On Friday, November 4, back at the sacred fire, we presented an All Souls banner to the camp and tribal elders, and received permission to place it at the entrance along with other banners of solidarity. Serendipitously, Phyllis Young, Standing Rock leader and the mother of our friend John Reyna, was there and we were able to meet her. Such a nice moment!
We attached the banner to the fence with some difficulty (lots of twine and gorilla tape!), and signed the back of it. Our hope is that future All Souls members visiting the camp will also sign their names to mark their visit.
By Friday night we were on our way home. Our hearts were heavy with sadness to leave, but full of love, prayers, and a deepened commitment to further support Standing Rock back in Tulsa.
Our journey ended in the most profound way. We stopped in Kansas City to meet up with John Reyna. We shared with him our experience and meeting his mom, and gave him a gift to thank him for his friendship and guidance. It was John who had told us of the clergy event exactly one week earlier, and stirred the call in Joseph’s heart to attend.
Deborah, reflecting on her experience, writes: “To sum up my trip with one word it would be love. Because even with the government blocking phones, police helicopters circling overhead all day and night, the pipeline company shining spotlights into the camp all night to intimidate us, listening to the stories of those having been sprayed with tear gas and some having been shot with rubber bullets while prayerfully protecting the water while unarmed, there was no anger, just sadness and determination in their voices and eyes, and there was love. At one time I broke down crying, the sacred fire leader opened his arms and said “it’s ok to cry” and he just held me while I cried. To paraphrase a Japanese elder who was there, ‘Standing Rock is the center of the world right now.’ And in that center is love.”
We took this group photo in front of the Missouri River, at the same place where Joseph and Jennifer first met John. The very river we then followed all the way up to Standing Rock, and the very river we must stay committed to protect.