Here are a few comments from my time at Standing Rock Camp – November 11-15, 2016
This is a camp of ceremony and prayer, and the Sacred Fire is kept going around the clock. There is prayer all day long, and usually until late evening as well. The active call to prayer and action is before sunrise and it honors the sun and all of creation. It is followed by a Sacred Water ceremony at the Cannon Ball Rivers edge where elder women go first. Water bearers are the women in the tribes. As an elder woman, I was treated with more respect and dignity than I have ever had anywhere.
This is a place where for the first time in history over 400 Native Tribes have gathered together for the same purpose, to stop the Black Snake – DAPL, from contaminating the waters of the Missouri, and the drinking water of +/- 18 million people downstream. These warriors (both male and female of all races) go to the front line to keep the DAPL workers from working each day. The Elders also go to do ceremony for the water, and the warriors try to keep the police from them. The actions of the police toward these peaceful elders and the unarmed warriors is simply brutal. Tear gas, pepper spray, mace, batons, and dogs have been used to try to drive them away. Up to 130 people per day have been jailed, and some forced into dog kennels instead of jail cells.
The camp is preparing for a hard winter. It is well organized, full of teepees, yurts, tents – from huge army tents to single person tents – and has a large volunteer staff to sort and distribute clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, food, and wood. There are porta-pottys, recycling, garbage, composting, and kitchens.
There is also the council of Seven Tribes, and many people from around the world here to stop the further poisoning of the water and the Earth. I met or saw Catholic Monks, Buddhist Monks, Ukrainians, Israelis, Palestinians, Mexicans, Europeans from north to south, Scandinavians, Africans, and more too numerous to count.
All of us need to keep this protection of the water high on our list of things to support and help everyday. This is for us all; this is as important as anything I can think of. A spill into this water could make the whole Heart Land of America a poisoned land.
I came away with a sense that there may be divisions among the camps on the Cannon Ball River, there may be some young hot heads causing trouble, and there is a divided opinion among the Dakotas about what to do; however the tactics of the DAPL folks is horrible and barbaric, and there are other ways to go than the contamination of the Missouri river!
We all need everyone’s help to take back our Earth from the companies that are poisoning it, or we will not have a place to live safely. This is one of the lines between living healthy or dying on our Earth. This land and ALL land is Sacred. We need to treat it as Sacred right now. We can’t make any more water!
Mni Wiconi – Water is Life –