A few years after my NDE, I traveled through Virginia teaching SAT skills at various boarding schools. One weekend I stopped to meditate in a beautiful forest and felt the presence of a Native American ancestor come to me and say, “Do not forget us.” I promised him that I would never forget him or his people. In every American Literature class, I teach the works of Black Elk, Zitkala-sa, and Sherman Alexie. This doesn’t feel like enough, but it is something. Watching films about Wounded Knee is a chilling reminder of how innocence was too often slaughtered, and I do not want my students to forget these moments.
Mid-summer I felt the stirrings of something that would be happening involving Native Americans in the U.S. When I heard about Standing Rock, a part of me didn’t want to start this semester of teaching. I wanted to go there and do what I could to help. I longed to join with those working to protect our waterways, our sacred lands, our Mother Earth. I knew there would be police brutality. I knew there would be the same hatred directed at Native Americans historically. I didn’t choose to leave everything to go there, but my heart was at Standing Rock every morning.
I feared history might repeat itself at Standing Rock. As NPR put it succinctly, we have never seen anything like this before and it has been happening for hundreds of years. Both statements are true, and the thought that the pipeline might not be diverted was a difficult possibility to accept.
For months, I’ve sent prayers of protection and prayers of hope to the many people protesting the pipeline at Standing Rock. At times, I felt angry and afraid that I might never live to see a world where mother earth is not degraded and soiled for the almighty dollar. When the veterans showed up to help protect the protesters, I felt encouraged. Bless you warriors. Bless every one of your lovely souls. Bless everyone who did something to help.
For anyone not aware of this situation, please do research and stay in the loop. The media did a horrible job by not covering this historic struggle. Don’t let this moment in time slip away unnoticed. Feathers, not guns, were held to the sky, and these protesters were hit with rubber bullets, freezing water, and tear gas. They were strip searched and beaten up, but by God and Goddess they stood in the freezing weather for Mother Earth. Songs and chants were given to heavens, and they were met with hatred day after day. I hope my love and the love of so many others also reached them in spirit.
Last night, I felt the pain of those at Standing Rock so completely that I feared I would cry myself dry. I thought about books like The Lies my History Teacher Told Me. I thought about how Native Americans have been the most lied-about subset of our population. I thought about how peaceful the hunters and gathers were, how attractive their societies were, and how many white settlers and slaves joined with the Native Americans. I thought about how many of us have Native American ancestry in our bloodline and must have felt some biological stirring, some remnant of connection to this moment in time.
Thank God that finally the U.S Army has decided not to allow the oil pipeline to cross under the reservoir in North Dakota. Please don’t let this decision be reversed in the future. Protect the waterways. Protect the sacred land. Never forget the true history of Native Americans. Never forget their struggle and their deep, earth-centered wisdom.
8 thoughts on “My Heart Has Been With Standing Rock”
OMG Tricia no wonder I felt I knew you? You know I have Native American Indian Guides? One of those Guides is called White Cloud, he also guides Eileen Coleman of Wales, amongst others, Eileen has another guide called Sitting Bull , in her book We come as one voice (wecomeasonevoice.wordpress.com) Sitting Bill speaks about the battle of wounded knee. Just before all this happened at Standing Rock , I was talking to Eileen about Wounded knee, a couple of days later a client of mind started to talk about a book she was reading , it was about wounded knee! I told her about Eileen and she told me about her Native American spirit guides,she opened up to me about a lot of things she had never told too many people about. As you know I question everything these days as it has been a bumpy road doing what I do,but things like these keep me on this bumpy path. Thank you again!
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I just emailed you something that a friend passed along to me:-)
Thank you Tricia,I will check it out,lovely to see Eileen Coleman has found her way here too,our tribe is indeed coming together, White Cloud is smiling I am sure.
What comes to mind is The Divine Femine energy that the Native American’s anchor in,they have respect for creation and Mother Earth,they have dignity and humility about it too.
Kelly, an admin. on my old site posted this letter she received,Kelly has Native American guides too….
This letter from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe arrived this morining via an email from ActionNetwork.org! Let us all continue to envision more of this and better globally. By holding Attitudes of Gratitude for the accomplishment of Peace and Liberty and by speaking out in peaceful formats, we make progress. It is like a snowball rolling down hill. It gathers both mass and momentum. Though this letter is addressed to me, it is to all who have contributed in any way to this outcome.
STANDING WITH STANDING ROCK
Yesterday we were notified that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will not grant the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the Dakota Access pipeline. Instead, they will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement regarding alternative routes for the pipeline. This action strongly vindicates what the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been saying all along – that we all have a responsibility to protect our waters for future generations.
This is an historic moment. For centuries, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and tribes across the country, have faced fundamental injustice at the hands of the federal government – which time and again took our lands and tried to destroy our way of life. Our Treaties and our human rights were ignored, our interests in protecting lands and waters were considered unimportant, and our voices were not heard.
It was this shared history that led Tribes to come together as never before to seek the protection of our waters against the threat of the Dakota Access pipeline. With peace and prayer, indigenous people from hundreds of Tribes said: our future is too important. We can no longer be ignored. The goal was to protect these sacred waters, and to do so in the name of our children.
And, with yesterday’s decision, it is clear that our voices have at long last been heard.
Yesterday’s decision demonstrates that, despite all the challenges that Tribes face and all of the terrible wrongs the federal government has committed in dealing with us over the years, justice for Indian people still remains possible. My thanks to the Obama Administration, and particularly to Assistant Secretary Darcy, for upholding the law and doing the right thing.
Yesterday’s decision belongs in large measure to the thousands of courageous people who put their lives on hold to stand with Standing Rock in support of a basic principle — that water is life. At Standing Rock, our youth played an important role in spreading our message and I am so proud of what they have been able to accomplish.
But Standing Rock could not have come this far alone. Hundreds of tribes came together in a display of tribal unity not seen in hundreds of years. And many thousands of indigenous people from around the world have prayed with us and made us stronger. I am grateful to each of you. And, as we turn a page with yesterday’s decision, I look forward to working with many of you as you return to your home communities to protect your lands and waters, and the sovereignty of your tribes.
My thanks to all of our allies, here and around the world, each of whom contributed to this effort. I want to give a special mention to the veterans who have come to Standing Rock in recent days. I am sure that the strength of your message in support of Standing Rock, and the rights of the Water Protectors, had a powerful impact as the Army made its decision. I appreciate all you have done.
While today is a great day, there is still much that needs to be done to protect Tribal rights and ensure justice for indigenous people everywhere. Using peace and prayer as our guideposts, and with the teachings of our elders and with inspiration from our youth, I believe there is much we can accomplish for the future.
Dave Archambault, II, Chairman
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Reblogged this on AUSSI DREAMER and commented:
Over the last few weeks I have been chatting with Tricia Barker an English Professor and a near death experiencer, our connection was good,I felt a sense of knowing her,I just discovered why,she has a connection to Native American Indian Guides, the battle of Wounded Knee has been coming up for her too,just as it did for me,Eileen Coleman and a client of mine only weeks before Standing Rock.
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Such a moving account Tricia! people tell me to forget the past and move on, but someone has to remind the young ones that these things should never happen again!
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Certainly! The images from the past are all too clear in my mind. We are meant to learn from the past and become kinder to others…better as societies. Thanks for your comment:-)
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