“This film tells the story of our prayerful and peaceful demonstrations by water protectors that have motivated thousands of tribal members and non-Native people around the world to take a stand.”
— Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Chairman, Dave Archambault II
For months now, hundreds of Native Tribes have gathered at Standing Rock in North Dakota to protect the Missouri River running through tribal lands from the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This pipeline, originally routed through Bismark, was rerouted through sacred and legally protected tribal lands without the necessary consent of tribal leaders. Over these past months, the movement has gained size and momentum, and has captured the attention of the global community. In that time, mass media in the U.S. has largely turned away from this event and the issues it brings into clear relief. Issues of greed and corporate power taking precedence over the safety and care of this country's original inhabitants, and over the well-being of the finite and irreplaceable resources provided by our natural environment.
"Standing Rock is the moral center of the nation right now; the real question is why there's no response from the White House to [the] kind of abuses that would make us protest loudly if they happened abroad," prominent environmental activist Bill McKibben said in a statement. "This is America's oldest shame, and it's sad that we're still seeing it in the waning days of the Obama presidency."
- ABC News
In recent days, hundreds of water protectors were injured when blasted with rubber bullets, tear gas, and then hammered with water hoses in the freezing temperatures of an approaching North Dakota winter. For more information on the violence that occurred most recently, and for a peek into daily life in the camp, check out the beautiful video and article that Vogue magazine released this week.
Water is earth's eye
looking into which the beholder
measures the depth of his own nature.
- Henry David Thoreau
This situation invites us each into review and reflection. Review of our own personal values, our habits and regard for water. Reflection on our own participation in the situation in which we find ourselves and our country, and our capacity to effect change within it. Reflection on the - relatively enormous - ease and freedom with which we have lived. Consideration of how we might use our time, resources and talents now to make life more free, more safe, more ease-filled for each other. Here are some questions and information that may help you begin your own deeper personal inquiry and create your own plan of action for change and engagement:
What is our current water situation? And what can be done to improve our collective water future?
Click here to hear a raw and poetic version of that story. Warning: contains strong language some may find offensive.
Why should YOU care about water?
What are some actions you can take in your own life to withdraw your support from development of the DAPL, and/or to offer support to the water protectors as they continue their peaceful resistance?
1) Tell Obama #NoDAPL, DENY the easement. Call the White House today at 202-456-1111 or send a message to whitehouse.gov/contact.
2) The ACLU is now involved in representing the tribes. You can send a message through the ACLU to the Department of Justice, demanding that these non-violent protesters no longer be met with militarized violence. You may also choose to donate to the ACLU, to support the ongoing defense of the tribes in this issue.
3) You can stay up-to-date on news and the needs of the tribes by following this link. Donations can be made here as well.
4) The Dakota Access Pipeline is a project of Energy Transfer Partners, and is directly funded by these banks. (Note: Recent reports suggest that DNB may be pulling it's funding from the project due to humanitarian and/or political concerns.) The link above will guide you in contacting your bank's CEO and expressing your concerns. You can also/alternately remove your funds from these banks and instead place them into a credit union or another bank, if you choose.
In this week of the Thanksgiving Holiday in the U.S., a purported celebration of gratitude for our blessings, may we look squarely in the eye of the oppression and violence have been continually extended to the native inhabitants of this land, and say "No more!". May we not distance ourselves from the reality that those who have suffered at the hands of immigrants once in need of a safe place to land, are still suffering. And suffering deeply. May we see and understand that we - all of us living here today - we were those immigrants, at one point in our history, in our family line. We are not separate from this issue - we are a part of it whether we like it or not - and we can certainly be a part of changing the outcome of this particular situation. Let us feel it, and know it, and act accordingly.
"As water, given sugar, sweetens
given salt, grows salty
we become our choices."
- Jane Hirshfield
May our gratitude for all we have received and enjoyed be channeled directly into actions of kindness towards our larger human family and this incredible earth that supports us all. May all beings be healthy, safe, free from suffering, and connected with vitality and joy.
Dana Wyss Healing Arts
Breathe deeply, practice often, be well.