Pilgrimage to Standing Rock
All summer I watched the unfolding of the valiant resistance of the people of Oceti Sakowin (Standing Rock) to save the water and the land in and around their territory. In the early hours of the struggle, it was the voices of women that were heard and the bodies of women that protected the land. Then on August 12, 2016 Standing Rock Sioux chairman Dave Archambault and Councillor Dana Yellow Fat were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. 18 women and men were also arrested and charged over that weekend. These arrests impressed upon the Indigenous world at least how important it was to continue to resist the encroachment of corporations on the remaining territories that we call home across North America.
It was very personal to me to let my voice blend with the rising resistance as I have watched the protection of water disappear in Canada through Bill C-38 in 2012 and it has not been restored as yet. It was very personal to me as I watched the landscape of northern Manitoba be forever changed by hydro development and saw lakes turn red from the effluence of iron ore mining. Distinctly different economies but always the same end result – a land laid to waste, undrinkable water and the people who lived off the land, sentenced to a life of poverty and mitigated health risks while the fruits of the land filled the accounts of multinational corporations.
It was and is very personal to me to leave a land where the water is clean and protected for the generations that have arrived and those yet to come. It is very personal to live my prayer for the health and happiness of all the people and the healing of Mother Earth. What ever that takes and what ever that is. It was very important for me to bring my daughter and her 3-month old daughter to join the peaceful resistance and offer our prayers of dedication to land. It was important to breath the air and be imbued with the energy of the people of Sacred Stone Camp. It was also important to leave our breath and energy on the land and in the air to support those that will continue to fight on behalf of the people.
When we were driving home and processing what we saw and how we felt, I just cried soul felt tears for my children. I really don’t know what this world will be like for my dear grand-daughter. I only hope that the prayers and the strength of the people of Sacred Stone will be one of the threads that guide her and her remembrance of the people that that fought for the water and the earth.
This action of the people and allies of the Oceti Sakowin is for all of us. It is for all of us that believe that clean drinking water and a healthy earth will sustain all of us, not just the 10 million people directly affected by this pipeline. This action is for all of us to stand for what we believe in and even what when we think or don’t think it will affect us.
As of this date, October 11, 2016, there has been a world wide call to action as shared by Winaya Locke that will involve one solid month of direct action, commencing on October 17, 2016. If you decide to participate, be prepared to let your prayers be one of action. It will be one of non-violent direct action and they require people who are trained, who can look after themselves and be prepared to work. Weekend Warriors are welcome but be prepared to look after yourself. One month of solid direct non-violent action! If you can’t go, you can support those that are holding the front lines by donating financial resources to: www.sacredstonecamp.org