Some people went with purpose to stand with the standing, to stand for something just like the song lyrics, "You've Got to Stand for something or fall for anything."
Earl couldn't go because to walk on that ice would have ruined his new knee and his hope for the good walk after the next new one next week.
People die in the cold. Just one hour away from Standing Rock 2 people died from exposure to the cold and another person is missing. Nick's tent mate got so cold he kept wandering out of his tent to find the warming space and was luckily found by a patrol of the camp and was taken to one of those few warming spaces, leaving Nick to wonder through the night if he would be found in the morning as an alone dead.
Cherokee women Mary and her sister went just days before I arrived. Rebecca Nagle went with a purpose, her life's purpose to stand with those who have survived abuse. How appropriate. Who went who hasn't or would be experiencing abuse? She met with women for circles to talk, circles to make quilts to remember and celebrate their survival, then took those quilts and walked that sacred hoop to make them whole and mended their spirits. She brought the Monument Quilt to Ottawa County a couple of summers ago where our survivors of domestic abuse and rape spoke with strength and resilience. There is no shame for those who have been raped or abused, the shame is on the abuser, the rapist. Not all survive their abuse, but their loved ones can survive their grief. The quilts they made might have then begun to warm their bodies in the cold, just as our grandmothers knew they would.
Each one who went to Standing Rock may have had their own purpose to go, but everyone left with so many more reasons for living, so many more purposes to strive for in this life.
Those who sent money sent prayers sent firewood sent good wishes began to believe in peace in an ever deepening way. Everyone went to Standing Rock and everyone looks at their own water differently now. We are all protectors because there have been protectors who stood for water in the face of hatred, greed and weather.
People are changed that went to Standing Rock, but we are all changed and I think now given permission to do something with the rest of the lives we have. Life is a firefly. But enough fireflies can light up the night's sky, just by being a firefly.
Before going my will was updated. I went with purpose with all I had to offer, just myself. And to see that prophecy of Crazy Horse and of Black Elk of people coming together to mend what was broken.
Those who went to Standing Rock took everyone we know with us, they lifted us during the long hours to even get to the high plains and certainly during the cold nights. How long were you there? How many surveillance flights did you count? They were there, too, watching for hours. How were they changed? How were the contractors with dogs changed? Peaceful, prayerful protectors standing for water. Those images are with us all, we all went there and we all stood there on one side or the other.
The veterans went and those who didn't go with them, stood at attention knowing their brothers and sisters were there.
One night at Standing Rock the dome was filled to its capacity for Round Dance and 49 songs. We moved to the songs, some we knew, some we learned. The circles moved clockwise as they should, the dance an old friend to the Natives, but a new dance to brothers and sisters who took it on and began changing the flow. I knew it was a different kind of 49 when some of the dancers took out their lighters, lit and held them arm up for the singers. As it continued, the songs still so clear and strong, Natives began to leave the newbies, with no resentment.
Standing Rock was a paradigm shift in every possible sense. A Native author Dr. Chuck Ross disappeared from the dome, too. He wrote Mitakuye Oyasin Lakota for "All My Relations," a prayer of oneness and harmony with all forms of life. I left knowing we are truly connected in this Hoop of Life surely by the firefly within us all.
What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the Sunset. - Crowfoot
All my relations
~ Respectfully submitted ~ Rebecca Jim