It’s evening, my tent is warm and there is a buzz of anticipation and activity reverberating outside. Everyone knows that over the next few days thousands of clergy and Veterans will arrive. Wood is being delivered for all to use, the announcer is keeping everything moving at the central fire, and the singing and the voices of the people of Oceti Sakowin Camp echo around me. I have never felt so safe outside of my home. This morning when I hitch hiked to the media center – just a few miles away- two young Native girls gave me a lift. “How do you like it here?“ “ I like it a lot, feels like home”, I answered. There was an appreciation in their momentary silence and then the jokes and playfulness began. That joyfulness is common here. I am at home.
Once in the media center, a spokes person for the elders called us together. “Much love and appreciation from the elders… I have seen such humanity here, from all of you, I will never forget it…blessings to all of your families for all you are doing.” These or similar words come often, as do the tears of gratitude. I am at home.
The next order of the day is to try to find a way to help. I am here, hoping to play a small part in changing the narrative of domination and brutality that has been our country’s legacy towards these people, the first of our land. If you are accustomed to being told what to do, you will struggle a bit here. Here you are expected and needed, to see what must be done and to do it. I wait and I pray. An old friend sends me a link to a prominent NPR show talking about what is happening here, so I took a moment to see what the world is saying. No surprise, the false narrative was stated again and again (the pipeline is not on reservation land) until the very end when someone looked at the 1851 Treaty of Laramie (which binds the US and the Lakota Sioux to an agreement on the land and the waterway). That is where the show should have actually begun. There was the momentary recognition that Energy Transfer Partners and the Army Corp of Engineers should have brought the Standing Rock Sioux into the discussion at the very beginning of the planning of the pipeline, but there was nothing offered to rectify this unconscious blunder (or conscious slight?). Instead we were told repeatedly that the pipeline is 97% completed and, “Oh, well; let’s just finish, now, can’t we?” I am always amazed at how the dominant culture spins on, seemingly unaware that its humanity is trailing in the wake of its “talk”.
There are really two battles waging. One is here, as people from around the world stand with the Standing Rock Sioux, facing unrealistic odds: might to right, weaponry to love, confusion to peace.
The other is in the American public heart and mind. The clock is ticking. Will we take the time to understand the history and the total disregard of people for profit that has led to this moment? Or will we continue to prepare for the holiday spirit that left us long ago?
This is the moment for those who have cried for peace to STAND UP. This is the moment to celebrate our collective humanity and to allow peace to flourish. This is the moment to live. If your soul has quickened with all that is happening here, you are not alone. We are emerging. The children of the sun are emerging and we will not be silenced and we will not be defeated. This is our moment. Stand with us. Stand with Standing Rock. Come home. Wherever you are, be at home.
Photo compliments of Redhawk Standing Rock Rising
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