There is a mix of emotions here on the reservation. After one day of observation, you can see where the divide is in the camp. And from my experience, this seems to be a reoccurring theme. Regardless of the fact that we should be united in one endeavor there are always people and even groups of people that will always think otherwise. One of the main principles during direct actions is non-violence. However, there are people here that obviously have a different opinion. On the day of November 5th, there was a gathering at the 1806 highway; which is located just passed the entrance to the encampment.
A blockade of burnt cars and razor wire separate armed military and police and people. Earlier that week, the police said they would clear the road if protesters removed the cars, which they did, but instead increased the fortitude of the blockade. Making it impossible for emergency vehicles to enter from that road in case of emergency. Sometime during the chants and the shouting at police, half of the group started to spread the word that they were going to go to Turtle Island. A sacred burial ground of the Sioux people.
So, half stayed on the bridge and the other half walked or drove truckloads of people to the water front where they boated over to the island; only to be met with police. Charging up the hill, police shot tear gas in to the oncoming crowd. There were no reports of injury however. This tactic, albeit necessary to some people, was not what they call a “sanctioned action” that was approved by the elders at Standing Rock.
As the people tried to charge up the hill, orders were passed down from the elders to tell those people to come back. Herein-lies one of the many problems about the divide in the camp. When there are people who are risking their safety in something that they think to be true and righteous, perhaps it isn’t the best move to leave them stranded on the side of a hill where the police have the upper-ground(literally). Even if it goes against a sanctioned action, these people are still fighting for what they think is right, and it is our duty to protect our people.
On one side we have the elders and on the other a very heated youth.
The Monkey Wrench:
The Elders hold the majority vote of what happens in the encampment. After one day, we learned that the camp was divided and that there were people spreading instructions that weren’t properly “sanctioned”; causing many to become upset at these impromptu direct actions.
These actions, however, are the only way that this pipeline can be stopped. Putting ourselves on the gears of the machine, as some might say, is really the only alternative. I can’t honestly believe that asking is going to help this movement at all. Perhaps in a bureaucratic sense. But that, to me, seems like a lesser of two evils. Either way, anything that happens is dealing with a corporate entity that does not have a single drop of compassion and is only worried about profits. Even if those profits are coming from a finite and obsolete form of crude oil and energies.
From what I’ve gathered, the Elders do not want anyone getting arrested or hurt so they’ve called for a period of prayer. However, the pipeline (DAPL) is not going to stop. As we can see from recent history, corporations have done everything in their power to continue their plots and schemes; even at the expense of Native Peoples. We can’t trust their words when they say that they will do something. They lie and cheat and are very good at it. So choosing a side here at camp is something that I believe happens, even if it is unintentional.
The camp as it is right now, is preparing for the winter. A crucial part of this ‘occupation’ (for lack of a better word) is making sure that everyone on the ground is able to, essentially, survive the freezing temperatures that will eventually sweep through these foothills(wind chill factor can reach below 70 degrees!!!). People have begun making structures and digging into the ground to protect themselves from the elements; however haphazard. Not to get me wrong, there are people here at the reservation that are licensed and are permitted to build certain structures which can withstand most of the brunt of the winter. The only thing that is holding them back are resources.
I have a unique opportunity to help build some of these structures which are called Echo-Shell 1. Essentially these dome shelters are made of concrete and insulated with hay and straw about nine feet in height and eight feet in diameter. Enough to sustain about two people comfortably. This project can be done within a single day; which is the best part.
The biggest thing, again, is the lack of resources going to the correct projects. With the amount of people that come in and out during the week, it’s hard to say how many people are going to actually stay during the winter. And that is a problem in two ways. There is no estimate on how many structures are needed and if the number of people at the camp dwindles, the opposing forces will surely step in when they have the chance to take this part of the river and move forward with their agenda.
In many ways the camp has a lot of the necessary jobs down. Really, the only thing that needs to be brought up at the Sacred Fire is the importance of building shelters that are able to withstand the winter and with that we need the subsequent resources. With the right amount of workshops and people who are willing to make it all happen, I believe that they will be able to make it through the winter without any casualties.
I think the most important focal point that needs to be addressed is: Where the resources are going and the opening of the proper avenues to get those resources to the people who are out here in the field waiting to get to work! Unfortunately, there is no internet for me out there and I can’t keep everything updated, but there are always ways to connect with those in the camp via social media outlets. And if you feel it in your heart to help, contact: InleaguePress.com or Sacred Stone Camp for more information.
Thank You Dear Reader.