If yesterday was a horrible day, emotionally, for the community – today was Amazing.
Such defeat yesterday. The urgency of Winter is coming; it’s weighing heavily on all. Additionally, the forces that we’re up against is putting all efforts into making us rip apart from the inside.
In addressing challenges, really big challenges, such as those posed by Winter Coming, we’ve been stalled in converting our thoughts as a community into unified, cohesive action. Everyone wants to be heard and to contribute with their own skills – but deciding how to share resources and progress Together is the Challenge [we all face right now in the world]. This, I’ve realized today, is one thread of what it is all about.
Sensing the need for a morale boost, as great leaders do, Dennis Banks spoke to us today in the modest setting of a green army tent, bursting at the rolled up walls while the weather gave us a break and the sun smiled upon us. He spoke profoundly at times and with levity at others, as comedic a storyteller as I’ve read Lincoln was (effective as ever for bringing together many and building bridges where no one could see how) to remind us Why we are here: For a reason; An Important Reason; and No, we will not back down, we will not retreat, we will not welcome the dogs that attack our women and children; we will go forward because that is what we do. All of us who have come, are here because this is about protecting our precious water and air and land. It’s about resisting ways that have shown to be the wrong ways – ones that benefit few, at the sacrifice of many. It’s about remembering what has always been taken. Because of what is happening here, Standing Rock will stay in the hearts of each of us who have heard the call to come, though none of us have been paid to do so. We will stay and finish our work here and then meet as protectors again if we are given the days to do so. For now we will go forward one day at a time. We all have great, powerful ideas and we will each be heard. We will do so without labels. We will think and act cohesively with peace and prayer and continue to get stronger in non-violence each day.
This is what we are doing here! (Re)learning ourselves how to build the type of community in which we see each person and hear each voice; and respect ourselves And Mother Earth who can’t speak for herself against the one-sidedness of greed but who Gives Us Life!
I see Dennis Banks so coolly addressing tension and answering HUGE Why’s with stories that make us laugh as one.
I see our cooks give us everything – most of their waking hours – trying to perfect their gift to us the in most difficult of conditions.
I see our wellness guide lead with more patience than I’ve seen from any human, personally.
I hear and sit with our morning rooster, JD a local tribesman, who manages to call us awake despite the frost on our blankets – “The sun is greeting you, wake up – we need your prayers!” and we do.
I see our young men getting firewood for us Every Day.
I see our protectors securing us from the devious outsiders who are coming into camp to steal the truth of what’s happening here – and who are literally stealing our wood stoves and generators.
I see our legal aids who are teaching us our rights.
I see our medics and herbal clinicians who save us without cost.
I see people taking in each solo warrior arriving, winter ready or not, to sleep and eat.
I see our camp director, a Standing Rock tribesman, whose heart is as big as the Money against us and who tells us what Cannonball thinks is going on here, what the tribes concerns are and what Chairman Archambault is doing for/with us.
I see you, indigenous folks up from New Orleans who get us all eating Buffalo Gumbo, dancing and learning to cook our own herbal cough syrup late into the night – late into this night in which we watched the Aurora Borealis from the opening of the 40-foot-teepee they’ve opened to the thousands of us who have dug in for the winter.
Early in the day, we lamented over the defeats of yesterday – then we celebrated, because we know Why we are here, that we are here together, and that we are going to win.
I no longer need to believe it can only be what They have always told us is the way it is.
Given this new and unexpected beginning (at least unexpected to me, not so for the indigenous who are seeing prophecies fulfilled right now in our lifetimes !), I’m seeing it unfold differently every day.