On Mass Shootings and Massacres

Earlier this year, when the Pulse nightclub was attacked, people were going on about how it was the largest mass shooting…and others were going, “no, Wounded Knee was!”

For those not in the loop, the Wounded Knee they’re talking about is the little incident on December 29, 1890, in South Dakota.  Another incident occurred in 1973, when a store near the site of the first incident was taken over and occupied by members of AIM, who were then besieged by the US government.

To be fair, they’re sort of right. In the Pulse nightclub shooting, 49 were killed and 53 injured. At least 150 natives  (possibly as many as 300) were killed at Wounded Knee, with 51 wounded (some of whom later died of their injuries). The survivors were taken to a nearby church, which acted as hospital (and then morgue), still decked out in Christmas decorations.

But, here’s the thing you have to understand: according to the US government, Wounded Knee was not a mass shooting, and not a terror attack, and not a massacre. It was a battle in an ongoing war with the indigenous peoples of this continent – a battle in a war meant to take land that had already been “granted” to those tribes by treaty (as if they needed the US government to say, yeah, you’ve lived here generations, but this land isn’t yours, it’s ours, but hey, we’re nice guys, we’ll let you stay if you give up your livelihoods and your religion and your entire way of life).

It was a battle where 20 people received the Medal of Honor.

Using someone else’s data (http://www.homeofheroes.com/…/histo…/history_statistics.html) it would appear that as of 2014, there had been 3510 MoH awarded in US history. There were 426 given during the Indian Wars….and only 472 given during WWII. 27 of those were given for actions at Iwo Jima, making Wounded knee the second largest number of MoH given for a single action.

You’d think, then, that there was some honor in this battle, some level of heroics.

Women and children were chased across the countryside and shot. Children were lured out of hiding, told they’d be safe, and then shot when they came out. Women and children trying to reach white flags of surrender were shot. Guns were fired indiscriminately, killing horses, dogs, and anything else that moved – in fact, the suspicion is that most of the US soldiers who died were shot by friendly fire, because most of the guns had already been confiscated from the camp.

Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia. org
Big Foot’s camp three weeks after Wounded Knee Massacre; with bodies of four Lakota Sioux wrapped in blankets in the foreground; U.S. soldiers amid scattered debris of camp

That doesn’t sound honorable to me.

Their bodies were left to freeze – a blizzard hit (which is a pretty common thing in the Dakotas this time of year) and when civilians went to bury the bodies 3 days later (because the army decided they weren’t doing it), they found bodies frozen in the shapes they fell in, and babies still alive, having been protected from the elements by their mothers’ dead bodies. The bodies that were found were buried in a mass grave, bodies stacked however they could be, seeing as how they were frozen solid. That grave is on the same hill that Hotchkiss guns fired on them from.

The colonel in charge of the troops was relieved of command at that time, but exonerated during an inquiry and returned to duty.

So there you go. That’s not a terrorist act or a mass shooting. It’s an *honorable* battle, fought by good soldiers who were just following orders.

“Just following orders” is always the excuse, isn’t it?

December 29, 2016, has the U.S. learned nothing?

It is December 29, 2016, the year social media became collectively conscious of the ubiquitous presence of Death’s hand and the reality that the powers that be tell convenient lies they call talking points. At Standing Rock, the water protectors stand on frozen grounds facing the overpowering forces of greed and corporate expansionism at any cost while standing strong in a movement founded in prayer. They, and their allies, stand strong. They endure on a day when the Lakota Sioux remember the massacre at Wounded Knee in another time and place called Pine Ridge.

By Trager & Kuhn, Chadron, Nebr. (Library of Congress[1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

They make their place in the ongoing legacy of living history that some of them, their parents, and maybe grandparents may have witnessed when the bloody tensions that sparked a civil defiance occupation by the AIM movement that led to two Native persons losing their lives, and a U.S. Marshall being seriously wounded in February of 1973. Yet, still, the U.S. government seems to have learned nothing of the endurance of their heritage against oppression and the “manifest destiny” “kill em all” doctrine.

John C. H. Grabill [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Image by Conor Handley

The formula just keeps repeating. Isolation, vilification, blockading, attacking, and color of law tactics paired with military weapon support. This time, the Lakota have no weapons of war, yet the formula still persists. The maximum extermination of their voice, their agency, continues.

