I wasn’t sure what the call was when I got it one evening while watching a Facebook video that popped up on my newsfeed.
What I did know is I had to do something.
Against all odds, we headed out from Cedar Creek lake, with four of our children and a trailer loaded down, ready to stand with Standing Rock.
Along the way, we continued to research what was behind all the #nodapl and #waterislife hashtags, only to find a Revolution of ideas, that carry back farther then any European settler has ever been here, was in the midst.
What I found in the hashtags was more then I ever even thought to imagine. The depth of history that unfolded in the following days and I am sure, will continue for the rest of my life, was humbling, to say the very least.
For those that do not realize, American history as we know it, based on what is taught in our schools, and via the mainstream media’s lack of publication on what is happening as we speak, is founded on a one sided “truth” of sorts.
America was not founded, it was taken.
Taken by the very people who came here to colonize our nation from the people who had already been here for a very long time.
If you want more history on that,
Maybe even read the book it references.
What else I found was appalling.
Our own government “gave” the Natives “public land” to live on called reservations. Those transactions were called treaties. Treaties mean per the merriam-webster dictionary 1. The action of treating and especially of negotiation and 2. an agreement or arrangement made by negotiations and a document in which such a contract is set down and the legal definintion of this type of a contract made between two or more independent nations is a view to the public.
The first treaty that was made was signed a bit over a year after the Articles of Confederations were, on September 17, 1778 at Fort Pitt or modern day Pittsburg. That treaty was done to preserve the “Peace and friendship” with the Indians.
Following that, more then 500 treaties were signed! Several years saw none and some years saw as many as 4 or more! All of which, oddly enough, were broken by our own government that is supposed to protect its people.
See avalon.law.ale.edu for some or en.m.wikepedia.org, for a full list which is almost overwhelming just to read.
That is not to mention the one that is by our own government, at ourdocuments.gov! The Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868 says on the website that “The history of Native Americans in North America dates back thousands of years. Exploration and settlement of the United States by Americans and Europeans wreaked havoc on the Indian peoples living there” Also stating later that the “American drive for expansion clashed violently with the Native Americans resolve to preserve their lands, sovereignty, and ways of life.” For those that do not know, a sovereign state, which is what some federally recognized tribes have, is, per civilrights.org, states that there are over 562 tribes that are federally recognized, that give a “government-to-government” relationship between the federal government and the tribe” They are considered “Domestic dependent nations” but still have a “right to govern themselves.”
That means, that the sovereign nations, as it is called, is a true nation with their own independence. That the government has all but declared war on since the beginning of our, as “white peoples’ time here. What great “Pilgrims” we have been! In their own words, on their own government website, They say it as plain as day.
On the website, also government, history.state.gov, states very clearly that “the United States government used treaties as one means to displace Indians from their tribal lands, a mechanism that was stregthened with the Removal act of 1830”
But what saddens me further, is it goes on to admit its failing to follow their own placed treaties, saying, “In cases where this failed, the government sometimes violated both treaties and supreme court rulings to facilitate the spread of European Americans westward across the continent”
I dont know about you readers, but something is starting to sound eerily familiar, in modern day America.
Don’t believe me? Ever heard of Sitting Bull? Too close for comfort If I am asked.
I am angry at this point.
Standing Rock Reservation, home of what is now the biggest Sioux camp along with it’s supporters! Cannon Ball, North Dakota, is what I have to say, for lack of better words, is in the middle of history in the making. Fighting for their rights, through these treaties that are STILL in place today, in the same manner that their ancestors did, for them, now for their children who are the ones, that for a white woman like me, can and needs to recognize, are the ones we ARE borrowing this Earth from!
For me, as one white woman, I have an obligation. A responsibility to reverse this generational curse, from my ancestors, to all of our children.
With greater responsibility, comes greater consequence. A consequence that for me, am willing to commit to, and not be “as comfortable” as WE as a White Nation have become accustomed to with our blinders on.
Acknowledgment is the Key. Without Acknowledgment from our own government down to each and every one of us at home, will be even greater a consequence then if we accept our faults from not only people who we have never met in the far distant past but for ourselves here right now, in our everyday lives and what we do to realize our impact on this world.
I’ve never felt as at home as when we pulled into the Oceti Sakowin camp and were told welcome home by the water protectors signaling people into camp.
A feeling of complete peace came over me and the purpose of the trip was immediately made to be fullfilled in the blink of an eye, with my heart recognizing that the long trip, was for a purpose and had meaning.
