Saying Goodbye to Oceti Sakowin

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

“Wild Geese”, by Mary Oliver

 

The Day We Left

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Prayerful exodus from former Oceti Sakowin. Standing Rock, North Dakota.

People congregated in the 7th Generation kitchen for coffee, snacks, and to thaw out by the barrel stove. Veterans, water protectors, renegades, rascals, rapscallions, patriots and political prisoners; all hung onto the last few hours in a place that had cultivated us with truth and beauty for many months. The prior day, a great thundercloud came out of the west drawing flashes and purpled fingers and roaring over the camp and police reminiscent of tephra.

We had less than 24 hours before the insurgence of law enforcement officers reclaimed Oceti Sakowin under Army Corps jurisdiction.

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Chase Iron Eyes Leads* Resistance on Last Child Hill (UPDATED 2/8/17)

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Water Protector erecting a tipi on Last Child Hill

Chase Iron Eyes Arrested Along with Water Protectors on Last Child Hill

The conversation on treaty rights and water rights is rekindled by civil resistance at Oceti Oyate.

We could see the police forces amassing in the north of the Backwater Bridge on 1806 from Last Child Hill. The bridge was the site of the November 20th water cannon fight, and still loomed in our minds at Standing Rock. An entourage was crossing it now from our side. In the middle, Chase Iron Eyes could be seen in a red jacket. The police came out to meet him. The police told him, if we refused to leave the hill, everyone would be arrested – it was private property. Chase refused, and chose to make a stand on treaty land, as (in his words) a defiance of the violence corporate state.

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Why Standing Rock is Still the Frontline for Policy Reform

 

Which way I flie is Hell; my self am Hell;

And in the lowest deep a lower deep

Still threatning to devour me opens wide,

To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heav’n.

John Milton — Paradise Lost, Book 3.

Approaching the Bear

In the first week of his presidency, Donald J. Trump released a memorandum to expedite the permitting process of Dakota Access. Standing Rock has become a uniquely potent leverage point against the policies of the Trump Administration. Offshoots are popping up around the world. Public opinion is largely in favor of rerouting Dakota Access. In light of Trump’s memorandum on Dakota Access, the Honorable Judge James E. Boasberg will hold a review of the easement denial and instatement of the EIS on January 30th.

In camp, the spirits were like embers beneath the dry twigs of this news. The flags lifted in a faint breeze coming out of the north. My friend Little Crow and I wander the blue icy streets looking for stories to tell the world. Continue reading