Mni Wiconi: the Sacred Stand at Standing Rock
by BILL ARENA
MCLA Wisdom Council
There’s a huge shift happening in our world right now. It’s a scary and crucial time for all people living here on Mother Earth who care about our planet, our drinking water, the rights of Native American indigenous people, and especially our children’s children’s children.
Right now there are thousands of people of all indigenous Native American tribes gathered together with supporters from around the country and around the world on the remote, frigid Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. This is unprecedented.
Monday, December 5th, represents a huge spiritual and energetic boost to these Water Protectors as thousands of U.S. Military Veterans have arrived at Standing Rock to provide a human shield for these peaceful, prayerful people.
They have gathered to peacefully and prayerfully protest the construction of the DAPL: Dakota Access Pipeline from crossing their sacred burial grounds and threaten the water supply of all who live here. Their neighbors to the north (with a 90% white population) earlier voted against the DAPL crossing their land. So the huge oil pipe was rerouted through the ancestral land of Standing Rock Sioux reservation, no vote, no consultation, no consideration.
This is an historic, unprecedented show of strength and solidarity of ALL native people in this country combined with an equally diverse and committed group of supporters from around the world.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY __ I had been intuitively called for several months to drive the 3,400-mile round trip from San Francisco to North Dakota and show my support and solidarity for the people. The first signals I received came during a sunrise prayer ceremony on October 10th, Indigenous People Day, on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.
BAY AREA AGAINST THE BLACK SNAKE __ Powerful ceremony of prayerful solidarity with the people of Standing Rock on November 4th in Oakland. Although we live over 1,600 miles from those brave Water Protectors in North Dakota fighting for the ecological rights of ALL people, I felt an incredible connection and renewed commitment for our children, and our children’s children. This is important work, at a critical time in our country’s history.
Feeling the powerful energy of this amazing group in downtown Oakland I was also able to reconnect with Wounded Knee Deocampo, my spiritual brother and friend, honored Miwok elder and long-time protector of the rights of indigenous peoples both here in the bay area and nationally. Diverse people from all ethnic backgrounds joined hands right here in the East Bay to support and pray for the Water Protectors in North Dakota.
Wounded Knee shared and explained the horrific struggles native people have suffered in this country, the terrible danger of fracking, the danger of the DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) and the fact that WE ARE ALL CONNECTED. We all bleed the same color blood, red. We are all one and we must all work together to make a difference in this world.
Wopila tanka my brother Wounded Knee. Creator speaks through you in a good way.
ASSAULT ON HWY 1806 __ On Sunday night, Nov. 20, I was devastated to watch a live video feed by Kevin Gilbertt on Facebook as unarmed, peaceful water protectors were being hit with tear gas, rubber bullets, percussion grenades and high-pressure water cannons as the temperature at Standing Rock dropped well below freezing. It was an incredibly shocking display of industry-financed, militarized law enforcement brutality dispensed against
innocent people right here IN OUR OWN COUNTRY. I was shocked and devastated.
(CLICK HERE to view recording of November 20 live feed from Hwy 1806 Bridge)
My spirit truly shaken and tested. I literally felt sick to my stomach as the events unfolded before my eyes and our native sisters and brothers and supporters were attacked over and over. I could feel history repeating itself. Our country's shameful treatment of our native people in full view of the entire world on a Facebook live stream. My natural feelings of positivity and political hope for the future took some major shots.
The next day, Monday, Nov. 21, traveled four hours north on a sacred Standing Rock pre-journey to the energetic vortex of Mt. Shasta with my spiritual sisters Rosario Sykes and Patty Wilson to regroup and get grounded and pray and mentally and spiritually recommit to this planned sacred trip to North Dakota.
NATIVE SPIRIT __ We stopped at our favorite bookstore in downtown Mt. Shasta, Soul Connections, to buy some California white sage to bring to Standing Rock on Tuesday. When these ladies (above) heard about my travel plans to North Dakota they gifted me this huge, additional bag of sage to also bring to the people. And then, incredibly, one of them took me aside for a spontaneous blessing right there in the main aisle of the store. She then told me that I am divinely protected on this journey and that a strong native spirit is with me. This is something I had already sensed intuitively but was so pleased to actually hear the words being spoken. Feeling blessed and ready for the road.
MNI WICONI: Water is Life
So appreciative and empowered to once again fill our water bottles here at Mt. Shasta at the headwaters of the Sacramento River. This pristine, crystal clear water flows out from the base of the mountain, so grateful for Mother Nature’s most sacred gift to all sentient beings.
