Monday, August 29, 2016

Standing Together

"It's Not for Sale" by Ricardo Levins Morales.

A big part of my prayer life involves envisioning and praying for the paradigm shift in human consciousness which I believe the Sacred Presence (or "God") is calling humanity to embody. It's a shift – a movement, a journey – from greed and violence to justice and peace, from apathy to compassion, from mindless consumption to sustainability, from fear to love. I realize, of course, that this shift in consciousness has to begin with me. After all, as Gandhi once said: "If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. . . . We need not wait to see what others do."*

With all of this in mind I have to say I've been watching with great interest and hope the growing movement opposing the Dakota Access oil pipeline (part of the Bakken pipeline project) near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. I see this movement as an embodiment of the paradigm shift that so many of us long to see realized.

Above: Native Americans protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline on August 12, 2016. (New York Times/Daniella Zalcman and AP Photo/James MacPherson)

Right: Jon Don Ilone Reed, an Army veteran and member of South Dakota's Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, poses for a photo at the Dakota Access oil pipeline protest on Thursday, August 25, 2016. (AP Photo/James MacPherson)

Above: The front lines of protesters blocking the Dakota Access pipeline – August 2016. (Photo: Desiree Kane)

The thousands who have gathered at Standing Rock to protect the water and the land have formed a community known as Sacred Stone Spirit Camp. Following is a message from Rainbow Hunting Wolf, one of the community members.

Important Message from Sacred Stone Spirit Camp,
Standing Rock, North Dakota
August 26, 2016

There is a lot of misleading information going out about what is going on here. This information will hurt us more than help us. The media is saying things such as we are hostile, making pipe bombs, shooting laser beams in the sky at the feds while [they're] flying by. They are saying that the police have cut off our food supply and water supply. That they have cut off our communication and blocked us in here like prisoners, etc. These things are not true. It is propaganda that is being put out there to raise tension and hostility. They want tension and hostility here so that they have a reason to try and stop us. The more people feed into this propaganda the more power they are giving to those against us, the harder they are making it for us. Not to mention that this misleading info will start attracting the wrong kind of energy here, hostile energy, which gives them reason to take action upon us.

My name is Rainbow Hunting Wolf. I am here at the Sacred Stone camp typing this message. There are over 80 Nations here as well as many other cultures, and more are coming. We have tons of water, food, and supplies, literally. There is one road block five miles north of us. The police are not allowing people to come in from the north except for residents. There is no problem going north though. We just take a different route to get back to camp if coming from Bismark. There are no cops here and no hostility of any kind. There are no weapons and no drugs or alcohol. A verizon tower is being put up so we have better cell reception and satellite internet is coming so we can get the proper info out.

We have a lot of support here. This is a very peaceful gathering. This has become a very beautiful thing. A village has formed here. There are many Nations here that were at one time enemies. Now these nations unite to stand together in solidarity to protect the water, the land, and our future generations. We are in celebration for the unification that is happening here. For this we have already won. We come together in prayer to protect these lands and our future generations. Unification through prayer is our most powerful weapon, it's all we need to win this battle. So this is what is going on here, prayer and celebration. For those who come here please be conscious of your actions and intentions for being here.

We do not need a violent battle, this is a peaceful battle. What we do here goes into this water here and spreads the energy we project throughout the lands and into the earth. The people who live here will still be here after we leave. They will have to deal with the repercussions of our actions here. We ask for all who have their focus here to be in your heart, to be in peace, to come join us if you can. If not then pray with us from where you are, from all four directions. Please understand that this is not just about this pipeline. This is happening all over the world and is destroying our water and the only land that our children will inherit. If the water dies, we all die. It is poisoning us mentally, spiritually, and physically. This is about our children and our future generations. This is about them having a solid foundation to grow from and a healthy future, or any future for that matter. We are all of water. We are all connected through water. Water is life and is the most powerful and humble element we have. The water is putting a call out for help and is currently bringing us together. That is how powerful it is. So please celebrate and pray with us where ever you are and help us protect all of our children's future as they are depending on us. We are here to protect our children, your children, all children.

May we all stand together in solidarity through prayer.

Please spread this message as far as you can. Thank you. Much Love.

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin

How You Can Help

1. Donate items from the Sacred Stone Camp Supply List.

2. Call the White House – (202) 456-1111. Tell President Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers' Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

3. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund

4. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp GoFundMe Account.