I knew there were reasons to my madness and a reason why something inside me called for me to come.
A call that after Sunday….I couldnt ignore.
We can choose not to look, but if and when we do, we can never unsee in our minds and hearts, the truth of what we have seen.
Marcus Mitchell, traveled several states from Arizona, to get to Standing Rock, but he had a purpose too. To speak truth into the lives of the swat geared up Morton County police officers who were on the clock at the time, as well as do some trash clean up to keep the land beautiful. Literally, he was picking up the smallest pieces of trash! Keeping the land clean. Which is a purpose that the Natives hold close to their heart. To keep Mother Earth and her lifeblood, water, clean for not just them, but for all of us.
How I wish we were all more like that.
He built his home for the time at the Oceti Sakowan Camp, directly on one of the “front line’s” at Turtle Island securely on the reservation and right on the small chanel of water that separates Turtle Island from the Northeast side of the camp. Turtle Island is a sacred Indian burial site that the police state has perched on indefinitely. Subsequently, they eventually put up razor wire around to keep the descendants of the buried Natives away from what they were protecting, which is to keep everyone from getting to the drilling pad, but inadvertently keeping them from their disputed land and their burial grounds.
He self proclaimed it to be a fort, equipped with a fire and walls made of material he found, so that heat would get pushed towards the opening of his tent.
The police teased him one time about him giving them donuts, and the would bring him a coffee. Up north they don’t have donut shops on every corner like we do here, but he did find pastries. He got them some and in a noble gesture, offered them and asked for his coffee in return. He was sincere if his efforts but was met with laughs… and no coffee. In true warrior fashion had no discouragement though.
It is a great example of the love even now, being shown to the police by the majority, despite the oppression and bullying that is happening and despite the police using “non lethal” force, if you can even begin to consider, using water cannons against unarmed peaceful protesters in below freezing temperatures, non lethal. Although I can agree it may be non lethal, using ruber bullets at point blank range, anything that explodes that causes irreparable damage or anything that goes against the core of our beings to hurt another human being that IS being used against all walks of life, including elders and children, IS inhumane!
Mothers and grandmothers, telling the officers as they stood atop their sacred burial grounds at Turtle Island, that they stkll love them and will welcome them too, just like the other two officers who have already left, saying they will not stand on the side of who is doing the oppressing.
There has been so many live and regular videos swirling social media an recently small tidbits have showed up on mainstream media, but there is just not enough attention to have President Obama step in to stop the pipline, which he could do with the swift movement of a pen. He does have a very good reason to do so, EnergyTransfer Partners, is acting under the assumption that is has the permits in place, or will, to deill, so has already began oring under the water of Lake Oahe, which supplies drinking water to mllions via the Missouri River The water that flows to the lake, comes from the Missouri, Cheyenne, Moreau and Grand Rivers and is the fourth largest reservoir in the United States.
According, to EnergyTransger.com, it admits however, “The additional review process being proposed is the result of political interference from the Obama Administration. The declaratory relief Dakota Access has sought seeks to end this interference and restore the rule of law so that the pipeline can be completed” never stating which laws aren’t being upheld, or confronts the laws being broken as he continously drills under the lake, as we speak, without a permit. Which can be clearly seen on the live drone footage being showed(and filtered in some instance) on social media as well as youtube. Speculation is the truth is more on the side that it is a great possibility vs. being unfounded.
Energy transfer, a Dallas based company is owned by Kelcy Warren, a white oak native. Has said many things and had many interviews including on our own local pbs station. A quote that was quite unsettling, is his justification for his actions. He was heard to have asked, im sure rhetorically, in a recent protest that ended up at this prestigious Park Lane home In Dallas, “How the protesters got there? Drove. They couldnt even ride bikes without fossil fuels because rubber tires and composite materials are made from oil and gas products. Do you want to ride a wooden bicycle?”
I mean, by his own admission with implying with that statement alone, that there is no other option besides fossil fuels for our future, shows the lack of integrity to realize what kind of future he is leaving to his own son, who was 7 years old when the Klyde Warren park was named after him in 2009, oddly enough, his son, in part of the park being named afrer him, has to clean up trash once a month An assumption of that, even if implied, is that he cared enough about a park that represents his name.
