Why Standing Rock Still Matters

December 31, 2016  by Dena Eakles

“Teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit. Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my sacred space and love beyond my fear, and thus walk in balance with the passing of each glorious sun.”
- Lakota Prayer

Echo Valley continues to support the People of Standing Rock and the People throughout the world who have come together to say, “We are human beings and deserve to be treated with respect. The Earth and the Water are the givers and sustainers of life and we must protect them.”

We recognize the razor path that is being walked at this moment. Human beings are standing before institutions of greed and might and are asking to be heard. The marriage of government and corporation is being called out as the sinister coupling that it is – and the offspring of that union is violence. On one hand people are attempting to be peaceful and assert their rights to clean water and unbroken treaties – in stark contrast to a militarized police force that seems dedicated to support Energy Transfer Partners, the corporation currently breaking laws and refusing to comply with Army Corp requests to fulfill an EIS, Environmental Impact Statement.

And while the American public remains divided over media outbursts regarding the election, Russian involvement and the terrors of what is to be – yet, what is happening before our very eyes is overlooked as if it is harmless. Worse still, as if it doesn’t matter. Canada has now opened the door to bring military might against its citizens who dare to challenge the pipelines there, citing the violence of water protectors of Standing Rock, most of which is fabricated lies – and yet very few and none in power, are uttering cries at the unnecessary and documented violence perpetrated by police.

I was in Standing Rock for nearly seven weeks. I was there for the water cannons, tear gas, razor wire, and concussion grenades. I was there for the militarized tanks and masked men and women who were ordered to harm unarmed human beings. I was witness to our government turning away from the violence and once again allowing treaties – made by the US with Native People – to be violated.

This photo from my friend Ryan of Standing Rock Rising depicts the imbalance of power and the shock of pitting human against human for profit:


Photo courtesy of Ryan Redhawk, Standing Rock Rising

So when I listen to friends on social media complain about what they think is coming, I am stunned. I am reminded of the story of the parrots, which have been warned about the hunter’s net, and so remind themselves, “Beware the hunter’s net.” “Beware the hunter’s net.” As they succumb to the crumbs the hunter has left for them inside that very net.

Court cases are beginning for the over 550 people who have been arrested – and nearly half are facing trials without the support of legal representation. This is adding more gasoline to the fire of racism that burns so freely in North Dakota.

Emotions are running high and accusations of violence from water protectors have become the signal for police to unleash unnecessary force upon unarmed people.

This is of great concern to me. This should be of great concern to all of us.

The move to divest is gaining traction with millions of dollars being diverted from fossil fuel extraction and is finally gaining the attention of industries that must now consider moving toward green and more efficient energy production or become obsolete.

Standing Rock is one very important piece in the puzzle of resistance to the continuation of inhumanity and desecration of the Earth. What has been shown is that there is a very real interest in changing the course of fossil fuel use. Oceti Sakowin and the other camps have demonstrated that communities can sustain and thrive without hierarchical leadership. They have proven that capitalism is not the only means of exchange of goods and services – and most importantly, that people who are willing to place their self in the care of a higher power – or are willing to seek a common purpose from a higher vision – are capable of great things.

Everyone I met said, “I came because of the prayers.” Do not forgo those prayers. Do not lose site with what was learned. There are many games afoot; many agendas seeking to be satisfied. But the single most significant thing about the Stand at Standing Rock was that we came together. We did stop the black snake and we made it known that we will continue to stop it every time it rises up.

Yes, we must continue to wake one another up. We must insist on treating one another with respect and dignity, and we must be willing to resist in nonviolent, creative and passionate ways. This is not a time for despair. This is a time for free thinking. This is a time for humanity rising.

Keep the faith, friends. Everything is possible.

[This was originally published on December 30, 2016 on Dena’s blog Let Kindness Win.]

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