5. Call the Army Corps of Engineers and demand that they reverse the permit – (202) 761-5903.

6. You can sign the petition to the White House to Stop DAPL

7. Call the executives of the companies that are building the pipeline:

Lee Hanse
Executive Vice President
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.
800 E Sonterra Blvd #400
San Antonio, Texas 78258
Telephone: (210) 403-6455

Glenn Emery
Vice President
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.
800 E Sonterra Blvd #400
San Antonio, Texas 78258
Telephone: (210) 403-6762

Michael (Cliff) Waters
Lead Analyst
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.
1300 Main St.
Houston, Texas 77002
Telephone: (713) 989-2404

"All We Want Is Clean Water" by Marty Two Bull.

This past weekend I had the honor of meeting Buffy Sainte-Marie and seeing her perform with her band twice in concert – in Minneapolis on Friday, August 26 and in Bayfield, WI on Saturday, August 27. Her set included "No No Keshagesh," a powerful track from her 2008 album Running for the Drum.

"Keshagesh" is a Cree word that means "greedy guts." "It’s what you call a little puppy who eats his own and then wants everybody else’s,” says Buffy. In "No No Keshagesh" the term is used as a metaphor for corporate greed, and the song is all about opposing such greed and its destructive impact on the environment. Mister Greed, I think your time has come / We're gonna sing it and pray it and live it and say it / Singing: No, No Keshagesh you can’t do that no more . . .

Buffy dedicated her performance of "No No Keshagesh" to all who are gathered at Standing Rock to oppose the Dakota Access pipeline.

I never saw so many business suits
Never knew a dollar sign could look so cute
Never knew a junkie with a money jones
They singing Who’s sellin’ Park Place?
Who’s buying Boardwalk?

These old men they make their dirty deals
Go in the back room and see what they can steal
Talk about your beautiful for spacious skies
It’s about uranium; it’s about the water rights

Got Mother Nature on a luncheon plate
They carve her up and call it real estate
Want all the resources and all of the land
They make a war over it; blow things up for it

The reservation out at Poverty Row
There’s something cooking and the lights are low
Somebody trying to save our mother earth
I’m gonna help ’em to save it
and sing it and pray it, singing . . .

No no Keshagesh, you can’t do that no more!

Old Columbus he was looking good
When he got lost in our neighborhood
Garden of Eden right before his eyes
Now it’s all spyware;
now it’s all income tax

Old Brother Midas looking hungry today
What he can’t buy he’ll get some other way
Send in the troopers in the natives resist
Old, old story boys; that’s how ya do it, boys

Look at these people, Lord, they’re on a roll
Got to have it all; got to have complete control
Want all the resources and all of the land
They break the law for it;
blow things up for it

While all our champions are off in the war
Their final rip-off here at home is on
Mister Greed, I think your time has come
We're gonna sing it and pray it
and live it and say it, singing . . .

No no Keshagesh, you can’t do that no more!

NEXT: Standing in Prayer and Solidarity
with the Water Protectors of Standing Rock

Related Off-site Links:
After 525 Years, It’s Time to Actually Listen to Native Americans – Bill McKibben (Grist, August 22, 2016).
Standing Rock: River of Support Pours in from Indian Nations and Researchers – Brenda Norrell (Censored News, August 22, 2016).
Three Reasons the Standing Rock Sioux Can Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline – Mark Trahant (Yes! Magazine, August 22, 2016).
Occupying the Prairie: Tensions Rise as Tribes Move to Block a Pipeline – Jack Healy (The New York Times, August 23, 2016).
In Effort to Kill Pipeline, Groups Call Directly on Obama to Oppose Permits – Nadia Prupis (Common Dreams, August 25, 2016).
Faces of the North Dakota Pipeline Protest: "Sacred Land is Who We Are" – Josué Rivas (The Guardian, August 25, 2016).
North Dakota Oil Pipeline Protesters Stand Their Ground: "This is Sacred Land" – Nicky Woolf (The Guardian, August 29, 2016).
Army Corps of Engineers Confirms Native Protesters Are Right – There Is No Written Easement for Dakota Access Pipeline – Jeremiah Jones (Counter Current News, August 29, 2016).
National Lawyers Guild Statement of Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Against Dakota Access Pipeline – National Lawyers Guild International Committee (August 29, 2016).
An Oil Pipeline and a River: What Would Sitting Bull Do? – Winona LaDuke (Yes! Magazine, August 29, 2016).
Totem Carries Unifying Spirit Into Protest Camp – Lauren Donovan (Bismarck Tribune, August 29, 2016).
Report: More Than Two Dozen Banks Financing Dakota Access PipelineDemocracy Now! (August 30, 2016).
We Are Not Protesters, We Are Protectors: Peace, Prayer, Love and War at Standing Rock – Malika Wilbur (Project 562, August 30, 2016).
Buffy Sainte-Marie on Life and Living in the Spirit – The Simon Ortiz and Labriola Center Lecture on Indigenous Land, Culture and Community (Arizona State University, Tempe Campus, October 10, 2013).

