The police and BIA who met me at the Oceti Oyate checkpoint today were friendly. I had prayed to see them as human beings and they made that easy. The Army Corp representative who told me where to park was also kind and I began thinking, “This is going to be OK.”
The People in camp have consistently been kind and the work they are doing to clean the camp is amazing. I know that some of the people have been working day in and out to meet the deadline; they remain in good spirits.
I walked along the mud and ice realizing how much I love this land. I love the smells, the wind, the endless sky and the purposeful reason for its being. My walk grows a bit gentler, my breathing a bit deeper. And then I heard someone singing a Lakota prayer song over a loud speaker. In the midst of seeming chaos, in the midst of horrific doubt about what the next few days will bring, someone was holding us in prayer. I realized that that is the piece the main street media, DAPL, Morton County police, state troopers and the Governor might be missing.
I walked toward the singers, so very grateful that I had the ears and the heart to feel them; then another voice and then another came forward to hold us to the sacred. The beauty of these People continues to touch me. The intolerance that is shown them is painful to witness and impossible to comprehend. I choose to stand with them and try in whatever small way that I can to help.
One way I can help is to stand in my humanity.
I moved away to pick up garbage and a young man came up to me and offered me a pair of plastic gloves to use. I thanked him and continued. A bit later he came back, and we took a moment to learn about one another. In this conversation I realized another important piece that authorities might be overlooking as they amass even more militarized police to prepare for the sweep of the camp that they refuse to deny is coming. The deadline is less than three days away. What I realized in this conversation is simple and human. There are more people in camp than vehicles. Some people are beginning to feel stranded and afraid. Many have left everything to be here. Some are homeless. And they are very aware of the ticking clock…
Towards evening the authorities showed again their intolerance for the beliefs and the dignity of the People here by disrupting a teaching prayer that they had been told would be happening. The escalation of inhumanity is continuing.
To all who wish to tie everything up in a tidy bundle and say, “Let’s get it over with”, I say, “Check your humanity”. The harm we cause will have repercussions – not only to those we harm but also to the ones who are perpetrating the harm. Some of the actions that have been committed here at Standing Rock have left deep and lasting scars. Scars on top of generations of scars; pain on top of generations of pain.
I am asking you my to stay vigilant with us. It appears the internet is not working all that well. You may not get up-to-date information as it happens. Please maintain your prayers and your intention that this stand continues in peace – by all. And please, contact Governor Doug Burgum of North Dakota and let him know you are watching. Ask that he supervise the police and other authorities ensuring that clear heads and calm prevail.
We need you now. Where ever you are. Thank you.