Monthly Archives: October 2016

Traumatized by Morton County’s Army

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Members of the Morton County army subdue Terrell Iron Shell, a Sicangu Lakota Pipe Carrier of the International Indigenous Youth Council, on October 27, 2016 near Cannonball, North Dakota. Highway Patrol from surrounding states abandoned their positions to join Morton County’s military and protect a private corporation from human beings who want to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. Photo from Facebook.

By Vi Waln

Technology allowed many of us to witness the violence perpetrated against innocent human beings last week by the Morton County military. The men and women who pushed innocent people south on North Dakota highway 1806, were fully clad in riot gear and can no longer be viewed as mere police officers. High-tech weapons specifically designed for war zones were used against unarmed human beings, bumping state troopers and county cops from several states to a whole different level.

We have to remember the Water Protectors are unarmed. They established the new camp in the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline because they did not want any more sacred sites torn up. They bravely stood in front of the heavily armed military with their prayers, songs, sage and sacred instruments, including a Cannunpa.

The brutal actions of the Morton County military against peaceful Water Protectors on October 27, 2016 traumatized many people. The humans who were on the front line were the most affected by the violent tactics of the military. Those human beings are forever changed because of their experience. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is very real. It never goes away. PTSD affects you for the rest of your life.

In addition, the PTSD buried in our deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was triggered for many of us as we watched the brutality on live video streams. The PTSD we’ve carried for generations in our DNA is a result of the violent atrocities our ancestors suffered at the hands of the military forces blessed by the US government. Thus, the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual distress many Indigenous people are still feeling is completely understandable.

You may have heard the PTSD contained in our DNA referred to as intergenerational or historical trauma. Experts have identified intergenerational or historical trauma, as well as PTSD, as afflictions affecting many areas of our lives. We must learn to understand these afflictions, which have been passed down through our ancestral lines, in order to empower ourselves and our children.

There is nothing to gain by continuing to blame the wasicu for the conditions we suffer today. We can’t change history. However, we can help ourselves by learning how these historical events affect us today. The more we understand ourselves and our history, the more empowered we are to help our youth move forward with an enlightened mindset to tackle the issues we all face.

Consequently, the wasicu also suffer from intergenerational trauma. They carry forms of PTSD in their DNA. However, their PTSD stems largely from the guilt they carry. This guilt is directly linked to the violent atrocities committed by their ancestors on the Indigenous people of Turtle Island.

Furthermore, the wasicu also carry ancestral fear in their DNA. That is, the prayers of Indigenous people have always been incomprehensible to the wasicu, causing them to feel great fear. For example, the 1890 massacre of innocent Lakota at Wounded Knee was a manifestation of the deep-seated fear of our Ghost Dance prayer. This subconscious trauma also continues to affect many areas of their life.

I’ve come to realize that this intergenerational trauma carried by the wasicu, contributes heavily to their perception of Indigenous people. For example, when you look at social media today, there are many wasicu who post their innermost thoughts and feelings about Indigenous people. They are not aware that their fear, anger, hate, denial, resentment and racism stem from the guilt left in their DNA by their ancestors.

Today, many Indigenous people understand the necessity of the man-made laws created by the wasicu. Most of the time, we appreciate the hard work of law enforcement in removing dangerous criminals, such as meth dealers, child rapists and murderers, from society. Yet, there are also the laws of Mother Earth, which we know as Natural or Spiritual Law. Consequently, the human beings who continue to place man-made law above Natural or Spiritual Law will one day have to face the wrath of Mother Earth in her Court Room.

Natural or Spiritual Law has no statute of limitations. Thus, the wasicu also hold deep seated fear of us because they know on a subconscious level that they will eventually have to atone for the legacy of guilt left by their ancestors’ war crimes. Karma does not forget.

The Morton County military, as well as Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) owners and employees, are also human beings. They are there to protect their intent to exploit the oil of Mother Earth so they can make more money. They are disconnected humans who have forgotten that their Water is alive. They don’t understand that Water is Life. The phrase Mni Wiconi is foreign to them because their mentality is clouded by man-made laws and the almighty dollar.

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The Morton County military continues to protect the private corporation DAPL workers from being stopped by human beings who want to protect ancient graves and the Missouri River. Many cops from surrounding states abandoned their law enforcement posts to join Morton County’s army. Photo from Facebook.

As long as the Morton County military and DAPL security mercenaries remain disconnected from their real human purpose, they will continue to use their jobs to inflict needless abuse on innocent people who understand and work to follow the protocols of Natural or Spiritual Law.  Their continued actions against Water Protectors are creating new DNA memories for their unborn generations. One day, they will understand what the Indigenous people have known all along: The Natural or Spiritual Laws of Mother Earth have no statute of limitations.

