My observations and travel log of our supply run to Standing Rock
In late November my son embarked on a fundraising effort to buy essential supplies for the encampment at Standing Rock. With the support of friends and family members we raised over $3,200 on a goFundme site. With these funds and with many in-kind donations we loaded Mark’s truck with supplies, including wool blankets, sub-zero winter clothing, firewood, food, feminine hygiene products & medical supplies.
The Standing Rock Sioux are engaged in a protracted struggle to stop the Energy Transfer Partners from building the pipeline under Lake Oake. This threatens the Standing Rock peoples’ water supply and sacred sites. “Mni Wiconi” Water is Life. The Standing Rock Sioux have built an international movement of resistance to the oil industry. In my opinion, this action represents a convergence of indigenous peoples, people of color and the climate change movement around systemic social change.
This link from the Economist Magazine gives an overview of what is happening now with the pipeline (please remember the Economist is a business magazine, but the article provides some good context for understanding what is going on). http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21711340-decision-halt-construction-dakota-access-pipeline-likely-be
Mark and I arrived in the Oceti Sakowin encampment on Dec 10th. For the last 300 miles we drove the back roads to avoid law enforcement check points. We found the camp administrative functions were taxed to the limited. To unload our supplies, we had to ask around to get locations for the drop points. This took about four hours. We were glad we had paid such careful attention to the Water Protectors’ directions about the kind of gear and supplies they needed to support the thousands of people in the camp.
At the communication center we heard repeated calls for people to leave the camp if they were not fully prepared to weather over through the frigid winter months to be on site for the coming struggle in the spring. They appealed to all to continue the fight in our home communities.
I convinced my son that we shouldn’t stay for the 3 or 4 days we had originally planned. Number one, even with my subzero gear, I wasn’t prepared to camp in -20 degree temps. Also, another winter storm was approaching and I didn’t want to be snowed in for a week or more.
Before leaving the camp, I witnessed a smudging ceremony at the scared fire, very moving, ending with chants to the setting sun. As we left the camp at sunset we witnessed an amazing display of sun dogs as the sun fell below the horizon. Both sun dogs were the colors of rainbows — hope for tomorrow! We arrived home Dec 13th. Mission accomplished.