We arrived at Oceti Sakowin camp just in time for nonviolent resistance training yesterday, November 2. It opened with a discussion on the peaceful, prayerful principles of life at the camp. Then we locked arms and practiced sitting on the ground together, having learned it was the best way to hold your ground while maintaining nonviolence in the presence of police. We were told openly that if we attended a direct action, there was a possibility of getting pepper sprayed, tear gassed, blasted with a sound cannon, and arrested. It was sobering and simultaneously breathtaking, to hear this while sitting in a field, with strangers from all over the country, with the beat of drums and the smell of the camp’s sacred fire in the wind. The trainer reminded us that everything in camp is ceremony, done with prayerful intention.
After setting up our tents, the four of us huddled in prayer, offering thanks to the Great Spirit who brought us together and brought us here. Joseph and I went on to the clergy orientation, which was an incredibly moving experience. Over 450 clergy from numerous states and faith traditions showed up.
We were proud to see UU’s made up a sizable contingent!
Tomorrow morning, on November 4, all the clergy will gather with tribal elders at the sacred fire for a peaceful action in solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux. We are honored to be among them.
Please note, with limited internet access, we are writing and sharing our witness outside of gas stations and internet cafes. We will be sharing videos of interviews with fellow clergy from across the nation. With help from our counterparts in Tulsa we are getting the blogs posted as soon as we are able.
In love beyond belief.