STANDING ROCK SIOUX INDIAN RESERVATION __ On Tuesday, Nov. 22, I packed up my camping gear, supplies, food, propane heater, sacred C'anunpa, long underwear and Himalayan cold weather gear and headed north over the Benicia/Martinez Bridge in my Fiat 500 and cruised northeast toward North Dakota. Just over 1,600 miles later I arrived in Cannon Ball on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation at sunrise on Thursday morning, Nov. 24th, Thanksgiving Day,
STANDING ROCK CAMP, North Dakota. One of the most energetically charged places I've ever experienced. Prayerful people. Warriors. Feeling grateful, hopeful, connected to Mother Earth and all sentient beings. Please continue to hold these people and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in your thoughts and prayers. We are ALL connected.
MEXICO __ Beautiful group of indigenous people from the remote highlands of Mexico who traveled to Standing Rock to show their support and add their powerful prayers and encouragement for the people of all nationalities.
NAVAJO __These little girls were so sweet and happy to have their photo taken. This family is Navajo and drove to Standing Rock from Arizona to be in support of the people.
OJIBWE family from Houston. When I asked how they were handling the frigid North Dakota temperatures after driving here all the way from Texas, they said, sadly, that they were leaving that night. It was too cold for the kids they explained and they had to leave. A proud family. Strong spirit. So glad to meet them and share this experience.
APACHE __ Spent some powerful time with this man on Thanksgiving Day on a hill overlooking the Hwy 1806 bridge where peaceful water protectors were assaulted with water cannons in below-freezing weather, tear gas, percussion grenades and rubber bullets.
Evan Ulibarri is Apache-Hispanic and lives today in San Diego. He pointed down the hill to the other side of the bridge where Morton County sheriffs and heavily-armed out-of-state militia were positioned next to a fully-armored Humvee. "I haven't seen an 1153 up-armored Humvee since I was in Iraq . . . it doesn't belong here. This is a prayerful place. This is a peaceful protest," he explained. "I served three tours in Iraq when I was in my 20's. And now that I'm in my 30's, I've come here to help protect people in my own country." He spoke with a quiet and respectful seriousness as we shared with each other the intimate and highly-personal reasons that the two of us, California residents, were somehow called by the universe to meet way out here on this remote bridge on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation on Thanksgiving morning. Feeling so grateful to all military veterans who so proudly serve our country in foreign lands . . . and now travel to North Dakota to protect our own people on our own soil. We're all in this together. Mitakuye oyasin/All my relations.
CLICK HERE to view a news video of this strong Native warrior and U.S. Army military veteran recorded the very same morning the two of us connected on this remote North Dakota bridge on Hwy 1806.
ON NORTH DAKOTA
HWY 1806 __ Actual rubber bullet used against peaceful water protectors on Sunday, Nov. 20th. This man is a decorated military veteran who was shot three times on the Hwy 1806 bridge and overcome with tear gas. I cannot show his face or use his name because he is still at Standing Rock today working with the people. When we spoke he paused frequently to quietly cough due to the tear gas he inhaled when helping others evacuate the bridge that night. "My lungs feel like they have a really bad sunburn," he explained to me almost apologetically. A very brave man. A patriotic man. A strong warrior with an indomitable spirit. So proud to spend time with him and other military veterans on Thanksgiving Day and learn first-hand the sad truth of what's really happening in North Dakota.
LaDonna Bravebull Allard,
tribal historic preservation
officer for Standing Rock Sioux, graciously accepts California white sage from Mt. Shasta.
“What treaty has the Lakota made with the white man that we have broken? Not one.
What treaty has the white man ever made with us that they ever kept? Not one.
When I was boy the Lakota owned the world; the Sun rose and set on their land;
They sent ten thousand men to battle. Where are those warriors today?
Who slew them? Where are our lands? Who owns them? What law have I broken?
Is it wrong for me to love my own? Is it wicked for me because my skin is red?
Because I am a Lakota; because I was born where my father lived;
Because I would die for my people and my country?”
-- Tatanka Iyotake “Sitting Bull" (1831-1890)
Actresses and activists Jane Fonda and Shailene Woodley showed their support and solidarity with the Water Protectors by traveling to North Dakota and serving Thanksgiving meals at the Standing Rock Sioux camp on Thanksgiving Day.
FACEBOOK HILL __ At the top of “Facebook Hill,” an elevated part of the camp where there’s a better chance of cellphone reception in this remote area, are also located solar panels and this bicycle generator that you can pedal to charge your phone.
TATANKA __ Huge buffalo medicine mounted on the wall of the Prairie Knights Casino, 12 miles south of Standing Rock on Hwy 1806. This man on the right is a Lakota Sioux originally from Pine Ridge who traveled here with his girlfriend from Seattle to support the water protectors.
