originally, JRL was only supposed to be used for Old Town mill waste, then it was only to be used for state of Maine waste, now Casella is trucking in biomedical waste from Massachusetts, Vermont, Connectitcut and New Hampshire.  The blood and poison and drugs and disease and chemicals seep into our ground and spread through our river.  The toxic gasses flare up and choke our lungs.

For a complete synopsis of these happenings, and information on the danger of landfills in general, go here.

After decades of exploitive industries contaminating the Penobscot River with dioxins from Mill waste, damming, flooding and pulp waste from logging, Penobscot Native Americans have worked hard and unceasingly to clean up the river over the years, vastly improving the health of the Maine ecosystem.  The river is a fundamental part of Penobscot cultural traditions and survival, and home to many species, not just humans.

Native Americans in Maine and throughout the Americas have been treated unfairly and had genocide committed against them enough.  It’s unacceptable that this level of injustice is still going on right outside our doors.

In the midst of so many environmental affronts against our beloved place of residence, just lately, Casella is trying to get further control of Juniper Ridge:

If you can, find time to write.  Representatives can be looked up at

Here’s an example of the kind of letters we’ve been sending to our senators, governors, representatives and department of environmental protection agents:

Dear Senator Raye,

It has come to my attention that a resolve concerning Biddeford MERC and Juniper Ridge Landfill is being rushed through the motions without a chance for leadership and citizen input!

What’s the rush?! I hope state lawmakers are aware of the multitude of concerned citizens in towns surrounding Juniper Ridge Landfill (JRL) who will be OUTRAGED if Casella Waste is given more corporate control in Maine.  I am particularly concerned with the lack of transparency that surrounds JRL activities.

We don’t need Casella bringing more toxic waste into our precious environment.  Destroying and poisoning the land that we live on also destroys and poisons us.

It’s appalling how the state of Maine is giving Casella, an out of state company, so much power to do lasting harm to the Penobscot river, Penobscot Native Americans, and the citizens of Old Town, Orono, and Maine.

People who vote their lawmakers into office trust them to do the right thing for the well-being of the citizens of Maine – not for the pockets of corporations and industry.

PLEASE Senator Raye, do everything in your power to stop Casella Waste from getting complete control of Juniper Ridge Landfill, control which would expand that company’s power to destroy our environment and health.

It’s not right nor just what is being allowed to happen. Concerned citizens have a right to know what is going on around them and to participate in the democratic process.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

15 polluted water road
toxic mill town, maine 00100

Feel free to use that as your own template for writing letters to help.

Here are words from some other society for roots and trees members who wrote in to describe the dire straights we’re faced with:

“Juniper Ridge Landfill history has been riddled with sneaky, underhanded deals between the operators and the State of Maine.  Now it seems the state wants to give up its responsibility for this dump, leaving Casella to do as it pleases.  We already know about the underhanded politics that landed Casella the job of operator several years ago (under Baldacci’s administration), we already know that they are trucking in tons of waste from out-of-state, including biomedical waste!  We know that they were granted a partial expansion, despite citizen protests, we know that they have entered into a multi-million dollar deal with the university of maine to construct a methane pipeline, and the saga continues….

In short, the state of Maine (ancestral wabanakiland!) is under severe environmental attack right now!!  We need people to be aware, become involved, and help spread the word.”


Perhaps you have seen the terrible news for anyone who cares about our
community that there is a bill (LD 1911) before the legislature to
sell Juniper Ridge Landfill to Casella!
We do not know what the legislative procedure will be over the next
few days for this bill that was introduced very suddenly.
The bill is here
This resolve authorizes the State to take action to facilitate the
transfer of the Maine Energy Recovery Company facility to the City of
Biddeford and the closure of this facility. It also authorizes the
State to transfer the ownership and licenses
of the Juniper Ridge Landfill in the City of Old Town to Casella Waste
Systems, Inc. It specifies requirements that must be met before the
Maine Energy Recovery Company facility may be closed, one of which is
the transfer of the Juniper Ridge
Landfill to Casella Waste Systems, Inc.


“Writing letters to state representatives with an overall message for them to protect our environment and natural resources is helpful.

