Environment | Opinion

Sarah Sunshine Manning: #NoDAPL movement awakens our people






The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe established the Camp of the Sacred Stones in April 2016. Photo from Facebook

Sarah Sunshine Manning shares the sense of unity she found at the Camp of the Sacred Stones [Facebook | Twitter | GoFundMe] in North Dakota, where thousands have gathered to resist the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline:
Colonization tragically forced many indigenous people to forget and forsake our innate connection to Earth. But many of us today are beginning to remember. What is taking place in Standing Rock is awakening what once lied dormant in so many of our people: the Earth is our Mother, and Water is Life.

It was late at night when I drove into the conjoined Oceti Sakowin and Red Warrior camp in Standing Rock. I set up camp in the rain with my sisters, crawled into bed, and eagerly anticipated waking up wrapped in the energy of unity that next morning. That is exactly what happened.

We woke up to sounds of joy- laughter, conversation, and warm greetings of “Good Morning.” We woke up to lingering fragrances of camp fires, coffee, and smoldering sage and cedar. Near our camp was the central gathering place, where early risers were already congregating over coffee, while others were making huge amounts of breakfast over open fire.

People of all tribes and many ethnicities gathered. I admit, that I was a little giddy just at the site of a blond gentleman there with his family — a wife and two young children. I admit, that I have been conditioned if not traumatized while living in the Dakotas for the last decade to expect much less than warmth from the majority of non-Natives in the area. But what I immediately saw in the camps at Standing Rock was pure unity of humanity. Unity for Earth, and solidarity for life. And it was beautiful. There were several non-Natives present, standing with the Lakota and Dakota people of Standing Rock as fellow human beings.

Read More:
Sarah Sunshine Manning: In So Many Ways, We Have Already Won (Indian Country Today 8/24)

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