Environmentalism

Sacred Stone Camp: A First Hand Experience with the Dakota Access Pipeline

By September 30, 2016 No Comments

Have you heard of the Dakota Access Pipeline project? You probably have by now, and if not, you should look it up. Bill Huggins wrote about it a few weeks ago, and here’s a snapshot just to provide some context.

A pipeline protest started by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota in the United States has turned into the largest gathering of indigenous peoples in over 100 years. While the media has only recently taken notice, protesters have been on the front lines trying to stop the pipeline’s progress since April. The North Dakota governor has called out National Guard troops because of the growing organized resistance. Private security guards maced a pregnant woman and have allowed dogs to bite some of the protestors, including at least one child. A federal judge ruled against halting construction, but in a last-minute stay on Friday, 9 September, the Obama administration ordered a temporary work stoppage. [on one area of the pipeline – work remains ongoing in other areas]

One of our collaborators [Rewilding Childhood Challenge], Heidi Huebner of Bluebird Hill Homestead, went with her three children on a last minute supply run to North Dakota this past weekend. I am continually inspired by the courage and commitment our community members have for being part of the essential work in healing the planet, and Heidi is no exception. Here is what she had to say about her family’s experience at Standing Rock.

The girls and I had the great privilege of delivering some much needed winter supplies this weekend to the thousands of people in North Dakota protecting the water from the proposed oil pipeline.

Much of our time there this weekend felt too sacred to document with photos…Sharing food and gratitude around the fire, helping at the camp kitchens with dishes, meeting many new friends from all over the planet who are doing this brave and necessary work.

It was deeply moving to see so many indigenous people from not only Turtle Island but all over the world now, come together in this way. The beautiful flags line the entrance to camp and the energy is hard to describe in words. Over 260 Nations are represented (with more arriving every day), the largest of any such gathering since Wounded Knee in 1973.

I will say that the supplies we brought…lumber, firewood, a wood burning stove, and much more…were met with full gratitude, and sometimes even baffled amazement at the support pouring in from many directions.

My girls had many questions. “Why are all the United States flags upside down?” “Why doesn’t the government just tell the oil company they can’t do that?” “Why are some people so greedy? Don’t they see that they are hurting people?” I did my best to answer but there were some hard questions.

Contrary to some news floating around on social media, construction has not stopped as Obama “requested” within the 20 mile area on either side of the Missouri River and the sacred sites. There is a commitment to peaceful but direct action every day at the sites. And there are several lawsuits pending against Dakota Access for their avoidance of following legal protocol with permits and construction, so any donations to the legal fund and the camp are hugely appreciated.

If you feel called to go, do it. Your presence and support would be most welcome. Go with a humble heart, show up in service and with an ear ready to listen.

This is not just about water. This is about choosing care for the planet and the people over greed and power.

This is history in the making, and most news sources aren’t even mentioning it.

When we stopped at the gas station before driving home, the headline on the local paper was something about the construction deadline being delayed because the native folks are causing trouble. And the extra cost that would be for the company. Wow.

So please continue sharing and spreading the word.

It’s long overdue that the Earth and the indigenous people of this planet are treated with the respect they deserve.

What kind of world do we want our children and grandchildren to inherit?

signs Sacred Stone Camp

If you feel called to support the efforts at Standing Rock, visit Camp of the Sacred Stones for a needed supplies list.

Author Heidi Barr

Heidi Barr lives near the St. Croix River Valley in Minnesota with her husband and daughter where they tend a large organic vegetable garden, explore nature and do their best to live simply. She is committed to giving voice to ways of being on the earth that are life-giving and sustainable for people, communities and the planet. Visit her online at www.heidibarr.com. Her first book, Prairie Grown: Stories and Recipes from a South Dakota Hillside, came out in June 2016.

More posts by Heidi Barr