Stand with Standing Rock: Are You Paying Attention?
The words, “if you’re not affected, then you’re not paying attention,” keep flashing through my mind. Right now in Standing Rock on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, there are armed officials pouring in to stop the peaceful water protectors. Today alone twenty-eight people were arrested for praying, for protecting the water from the black snake: the Dakota Access Pipeline. On top of this on going battle for the safety and protection of the sacred spaces and water, the North Dakota Governor has declared the — I can’t stress enough — PEACEFUL protectors an imminent threat, calling for over four-hundred different armed law enforcement officers to storm Standing Rock.
Shailene Woodley, among so many others, who have been on the front-lines got targeted and taken in today. Woodley managed to reach an audience of over forty thousand with her two hour live-stream documentation of the situation at hand – guards with guns and batons confronting the praying and non-violent protectors. In this stream, Woodley’s mom films on as her daughter is arrested during the walk back to her RV home. The guards are standing around the vehicle not allowing her to pass through, not answering her questions. This is not new. This has been going on for months now.
The mainstream media may not be reporting, but the first hand accounts and front-line documentation have been alive and well. In a true, the revolution will not be televised fashion, hundreds of protectors from all over the US – the largest inter-tribal gathering in decades – have come together to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux to stop the black snake, the DAPL, from poisoning the land and water. Its remarkable, really, within the camps there is prayer, ceremony, and a return to an indigenous way of living where community looks out for each other and the sacred nature of the land is respected and honored.
Symbiosis Gathering, taking place at the Woodward Resevoir in Oakdale, California, made Standing with Standing Rock and protecting the water a theme of the festival. Speakers like Winona LaDuke and Vandana Shiva took the stage to educate the attendees about how to get involved and take direct action in their own communities, “find your local Standing Rock,” LaDuke reminds us during her talk. It is important to stand in solidarity and help in whatever ways we can with those water protectors in North Dakota right now, but northern mid-west winters are no joke. Her speakshop served to open up a larger dialogue about water, in general – water is life!
LaDuke encourages us to stay involved and educate ourselves on the many issues surrounding water and land rights in our own backyards. That we can help here, and at home – it takes a village! Symbiosis took their education sector a step further and provided people with a way to donate their extra camping gear and supplies by having a team collect the leftovers at the gate. Then having them delivered to the protectors out in Standing Rock for the upcoming months.
It is definitely overwhelming and scary with everything between elections and police brutality and big oil and corporations all swirling their greed and corruption in our faces, but we have to stay vigilant and active – to be protectors, and to support those who put their bodies on the line for the future of the Earth. Winter is coming and the protectors are not backing down. The camps are gearing up for the cold months and letting spirit and prayer be their guides.
All across the country and the world, people are rising up to stop the destruction of what is sacred and create a safe future for the next generations. If you’re interested in learning more, I’m including links below to further educate on some of the issues that are happening across the country. I urge you to get involved in whatever way you can, the time is now and we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
For front-line documentation from Standing Rock: