Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Standing Rock: Home of Warrior Women and Fearless Females



Mni Wiconi ~ Water Is Life

I am obsessed with the Dakota Access Pipe Line (DAPL) resistance escalating on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. I'm even more obsessed and impressed with the Warrior Women, not only on the front line, but the fearless females organizing, arranging, and preparing camp for a bitterly cold winter and an even more bitterly cold fight against the desecration of Sacred Land and the protection of our most priceless resource, water.

I discovered one of these amazing women back in August, and her story of perseverance has taken me on a rollercoaster of emotions - fear, hope, pride, love, and enlightenment, just to name a few. Her name is Linda Black Elk (follow her on Facebook) an ethnobotanist currently occupying at the Sacred Stone Camp, a camp that has now reached over 4,000 occupants against the Dakota Access Pipeline. There are representatives from Tribes all across the nation and abroad. They are not protesters; they are Protectors of sacred water.


I've watched the camp being set up and witnessed new nations entering, bringing new life and replacing despair with the undying hope of justice. The beauty and spirituality emanating from the protectors is something that I've never witnessed before. Hope builds with each new Tribe member that enters camp. It's unbelievably beautiful and the backbone behind it all is strong, intelligent, beautiful women. There are Warrior Women on the front lines, those who are willing to risk arrest for the future of our children, women organizing camp and sorting through thousands of donations. I've never witnessed a culture that praised women like the Sioux. Ask any Lakota/Dakota man what is the most important asset to the tribe and they will tell you - it's their women. Just like water, women are sacred.

Our country's actions towards Native Americans are reprehensible. Treaties are broken with no remorse. Whenever there is proof of a new asset on treaty land that can bring in more money, more land is taken away. When is enough enough? When will Americans band together and scream that THIS CANNOT CONTINUE TO HAPPEN?! Native Americans were driven to desolate lands that the government had no use for, but the second the government finds something useful, they continue the genocide. Now, instead of small pox infested blankets being handed out, the government is waging cultural genocide. 

There was no more telling truth of this than an event on September 3, in which DAPL workers moved to sacred land (that had been mapped out by tribal leaders and submitted into court) miles away from where they were working and destroyed it. They desecrated tribal sacred burial grounds and prayer sites out of spite. Protectors rushed to the area where they were met with pepper spray and guard dogs. Several protectors were bitten, including women and one small child.  Curiously, this date is the anniversary of the 1863 Whitestone Massacre that took place on the same lands.

September 3rd was also the day that I saw fear in Linda Black Elk's eyes and voice for the first time.
She was maced in the eye when a fellow protector next to her was attacked by DAPL security. In true Warrior spirit, she returned to organizing camp, donations, and medicines before the swelling went down in her eye. This is inspiring. She is a mother, a wife, a scientist, a protector and an amazing woman. The strength, passion, and joy that she carries with her fills everyone who knows her with hope.

The days are rapidly getting colder at Standing Rock and Linda Black Elk has committed herself to the cause until justice is served for our Native American brothers and sisters. There have been many negative articles circulating about what's happening at Standing Rock, but the only negative is definitely not coming from the protectors. Their water source is being threatened for oil, sacred burial sites are being destroyed, and an oil leak will threaten a water source of millions of Americans. The governor of North Dakota didn't allow the pipeline to be built near his mansion for fear of leaks, but  instead elected to push that possibility on the Standing Rock Sioux. This is wrong on every level.

Please show your solidarity. I do this every day. This is history in the making - a chance to right so many wrongs.  Ask yourself which side do you want to be on?

Mni Wiconi ~Water Is Life

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