Day One continued at Oceti Sakowin Camp #NoDAPL
I continue to hear stories.
Another tribe is the Crow tribe. They came walking four miles to the camp – coming in “healing” and wearing full tribal dress. The Crows were previously hated because they gave up the Native Americans to the army years ago, but now the goal is unity, unity to save the water. I wish I could have been here to see them arrive. I am told that new tribes arrive every day. There is much hope in that.
There is much talk of the front line. The front line is where they stand to keep them from digging the pipeline. The most recent action includes the police taking away their tents which they had managed to get across the river in order to set up camp. There are stories of people swimming across in bullet proof vests, barely making it back because the vest became so weighted down from the water. Stories of exhaustion. This is what I hear.
There are the barricades, the stop points with police/military in order to get into the camp. There are the kitchens, the piles of supplies (tents, sleeping bags, etc) that the military took when tearing down the encampments of the front lines. There is the Media Hill, previously dubbed FB Hill, where I go to briefly text my husband and upload this blog via phone screen shots (which dear friends retype) and any quick comments to Facebook.
There is much to do, or there is nothing to do. The question is how to be of use? Tomorrow I will work at the school, helping to move the boxes and boxes of materials to a new location so that the children have more space to run and play. Currently the school is in the middle of the camp. I spend time talking to my son, as we both have questions, similar life experiences and words, images, and simply much that we have to discuss, and think through.
Tonight we went inside a beautiful new dome that was recently erected. We listened to the drum circle, and we danced, and I felt my throat come up and out through my eyes, with no explanation or words to describe something that is not my experience, but one that I was welcomed into tonight.
As we leave the dome, we find that we have been dancing in circles for at least five rounds. We walk out completely disoriented and we are laughing as we fling our head lamp around trying to discern where is the river? Media Hill? Where is the highway? Where is the school? My son runs ahead with the headlamp and yells to me that he sees our camp, with a strong fire in tow, right by the river. As we walk towards our camp he says to me, Can you imagine belonging to a community like that? Where you knew all those songs, and those dances, and where you belonged with a group of so many people and they were your family? Can you imagine what that would feel like? To be a part of a tribe? – says the white child to the white mother.
I will leave you with that. I cannot explain my emotions.
I’m shutting my computer, listening to the helicopters, and the drums still drumming, in the center of the camp.