Diane Spotted Elk, Secretary for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, shares her experience camping at the Sacred Stone Camp in August. Diane supported the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and many other tribes representing across the nation, to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from building on tribal land. To read more #NoDPAL please go here.
Diane Spotted Elk: We arrived late Friday night. I traveled with around 20 other Cheyenne’s on a bus provided by Northern Cheyenne Tribal Historic Preservation Office Department. Upon our arrival we were greeted with lulu’s from the women and warrior cries from the males in camp. The security then escorted us to the tipi’s where they have the daily council meetings (the photo of the tipi’s that are all connected) and told us this is where the Cheyenne’s camped prior to the battle of Greasy Grass. They also mentioned our covenant being there at the same time. A very humbling feeling.
We set up our tents in the dark but security came and offered wood, blankets and anything else we might need. We could see many campfires and hear drumming and singing from the many different small camps in the area. Very beautiful under a start sky. When morning came you can hear the many prayers being said in different languages a group of about twelve women walking the whole perimeter of the camp, all praying for peace and protection of the people, land and water. People of many nationalities walking around. A young man came to our camp and gave us an agenda of what was going to take place Saturday and rules to follow while in camp he also pointed out where the kitchen was and supply tent if we were hungry or needed anything.
An announcer with a PA system could be heard encouraging the camp to continue prayers for the day. Behind us along the river another group of people were blessing the water. Prayers were constant. I felt very safe among so much prayer a calmness yet excited to be able to witness and be part of such a gathering. Beyond the camp’s as you near the blockade, which is about a 1/2-hour drive into Bismarck, the feeling changes to fear, of all the police units that are directing traffic to another longer route.
The announcer at camp stated that the Crows were here, and when the Crows entered camp again everyone welcomed them with lulu’s and warrior cries. As they (the Crows) passed through the gates they were singing. Men were dressed in regalia and women in Elk teeth dresses. The elderly Lakota man spoke his language and sang a beautiful song. Although we didn’t understand his language it was felt and obvious that he was welcoming them in a sacred manner. He then spoke of unity between tribes regardless of the past. All this for water.
To sign your organization on to NIWRC’s Stand in Solidarity with Standing Rock letter of support, supporting the exercise of the tribes sovereignty and stand against the perpetrator of violence against Mother Earth, the Dakota Access Pipeline, please go here.