Picking up where we left off in Part 4, twilight was descending, and people were lining up for buffalo, squash, and hominy stew and wojapi. Word had rippled through camp that Jill Stein had been up at the construction site where the protectors were, and was coming to the camp to speak. The council fire was stoked to a blaze. The clouds were beautiful.
Jill Stein didn’t say anything new, she spoke of the need to break our dependence on oil, the need to focus on other forms of energy, and called on our President to speak up, speak out, and to stand with Standing Rock. Some people might not know that President Obama and the First Lady visited the people of Standing Rock in 2014, and greatly enjoyed that visit, so it has been a bitter hurt, the silence emanating from the Capitol. That is not all the silence. The silence echoes from every point. As I noted earlier in comments:
As for Jill Stein, she was at the construction site where the protectors are during Tuesday afternoon, and she came to speak at the camp that evening, I was there. Think I got pictures, too. People can say whatever they want about her, and I know there’s bad things, but she’s the only one to show up.
And to add, Indian Country everywhere has a long history of voting democrat (yeah, there are a few repubs), but people are losing faith almost completely in democrats, because none of them will stand up, none of them stand with us. The president remains silent. The Clintons? Silent. Tim Kaine? He needs more info.
Bernie Sanders made noises of support, but he hasn’t been here. We have elders in their 80s who are making very long journeys to come and stand. What’s the excuse of all our so-called representatives?
Night descended quickly, as did the cold, after spending hours roasting in the sun earlier. People still lined up for supper, and filled the communal area, many hugging the council fire for warmth.
Jill Stein’s talk lasted into the dark, but not over long. Then Travis Harden stepped up to the mic. Travis is a visible presence, here, there, everywhere in the camps. He’s a bear of a man, vivacious, full of life, always laughing, telling stories, jokes, and singing songs. You can read a bit about Travis here. Among other things, Travis is teaching children at the school, teaching them how to sing traditionally. After many stories, jokes, and songs, we all sang The Elephant Song, “Ask your mother for fifty cents, to see the elephant jump off the fence…”
The night was very cold, and someone behind me draped a very large down jacket over me as I sat. I wrapped Rick in our Wacipi blanket, and he wandered off to the end of the food line. People came by, offering everyone blankets. We all settled in to listen to a veteran elder, in a wheelchair, minus one leg. He spoke to us about unity, service, and our duty to each other and the earth. The obligation we all have to those living now, and those yet to live. He also spoke about being quick to judge and laugh at people, and that we should not do that, not to other tribes, and not to wasichu (white people). And no, wasichu is not an insult, it just means white people. I’ll say that wasichu should take this lesson to heart, and learn not to assume, not to live by stereotype, and not to judge by the shade of any person’s skin. We sat and listened, and ate as others talked. It was deep dark, stars were shining, and the moon was low. People sitting around the council fire broke out glow sticks, and tiny children took them and gleefully ran and danced. After a while longer, we decided to call it a night. We meandered off to our camp, with the help of flashlight. I powered up the stupid laptop and wireless to give a quick update in comments, then we got our bedding together and settled down. Sort of. We kept popping up, turning on a light to show this, that, oh, did you see…, chattering like over excited children. Singing was still going, and people still coming and going all over, horses neighing, fires dotting the land everywhere. This was home.
Click images for full size. © C. Ford, all rights reserved. I don’t know when I’ll get Wednesday camp stories up, hopefully some time today (Friday), but they will be up. Sometime.