At this point in time, there are so many bills being introduced that sabotage our environment for corporate greed that it’s nearly impossible to keep up on them, and to respond to each bill individually.  That’s why I would recommend contacting lawmakers with an overall message that we need our resources left in tact for Maine people and not for corporate greed.

Right now we are faced with a super east-west highway construction that will cut through the heart of Maine, from East, along the Stud Mill Road, crossing the Penobscot River at Freese Island, to Dover, and on through to Cobure Gore.  The purported purpose of the highway is to support industry – moving tar sand oils from Quebec to the New Brunswick port.  Tar sand oils is particularly dirty business, and the method used to extract the oil sludge is wicked destructive, using thousands of gallons of fresh water and chemical cocktails to extract the dregs of oil.  The process, referred to as fracking, has proven incredibly destructive to many, many indigenous communities, particularly from cracking the rocks below the surface of the Earth, and causing methane gases to leach into well water.  The industrial highway will be a privately owned toll road.  Our state lawmakers recently passed legislation to approve the use of $300,000 of maine taxpayer monies to fund the feasibility study for these wealthy private investors! I think our money should be used to fix our existing roads, etc, not to fund wealthy investors who only intend to hold the state ransom (they said they would pay the money back if the entire project was deemed feasible, and if it was approved by the state).

There’s the Enbridge pipelline project, moving tar sands oil from Canada to Portland.  Apparently this Canadian oil giant Enbridge has a long history of spills including 840,000 gallons of sludge spilt into the Kalamazoo River in 2010.

Then there’s the LPG tanker proposed for Searsport; the mountain top mining in Aroostook county (Thank you Irving oil for chopping the heads off our mountains!! – PS – now I won’t buy Irving oil), and of course all this landfill business – juniper ridge, norridgewock crossroads, and who knows what the heck is going to happen with Dolby (right up there at the headwaters of the Penobscot).

Scary, scary times”

A few months ago, we went to protest Casella Waste at a public meeting.  The power of the written word was most apparent when used towards justice.

I held that cardboard hand written sign to my chest as the money men talked lies and tried to silence us.  The people of Maine rallied for their land and water, “the river is my medicine,” a friend’s button said.  An old man was kicked out for speaking out to Casella with the outraged passion of a beat poet: “you’ve destroyed our land and our lives with your greed.”

Like the old quote says: “Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.”

Our blood doesn’t run on dollar bills, it likes clean air and water, and food grown from uncontaminated soil.


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i shall not be moved, mississippi john hurt

dear mississippi john hurt,

our souls actually lift out of our skin because you feed them so much.  then we can hear the plants talking to each other and our bodies become like the roots dipping into the river.  a sparrow comes to listen to you too, a little god shivering in the rain.  “I shall not be moved, just like a tree planted by the water.”  smell of sweetgrass and seeds erupting.  and mourning doves, cardinals, yellow feather, crow voice all come to sing with you.  we think this is the greatest version of this song we’ve ever heard, and we know how you like us to sing it with you.  when we feel so cold and weak and on our own, you make us feel proud to be ourselves, all big heart circulating sweet sap, firmly planted in goodness and love for our fellow bird.  thank you.

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dear river –

of blood & bone & oil

my veins run with mud too    sorry for what they’ve done to you   killed all that lives in you        i’m gasping for breath too

we need songs    we need sons to remember their moms

when will they ever live          get out of the trucks that cut you       shut down the mills that flood you                stop filling you with salt and sand                 formaldehyde fences

our guts spill out with you     we’re oily eyed and ash tongue and pulp lung

where does the wild light go               when its flesh and fur is burned

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Letter to Arizona Governor Brewer

Governor Brewer,

I am writing in outrage of you signing a ban on ethnic studies in Arizona.  It is incredibly ignorant and racist to try and censor the existence of people of color.  Students need to learn the true barbaric history of the United States – a dehumanizing history that your administration is contributing to.  You trying to white-out Arizona is unjust, frightening, retrogressive, and it aligns you with committing genocide against brown people.  You are making a spectacle not only of yourself and Arizona, but of the entire United States.  Your hateful “immigration control” policies as well as censoring education can never be forgiven.  Please remember you are a guest on Native American territory and have no business further oppressing indigenous Americans or any peoples.  I am in deep opposition to your policies.

Sincerely, the Society for Roots and Trees

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