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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Monday, November 21, 2016

Horror, pain and suffering, in North Dakota

I've driven the narrow 2 lane 'highway' south from Bismarck to the interstate so I can rest safely enough at the interstate's designated rest area, which is almost as deserted as the narrow road I just exited.

I think maybe one car passed me the whole 7 or 8 hours I drove, and maybe a car every 10 miles came from the other direction – which was to also be the case through South Dakota.

Trees are called 'oasis’s' here as they are so infrequent – but houses are even more scarce than oncoming traffic. Evidence of mega-farms abound with the huge round discs of wheat, cattle roaming in small bunches, and the occasional horses and even less occasional sheep.

Starkly desolate comes close. The 2 lane highway, despite the abundance of wide open land, doesn’t even have a shoulder – on either side – which is a fact I don’t dwell on as I’m driving, nor the fact that I haven’t seen evidence one gas station, one store, or even the lonely little ‘just-in-case’ red call box!

I rise before the sun, as is my habit, and longing to be still at Standing Rock, I check my facebook connection, which I finally have.

With rising horror, I read the accounts of the vicious attack on Water Protectors last night and I weep in rage and deep deep deep fury. Even though I have witnessed first hand the hatred of white people in North Dakota – first 47 years ago and these past couple of weeks on/towards the front lines, I’m still so shocked.

I’ve also as a teenager and young adult, witnessed decades ago, police using fire hoses on unarmed people – but in weather that is below freezing??? I quickly look up the temperature at Canon Ball and see it is 19 degrees, last night it was 22 degrees.

How the fuck, how the hell, how in the name of any fragile fragment of humanity can one human being turn water hoses onto another human being in any weather but especially in this weather? I’m fuming, I’m gnashing my teeth, I want to head back.

In fact, I have to marshal all my will power to not fill up my tank and return as fast as I can to Standing Rock. I do NOT have the funds – nor the desire – to keep buying diesel, as my veggie oil is refusing to fuel my truck in this frigid weather.

There is no one to call even to share my anguish and anger with: I text people I know at the camps and my east coast chosen family but no one responds yet. It is too early to call the west coast.

So I proceed to head west and on to a freeway gas station that is the only light in the dark Dakota nite.

The white womon behind the counter at the gas station gets the range of my emotions and, thankfully, she has heard of the violence and shares my anguish and disbelief.

While we are commiserating, a Native man silently approaches us and joins in the conversation. He asks me to tell him about what the police are doing.

As I begin to recount the rubber bullets, the tear gas, the sound cannons, the tanks and militarized, weaponized white male bodies – and now the water cannons – he reminds me once again that none of this is new to his people: he and his people have been experiences these acts of violence, and even more acts, all his life.

As we talk and he shares his experiences, I think he must be around my age, in his 60’s. When I ask him, he astonishes me by saying he is 82!!!!

Ray tells me about the time the police arrested him, his daughter, and her boyfriend, and held them in jail for weeks. He saw his daughter being handcuffed and thrown to the ground many times, police jumping on her back, punching her in the face – their excuse for their violence? She had the nerve to ask about the welfare of her boyfriend, who was sent to another jail.

Ray tells me he was 5 when his mother died and he was sent to an orphanage and I immediately but silently know that she either died of a broken heart because her child was being wrenched from her or it was the lies of the forked-tongue people who stole all children at 5 years from their mothers and threw them into “Indian Schools”.

The sunrise is so intense, brilliant red streaks and long billowing fat rivers intermingling with red and black and grey curves and twists - by far the most stunning and immense sunrise I've been privy to since I've arrived here. It feels like Ray's words are being tossed into and painted onto the canvas of the dawn.

He peers intently into my eyes and tells me that when he was put into that boarding school, he spoke not a word of english but when he was let out, he spoke not a word of his own language, but could read every passage, every page of the bible.

Our tears slipped down our cheeks in unison.


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