#WaterIsLife

Standing Rock Stories

Being present in California while my heart is on the ground in North Dakota has been a challenge. The status of camp changes day by day, hour by hour, it seems. On December 4th, in the 11th hour, President Obama & The Army Corps of Engineers announced that they would NOT grant the easement for Energy Transfer Partners to bore under the Missouri River at Lake Oahu. This was a HUGE victory for Indigenous Sovereignty.

Since that announcement, with some uncertainty still on the horizon, and with severe winter storms battering the front line camps, the focus has begun to shift towards energizing a global movement. Take the energy & intentions of Standing Rock everywhere - to every pipeline - to every polluter - to every black snake. Continue to divest from all the corporate banks funding this project. Mass Bank Exit. People Power. And so it begins...

"The shortest distance between a human and the truth is a story." - Cynthia Brix

I felt heart-called to travel to Standing Rock - to help share the story of the Water Protectors - heart to heart - human to human. I am honored and grateful for those who spent time with me and who trusted me to share their story. 

I have many stories to share with you in the coming weeks, three of them today. The first is Donna & Curly - they are Rosebud Sioux, and the leaders of Rosebud "Sicangu Oyate" Camp at Standing Rock, North Dakota. They welcomed us in from the moment we arrived. They kept us safe, warm, fed, prayerful, and protected. Please, take a moment to listen...

And then there's John from Alabama. Along with being a jolly soul with a tremendous heart, he's a Vietnam Veteran, a talented (and wonderfully wiley) photographer, and the Hurricane Creekkeeper for the Waterkeeper Alliance. When I asked him about the behavior of law enforcement here at Standing Rock, he said "North Dakota is the most lawless state I have ever seen." This, coming from a man who lived in Alabama in the 1960s, and who witnessed the way the Freedom Riders were treated. Friends, meet John. 

This is Melaine Stoneman and her sister J.C. Begay. These women are Sicangu Lakota from Rosebud, South Dakota. I met Melaine at the Women's Meeting on my first day at camp. She and her sister J.C. speak to the importance of standing united as women all over the world. Please listen & learn from the wisdom these women have to share..

YOU can help defeat this Black Snake for GOOD.  Divest from the corporate banks who are funding this monster. Join me - put your money where your heart is. #DeFundDAPL Today. Every day. Everyone. Everywhere. Let's DO this! http://www.defunddapl.org

#DeFundDAPL

Bank of America is one of many banks funding the Dakota Access Pipeline, and I just cannot be a part of that...  So I spent some time yesterday removing my money from Bank of America and depositing it into Sesloc Federal Credit Union.  And, yes, I most definitely told BofA why, complete with a personal letter to the manager. 

I hope you'll join me in taking your money out of the big banks funding this atrocity. Find a local Credit Union - invest there.  Money talks.  And if we all leave (can you imagine?!), the banks will eventually listen.

Here are some helpful tips to Close Your Accounts with Banks Funding DAPL:

1. Go to your bank and publicly close your account(s) with banks funding the pipeline: Wells Fargo, CitiBank, Bank of America, US Bank, PNC, SunTrust, Chase, BNP, RBC ... Click HERE for a complete list of all the banks funding the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Submit a letter to management stating your reason. 
You can use this prepared letter.

2. Take a picture in front of the bank with your wallet in hand and a sign saying #DeFundDAPL - then post the photo to all your social media networks, use the hashtag #DeFundDAPL , @ tag your bank, and share these links with others, encouraging them to do the same. 

3. Take your participation one step further by: contacting CEO's and/or organizing your own event at www.defundDAPL.com , and Join the Movement @ fb.com/DeFundDAPL

On the day we call "Thanksgiving"

This is Bill. He's a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. His people have lived on and cared for this land for hundreds of years. I met him in the early morning hours on my first day at Standing Rock. His dog Angel introduced us, as dogs do. I was overwhelmed with the energy of this sacred place, and was walking towards media hill to acquire my press pass. I was unsure what the days ahead would bring. Bill's first words to me... "Thank you for being here." 

Tears immediately welled up in my eyes. "We need you," he said, "All of you. All of our allies, from all over the world. It really means a lot to us that you are here." And in that instant, I'm pretty sure my heart exploded within my chest. "Thank YOU for inviting us," I said, "It is a true honor", and I meant it from depths of my being.

