Except when the Sun rises, when the Sun sets, and when Children are Laughing… Wise words shared from the #NODAPL Protest that gathered in peace and honor today. My Native brothers and sisters seasoned from countless injustices lead us through song, drum beat, and spoken word. Leaders and Elders from tribes across the nation made appearances to share their overarching echoes: We Stand with Standing Rock. Water is life, and the Indigenous people have a poetic way of relaying a message of destruction and misfortune, they spoke of water and land and the effects of a world where man seeks to dominate and conquer. They encouraged us to listen to the whispers of Mother Earth, to use our eyes and follow the animals, trace their whereabouts and note their struggles.
As we gathered in Pershing Square it seemed almost as if supporters had become bystanders or observers in Native American traditions. They watched the dances, they listened to the songs, they raised signs and chanted when called upon. Walking through #DTLA we were lead by a truck equipped with sound systems and speakers, we kept to a slower pace to respect the elderly and children, and ended up in front of BofA and Wellsfargo. As the buildings towered over us the thought of breaking away from the powers that be seemed more doable when accompanied by the beating drums. Among probably a thousand supporters there were dancers, drum players, a long inflated #DAPL Pipe, and a feeling of ease. People walked almost silently, some engaging in conversations with each other, but this wasn’t an angry nor overly energetic crowd. When the procession finally made it to the final destination a stage had been set up, the speakers were engaged, there were even food trucks and booths selling shirts and things to help send money to the cause. We of course had to pitch in.
As the speakers imparted their words of hope and reminded us who the people are that need our support, drawing us back to the humanness of a persecuted and robbed race of people, reminding us of the hundreds of women in Canada who have gone missing for years without persecution: it drew out, with barbed wire, the blood from my heart that pulls me to them. Let’s talk about sending entire races of people to designated and deserted land, let’s talk about their will to survive and live off the land that no one wants, let’s talk about the women going missing forced into lives of slavery. Let’s talk about what it is like to live a Native Life in 2016. Now, let’s talk about how many indigenous people are willing to stand up in the face of adversity and fight for what is right. I saw them today, young and old, I saw them willing to put forth their energy, sending it to Standing Rock so as to support the fight.
And, let me talk about how the energy today was solemn. It WAS peaceful. At one point we were asked to honor our fallen warriors by raising our hands in peace to the sky as songs were sung. I looked over the crowd, each one of us holding our peace signs to the fallen warriors as a helicopter flew over us to try to chop our energy into bits and disturb it from reaching them. But peace overcomes. It overcame me, when was the last time you stood with hundreds if not thousands of people in solidarity raising your peace signs to the sky? It’s a moment that should be cherished just as engaging with Native Americans should have been.
When I see what a protest of this nature is, when I feel it in my soul, I can’t help but shatter that with the knowledge that what happened at Standing Rock to Militarize the zone in persecution of these peace seekers is unconscionable. In fact, I can’t even imagine how with sage floating through the air, not tear gas, with feathers, not guns, with drums, not grenades, with song, not hyper powered industrial hoses, I can’t even imagine how such peace could be met with such violence. I can’t imagine it because I can see it, and I saw it with my own eyes.
This morning generators were running: work is being done on the Dakota Pipe Line TODAY. We need to support those whose voice would be silenced by the corrupted system of oppression that enslaves us all: We must do more than watch. Yesterday, funds over $300,000 were sent directly to the front line so if you think your actions don’t matter or that you alone can’t contribute, you can! But, when the CEO of Exxon is appointed our Secretary of State who oversees hundreds of billions of dollars in oil money as it is- it will require more from us all. I’m willing to be there, I’m willing to protest, I’m willing to boycott, I’m willing to stand up for what I believe in and support my people who have been endlessly persecuted. I’m willing and I know you will too.
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