Source: Unicorn Riot

The prejudice, bigotry, and racism still continues. Common human decency was brought into peril when it came to the systematic breakdown of compassion in this fight. As seen here, when the local Ace Hardware decided not to sell to the water protectors or their allies:


Will we see a repeat of what happened in 1890? Will bodies lie frozen in the snow when the armed forces that serve DAPL finally snap now that the media is blinking and looking toward celebrity deaths? The water protectors are still fighting the good fight, do not forget that they still stand in prayer and in the face of repeated offerings of violence.

Original image source: Bykst

But some of us show that promise of progressive spiritual and honorable change. Veterans, outraged by the dishonorable and disgraceful abuse of power and disregard for the rights of the water protectors mustered to form a shield against the spear of political and profiteer abuses under the color of law. They joined the lines and were a symbol of hope and growth.

We must never forget the short step into the dark that this nation is on the verge of taking again. That foot is always poised against the valiant in the face of tyranny, despite the vision of the founders of this nation. Let us hope the tree of liberty need not be nourished with blood again, as the man said.

It is not over yet, Energy Transfer Partners will not stop DAPL despite Army Corps of Engineer decision

Do not be so quick to celebrate, people who are rooting for the triumph of the Earth and her Water Protectors at Standing Rock. The ruling by the Army Corp of Engineers that they will not grant the easement for Energy Transfer Partners to drill under Lake Oahe. The Dakota Access Pipeline would rerouteif this were a complete win. But it is not. The forces behind DAPL having no intention of stopping their juggernaut towards completion.

In a response to the Army Corps of Engineers decision, they issues a statement that left no doubt as to their intent. The full text can be found here. The full text conveys a defiant tone that seems emboldened by the militarized actions that have bolstered the relentless actions of the pipeline interests. Indeed, a haughty and contempt filled tone laced itself throughout the jab directed at the current U.S. Administration.

The White House’s directive today to the Corps for further delay is just the latest in a series of overt and transparent political actions by an administration which has abandoned the rule of law in favor of currying favor with a narrow and extreme political constituency.

To be sure, the powers that are in place at the reigns of this industrial machine are hellbent on seeing it run over, through, and atop the lands of anyone, and everyone, that get in their way. The message is crystal clear as the waters they wish to endanger.

As stated all along, ETP and SXL are fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe. Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way.

This is not the time to despair, or give up. They are willing to take the fine, after all it is only monetary. The stakes for all of those with flesh and bone in this fight are much higher.  Do not back down, we are with you. Traditional Belief, Pagan, Christian, Gentile, Jew, African Traditional, and more, many of us stand with you on this line. That, and the broad backs and fierce courage of the righteous anger of over 2,000 angry veterans give hope that this fight is not going to be lost.

Image: 927 by Unicorn Riot

For direct information, please contact. This way you can find out exactly what they have to say. Let them hear your voice.

Energy Transfer
Investor Relations:
Brent Ratliff, 214-981-0795
Granado Communications Group
Media Relations:
Vicki Granado, 214-599-8785
Cell: 214-498-9272
Sunoco Logistics
Investor Relations:
Peter Gvazdauskas, 215-977-6322
Media Relations:
Jeff Shields, 215-977-6056

To my fellow Michiganders in Flint, stand ready. There may be some visitors headed your way as well. RT News reports that some of those veterans may be headed your way.

A dedication to those of you, and us, who stand with Standing Rock.




Quiet Genocide

Reading through Facebook memories from a year or two ago, I noticed that a friend had said something along the lines of, “Native Americans aren’t currently subject to genocide.”

I couldn’t put a good response together then, but I think I can now. It starts with me calling BULLSHIT.

Note that most links here are about South Dakota reservations, and Pine Ridge in particular, because that’s the reservation my family is from and so it’s the situation I’m most familiar with….but these problems are problems across the board for Native Americans and reservations.

Raphael Lemkin, who coined the word genocide, wrote in his book, “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe,” as follows:

Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups. (thanks Wikipedia)

My tribe? Yeah…the government wanted them to be farmers, and then gave them land so bad, that I can remember years that my grandparents (who were ranchers until a few years before my grandfather died; my grandmother still rents out her pastures to other ranchers for their livestock) sold the cows, and the horses for wrangling them, because they couldn’t grow enough alfalfa to feed them through the winter. Thousands of acres of ground, and not enough grass for cows, but we’re supposed to farm? Even in a good year…the “rule of thumb” I learned growing up in Missouri was 1.5-2 acres of land per animal would feed them for a year, but the basis for most leased ranch land at Pine Ridge assumes you need at least 10 acres per animal.

