This morning we are up before the sun, packing up our
many belongings, revving up a very reluctant but hearty engine, hugging silent
but heavily-laden goodbyes, swinging by the food co-op for our last treats before
heading to Oceti and the dome for the morning gathering.
This time there are about 40- 50 people here with one
stove burning fuel. We are late but John is again reiterating the call for
folks that can survive arctic climes to come to camp, while those that are not
able or fit to survive such climes should leave and will be found a way home,
if they don’t have one.
We talk about what we want and need to bring back to our
communities, as we are encouraged by Native elders to spread the Standing Rock values
and ways of life.
For you cannot feed the Black Snake – or rather feed off
the Black Snake – and then expect it to die.
So figuring out the ways in which we feed off the Black
Snake is something we want to spread: whether it’s gas for vehicles, petroleum
for plastic, for make-up, for perfume, clothing, gadgets, pipes –the list is
endless, but it’s a list we are capable of severely shortening if not
eliminating in our daily lives.
The other huge thing to bring back to our communities is
the very idea of real community: not a place where one can hoard a multitude of
not only Black Snake products but every horrific chemical including anti-food
‘food’, where one can and wants to strive to get more and more and more than
anyone else on the block, in their family, at their work.
But community is a place where humans come together to
help each other exist, to work together to abolish the empire, and work even
harder to create the kind of life style we need and want to make just, loving,
real communities whose base line existence is to protect and defend the sacred
– which is all life on this planet.
And yet probably the greatest huge thing is the
willingness and ability to follow the leadership and direction of First Nation
peoples, Native peoples, Indian peoples – which is the most difficult,
inconceivable, unfathomable for most white people. White people are sooooooo
used to being in command, being seen as the smartest, knowing their ways are
the right and only ways. And are so trained, ingrained and have internalized
superiority hand-in-hand with delegating inferiority to everyone else,
beginning with Natives.
Take the environmental movement or green movement or
whatever you want to call it. When we think and acknowledge
‘environmentalists’, the majority are white males, white hippies, white
tree-huggers. They talk about protecting the environment from the bad ways
we’ve exploited her and are committed to “sustainable” ways to exploit the
Whereas Natives speak of all life as sacred and this sacredness
is the reason to halt the pipeline, to stop our capitalist lifestyle, to end
our exploitation of our Mother. Natives do not speak of finding new and better
ways, kinder to the Mother, to support our lifestyles.
And even more, indigenous people here and around the
world have been fighting to protect the Mother for decades, centuries, all
their lives. And yet, when do you hear contemporary i.e. white ‘environmentalists’
recognizing the life-long work of Indigenous people, let alone acknowledging
their work as the keystone of all environmental movements.
We are to take back to our communities the native ways of
being mindful and respectful: of elders, of children, of the Mother Earth, of
all life, of ceremony, of hearing every voice until no one has another thing to
Bottom line: we have been given the amazing opportunity
through the work, prayers, and actions of the Water Protectors, of choosing
what kind of humans we are going to be from now on.