What I personally want to know, is what is in his heart, that has a wall up so hardened, that he cannot see the plight of the Native Americans, that now, the “white man” and other non natives, have shown up in support of opposition towards his black snake as the Natives prophesy has fortold, not to mention, a huge group of veterans that are currently gathering and will be headed to North Dakota in support of this movement that is truning out to be the masses, no matter what or who is wanting to stop anyone in opposition of this pipeline that carries these outdated fossil fuels. That once gone, will be gone for many lifetimes, and has already been wrecking havoc on our planet beause of the fracking industry as a whole, amongst other things.
I hate to see how he feels about anyone else, when his piplines that have already leaked, on numerous occasions, as well as he admittd he cannot give a guarantee of no leaks in the future(pbs interview link at the bottom of the page), If he cannot seem to understand that it is his generational legacy that he is leaving for his seed as well. Will his legacy be one of a honorable mention inthe history books as the man who found his heart? Or one that found his pocket book full and his soul empty? I pray it will be what really matters in this world. His heart.
However or whatever the reason was, that got him in the position he is in right now that led him to make a seemingly greedy and unrealistic goals for the future.. a future that needs to be sustainable for our beautiful Earth.
That doesn’t even mean, Mr. Warren, let me speak directly to you in hopes you will read this one day,
It does not mean, that that change for our future, can’t start with you. You can be the change we wish to see in the world. That we NEED in this world.
I was excited to meet, a self-deploying veteran of the military named Sarag Kay Carlson, USAR, O.I.F. She and her life partner, Anne Liptak, another beautiful woman who works as a surgical technician, did as we did. Came to observe what was going on and bring supplies for the camp that they had gathered. They told me some amazing things that really opened my view of our men and women who put on the uniform. She will be returning with the larger group as well as is currently helping to coordinate the Minnesota Veterans getting to Standing Rock.
I asked her to tell me in her words, how she felt about what was going on. When I saw her response, I couldn’t help to repeat it all because it is written with her passion from her heart and her experience. A passion that can be felt throughout. Passion that comes from someone who has saw things, that most of us couldn’t imagine.
“As far as I know, I don’t think a group of Veterans have organized themselves to fight for a cause and stand up for what’s right in our country. I mean, we all do our little fundraisers and selfless service acts all the time, because that’s just who we are as people. But this; standing up for the natives of our country who have only been disrespected and abused the whole time by white/european/caucasian/assholes. We have taken over and lived on their land for centuries with no disregard for them. So, for me, that is a big reason why I want to be self-deploying veteran. To give back to our original founders and help soften all the pain and suffering that my ancestors started and continue to do.
One of the largest problem the Veterans face for self-deployment are lack of funds; most employers, co-workers, and their company understand the need for the Veteran’s support at Standing Rock and are very accommodating. The central issue, from my point of view, is that the people who have money are not the sort of people that usually act on their beliefs; and those folks that don’t have money or struggle to make ends when assembling for a better cause, end up decreasing in volume mainly due to lack of funds. I wish the actions of our society would do more then clicking “Like” or getting in a thread debate behind a screen. If folks who made almost or more then six digits a year, financially support those who will actually mobilized then we would be in a lot better shape all around. I have friends who make around $50K, can’t take the time off work, but have donated winter items and gas cards; they call and write their government leaders asking them to stop the DAPL. That makes a difference, being a cheerleader is standard, but you have improvements to make if you want to have clean water.
Another reason, why I’m self-deploying and helping to coordinate the travel for all Minnesota Veterans, is that this situation is something that needs protection. I think that having a group of past government workers who have sacrificed so much (beyond most civilians knowledge), personal who are disciplined and have experience with government conflicts says so much more. It’s yelling back in the face of our government saying, “you fucked up”, “respect a goddamn treaty for once”, “please, just be kind and respect sacred ground”. That’s really just the anger side of me. It’s so frustrating. The citizens that actually give a damn about their future will make it happen, the rest will follow, even if we have to hold their hand and show them that we can make our life, our society and how we treat each other better. By having Veterans gather from all over the nation; meeting to stand with all the tribes of our nation, along with the rest of the country (who enjoys drinking water) in solidarity is very, very powerful. I hope our message of unity for a better good for everyone pulls on the heartstrings of Kelcy Warren and the rest of the folks at Energy Transfer Partners.
