The Camp of the Sacred Stones near the Standing Rock Sioux Indian reservation grows in numbers daily with supporters on the camping grounds. Photo by Latoya Lonelodge
Growing support, unity and community healing on Standing Rock Sioux Indian reservation
By Latoya Lonelodge
Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribal Tribune Staff Reporter
c-a-tribes.org/tribal-news There was a time when Rosa Parks said no, when Martin Luther King stood up for the civil rights movement and when others alike took a stand for what they believed in. In this moment in history, Tribal members from different cultures, nations and locations came together to join forces in support of the Dakota Access Pipeline dispute. On the reservation of Standing Rock Sioux there were over 2,000 people with one thing in common: stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Dakota Access Pipeline is a pipeline that is planned to connect the Bakken and Three Forks areas in North Dakota to pipelines in Illinois. The DAPL will run through the Missouri river, the main source of water supply. The Standing Rock Sioux reservation was the first to take a stand against the construction. They believed the DAPL would sooner or later burst, causing massive leakage of oil and ultimately damaging water. When one nation is in need of help, all nations will rise together to defend what is most vital to future generations. People, native and non-native alike, gathered specifically for the purpose of defending their water. As the support system of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian reservation grew, hearts were igniting with fire as people found knowledge and purpose in defending their water as they stood side by side.
Tribal flags from various nations are united on the protesting grounds at the Camp of the Sacred Stones near the Standing Rock Sioux Indian reservation. Photo by Latoya Lonelodge
“For me, it feels good, it feels good in my heart to see everybody come together, going around and getting to know everybody and their first name, where they’re from, sharing stories and it’s stories that keep us together as Native people. Stories is what keeps us alive and stories will always go down in history, it’s good that we’re all here from different nations and we’re all telling each other stories and we’re relying on the message that everybody’s here for a reason and we’re here to protect the water that gives life to this whole continent and world. That’s what I’m here for,” said Dean Dedman, with the Hunkpapa Tribe from the South Dakota side of Standing Rock. The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma contributed their support in the fight against the DAPL with Standing Rock Sioux Nation by sending 400 lbs. of buffalo meat and 150 cases of water. Cheyenne and Arapaho Governor Eddie Hamilton and Lt. Governor Cornell Sankey also issued an official letter of support to the Standing Rock Sioux pledging the tribes’ support. On Saturday, Aug. 20 the protest grounds were alive with the sounds of drums, singing, cheering and praying. Although temperatures were rising during the day people did not stop contributing help; constantly giving assistance with food, water and donations of any kind to help support protesters of the DAPL. Tribal youth members from the Cheyenne Sioux River participated, taking a stand for what they believe in, by doing the one thing they loved most … running. They ran continuously on foot from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jasilyn Charger, a runner from Eagle Butte, Cheyenne River Sioux, led the crowd with empowering chants that night. Tribal members joined together and cheered proudly, “We run for our brothers and our sisters, we run for our people, we run for water, for life.”
A message -- Mni Wiconi or Water is Life -- a system protecting the sacredness of the Lakota drinking water, left on the gates of the protesting site. Photo by Latoya Lonelodge
Over 2,000 people were reported on the campsite, with numbers growing to an estimated 5,000. Everyone was fed day and night. Tribal members with diverse cultural backgrounds united and committed their time and effort to be a part of this historical moment. “We brought water, medical supplies, and tarps, just about anything that had to do with camping. Our reason for that is because of the water, the river. What I had felt several weeks ago when I saw what was happening here, it really moved me and I found that it was so important, especially when everybody began to gather and I realized we needed to be there. We needed to go and support the people,” Renee Sans Souci, with the Omaha Nation in Nebraska said. There were over sixty-three different tribes represented on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. Unity is what brought various tribes together for the sake of protecting their sacred lands and most importantly, the water. “The main outcome is to see our people come together this way on behalf of the water. Without water none of us can live and we need to have that water for the future generations. Here we are. I think all of us who have that calling to protect the water, the women who are here, the men who are here, the youth who are here, the elders who are here, we’re all here on behalf of this river,” Sans Souci said. The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Tribune can be reached at:
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