"For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children's future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it." - Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
"We can now see that there’s a generation, foretold as the Seventh Generation, that will fight to restore the balance of good in the world against that would destroy us and those to come in the future."
On January 24, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order clearing the way for the Dakota Access Pipeline to proceed through lands held as sacred by the
Standing Rock Sioux.
Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline have been going on since the project was approved back in July of last year, uniting the seven subtribes of the
Sioux Nation, known as the Seven Council Fires, for the first time since the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. It has also become a historic rallying point for indigenous peoples all over the world and has sparked the largest gathering of Native American tribes in history.
The Lakota have two prophecies that seem to be coming to pass. The first that a "Black Snake" would come to America with the power to destroy the world, or unify it. And second, "According to Crazy Horse, a revered mid-19th century Oglala Lakota chief who led tribes to victory at Little Bighorn, the Lakota people would undergo generations of spiritual genocide and environmental degradation following American colonization of the West. Then, a seventh generation would wake up and rise — a generation that would lead the healing and restoration of the planet, rejuvenate a forgotten spirituality, and create harmony among people of all colors and creeds."
These Water Protectors belong to different organizations and may have different reasons for being there - indigenous rights, civil rights, environmental awareness - but they are united in the cause to prevent the pipeline from crossing the Missouri River just miles away from Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. They are brave protectors who have endured horrific human rights violations at the hands of the local law enforcement of the area.
My reasons for supporting the Water Protectors have more to do with protecting the rights, lands, and cultures of indigenous peoples. I believe that the United States should honor their treaties with the various Native American tribes and start addressing the problems of the most marginalized group of people in the U.S.
As a woman of Maori descent, I sympathize with the loss of lands and culture that the indigenous people of this land have faced. My Great-Great-Great Grandfather,
Piripi Te-Maari-o-te-rangi, was also a water protector and "was consistently concerned that Maori landowners should lose none of their rights. This concern led him into the great battle of his life, the struggle to prevent settler encroachment on the rights and lands of the owners of the two Wairarapa lakes." I am proud to be descended from this brave Water Protector and also so proud of my niece Kaitlyn for traveling to Standing Rock with supplies last November and continuing this legacy.
Even though I am unable to travel to Standing Rock and be on the front lines, there are other ways to contribute to the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. #NODAPL
YOU CAN :
DONATE TO THE SACRED STONE CAMP FUND OR LEGAL FUND
10 WAYS TO HELP THE STANDING ROCK SIOUX
"There are many battles being fought right now: Standing Rock serves as a flame now burning brightly, now dimming, waiting for the people to come back to it and give back the fire within our hearts so that it will burn brightly once more."