This writeup is an overview for my readers not familiar with the Standing Rock Movement as well as a resource for my readers inspired to stand with those at Standing Rock. There are many ways we can help. The struggle for safe and clean water at Standing Rock is not over yet. While the Army Corps of Engineers has ordered constriction halted by revoking the easement, the corporation has not stopped construction on other sections of the pipeline and have stated their intention to continue with their plans. Winter has set in and temperatures are freezing and the committed water protectors need our help.
While Native American cultures and customs have historically varied from Nation to Nation all shared a deep respect for Mother Earth and lived with gratitude for all things provided by The Great Spirit. They taught their young that humans were the stewards of the land and the caretakers of its natural resources and were responsible to protect the land, water, plants, animals and air for future generations. Native wisdom did not view humans as the owners of the land or the natural resources found in it, it was a "sin" to exploit or pollute it. "You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children that we have taught our children that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves."
~ Chief Seattle - Quote shared from "Native American Wisdom, Images and Quotes".
While Native Americans were the first peoples in North America they have been eradicated on the majority of our continent and those remaining have been relegated to tiny plots of land once deemed worthless to white settlers. We have tried to erase their history, culture and language, yet without Native Wisdom our society would not exist. The original people of North America contributed to the very foundation of our modern democracies. "Indian governments in eastern North America, particularly the League of the Iroquois, served as models of federated representative democracy to the Europeans and the American colonists. The United States government is based on such a system, whereby power is distributed between a central authority (the federal government) and smaller political units (the states)". (1) They taught early settlers about the animals and plants best suited to thrive in the settlers' new world and signed treaties in good faith that were broken time and time again.
Sadly it seems that not much has changed in our treatment of Native Americans over the last 450 years. Standing Rock is a present day reminder of the injustices and poor living conditions our Native American sisters and brothers have had to endure for centuries.
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. is trying to build an oil pipeline under the Missouri River which many Native Tribes, Water Protectors and Land Defenders feel puts at risk the only supply of fresh drinking water to the Sioux tribes as well as any other people living down stream. The corporation is also digging on lands Native American tribes hold sacred. On April 1st a prayer ride on horseback from Sitting Bull’s burial site in Fort Yates, N.D., to the Sacred Stone Camp site initiated the movement at Standing Rock and that prayer has continued in daily group ceremonies, water ceremonies, prayers before meals, prayers with sage, tobacco and cedar, songs and chants, sweat loges and the sacred fire. The Standing Rock Sioux Nation have invited people of all faiths and beliefs to join in prayer. “As long as there’s prayer, we don’t judge. Our belief is there’s one Creator, and he taught all the nations of this world a way to pray in their own way”, Standing Rock Sioux tribal councilman Dana Yellow Fat is quoted saying. They have created the largest gathering of Native Americans in the past hundred years. Native peoples as well as those that stand in solidarity with them have come together in prayer and in action to peacefully stand their ground and protect the water for their children and our children.
Peaceful and prayerful Water Protecters have been harassed both verbally and physically. They have had dogs set on them. They have had water cannons turned on them in freezing temperatures, flash grenades, rubber bullets, mace and to date over 500 of them have been arrested. I had the honor of interviewing three Water Protectors that stood at Standing Rock, Lou and Rich Guerrero and Shannah Bupp. Shannah was arrested while trying to help an Elder on crutches. I'll be doing a write-up about them and sharing their stories for my next post but for now you can watch Standing Rock Part Two to get a better idea the situation.
Lakota People's Law Project is calling on individuals and organizations to divest from banks funding the Dakota Access Pipeline. Sign their petition at http://lakotalaw.org/pipeline-action
Check out their DAPL Timeline at http://lakotalaw.org/oceti-sakowin-camp.
Important websites and links to help you take action, support the Water Protectors and keep up to date with the movement at Standing Rock:
Stand With Standing Rock Website "In honor of our future generations, we fight this pipeline to protect our water, our sacred places, and all living beings." The Oceti Sakowin Camp represents a first of its kind historic gathering of Indigenous Nations. The most recent such assembly of Tribes occurred when the Great Sioux Nation gathered before the Battle at the Little Big Horn.
Oceti Sakowin Camp Website Urgent Update 12/10/16: ADVISORY: OCETI SAKOWIN CAMP IS NOT ACCEPTING NEW ARRIVALS DUE TO SEVERE WEATHER CONDITIONS THIS WEEKEND.We truly appreciate your support and willingness to be on the ground as a showoff solidarity, but we are closing camp doors to new arrivals for safety reasons. Please continue to support through prayer and actions that you can take at home. Stay tuned for further updates via website, Facebook, and Twitter.
If you have a camp at Standing Rock and you have online contact info such as website, Facebook page, etc where the public can donate or learn more about your work, I would be honored to add your link to this post. Please message me or leave info in comments.
I hope you will join me in doing what you can to help our Native American sisters and brothers protect clean drinking water for their children and ours.
(1) "The History of Native Americans" Scholastic.com