Usually I find myself sharing poetry and simple thoughts here. Not today. Today something has to be said. Something more.
I’m no one special. A single mom, a writer, a massage therapist, a human being. I’m not extraordinary, I’m not a great leader. However I must speak in the best way I know how.
I’ve been following the #NoDapl protests since August. I watched live feed, as nations from around the world came together. I watched the ceremonies and live feeds as people prayed for peace. Prayed for our earth. Prayed for their ancestors to stand with them. To stand with what’s right. I have followed Myron Dewey, Sacred Stone Camp, and Dallas Goldtooth as time after time the water protectors were marginalized, and pushed out. I watched live as Shailene Woodley was arrested.
I watched yesterday, October 27th, as people were beaten, maced, and shot at. I shared as much as I could. I’ve donated my own money, the little I can spare. I’ve felt helpless watching my sisters and brothers. I’ve prayed, and prayed, and prayed some more.
My people, people of the world. We have to do better than this. We are better than this violence. These are unarmed, non violent, protectors. They stand in solidarity for the right to clean drinking water. The right to be considered when their land, their sacred sites, and their livelihoods are at stake. This is not a great and terrible request. It is a request to be seen as equals; as human beings; to be respected. The same right all people have.
My right to clean water is also at stake. I live in a small river town right on the Missouri river about 1000 miles downstream. When the Dakota Access pipeline spills, it will directly affect my family, my town, the barges, St. Louis, Kansas City, the farmers should the river flood it’s banks, the list goes on. What will we do then? How will we heal one of the largest rivers in North America once it’s been so badly marred?
How will I face my daughter and tell her our water isn’t safe to drink? How will I tell her I brought her into this world, only to leave her with this mess? What do I say when she asks why the police didn’t protect her and her water? We’re not at the site, but it still affects us. All of us. Every pipeline being laid affects us. Every new fracking well. Every time we pull natural gas and oil out for money, and forget our children. We lived for thousands of years without these things and we can again. We can’t live without water.
To the officers. I know you are in between a rock and a hard place. My family is full of military vets. I have cousins on the local force. I know you’re just taking orders. Let me ask you though, when you signed up to protect your community is this what you imagined? Many of you hundreds of miles from home, protecting a company? For what? Money? And when that pipeline busts and you are forced to reckon with the destruction it brings, will you be in those communities there and downstream? Will you help clean up that mess? Will you look us in the eye? Can you? Can you honestly tell me you believe in what you’re doing? What will you say to your children when they ask you?
Even if you support the pipeline, can you seriously stand behind the violence? Do you support the beating of old women and children? Is that the kind of police officer you wanted to be? I watched the live feed. The protectors had no weapons, they never have. The sheriffs can spit any lies they want, but I know the truth and so do you. You are better than this. Be better than this. You have the power to change this, to help those people and not hurt them.
“Understanding, and being Understood are both parts of Peace” – Unknown
If you can’t help the water protectors, at least stop hurting them. You know in your heart it’s wrong. I advise you to listen to their prayers in the morning, in the evening, and when they stand before you. Some of those prayers are for you. For your well being and for your protection. Does that sound like someone who wants to hurt you?
To my brothers and sisters at Sacred Stone Camp and the other camps. Stay strong. We are with you. Every day I pray for your safety and well being. I donate and I talk to anyone who will listen. I want to be there with you, and hopefully someday I will be. I love you. Thank you for protecting my family and my home. Thank you for standing with Mother Earth. Your strength and sacrifice are noticed and appreciated.
Love to you all. On both sides. See and act in the right way, in the good way.
“Have courage, and be kind” – Cinderella
Disclaimer: I do not represent the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Water Protectors from the Sacred Stone Camp, it’s affiliates, Myron Dewey, or Dallas Goldtooth. All statements in this article are my own opinion as this is an Editorial piece.