Land sacred to these people is being destroyed. Again. This is nothing new. They stand in prayer. To protect the Water. To protect Mother Earth. Arms outstretched. Hearts wide open. 

This photo is from the day we call "Thanksgiving". Law enforcement was stationed on top of Turtle Island, a sacred site for the Standing Rock Sioux. Their ancestors are buried on that hill, and the police are stationed up there, parking, driving, walking all over it. There are snipers, there are guns, mace canisters in hand, fire hoses, all at the ready. All at the ready for the prayer & ceremony that is about to take place on the banks of the Cannonball River. 

Bill & his tribe, along with 300 other tribes, plus thousands of non-Native allies, are standing up for all of us. For Life. For Water. For your children. For Indigenous sovereignty. For peace. 

The Natives are fulfilling a prophecy - that the youth would rise up, and that people of all colors would stand together - to kill the black snake. Because the black snake brings with it great sorrow and great destruction. This prophecy is now - the black snake is DAPL - the Pipeline. This is happening in real time, and I still cannot quite find the words to illustrate the immensity of this movement. These are the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota. This is The Great Sioux Nation. This river is their relative, and they will stand and pray until the black snake is defeated.

Standing Rock Reflections

I am home, held within the sweet caress of my husband. I am warm, I am resting, and I am grateful. I am overflowing.

It all feels a bit like a dream. Standing Rock. My brothers & sisters there are now living within a winter that has arrived with a fury. Just 24 hours after our departure, a foot of snow covered the ground, and the cold there will bite you to the bone.

I have much on my mind and in my heart. Overflowing. Much to share, and not exactly sure where to begin. Many who are headed to Standing Rock are asking for advice - and I think it makes sense to write a blog post specifically geared towards addressing those questions - not as any voice of authority - but only to share what I experienced, and to aid other allies in their preparations to the best of my ability. Expect that soon. xo

The situation on the ground there is changing daily. The Army Corps of Engineers has issued an evacuation notice for the main camp, known as Oceti Sakowin Camp, for December 5th. There are currently thousands of people camping there, and they have no intention of moving. There are over 2100 unarmed Veterans arriving on December 4th to Stand in Solidarity with the Water Protectors, and to act as a "human shield" between the lawless law enforcement and the Water Protectors. Various authorities in North Dakota have 1) asked local shops in neighboring towns to refuse service or supplies to anyone who is a part of the camps, 2) stated that emergency services will not be available to anyone in the main camp after December 5th, and 3) stated that law enforcement will be ticketing & fining people upwards of $1000 for delivering supplies the main camp. 

Whether or not you like pipelines, whether or not you drink water, regardless of how you feel about this whole situation, at the most basic human level, this is WRONG. Peoples lives are in danger. This winter can kill. Cutting off supplies in the dead of winter. Forceful eviction. Violent attacks during prayer and ceremony. Treating human beings this way is wrong on every level, and unfortunately this treatment is nothing new for our Native Americans. It's time we stand up. It is time that we Listen, Learn, and Lend a Hand, in whatever way we are able.

As members of the human race, we have a right to protest. We have a right to free speech. And our Native Americans most definitely have every right to pray, on their own land, to hold ceremony, and to peacefully assemble. They are standing up for YOU. They are praying for our Mother Earth, for our water, and for YOU. If there is no clean water, there is no life. They are asking us to listen, to forge a new path, to build a new future.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for joining me on this journey. Thank you for listening as I process. Thank you for divesting your money from banks funding this madness. Thank you for calling those responsible for these crimes against humanity. Thank you for being you. 

If you would like to follow the story, as it progresses on the ground, I recommend following any/all of these folks.... Dallas GoldtoothKandi MossettIndigenous Environmental NetworkIndigenous Rising MediaJohn Wathen.

More to come. Much Love, y'all. xo

Standing Rock : Nov 27

"It's like being ripped from the womb", she said, and I think she was right....

Amidst tears, we packed up and drove away from Standing Rock today. I left a piece of my heart by that river. I prayed by that river. Sang songs to that river. Met people who are willing to die for that river.

The coming days, for me personally, will be full of driving and reflection. And I will share what I can as it comes to me. The coming days, for the tribes and their allies in North Dakota, will be full of prayer, of ceremony, of biting cold wind & snow, and an uncertainty about the future. 

