Picking up from where we left off at Camp Story 3 (Remember, starting with this post, all these events being related are happening on one day, Tuesday, September 6th, 2016. I’ll get to Wednesday eventually. The Osage Delegation from Oklahoma arrived. They spoke with great pain, grief, and anger over the cost to their people, in blood, of many lives, in their fight against oil. A prayer was sung, and the Osage flag took its place among the many.
Delegations from the Pit River Indians and Winnemem Wintu arrived. The Winnemem Wintu are a tribe that have been brutally crushed under the steamroller of U.S. government, yet refuse to give in, refuse to fade away. They stand strong, and they continue to fight. Like too many other tribes, vast amounts of lands were stolen by means of dam building and flooding the land. The Pit River Indians are also fighting, for their rights, their land, and for the salmon, too. They are also threatened by the black snake of oil. If hasn’t occurred to you yet, ask yourself why all the risk of oil is being placed on Indian land, from one state to the next here in uStates, and why it’s the land of Indigenous peoples in other countries who are facing similar threat and loss.* The colonial mindset is alive and well, and Indigenous people are still the ones expected to pay for everyone else’s convenience and greed. And yes, a whole lot of Indians and other indigenous people drive cars, and use modern things, just like everyone else. There’s little choice, is there? We aren’t exactly set up for horses anymore, and most employers wouldn’t care to accommodate the time of travel. Is there money being poured into sustainable infrastructure, such as mass, public transport? No. As you should be able to tell from photos, the Dakotas are a place where you’re far away from everything else. The camps at Standing Rock, map wise, aren’t terribly far from us, but it’s a long drive.
*In the comments, Lofty highlights this ongoing problem:
Meanwhile South Australians have their own battle against Big Oil. BP want to drill in a pristine marine reserve in the Great Australian Bight, an important whale breeding area and clean fishing resource. In the event of a spill, BP won’t have any resources available to fix anything. Time to make waves.
Vince stepped up to the mic and gave us all a great poetry slam. If anything, it was much too brief, and it brightened everyone up, and had us all laughing, especially with his poem about his Han Solo obsessed girlfriend. :D He also had some wonderfully pointed poems, including one about actress Juliette Lewis popularizing the hipster wearing of pretend Plains headdresses, and had a word I plan to use at every opportunity: generokee.
About that time, I wandered back to our camp for a bit, and watched our new neighbours settling in.
Back to the communal area, listening to people, watching people come and go. Representatives of Paiute and Washoe tribes spoke of their solidarity, and their own fight against the illegal harvest of pine nuts from their land. There was remembrance of the fallen at the Wounded Knee standoff. There was much remembering of Tȟašúŋke Witkó, Crazy Horse, who was murdered in captivity by a soldier on September 5th, 1877. People came up to sing and play, including two people, Yakama, from Vancouver Island. There was a call out to Facebook Indians, to keep saturating social media.
There was always a large pile of cedar on the council table, and people would go up to get some. People would stop at different times to place cedar on the council fire, or tobacco. There were smudge cans dotted around the council fire, filled with wood coals and sage, so people could cleanse themselves at any time. The horses started coming back into camp, and children continued to play while people lined up for food.
People kept coming into camp.
Twilight was descending, and people were gathering for the eagerly awaited communal feed of buffalo, squash and hominy stew, with wojapi for after. Then word rippled through that Jill Stein was coming from the construction area to the camp to speak, and she did. To be continued in Part 5. Click photos for full size. © C. Ford, all rights reserved.
Support Sacred Stone Camp. Legal Fund Help. Support Native Youth. Sign the Petition. Sign urgent petition. Please, everyone, no matter where you might be on our earth, rise, holler, spread the word, boost the signal – you can’t stop the signal! Come to the camps – everyone is welcome! Call in sick, beg rides, whatever you need to do.