A dispatch from Standing Rock: Solidarity with Dakota Sioux in pipeline protest

Year 1 No. 26 — Friday, September 23, 2016

Going to Standing Rock was an amazing act of solidarity.
We drove the 13 hours to Standing Rock Reservation, located near Cannonball North Dakota, to stand in unity and support and to prevent the destruction of cultural resources.

When we got in close proximity of the Sacred Stone camp we were welcomed by cement barricades that were set up by the National Guard to check people coming in and out. After a brief interrogation as to our attendance in Standing Rock, we were kindly let by.

Turning down the road into camp is an experience in itself, flying high are the flags of many Nations. About 260 tribes and counting had offered their support to the Sioux Tribe. lt was an exhilarating feeling of love arriving and driving through the flags seeing waves from the camp occupants and greeted by smiles and hand gestures. From that moment we felt like we just became part of something, something big, part of history if you will.

As soon as we exited our vehicle we were approached and welcomed by a tobacco offering as well a cup of traditional herbal tea and honey. We were directed to a teepee like structure where we offered soup and fry bread to nourish us after our long journey.

From there we began socializing and conversing with the diverse group. Everyone descended upon Standing Rock in solidarity and had his/her story as to what compelled them to be there. Everyone worked together as a team, having certain camp responsibilities.

To give you an idea of the amount of people, a camp volunteer cook told me they were feeding anywhere from 2000-3000 people or more every meal three times per day.

After a conversation with a very well spoken tribe member Mona Sugarbush, she said she wants the world to understand this is not a revolt. This is a protection line and not a protest line. She said she can foresee the resistance camp going long into the cold winter months, adding that the camp is in need of winter supplies and warm clothing.

Mona also stated that the camp was off the grid as cell phone coverage was disrupted and cutoff in those areas. She was also very concerned that North Dakota had conveniently passed a law last week that granted the use of armed drones that would use tear gas and rubber bullets if need be.

The ongoing prayers have been taking place around the sacred fires day and night. Each night the camp comes alive with a gathering of song, dance and storytelling.

Something profound did happen in our group, one night we set out to find the elusive Welcome to Standing Rock sign. After hours of searching we came up with nothing and got lost having no access to cell or GPS. We took a chance and drove down a road. We drove for about and hour to the end of the road only to realize we were about a hundred feet from Sitting Bulls gravesite. Tobacco was laid down for this blessing. lt was serendipitous discovery considering there are about 500 back roads on the Sioux Territory.

Leaving the camp was very emotional as we had to leave our new friends and alliances.

Elders told us to keep praying and spreading the word of Truth. That no one ever should have their sacred sites desecrated in the name of Big Oil. Everyone human on this planet has a right to clean water.