But at the end of the day, the #1 reason why I’m self deploying as a USAR O.I.F. Veteran is the simple fact this Dakota Access Pipeline is only hurting everyone and only corporations gain. The 1% gains, and everyone else gets thrown under the bus. I’m disappointed in our President for not stepping up, especially after how shitty 2016 has been. I’m disgusted by how our branches of government being controlled by Wall Street rather then the people that put them into their leadership positions. I’m extremely dissatisfied with mainstream media not accurately investigating DAPL and will only get what they need to fill their two-minute story. But now that “the Vets are coming, that will get more ratings” is a ridiculous way to run an honest news source company. It’s frustrating that I have to depend on social media for current national news and then have to filter through the media outlets and fact check the information they publish. The fact that our President-Elect communicates mainly through Twitter is horrific and completely inadequate. I’m so alarmed by the unlawful actions police, state troopers, and private security’s action towards other human beings; and with no repercussions by the federal government increases day by day.
It takes a lot of understanding, logic, and love; NOT hate our law enforcement, government, journalist, and the rest of society not awake to reality. I tolerate their tantrums, judgment, and misconceptions because they don’t know any better. We must teach and educate others to behave righteously. Veterans are leading by example and we hope the rest of the world will follow us.”
I will never forget how I felt across from Turtle Island, by the fire, while we were defending something that none of us could have ever imagined we would be defending in such an emotional way but so bold and strong. Her stories and her courage, gave me a sense of feminism at its core, not against man, but against THE man… The “white nation” we were built on here in Americas colonized land.
So many stories have been told about this Dakota access pipeline, from both sides, that to repeat them would be redundant. Those videos can be found at the stroke of a google search for those interested further in what all has transpired since the April start of all this.
What I want to focus on, is the fact that this, is different then any other anything that has ever happened in modern history. Mainly, because it is the exact same cycle that seems to keep repeating itself for these indigenous people. What separates this from others, is that the cycle is something Natives accept. They welcome transformation of sorts. They welcome new beginnings. Something we could learn a thing or two from.
I am here to tell you, from a personal standpoint, i’ve seen the people here. They are a beautiful and peaceful people as a whole who love prayer, fire, ceremony, ritual and most of all freedom from white mans colonization and oppression. We were told at orientations that there are over 600 tribes represented here at Standing Rock. WIth so many cultural diversity within the tribe as a whole but all following the same line of we are one and Earth is our Mother and she needs protection more the ever befoe.
This is a battle of good vs evil of sorts.
The Natives have prayer. It is so common for the natives, that to not pray would seem odd. That is how I felt from an outsiders perspective. Prayer if anything is given, is well needed and wanted, for those standing with standing rock right now. It takes a certain kind of person to stand on a side of history in the making and be on the most obvious side that is plaguing not only the United States, but the world. Corporate greed. Which is backed by an even more corrupt government. At least the corporations are blatantly telling the word they want higher profits. Even if they don’t want to admit it, it will wear the individual backing this perspective, or on their deathbed when they have the regrets playing in their minds as to the should haves, whould haves, could haves, but didn’tt. They can do things different and they can do it right here and right now! Sadly, are so far choosing not too.
There is an estimated 10k and rising everyday! A few thousands speculated to be on the way for the Veterans Standing and that is not including those who have came and went on short stays since April of 2016 when this all started and despite the governer’s executive order, the Army Corps of engineers, Morton County sheriff, or anyone in between that has been serving as pipeline protectors, needs to understand, this is bigger then us and it is bigger then them.
These people showing up are the ones awake to society(the majority).
We see what those who can’t, don’t, or just plain refuse, do not see.
But we will see as a mass. We cannot unsee once we have seen the hurt and trauma that we have caused Natives either directly or indirectly. There comes a time when the veil will come off with or without their permission because the truth is here and sometimes the truth hurts. For those who have passed through or still at Standing Rock, we know that when the orientation leaders said we have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, it is well warranted. The truth is, we have supressed Native people for too long because we wanted to be more comfortable.
That came with a hefty price. A great suffering for an even GREATER NATION! One, that we in white America, didn’t have to pay, but our children will, unless we as a whole, step up and step out of our comfort zones. We can make a difference wherever we go including here at Cedar Creek.
There is a reason I choose the children I choose to come with me and there is a reason I was left with responsibility at home in Texas because truth be told, if I hadnt.. I wouldn’t have left the only home I have never felt more welcome at.. in North Dakota #StandingWithStandingRock
Special Shout out to those who if hadn’t of contributed during this trip, it would not have happened, nor this article, or any in the future. Ricardo Picena, Celina Lopez, Frances Downing, Jennifer Harrison, Sarah Kay Carlson, Anne Liptak, Marcus Mitchell, Stephen William @ Always Sublime Photography and my husband and kids who follow in my footsteps no matter how far it takes us and still love me.
SUPER Special shout out to those still there fighting for our entire earth!