A minister, an actress, an old hippie, and a Native American pulled up to a motel in Brookings, South Dakota, at the end of a 10 hour drive. It was now sunset, yet we had begun our journey well before sunrise, in a group huddle back home in Tulsa, OK. As we bowed our heads together in that early morning hour, Joseph (the minister of our eclectic group), led us in a short prayer to bless our journey. We were headed to Standing Rock reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and were grateful for all the prayers we could get.
The prayers of Native Americans at Standing Rock have been heard across the world, as they and other Water Protectors have been speaking out against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Our hearts called us to join them, and we listened.
Joseph’s call came on Saturday, at a Standing Rock prayer gathering in Kansas City, along the Missouri River. He says, “This is where I first learned from a Lakota man that a call to clergy had been issued, and he said I should go.”
Jennifer has been following the situation at Standing Rock for quite some time. “I had to be there. I felt a complete connection – heart, mind and soul – with the water protectors at Standing Rock, and I knew there was nowhere else on Earth I’d rather be.”
Elizabeth says, “I was in church and the announcement was made. I said to myself, ‘I want to go, I want to be there. I believe my soul knows where it needs to be.”
Deborah: “As a Native person, I have felt a pull to go, to stand and be there with the Standing Rock Sioux and other Native people to help stop this pipeline. This is about so many issues: saving the water, tribal sovereignty, human rights, and making the world better for future generations. This is not just a Native issue, if the water is contaminated, the whole world is affected.”
We are now 2 hours and 45 minutes from Oceti Sakowin camp. When we arrive, we’ll be going through nonviolence resistance training before joining the protests. Stay tuned.