If history has shown us one thing, it is that this system fears a culture that honors the earth as sacred simply because they will not participate in its destruction and they will die to protect it? this system will kill whole races of peoples to get that concept wiped clean from the peoples minds and memory. There are tactics that the colonialist system puts into practice when an indigenous populous stands in the way of its expanse, these are known as genocide and assimilation. Indigenous people all over the world were wiped out because they did not want to be a part of the raping of mother earth or let it be desecrated, they understood our connection to it. When colonialism hit America, that’s exactly what happened to the indigenous populations. This brutality and violence upon the people is justified with fear, they demonize and degrade the Native Americans and cause them to be misunderstood by those still trapped in the colonialist mindset. This is because everything the indigenous way of life stands for is opposite for the desired lifestyle of the colonialist system, and it fears us because we speak for the earth as a living network deserving of our reverence and protection.
This system also fears a nation who will not fight but will pray against them. a nation that can come peacefully together to protect the earth. A nation that views itself as one part of a whole living being and views the earth as it is in reality, as our true mother. Just as mother earth throws the winds and gathers up the individual water droplets to create true power in the form of a hurricane, so today mother earth is calling upon all her nations of man to rise up and come together, to remember ourselves as human beings first, as a natural part of the earths living network. She is calling us to acknowledge our power as free human beings on this earth not in protest but in prayer, not by “working the system” but by breaking it. Just like they break laws when it comes time to take the earth from under our feet in the name of progress and corporate greed, in the name of profits before peoples, in the name of national security and even in the name of freedom itself, we are ALL being called to take the earth back from those who are destroying it with their illusions of colonialist power in order to gain back true freedom as human beings upon this living earth.
In an almost Shakespearean twist, the indigenous peoples of this land whom were forced unto the badlands the scablands and the barren lands in an attempt to continue the systematic genocide and assimilation of the people and their cultures, now sit atop the most resource rich lands in the nation today; and now have the unique opportunity to defend the earth at the intended sites of mining and destruction.
There is no illusion of private ownership in this movement because it transcends the boundaries of societal constructs and colonialist definitions just as the word indigenous transcends colonialist boundaries and borders and recognizes ALL of us as natural born protectors of this earth as is our inalienable human right. We have the right to say no to the mass pollution of this planet, if we can not stand up to corporate greed and political corruption protecting that greed, then we by definition, are not free beings. If we can only have access to basic human rights like clean water through our forced participation in the mining of our own natural resources while we pollute ourselves so they can generate revenue, then we are under only the ILLUSION of freedom. Protesting is saying “no” on the sidelines while the system takes what it wants anyway, most of the time these types of movements are dismantled by inciting violence in the people, that way when the military industrial complex uses violence and brutality against them, it is justified. But that is also the advantage of #NoDAPL, because it is not a protest, it is a ceremony of prayer. It is protection, it does not acknowledge the system and its maze of dead end avenues. Instead, it recognizes all of us as having the right to protect our very survival, which is the water.
If you travel to sacred stone camp you will be no doubt be met with blockades and authority traffic stops, but once you pass the aggression of the government resistance you will find signs that say “no weapons” and “no drugs and alcohol.” There are welcoming faces and voices of encouragement and peace. You will hear drumming and songs, the laughter of the children, and the advice of the elders where their wisdom is honored by those who will listen. You will hear many nations of man coming together in prayer and in spirit of common human bonds. There is a feel of the old ways, mixed with the new world, which leaves time elusive to things like watches and schedules and gives way to the natural patterns of this earth. This is because when you enter Sacred Stone Camp, you are entering a ceremony of protection and prayer. this is the time which was foretold by such indigenous leaders like Black Elk, and Crazy Horse, long ago way back when their nations first fell to colonialism. Even then, they could see a system who only benefits a few cannot continue, a system that destroys the very earth we live on cannot continue, a system that causes endless wars, pollution and poverty cannot continue.
We are in the middle of the largest extinction in recorded history, well over two thirds of the world’s resources are already used up. We are in the middle of wars upon wars that have gone on for decades, which despite all other claims and reasoning boils down to occupying resource rich nations. We are in a time of great change, and that comes with great choices, and the key to our very freedoms and future depends on whether or not we understand our role on this earth and our obligation to care for it. There is a reason that right now, that not just indigenous tribes of America are coming together in prayer but people all over the earth are coming to the realization that we cannot continue with this system in place. We are all being poisoned and we are running out of clean water every day in the name of progress and profits. It is time to not only recognize the power in mother earth but claim our power as many voices and prayers united.
By whatever ever names you know, just pray to creator, just pray over the waters because it understands you. The earth understands prayer. There is power in prayer and power in our individual choices in our daily lives. Science says that when many people gather and hone their energy they emit measurable energy; that is power. It has also been proven that a positive thought carries more energy or power than a negative one. The system has historically done their best to convince us there is no power in prayer or in our indigenous cultures and that we have no rights to this earth but thru them but again, it’s simply not true, it is the opposite, and they fear that power.
If you can’t physically be there you can simply pray WITH them, you can pray over a cup of water and pour it onto the streams and honor that sacred communication between yourself and the earth every day. The earth understands prayer, there is power in prayer. you can donate money and supplies to those going to and already at the camp. You can call your elected officials and use your voice to speak for the earth.
There is a lesson in history, in that if we do not learn from it, we are doomed to repeat it. The last time the Lakota nation held a ceremony to pray for the people (ghost dance) and our future on this earth in the wake of colonialism, it ended in a government sanctioned massacre of the men, women, elders and children. They called it the battle of Wounded Knee and no one batted an eye because the settlers viewed the indigenous people, thru colonialist eyes, as subhuman and in the way of progress. Don’t let history repeat itself, don’t shut your hearts and minds to Standing Rock and let another massacre like Wounded Knee take place. We all have a chance for true freedom RIGHT NOW and it starts by coming together to protect this earth! Don’t let the cause die because of a mistranslation and misinformation. Free your minds and protect the earth. There is no life without water, water is life. There is no future without the earth, protect it. Our species depends on it.
Misty Perkins is a writer and an artist. She is a member of the Northern Arapaho tribe from Wind River Reservation. She is a daughter of Native community activist Jubel Perkins Sr.