Photo above: At #NoDAPL protest at Standing Rock a burning white sage smudge bundle is left at the feet of police.
If you are a rock
Stand up like a mountain
Burn the sage and cedar
Spirit is the leader
—Standing Rock by Trevor Hall
This summer I had a personal experience involving poisoned water that caused me to be much more aware and grateful for the blessings of water every single day.
There were times that I had no running water (and that was not fun), but the absolute worst was when the water became highly toxic and vile tasting due to chemical leaching. I could not assuage my own thirst, that of my animals, or indoor or outdoor plants using water from the tap. We existed on bottled drinking water for weeks until the water could be tested and declared safe.
So when the protests camps at Standing Rock began coming to my attention I was personally in support of the mission of the water protectors, for in protecting water we protect All Our Relations (which includes us).
I do not feel that oil pipelines in general are a good idea, but to run the Dakota Access Pipeline underneath the Missouri River, the aquifer (filtering system) for the water of 18 million people and who knows how many animals and other wildlife, is plain crazy. The thought of what could happen got my shamanic dander up since medicine people are stewards of the land. Even one little accident (and pipelines have a bad track record) has the potential to poison the water for untold centuries. And if that’s not bad enough, the oil companies are desecrating the sacred sites and ancestral gravesites of indigenous people in order to put the pipeline in.
It is definitely a David vs. Goliath situation. Though their numbers and supporters are growing, the water protectors are small compared to the might of the corporate interests.
It is very hard to watch people and animals get hurt in standing up for what we should all be protecting, and even harder to separate what is real from rumor since information from the camps is fragmented and media coverage is uneven.
One example is a story that has gone viral saying that thousands of buffalo showed up to support the protestors. Students and readers began contacting me to find out if it was true. On the internet I researched videos and info that came my way from someone I knew well and wrote False (sadly): Buffalo did not stampede DAPL protest at Standing Rock (which to my shock is going viral).
The best way to get an insight into any situation is a first person account, so I wanted to share (with permission) a transcript of a conversation that took place during our monthly Wild Reiki Revue call on October 20. Reiki Master student Prashanthi Reddy had returned only a few days before Standing Rock, and shared her experiences with us.
Please note that due to my schedule it has been difficult to get the story out in a timely fashion. Since Prashanthi’s visit conditions at Standing Rock have worsened, although the protestors remain peaceful. Our relatives are asking for our prayers and our support.
Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing
PRAYERS for STANDING ROCK
by Prashanthi Reddy, with thoughts from Rose De Dan
Prashanthi: I showed up Friday night, October 14 and set up camp.
There are camps on either side of the Cannonball River an hour west of Bismarck, and on one side is the Rosebud Camp on the other side is the Red Warrior Camp but within the bigger camp there are smaller groups: International Indigenous Council, and some of the other tribes
Saturday morning asked if there would be prayer. Told, “Well it is always prayer time, but if you want in the morning there will be a small prayer by the waterside.” 5:30 am someone with a megaphone was waking us up, referred to us as relatives—everyone there is a relative which I loved.
They do not refer to themselves as protesters, they are water protectors, something they stressed over and over again. They stressed that this is peaceful, no weapons, no -isms, no face masks, they even asked if you don’t think you have the personality to not mouth off to a cop don’t go to the protest lines. We are here to protect our water, we are not here to make a scene and get in trouble.
So we set out for a morning prayer by the Cannonball River and it was an honor to be included. The biggest thing that stood out for me is that they are engaging in peaceful protests and prayed for the officers and their families. I went to five prayer circles and they prayed for the officers and for them to have a change of heart each time.
They even acknowledged that there were probably undercover cops, undercover pipeline workers there, and they invited them to not have to be undercover, they invited them to prayer. They invited them to see how they live and what they are protecting.
I personally am not a protester and I did not intend to go to the protest lines, but after prayer they said whoever wants to get on their war pony line up, and they had two routes to go. I think we were in the decoy group because the roads were blocked by what I would describe as militarized police. They must have seen us, they had helicopters, they had cops at every intersection up there, so they must have seen our caravan and they closed off the road to the pipeline construction area.
So us water protectors were instructed to be respectful and follow their instructions. We did not take any weapons, but we were all armed with burning smudge sticks! Any time they said something we would put our hands up—take them out of our pockets and put our hands up. They threatened to arrest us because we were standing in the street, so when we were told to get off the road, someone left their huge smudge stick on the road, in front of the officers. We left after about an hour.
Ten people did end up getting arrested that day, but I think the bigger group with the elders were able to march closer to where the construction was happening that day. I am generally very confrontation avoidant so when I got back to camp my adrenaline pretty much crashed and I slept for about three or four hours until early afternoon.
That evening there was a full moon, and people were gathering around for ceremony that evening. And as the moon was rising there were eight youths from the south part of the reservation in South Dakota and they ran 100 miles. They woke up with the coyotes, the way the kid talked about it was really amazing. They woke up with the coyotes, and they felt the coyotes protected them as they ran 100 miles to Cannonball. And they had started doing some of these runs, and they had done four or five of these other ones to raise awareness, and this was their big one. So they ran from the southern part of the reservation all the way to where the protests were happening.
Each kid had a few minutes to speak about their experience, why they were doing this, what it meant to them. I don’t remember a whole lot, I remember one kid who said Sitting Bull was not a warrior because he was strong, he was a warrior because he was spiritual, and she called us all to prayer.
That night there were full moon dancers who lived in Minnesota, and I can’t remember the name of their tribe. They apparently camp outside for four days whether it is hot or cold, and they honor the moon, and they believe the blue of the stars invigorates our bone marrow and makes us healthy. We stood out there and it was freezing cold watching their moon dance, and they invited us to join them.
