Latoya Lonelodge: Witnessing history at Camp of the Sacred Stones


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

Personal Reflections from Camp of the Sacred Stones
By Latoya Lonelodge
Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribal Tribune Staff Reporter
c-a-tribes.org/tribal-news

My trip was long and weary. I could feel the climate changing state to state. The elevation along with the scenery was changing. There were no big buildings, streetlights or overpopulated areas -- you could see miles and miles of landscapes. With little to no knowledge of what to expect I was well on my way to Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where I would witness firsthand the making of history.

Upon arriving on Standing Rock little did I know just how populated the reservation would be with tents, teepees, cars, canoes, people and horses. It was massive scenery of a gathering of various tribes and nations alike. People from different tribes welcomed one another with hugs and handshakes.

It was humid by day, but there were people willing to help in any way they could. Volunteers ready to lend a helping hand in serving food, water and other assistance. By night temperatures would drop tremendously to almost unbearable freezing weather but people continued to sing, rejoice and the sounds of drums grew louder each night.

In the few days that I was there I noticed that the people who traveled thousands of miles from various locations had come to be a part of something they truly believed in. Protecting the water. I noticed that even though everybody was from different backgrounds, everyone was greeted with appreciation as if nobody was considered a stranger. It was a peaceful setting.

I could smell campfires, the food being served, and the smell of sage burning. Seeing so many tribes traveling and going the distance to stand together and unite against the DAPL made me realize that this was the start of a nation rising. There were different people who came forward to speak on behalf of their tribe and show their support against the DAPL. I witnessed firsthand the celebration of unity amongst all tribes.

It was not long before the Comanche Code Talker Bus arrived with over 40 tribal passengers, mostly from Oklahoma. Their appearance was more than enough for a celebration that was spread all throughout the campgrounds as everyone came to greet the traveling passengers.

“We were just so moved by the movement and when we found out that other Tribes were coming to support, we just couldn’t help ourselves and so last minute we threw together a benefit powwow and raised over $2,000 in one little night. It was enough to get us here, we’re here to help you guys, we have water, we have supplies for you, we want to be here to support you and just let you know that you are not alone in this struggle, so that’s why we’re here,” Malayna Dinwiddie, Comanche princess said.

With growing numbers of tribes supporting the fight against DAPL, members of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation were encouraging the hope that more help would come and more people will become aware of how important the water is within each of our lives.

The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Tribune can be reached at:
Public Information Office
700 North Black Kettle Blvd.
Concho, OK 73022
P.O. Box 167

Editor in Chief Rosemary Stephens can be reached at rmstephens@c-a-tribes.org

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