STANDING ROCK SIOUX woman helping to patrol the grounds on horseback and lend assistance to all people arriving here from around the country and around the world.
STANDING ROCK WATER PROTECTOR CODE OF CONDUCT
Direct action training is required for all taking action.
No children in potentially dangerous situations.
We keep each other accountable to these principles.
This is a ceremony. Act accordingly.
Property damage does not get us closer to our goal.
After wonderful, heart-to-heart connections and several extremely cold nights, I reluctantly left the Standing Rock grounds on Tuesday, November 29th, feeling spiritually recharged emotionally and positive and hopeful for the future of all people of planet Earth. It was so empowering to be in the presence of such good people, united in a very important cause, against very difficult odds.
U.S. MILITARY VETERANS FORM
HUMAN SHIELD OF PROTECTION
The battle is far from over, of course. Winters in North Dakota can be absolutely brutal. But the momentum is definitely moving in the right direction. These Water Protectors are determined to the do the right thing. In the right way. And overcome all obstacles.
Plus, the truth is now getting out there. Wopila tanka / thank you to Kevin Gilbertt and Facebook and all the other powerful social media avenues. The world is now learning the truth WITHOUT the major media networks who play it safe and sit on the sidelines and blindly quote oil industry press releases. The TRUTH shall set us free.
And now, having U.S. Military Veterans converging on Cannon Ball, North Dakota, in support of this great movement both physically and spiritually, is a powerful factor for the good. The presence of these Veterans at Standing Rock, coming to the defense of all native people and all future generations to protect the water supply of 17 million people from the threat of Dakota Access Pipeline, represents a potentially historic turning point.
BREAKING NEWS: Sunday afternoon, December 4th, Cannon Ball, North Dakota. It was just announced on the Standing Rock grounds that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has denied to grant the easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline, a huge victory for the Standing Rock Sioux and thousands camped near the construction site.
According to a news release, Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said her decision was based on the need to “explore alternate routes” for the pipeline’s crossing.
“Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Darcy said. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
MONEY TALKS, NOBODY WALKS
While the ultimate goal is to see construction of the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline cancelled outright – it was scheduled to be finished last month -- realistically, this is a $3.8 BILLION PROJECT. The "Black Snake" of the Lakota end-of-times prophecy is not going to quietly slither away back into its hole in the ground. There are just too many people and corporations (and politicians) heavily invested in completing this environmental disaster and collecting their return-on-investment.
Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners openly ridiculed Sunday's U.S. Army Corp of Engineers' announcement as "a purely political action" taken by the Obama administration to curry favor with "a narrow and extreme political constituency. We 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," the company added in a statement. "Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way."
U.S. Veterans Ask Native Elders for Forgiveness
HEALING POWER OF FORGIVENESS __ An incredible moment of healing at Standing Rock: Hundreds of veterans ask Native elders for forgiveness.
"We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faces of our presidents onto your sacred mountain. We didn’t respect you, we polluted your Earth, we’ve hurt you in so many ways but we’ve come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness."
-- Wes Clark, Jr.
ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER COMING
Energy Transfer Partners is continuing DAPL construction despite being denied permission on December 4th. This is the reality of Big Oil’s death grip on our country, our environment, our political system and our world. The Seventh Generation has come. We must stand together. This is a life-threatening environmental disaster that directly affects our children and our children’s children. CLICK HERE to see the brutal reality of Big Oil’s rape of our Mother Earth.
THE FIGHT CONTINUES: Thank you everyone for your prayers and your continued commitment to our Mother Earth and love for EVERYONE who lives here.
This battle is certainly not over. We know the Standing Rock Sioux will remain vigilant . . . for their people, for all people. And we will stand with them . . . for our children and our children's children. It's the right thing to do. And right now is the right time to do it.
We're all in this together.
In the beautiful Lakota Sioux language: Wasaka enaun / Stay strong
Mitakuye oyasin / ALL my relations
Wopila tanka / Thank you Creator
MNI WICONI / WATER IS LIFE
We are ALL connected.
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BILL ARENA lives in the east bay San Francisco. He's an MCLA Wisdom Council member, Sundancer / pipe carrier in Lakota Sioux spiritual tradition, Pachakuti Mesa carrier in Peruvian cross-cultural shamanism, Jin Shin Jyutsu hands-on energy healer, Black Belt martial arts instructor, guided group meditation leader, competitive discus thrower, and head writer / editor at ARENA CREATIVE GROUP.
MNI WICONI: Explains critical importance of Standing Rock and plight of Native Americans, a group more neglected and abused perhaps than any other in our nation’s history. Water is the real lifeblood of ALL living beings. CLICK HERE to view "Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock."