October 25, 2016

This is Native Land

Today, water protectors from throughout the world are joining the frontlines at Sacred Stone Camp.

Beyond Buckskin is based out of the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota, so we get the dual reality of both visiting and engaging with the camp, but also hearing the distorted coverage on various local news outlets. The bias is sickening.

Two days ago, Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires, took back unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie.

This is Native land, and we still hold valuable treaty rights, and these rights must be upheld. The US Constitution maintains that treaties are the supreme law of the land. Today is NoDAPL National Day of Action, and the camp leaders are asking people to stand in prayerful solidarity with the water protectors. Wherever you are, share your prayers, songs, and support for the 100+ Water Protectors arrested last weekend by violent ND/Morton County Sheriff's Dept actions involving the use of militarized vehicles and equipment, mace, and excessive force against hundreds of men, women, elders and youth.

In times like this, I have a hard time speaking up to the ignorant people spewing hatred towards the protectors. But so much of it is ignorance. I take deep breathes, speak slowly, firmly, and calmly, and remind myself that most of the arguments against the water protectors are based on ignorance, incorrect assumptions, and misinformation fed by the media. And even if I walk through the arguments, point by point, some will still belligerently hold steadfast to their hatred fueled by ignorance. So I close my eyes and pray.

But we must continue on. And I find strength in being prayerful and knowing that we are part of a legacy - a chain that must not be broken, and we must continue on. Visiting the camp just north of Cannonball, ND, is a blessed experience. Time collapses. I feel centered, focused, transcendent. I am lifted out of the daily bull that drains me, and I feel overwhelmed (in a good way) as the prairie wind swirls around me, the sound of drums and singing is nearly constant, and we walk together with strangers united. I feel reassured that the spirit world is with us, guiding and protecting us.

The spiritual power of that place is strong, so strong that even though the local government-funded law enforcement is now militarized and have arrested hundreds of protectors, they still can't remove the camp, they still haven't deterred the thousands of protectors that continue to join the movement every week, and they still can't fully protect the privately-owned oil company from finishing the illegal construction.

This is Native land. It is in our blood, it is on our skin, it nurtures and inspires us constantly. We are of this land. This is Native land.