An editorial about being an ally and what that means at Standing Rock

The Standing Rock Youth’s movement against the corporate, and armed, heavily funded destruction of their Sacred space and their Spiritual rights and agency calls to the masses for support. The hearts and hands of the world have followed their eyes as they react to the actions that are taking place in the action zones of engagement. Water protectors continue to see their ranks grow as sojourners from across the continent arrive and stand in prayer with them against the interests the jeopardize their water and destroy the graves of and relics of the indigenous peoples in this region.

In the rush to be allies, there is a need to be mindful and aware of the role that those who come to the site as allies play. In other words, allies are to be there to aid and direct attention to the goals of the Standing Rock Sioux. This means many things to many people, but the facts of the matter are that allies do not seek to spiritually colonize the movements they are there to support.

A public Facebook post by A. Nason, from Fort Yates, North Dakota hit this chord in such a way that it resonated to my very bones.

Back at Oceti Sakowin. What I’ve experienced today has been painful and gross. White men took over the Indigenous lead direct action training. I was talked down to again and again by non-Indigenous folk, acting like they own the camp because they hold down their own tent.

Then there was a call for all available women at the camp to go to the Spirit Fire for a meeting. Curious, I went. It was led by 2 white women, looked like the usual type you would see at the festival circuit or Burning Man. They made a circle and asked what “we as united women feel united by under the goddess, because we’ve seen what men have been doing and it’s so divided.” They policed how we talked, told us to not talk out of turn and to hold comments for later. Another white woman told the Fire Keepers, the men tending the spirit fire as it is their traditional role, to “keep it down and stop talking, because women are having a meeting.” My blood boiled, but I kept waiting. I had to walk away for a bit, but when I returned an Oceti Sakowin woman was speaking, and she felt the same pain I did. She told the women at the circle how disrespectful they were being by not honoring the ceremonial request to wear skirts, and that this is her home and make space for the other Indigenous women from this land. She asked me to speak up after, she could feel my energy.

I told the white women in this circle that they must keep Indigenous women centered here, especially the women from Oceti Sakowin. And where were the elders? Why aren’t our elders holding this? I told them how colonized this felt, how by telling us Indigenous women how to speak and when to speak that they’re perpetuating the harm that is continued to be done to us. I said how gross this made me feel.

I’m disgusted by the Burners and same types at camp. I’m not surprised that they showed up and are trying to take over our movement and our ceremony, but I’m not any less disgusted.

Indigenous folks coming up, guard your heart and spirits. POC allies, please hug us and love on us. We need it. White allies, collect your people. Center us. Keep Indigenous women and two spirited people at the center of this. Keep all Indigenous people in the main focus.

My heart is sick.

From Facebook, November 1, 2016

So, this is a letter to my Pagan folks and my neo Pagan folks, and my spiritual folks, hell, my folks. Please understand and take your time to read the following words repeatedly so that their meaning is not lost on you.

No matter your race, nationality, color, gender, politics, spirituality (Yes, I am looking at YOU my tree-hugging, Goddess worshiping brethren and sistren), economic status, or personal sense of entitlement, understand that this IS NOT ABOUT YOU OR WHAT YOU WANT TO DO AS YOUR PERSONAL MISSION.

This is a divinely inspired movement by the Standing Rock Sioux that has filled with miracles and signs at every step of the way, and our personal ways and agendas have no place in the center of it. We are allies, NOT the leadership. THEY, not WE, have set the tone and the mores of this place in accord with THEIR society and culture. This is a Holy movement, yes I believe it is, and it is not in need of colonization and capitalization.

Let us remember what this is really about. It is not about “sticking it to the man”. It is not about being an anarchist. It is not about the counterculture. It is not about your Indigo this, or your Crystal that, or how many Lynn Andrews books you have read. It is not about how many Kenn Day seminars you have attended, or how many times your heart was broken by the Bernie Sanders movement.  To remember what it is about, visit the original site of Rezpect our Water and read the letters there about how their drinking water is in imminent danger by this project.

BRING SOMETHING TO THE TABLE

If you are going to the camps to stand with the protectors, keep your mind right. Be ready to spend hours in prayer. Be ready to do your fair share of work. You are entering a society, not a hippie festival or an anarchist camp. Get your hands dirty; be of help; bring a skill; bring supplies if you can; do not seek glory, seek solidarity and prayer.

PRAYER

That is what is taking lead in this. Spiritual warfare is the way, not hands and fists and weapons. Bring no weapons other than faith, and a willingness to serve.

RESPECT

This is their home, their lands and their Ancestors. This is not a photo opportunity. This is not a chance to get your continuing education credits, or activist street credibility. Leave your ego in your driveway. Respect the Traditions that are in place here and be mindful of what it means to be a Stranger and an Ally.

DO YOU EVEN MAGICK, BRO OR SIS?

If you are a magickal practitioner, or Pagan, you may wish to brush up on your manners. This is not a magical situation, but the book “Magickal Manners: A Guide to Magickal Etiquette” by Puck Shadowdrake is a good place to look in your metaphysical book shelf for a refresher about encountering other cultures and being a GOOD PERSON, not a hot dog or a culturally insensitive shame-bucket. Manifest that goal of aid, make sigils, use Andrieh Vitimus’ chaos book, do something useful in your own Traditions.

EDUCATE

If you cannot go to the site, but want to manifest change, then do it at home. Advocate, share posts, educate, and donate. Do circles and coffee nights about the situation and brainstorm on what can be done by those who are interested in assisting. Follow through on these ideas. Do Magick! Pray! Repeat!

BELIEVE IN MIRACLES

When the People were blockaded from the DAPL site, an eagle appeared and led them to an alternate route. When there was fire, the wind blew AWAY from the camp all night til it was extinguished. A golden eagle appeared and allowed them to approach and stayed for a while. The Buffalo Nation appeared in great numbers to help the water protectors. Canoes from several states made a route to render aid. Nations all over the world have heard the call and the injustice and representatives have arrived in great number on the lands where the Battle of Greasy Grass sought to extinguish this people.

DONATE AND RAISE MONEY

Donations of material support, cash, and supplies are needed. Travel expenses, legal expenses, and the funding of projects directly involved with this movement need continual support. Whether sending online through a personal Paypal to any of the sites, sending medical supplies, or natural healing aids, it is all part of the effort. If you can do this, do so. Allies are everywhere, not just the front lines.

SING YOUR SONGS

Many have forgotten the power of Singing. The power of the words and the emotions behind them can move mountains and melt stone hearts. They feed the souls of the warrior and the midwife, the child and the elders, the single and the group. Learn the songs, and use your own, write your own, sing them and make the world hear.

RECOGNIZE WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING.

These are the times of miracles, wonders, leaders, and the making of the new Mighty Ancestor stories. We do not have the right to take from that. All we have the right to do is what is good, right, honorable, and pure … as allies. We are not the stars of this story.

Remember that, fellow allies. Stand with the Standing Rock Sioux, not on top of them.

Miigs from a Soul Sister with Creek Nation ancestry.

 

One thought on “An editorial about being an ally and what that means at Standing Rock

  1. Frankly, be prepared to do more than your share of the work. Haul wood. Cook food. Staff the med center. Clean the toilets. Do the work, say your prayers….and keep doing the work.

    Bring enough to care for yourself at a bare minimum, and remember that it is really really cold in ND this time of year, so think through your gear….and be prepared to share.

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