UPDATES: What's Happening in Standing Rock? – Mark Sundeen (Outside, September 2, 2016).
A Test of U.S. Climate Leadership Will Be How We Treat the Standing Rock Sioux – Mark Trahant (Yes!, September 2, 2016).
Clashes Between Guards and Native Americans in North Dakota Over Pipeline – Talal Ansari (BuzzFeed News, September 1, 2016).
Dakota Access Pipeline Company Attacks Protesters with Dogs and Mace – Nadia Prupis (Common Dreams, September 4, 2016).
Oil Company Takes Dozers on 20-Mile Detour to "Deliberately Destroy" Ancient Native American Sites – Claire Bernish (The Free Thought Project, September 6, 2016).
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Condemns Destruction and Desecration of Burial Grounds by Energy Transfer PartnersIndian Country Today (September 4, 2016).
Protesters Start Preparing for Winter – Alicia Ewen (My ND Now, September 5, 2016).
New Investigation Names Wall Street Banks Behind $3.8 Billion Dakota Access PipelineDemocracy Now! (September 6, 2016).
Who's Investing in the Dakota Access Pipeline? Meet the Banks Financing Attacks on ProtestersDemocracy Now! (September 6, 2016).
Moments After Judge Denies DAPL Injunction, Federal Agencies Intervene – Valerie Taliman (Indian Country Today, September 9, 2016).
After Protests, U.S. Halts North Dakota Pipeline Near Tribal Lands – Ruthy Munoz and Dave Thompson (Reuters, September 9, 2016).
A Victory for Standing Rock Sioux – Timothy Bertrand (Reverb Press, September 9, 2016).
Joint Statement from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior Regarding Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – U.S. Department of Justice (September 9, 2016).
Obama Pipeline Plot Twist is Not a Victory – and Could Erase the Struggle – Kelly Hayes (Yes!, September 10, 2016).
From 280 Tribes, a Protest on the PlainsThe New York Times, September 11, 2016).
The North Dakota Pipeline Fight is Not Really About Environmental Risks But About Environmental Justice – Dan Vergano (BuzzFeed, September 12, 2016).
Standing Rock Protests: This is Only the Beginning – Rebecca Solnit (The Guardian, September 12, 2016).
The $3.7-billion Pipeline That Became a Rallying Cry for Tribes Across America – William Yardley (The Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2016).
At Standing Rock, Protest Camp Becomes a Movement – Dan Gunderson (MPR News, September 14, 2016).
At Standing Rock, a Sense of Purpose: “This Is How We Should Be Living” – Sarah van Gelder (Yes!, September 14, 2016).
Why the Dakota Access Pipeline Fight May Be a Turning Point in U.S. Environmental Politics – Ron Meador (MinnPost, September 16, 2016).
Victory for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Over Dakota Access Pipeline Case – Doug Williams (Outdoor Revival, April 11, 2020).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – August 19, 2016
Threshold Musings
Something to Think About – October 13, 2015
Words of Wisdom on Indigenous Peoples Day
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Singing It and Praying It; Living It and Saying It
Buffy Sainte-Marie and That "Human-Being Magic"
A Spirit of Defiance
The "Fool Soldiers" of the Lakota
Visions of Crazy Horse
Something to Think About – April 22, 2014
"Something Sacred Dwells There"

* In relation to Gandhi's quote, Brian Morton wrote the following in an August 29, 2011 New York Times article:

Perhaps you’ve noticed a bumper sticker that purports to quote him: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” When you first come across it, this does sound like something Gandhi would have said. But when you think about it a little, it starts to sound more like ... a bumper sticker. Displayed brightly on the back of a Prius, it suggests that your responsibilities begin and end with your own behavior. It’s apolitical, and a little smug.

Sure enough, it turns out there is no reliable documentary evidence for the quotation. The closest verifiable remark we have from Gandhi is this: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do.”

Here, Gandhi is telling us that personal and social transformation go hand in hand, but there is no suggestion in his words that personal transformation is enough. In fact, for Gandhi, the struggle to bring about a better world involved not only stringent self-denial and rigorous adherence to the philosophy of nonviolence; it also involved a steady awareness that one person, alone, can’t change anything, an awareness that unjust authority can be overturned only by great numbers of people working together with discipline and persistence.

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