For now what I want you to know is this... there are beautiful people all over the world, and an impossibly huge number of them are gathered at Standing Rock. 

I have been touched in ways I cannot yet explain. I am grateful. And I will do all in my power to get these voices of our Native People out into this great big world. Heart to heart. Human to Human. 

The shortest distance between a human being and the truth is a story, and I am honored to have been trusted with so many stories to share. 

Much Love, my friends. Much more to come. xo

Standing Rock : Nov 26

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I am humbled and grateful for the time I have spent here at Standing Rock. The people I have met, the stories I have heard, the wisdom that has been shared - I have truly learned so much, and I don't imagine that life will ever quite be the same. 

In the face of ongoing oppression, the Native people of these lands stand strong and brave. United. Peaceful. Prayerful. Building a community like no other. This is a beautiful movement, my friends, and I hope you will support it in whatever ways you are able. Come here. Stand with them. Divest from banks funding the Pipeline. Call the White House. Call the Governor of North Dakota. Sign petitions. Send money or supplies. Talk to your neighbors.

The coming days will be challenging, and the winter unforgiving. The camps are growing every day. The Army Corps of Engineers has issued an eviction notice for Oceti Sakowin Camp for December 5th. Hundreds of unarmed Veterans are arriving to stand with the Water Protectors on December 4th. Your prayers and your support will be needed.

Tomorrow we will hug our new friends, and begin the journey home. All your donations have been put to good use, and have been tremendously appreciated. Water is Life. And these Indigenous People, from over 300 tribes, along with their non-Native allies, are standing up for your drinking water and mine. For our Future. For the future of all life.

Water is life. Water is sacred. Water is everything. They know this, and it's time that we listen.

Standing Rock : Nov 25

I have been collecting stories all day today, and I cannot wait to share them with you... truly... heart to heart... the people I am meeting out here are inspiring.

The ups and downs out here are constant. After a beautiful day of sunshine, music, stories, and supper - A statement was issued by the Army Corps of Engineers that they will be removing people from the camp on the north side of the Cannonball River on December 5th. There are currently over 8,000 people camped on the north side of the Cannonball River, my friends. This is the entire Oceti Sakowin Camp that we are talking about here. 

We are all waiting on an official statement from the Elders, and I'll share more when I know more. Hundreds of unarmed Veterans are due to arrive on December 4th to stand with the Water Protectors, and I imagine that the days ahead will be tense for camp, and particularly for those planning to stay through the winter, "until this is done".

I look forward to tomorrow morning's sunrise prayer ceremony. I am honored to be here, standing with these beautiful people, standing up for life. These people have been mistreated, and continue to be mistreated, in ways I cannot fully comprehend. To be honest, I'm embarrassed to be a citizen of a country that treats is Native People this way. It's way past time the original inhabitants of this land are treated with respect, and this forced removal on Dec 5th is not the way. Please send your love and prayers. They are needed now in a huge way.

Standing Rock : Nov 24

To be honest, I've never been so afraid for my life as I was today...

The law enforcement here has been targeting blonde female journalists. And today I found myself filming a peaceful protest. Unarmed Water Protectors vs. Militarized Law Enforcement. They dotted the hilltop. Riot gear. Guns. Hoses. So many of them. 

Things remained peaceful today - no tear gas, no mace, no rubber bullets, no water cannons - but amidst it all was a discomfort I couldn't ignore. I felt safest filming from behind parked vehicles with a long lens, and so I did. I was genuinely afraid I'd be shot by law enforcement for doing my job, and this was a new, and terrifying, experience for me.

I expressed my discomfort and fear to the Elders, men I've only known for two days, and in response they said "If they start shooting, get behind one of the Grandfathers." 

My heart swelled up inside my chest. Tears of gratitude. These men, I realized in that moment, were willing to die for me, for you, for their children, for your children, for water, for our Future. And I had the honor of standing by their side today, on a day we call "Thanksgiving". A day that, from this point forward, will never be the same....

I am grateful. For this time. This place. These people. This family. This sacred land. And for the opportunity to stand together, and to eat together, on a day that calls for deep healing. Much Love, my friends. Let's be grateful, always. xo