Mni Wiconi- Water is Life: In Memory of Caine

A year ago today our community was devastated by the death of our beloved Caine. The team here at Affinity struggled with how to honor Caine on this day and we finally decided to carry forward her message to love and honor the planet. Caine stood with the tribe at Standing Rock in their struggle against the DAPL and today we’re passing on a few stories about the continuing struggle of Indigenous communities to protect the land and water. We are in no way qualified to speak about Indigenous culture or history, but we do so today with great respect.

First, a few reminders of the meaning of Mni Wiconi – Water is Life.

Mni Wiconi – The Stand at Standing Rock

Mni Wiconi – Water is Life

Hear the message of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Honor tribal sovereignty and the Earth we inhabit by telling President Obama to deny the easement by calling 202-456-1111. We need every person to call Obama this week before Dec. 5th. Please share. For more information visit standwithstandingrock.net#NoDAPL#StandwithStandingRock#standingrock#bankexit

Posted by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Also:

In an article on Indian Country Today, Woonspe—Education Gives Meaning to Mni Wiconi—Water Is Life they tell of the origin story behind the meaning of Mni Wiconi.

An origin story of the Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires, which make up the Lakota, Nakoda, and Dakota people, tells us that the blood of First Creation, Inyan, covers Unci Maka, our grandmother earth, and this blood, which is blue is mni, water, and mahpiya, the sky. Mni Wiconi, water is life.

The entire article is worth reading and the above link will take you right there.

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Many Standing Rocks: Three Years and Still Fighting, by Tracy L. Barnett – The Esperanza Project)

LaDonna Allard, center, and Cheryl Angel at a march led by the women of Sacred Stone to the backwater bridge one week after a brutal attack there by law enforcement. (Photo from social media) – The Esperanza Project

 

So water is in danger, globally. Right now Indigenous communities are still at risk, and they are standing up, because they have to stand up.  When you finally realize — WATER IS LIFE — you understand why you can’t sit back down.

People keep saying “after” Standing Rock – but I’m still of the same state of mind, I still have the same passion for the water,  it has to be protected. It was when I was at Sicangu Wicoti Iyuksa that I learned about the aquifers that were in danger and when I was at Standing Rock I learned about the rivers that were in danger.

We encourage you to read the article. Cheryl Angel passes on wisdom from a lifetime spent in activism for the planet. Her reflections on the movement at Standing Rock are insightful, as is her take on the ongoing struggle to protect water and land resources.

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Next, we’re providing links to 2 reports on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s website.

SRST – No DAPL Remand Report Final, from February 5, 2019.

This first story is a damning and infuriating report on the deficient Corps of Engineers Analysis of the environmental impacts of the DAPL. The courts finally sided with the Standing Rock Tribe, but then decided that since the pipeline is already built they will let the oil flow.

Impacts of an Oil Spill from the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe from February 21, 2018, so that you can see just how much is at stake.
Both stories connect you to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s website and we encourage you to have a look around. The About Us section contains lots of information about the history of the tribe and the reservation, as does the section about environmental issues.
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Next, we’re going to point you toward the Indigenous Environmental Network.
IEN is an alliance of Indigenous peoples whose mission it is to protect the sacredness of Earth Mother from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining and respecting Indigenous teachings and natural laws. Adopted in 1994 by the IEN National Council, Denver, Colorado
The IEN website has a broad focus and they carry a variety of interesting stories about the ongoing fight to protect the land and water. It isn’t all just talk, though. The IEN runs several important environmental campaigns including the Keep It In The Ground Campaign run by Dallas Goldtooth. Dallas was born into an activist family and stood as a water protector at Standing Rock. He’s an accomplished activist, teacher, writer, poet and comedian who uses story and humor to tackle difficult subjects.
Here he is with his comedy troupe, The 1491’s, at Vasser College in 2018. His message is full of hope.

And finally, we leave you with a clip found on Twitter 2 days ago by rq. It’s a true message of hope from The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the it’s the perfect way to end this post.

 

Water is Life

In memory of Caine, who taught me much about the value of our surroundings and the value of water, and to celebrate Indigenous People Day, because Indigenous People all over the world have to fight for their water, against the black snake of oil and fracking, against the industries that use it as a throw away article, against the companies that will take people’s water and then sell it back to them in bottles..

I am very privileged to life in a beautiful place where I can probably say hello to tonight’s drinking water by taking a walk in the morning. This morning I took that walk and took pictures of the water here.

Blue sign water reserve

©Giliell, all rights reserved
The sign telling you that this is a protected water reserve

 

Water among reeds

Small and sparkling in the sun.
©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

Slowly meandering between the trees
©Giliell, all rights reserved

Muddy path with water

A footpath with stakes to walk on.
I live in a swamp, that’s why I’m always bogged down.
©Giliell, all rights reserved

Water with reflection of trees

Mirror, mirror…
©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

Fountain with a dragonfly mosaik

And finally, should the humans get thirsty, there is a wonderful fountain. You cannot see the actual nozzle, because it’s quite deep, but the water is always fresh and delicious. ©Giliell, all rights reserved

Water Dance.

Yeah, I know, water on the brain. That happens when the skies are dry. Water is a great subject, and a long time fave. When I first moved from a point ‘n’ shoot to a D80, I was very intimidated, and didn’t want to use it. One day, I decided to set up where I could just play with settings. I set a sprinkler on low, and stuck it under a bunch of flowers, then I just started playing with various shutter speeds and apertures, and ended up with results which were overall delightful. You can’t really fuck up water shots, either, so that’s a bonus. If you don’t want to mess about outside with sprinkler, or go find a river or something, the tap in your house provides opportunities. Photograph the running water, photograph it spilling into a pretty dish, or slowly dripping, and capture those splashes. If you want to go for the dramatic splash, set up a tall clip with a sandwich bag full of water, your receptacle and background set, then poke a pinhole in the bag. Water is fun, and it’s a grand displacement activity too, which can also be restful and relaxing. So, water, from a sprinkler, at wildly varying speeds and ap settings. I do prefer underexposing when shooting water from a sprinkler, but that’s a matter of personal preference. No shopping whatsoever, just resizing to 1500 x. Click for full size!

And just a taste of tomorrow – Waterscopes! :D

© C. Ford.