The health care system promised by treaty is a disaster. Many reservations in the Dakotas had hospitals shut down in the last year because they weren’t safe. Everyone I know who uses the system can tell you of people who’ve been misdiagnosed in ways that have hurt their long term health. And health care is an issue because poverty and living in a food desert makes chronic illness a big problem.

There are reservations without clean water…..there are homes without running water. Poverty is the norm on most reservations (and where it’s not, it’s largely because of the loopholes that allow gaming on federal land against state regulations).

Various systems over the years have taken Native children from their families – boarding schools destroyed language and culture, and “neglect” (i.e., being poor) calls mean that most of the kids in SD foster care are Native, even though we’re a very small percentage of the state population.

There have been “secret” programs to sterilize Native women.

Poverty and a lack of hope for improvement make suicide a problem. And alcoholism. And domestic violence.

But no….that’s not genocide. Not in the “just kill them all” sense of the word. It’s the sneaky wasichu sense of the word….

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


BREAKING NEWS: DAPL vs Standing Rock Sioux water protectors at the river

Militarized forces have reached the water’s edge in the DAPL marching desecration of sacred burial sites, religious grounds, and sacred sites of the Sioux. Ancestral lands were cut off and people of faith were prevented from praying on the holy sites by armed assailants. Forces operating under the color of law and the direction of the Morton County government forcibly removed, and prevented religious access, to the sites.

Conor Handley shared these images publicly of the events on the ground today with these words. For the entire public posting, please follow the link.

“Today many of our protectors tried to cross the river to pray on top of a hill where Ocenti Sakowin ancestors are buried, this place has been desecrated by the police and DAPL…”


Protectors looked on with the Horse Nation. Eyes in atop the earthen ridge stared down at them, unmoved. The land awaited the next step as the battle of Spirit versus Might continues. Militarized police and forces from agencies of local and out of state assemble on the banks. Here in full gear, they await further orders. Their lines are mixed and are at the ready with chemical agents, firearms, and batons.

The current fight against the desecration and disturbance of these lands, as protected by the Original Instructions, is in the courts. On the lands, it is a battle of wills and spirit. Advocates and legal counsels are working feverishly to stop this encroachment. President Obama has yet to use his pen to stop this advance.

The onslaught does not stop at the water’s edge. Protectors stand on the banks and in the water itself to hold the line.  The forces of the corporate interests, and the law enforcement allied forces advance.

Image by Conor Handley
Image Source Facebook by Conor Handley

The push enters the water. The desecration of the land continuing, the water is next. Though no permits at this time have been granted to move forward with drilling underneath this location, DAPL and law enforcement policy makers are steadfast in their conviction to push the Sioux back in the wake of the juggernaut of corporate planning. The conflict of interest of congressional members at the heights of government are not a factor on the ground. Only following orders seems to be the order of the day.

Like a scene from “Apocalypse Now”, this patrol boat bears a conflicted load of agency pawns. Brute force used to enforce a yet to be decided right of way takes to the waves. The masks are to protect from the chemical agents that are being used as a force method against the water protectors. This, combined with bean bags, and rubber bullets, comprise the most used tactics of enforcement in this conflict.

Image by Conor Handley
Image Source Facebook by Conor Handley

This situation is still unfolding. Please visit the various sites on Facebook and the other social media networks in order to stay informed with up to the minute news and information. Unicorn Riot  has embedded press on the ground, so we urge you to visit them. This is a spiritual event, and Pagans and non Pagans may wish to keep themselves aware of all developments. Especially those who are very tied to the Earth. Water is Life.

The sight of the armed in holy lands is enough to raise alarm. If they are willing to disregard the treaties and Bill of Rights in the pursuit of oil, who will ever be safe? This question should be in every Circle, Coven, and Church this week.

BREAKING NEWS: Law enforcement has brandished weapons and arrests are ongoing at Standing Rock

Breaking news from Standing Rock. Water protectors are under a sort of seeds at this point, as troops and authorities empowered by the government have brandished semi-automatic weapons and moved against them. Arrests include reporters and medical personnel. We are bringing you a live feed video that was uploaded from UnicornRiot independent new service under Creative Commons Share Alike.



Tensions have seemed to reach that pivotal point where action must take place. Peaceful protectors have encountered running with security forces before period but nothing has compared to this action. Please click the link above for up-to-the-minute footage as it is able to be released.



