At Oceti Sakowin camp, tribal elders referred to everyone as relatives. The prayers expressed included all those at camp, and the “relatives on the hill”: the police and Dakota Access Pipeline employees. The prayers that we may all know each other as relatives, part of the same family, were voiced passionately, tinged with a hopeful sadness. These prayers cut to my heart. The people praying were not saying anything new, but they were doing something rare…they were practicing their prayers. Those at camp sought to live daily life in such a way that we may all know that we are relatives, that we are our each other’s keeper. This was their prayer, and they practiced it. I do not know of any prayer, any practice more noble than this.
We are back home in Tulsa, with the energy and struggle of Standing Rock still pulsing in our bodies. Now what? I say that we join them. We join our sisters and brothers at Standing Rock by praying the same prayer: that we may know our relatives. We are related to our Native American kin, we are related to the water, we are related to the Great Spirit which embraces us all. This can become our prayer too if we choose, and we can practice it in our daily lives.
Here are 3 practical ways we can do this:
- We can organize ourselves at All Souls to decide how we can act in a spirit of Love, to strategically support the environmental and human rights struggles at Standing Rock.
- We can join local rallies and events which are bringing awareness to Tulsa about Standing Rock.
- We can intentionally seek to support the voices and culture of Native American members and friends at All Souls. We can extend this support further by making connections with local tribes in the Tulsa area, allowing them to inform our work and understanding.
In short, we can pray to better know our relatives. To pray is to set an intention. We can be intentional about nurturing relationships with ourselves, our neighbors, and our fragile planet.
Join us at Tulsa Stands for Standing Rock’s peaceful rally this Thursday, November 10, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at Veteran’s Park.
I’ll be holding this sign.
If this call to prayer and intentional action speaks to you, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.