The power of womyn!!!
We got not one 'fuck you' but tons of positive horn honks, peace symbols, fiercely raised fists, and broad smiles until we entered South Dakota. The few people we were able to interact with in person were either uninformed or vaguely informed about Standing Rock or knew about the fight and were supportive.
The camp still resembles the amazing community I left 3 weeks ago: the lane of flags still fiercely flap along side clusters of small camps, medics yurts, the sacred fire, interspersed with what appears to be hundreds of tipis, army tents, yurts, and even a few small wooden buildings as well as deserted tiny tents bent into odd shapes by roaring winds yet shored up by white snow.
Our first stop is Grandma's kitchen where we will let our elder Native womon know we have arrived with the tent stoves she's requested. Actually, our second stop - first we find the self-composting toilets which, much to our relief and gratitude, are not the porta-potties from previously, but real toilet seats over 5 gallon buckets of poop and pee and saw dust inside a WARM t-shaped army tent heated by a large barrel wood-burning stove!
We find a park close to the newly-built and opened latrines, take brief walks around the camp to orient ourselves and return to begin to secure our sleeping quarters for the night.
I have two propane tanks on the truck: one is totally full, the other is dangerously low. No one wants to go outside to switch the tanks - for the temperature is now 1 degree altho we must be getting acclimated to the cold because no one believes it is that cold - but we must because we cannot take the chance that the propane will run out during the frigid night.
We are just deeply grateful we can - for the first time - light the heater. Until now, the winds have been so severe, and the vents allowing those winds to snuff out any attempt to light the pilot, have left us with only the burners on the stove for warmth.
I reluctantly layer up, squeeze my inflated self out the camper door and around the other side to begin the process of switching the hook-up from the almost empty tank to the full one. Outside, a pair of men roll by in a warm pickup truck asking severely solemn, if I'm sure we are safe and secure for the night. I assure them we are and then ask them if they can change the hoses for me. They look torn, maybe equally reluctant to leave the warmth of the pickup as I was to leave the warmth of the camper, and apologize - they have to continue their rounds.
They point out another man walking swiftly by and encourage me to ask him, which I do, but he is also off on a mission.
Resignedly, I begin to unlock the propane box and remove the iron grate that keeps it secure. A womon then approaches the truck, Billie she introduces herself as she offers to help, and with sure and swift competence, quickly finishes the job I began. Then she takes my empty tank and tells me she will return with a full one!
Ah, the power of womyn!