And they were just very welcoming. That was really my big take away, they were just very welcoming. They talked about the power of prayer. They are not trying to come at this from a violent or even newsworthy cause but the power of prayer.
One of the women I spoke to said she felt like people were coming to Standing Rock for an experience which also makes me recheck what my motivations are. She told us go back, keep praying. The power of collective prayer is what is ultimately going to change everyone’s hearts. So that is my bring-back and my take-away.
On a personal level I want to say that I do believe in prayer, but I don’t think I have ever felt it the way I did there.
It is easy to sometimes get caught up in the hype or caught up in the moment, but a week later I still feel this and carry this back with me.
That is just a portion of my experience at Standing Rock.
One thing I did not say in my email [to Rose] was there were military barricades on either side of the city about 10 minutes outside, and they are stopping every car that is going through, kind of like a low level intimidation, like “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
We were allowed to go back and forth. We just said that we were driving through. But I found out later that they were turning back UPS and Amazon drivers for people who are sending donations to the Camp. They were telling them that the Camp had packed up and that they were no longer there and turning the truck drivers around.
The day after we left the city had voted or had asked that the barricades be taken down because it was a waste of their taxpayer money. And the other good thing was they had brought in reinforcements from the police force in Daine County Iowa and those cops had been sent back to Iowa. So those were two good things that happened after I had left.
Rose: I am very grateful to Prashanthi for bringing all of that back to us.
I have been following Standing Rock while I was on the road in ceremony with the animals and people for A Walk on the Wild Side.
As you all know I had some water issues here this summer. I know what it is to taste poisoned water—it really tastes horrible, and that experience made me hyper-aware of water quality and the preciousness of that and the importance to life. When you don’t have it or it’s messed up all of a sudden something you take for granted becomes extremely important.
So from a personal standpoint water has been very much in my awareness, but the feeling I have had shamanically is that what is happening at Standing Rock is important. The impression I have from my guides, from the animals, from the energy from looking at the patterns, feeling what’s going on…it’s a microcosm of the macrocosm. So it’s the little picture, but it’s got big details for everything and everyone.
I feel like I am giving a homily here…
So, when I was in high school I managed somehow to totally avoid taking any American history classes. Instead I was in an alternative education program, a Humanities program, and the history that I studied was that of the Native American people and the happenings with our United States government—the things they don’t put in the school textbooks. It had been something that I had always felt drawn to, and it had a big impact which has carried over through over the years.
What is happening at Standing Rock from a Native American perspective is very, very important because formerly the tribes were divided, they fought against each other—many were traditional enemies. So when the United States government arrived, they pretty much took them [the tribes] out one by one and destroyed the culture. They took away their children, they took away their language, and the Native Americans pretty much lost who they were. From the standpoint of shamanism they had complete and total soul loss, and as a result they have one of the highest suicide rates in the nation amongst their teenagers. It pretty much trashed them.
So to see what is happening at Standing Rock from that standpoint is to witness healing take place because traditional tribal enemies are coming together peacefully, laying all that down and basically saying, “We have a common cause.”
And it is spreading. They are getting support from indigenous peoples in other countries such as indigenous tribes in the Amazon. The indigenous peoples around the world are coming together to share, and they are the protectors of the land, of the water, of the animals. That’s part of their culture. It is what we have forgotten. The birthright that we gave up, some say because our Western culture accepts the story about being cast out of the Garden of Eden. The indigenous people never left the Garden. And now I know I am giving a homily, so I apologize, lol.
So the point of all of this is that we are watching something important take place for healing for the indigenous people, and it is healing for the people of the United States as well because we have tremendous guilt over the things that our government has done to the land, to the Native Americans, to the animals…and we’re watching healing happen and purpose come alive.
And we’re watching that fractured, fragmented…I mean I can see it…right now they are just pouring this through me…I see these fracture lines—of our connection to the land and to the animals, the people to each other—healing, spreading.
The image that I saw in my mind’s eye, Prashanthi, of that large, burning smudge bundle laid down on the road in front of the police is so powerful [emotion in my voice]. It is the power of the spiritual, the power of prayer, the power of ceremony as told in Windwalker’s Message for the World…that which is sundered can be made whole again through all of us working together—spiritually, energetically—by sending Reiki, by praying. Bringing diverse peoples—black red, yellow, white—all for a common cause, which is the sacredness of water. What’s happening at Standing Rock I feel is huge, and I feel that it is important that I support that, and I believe Prashanthi’s call for the community to do that is a great one…[pause] [to my guides]: Are you guys done with me yet? Can I shut up now?
Okay, I can shut up now.
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing Community
(and anyone else interested)
Let’s join together to support Standing Rock for the highest and best good with Reiki, with prayer, with ceremony. Whatever time you do your daily prayers/Reiki/ceremonies set your intention for them to merge together each day at 9:00 p.m. This way we support the protectors and the sacredness of water as a diverse but united community. A great melting pot of prayers and energy. Don’t worry about time zone differences, just keep it simple. The universe understands our intent.
You can also join the International Prayer Vigil for Standing Rock, October 30, 2016 from wherever you are in the world.
What Standing Rock is really about
This brave civil liberties lawyer lays out the legal issues and politics around the pipelines and Standing Rock in plain language.
I Am A White Person Who Went To Standing Rock. This Is What I Learned.
“The camps at Standing Rock are the final hold out against the Dakota Access Pipeline, being constructed by Dakota Access and Energy Transfer Partners. These fields in central North Dakota are where the pipeline would cross the longest river in the United States—the Missouri River—putting drinking water at risk for millions of people and desecrating sacred indigenous land.”