Voices from Michigan’s political parties on Standing Rock situation

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s water protection blockade in the Dakotas is developing at lightening speed, as the Seven Council Fires nations converge on the site of what is the first unified gathering of this size since the Battle of the Greasy Grass. Readers may know this battle by the name of Little Big Horn. In the front line of the defense against the threat of water contamination and irreparable harm to the lands, they are raising national questions of sovereignty, environmentalism, and the rights of the people of all nations in U.S. borders.


Tribal territory of the Great Sioux Nation- Public Domain: Nikater
Tribal territory of the Great Sioux Nation- Public Domain: Nikater

In Michigan, this is a particularly relevant issue, as our water is also under direct threat by fracking, lobbying by special interests, and environmental pollutants. In light of the elections coming in November.  I asked the Michigan political parties for their statements on this situation. What they had to say is plain spoken and clear.

Green Party Michigan
Green Party Michigan




The Green Party of Michigan had this to say.

GPMI is against these pipelines from Keystone XL to this recent one. So we support those who protest. We agree with their slogan that water is life and oil is death. We also believe in the sovereignty of independent nations of native peoples and respect their wisdom of basing policy decisions on future impacts onto the 7th generation.

Matt Orlando, Libertarian gave his own personal viewpoint.

Matt Orlando (L)Candidate - Michigan's Congressional 9th District
Matt Orlando (L)Candidate – Michigan’s Congressional 9th District

With as many spills that have taken place over the years I understand the concerns of The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as well as Debra White Plume of the Oglala Lakota. Even with advancements in technology there are still possibilities of spills occurring. There are several cultural concerns as well that must be taken into consideration. For example The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has stated that that this area has sacred ancestral burial sites as well as other sacred sites. The thought of reducing our dependency on importing oil is great, however, not at the expense of Sioux sacred sites or our waterways.

I feel that The Standing Rock Sioux lands as well as the waterway should be off limits and construction should stop at the river. From there they can move the oil over land via tankers. I’ll gladly pay the few extra cents in gasoline to preserve The Standing Rock Sioux Tribes ancestral grounds and our waterways.

This issue is a hot one, as it concerns all faiths of this nation because “Water is Life”. Keep visiting this site for more updates.


The Fight for Clean Water

Do you know where your water comes from?

This week, amid a nearly complete media black-out, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe began demonstrating against the construction of a pipeline through territory that was theirs, and under the Missouri River, less than a mile from their reservation…which gets its water directly from the river. The Dakota Access Pipeline will take oil from the shale fields in western North Dakota (acquired by fracking), and pipe it across 4 states into Illinois for processing.

DAPL route, image from Dakota Access Pipeline LLC, http://www.daplpipelinefacts.com/about/route.html
DAPL route, image from Dakota Access Pipeline LLC, http://www.daplpipelinefacts.com/

What started as a small protest with a couple hundred people now takes up two camps in rural North Dakota, and has also spread to the capital, Bismarck.  The various subdivisions of the Sioux tribes make up Seven Council Fires (called očhéthi šakówiŋ in Lakota) – traditional allies with a largely shared language, who came to each other’s aid when needed.  Not surprisingly, the various tribes of the očhéthi šakówiŋ have joined in, along with representatives of dozens of other Native tribes, from Alaska to Mexico (and there are rumors that Native Hawaiians are on their way too). 

In earlier planning for the pipeline, the route was scheduled to go north of Bismarck, but one of the reasons for rejecting this route was the risk of contaminating their water source.  If you’re at all familiar with US geography, you’ll remember that the Missouri river flows south and east from North Dakota and feeds the Mississippi River. Contamination of the river this far north risks the water source for anyone downstream, and wildlife habitats all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has appealed to the United Nations, citing failures to follow treaties, and a court order declaring the protests “unlawful” – as if one’s right to free speech is negated because a company has lots of money.

The protesters, calling themselves protectors of the water and of unči makȟá (grandmother earth) have been, according to internal reports, peaceful. The camps are asking for no guns, no weapons…just prayer. They are making sure all people, from young children through elders, are fed, clothed, and receiving medical care as needed. The state, meanwhile, has instituted road blocks to keep people away, has reported gunshots and pipe bombs, and has declared a state of emergency.

Mni wičhóni – water is life – is a common understanding in Lakota. The only thing we need more than water is air. 

You can help by signing this petition:  https://www.change.org/p/jo-ellen-darcy-stop-the-dakota-access-pipeline

Or by donating for supplies and/or funding for Camp of the Sacred Stones:  https://www.gofundme.com/sacredstonecamp