I continue to pray for our brave Water Protectors. I also offer prayers for the disconnected humans whose first loyalty is pledged to the American dollar. These folks desperately need our prayers. Their intergenerational guilt and fear determines how they treat all people of color.

We are all human beings. We have to get past our tendency to hurt one another over money. Human beings should not have to judge one another as an enemy. The real enemy is the inhumane, profit-seeking corporation working to destroy the graves of our ancestors and put our Mni Wiconi at serious risk to move crude oil through a flimsy, man-made pipeline in relentless pursuit of the almighty dollar.

Keep praying. #NoDAPL #WaterIsLife #MniWiconi

Oceti Sakowin: A Place of Spiritual Power

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Access to the Oceti Sakowin Camp by journalists is restricted to Native Media Only, who are required to check in when they arrive.

By Vi Waln

Oceti Sakowin Camp, located just north of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, is a place we all must visit. There have been many great photos, stories and video clips from this camp shared on social media sites. People who use social media and cannot travel to visit the camp in person, do appreciate all the shared photos and videos.

Certainly, a vicarious experience of what the camp is like can be had by viewing social media updates. Yet, unless you’ve actually visited the camp, you haven’t felt the level of spiritual energy present there. There’s a huge difference between viewing events online and being physically present to participate in living history.

In the movement to protect humanity’s Water of Life against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), there are several camps established in North Dakota. Sacred Stone Camp was the initial camp founded by Standing Rock tribal citizens last April. This camp is located on tribal land near the community of Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

Another camp was also established on Standing Rock tribal land. This camp is adjacent to the Cannonball River on the south side. This area is referred to as the Sicangu Spirit Camp, dubbed as such by the Rosebud tribal citizens staying there.

A group of concerned folks recently formed the Sacred Ground camp, located north of Oceti Sakowin. This camp was established after DAPL workers bulldozed an area said to contain burial sites and cultural artifacts. The people staying in that area are camped in the ditch off Highway 1806.

The Oceti Sakowin camp is the largest. It is located on federal land managed by the US Army Corp of Engineers. This camp is on the north side of the Cannonball River.

The Red Warrior camp is also located in this area. When viewing photos on Facebook, the Oceti Sakowin camp can be distinquished by the many flags posted along the entryway. These flags represent nations from all across Mother Earth.

Consequently, a camp of this size doesn’t exist without problems. Yet, I didn’t visit the Oceti Sakowin camp to focus on politics and drama. There is enough of that happening on my own reservation. I went to Standing Rock with the intent to pray for humanity’s Water of Life.

The level of spirituality present at the Oceti Sakowin camp was evident within the first hour I was there. Helicopters fly over the camps on a daily basis. It’s extremely annoying to everyone. In fact, I learned that at least one of those helicopters was allegedly flying in violation of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

A helicopter appeared in the sky shortly after I arrived. Looking at pictures of helicopters on Facebook is totally different than seeing them in person. Yet, soon after I looked up to see the low flying helicopter pass over the camp, I also watched an eagle gracefully fly over. The mere act of that eagle flying over the camp right after the helicopter did, dissipated all the negative energy I felt the aircraft bring. I was amazed at the level of spiritual energy I witnessed in that one moment.

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A large group of Aztec dancers from Minneapolis, MN began their prayer dance at the Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Cannonball River on October 1, 2016.

I was also fortunate to witness prayers from a group of Aztec dancers who visited the camp. Donned in full regalia, the group took the time to make their rounds dancing throughout the camping area.

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The Aztec dancers were accompanied by their drum.

They completed their ceremony at the main public gathering area near the entrance. We happened to be on the road as the group moved toward the main area. The spiritual energy of their powerful songs, prayer and dance was very intense. The only way to describe it is to say it nearly knocked me over.

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A view of the Aztec dancers coming up the entryway as moved toward the main area.

We also witnessed the arrival of the Oglala Lakota youth runners and horseback riders from Pine Ridge, who came in support of the No DAPL movement. The energy they brought was just as powerful as that of the Aztec dancers. That is, as we stood at the big drum singing the prayer songs, I experienced the same type of sacred energy I feel at sun dance. It was amazing.

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A group of Oglala Lakota youth arrive at the Oceti Sakowin Camp on October 1, 2016.

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Oglala Lakota young people on horses were welcomed into the main camp area.

Also, my Native American Church relatives from Rosebud sponsored a prayer service while I was there. We offered prayers and spiritual food at the river following the ceremony. I truly appreciate the good intentions of my relatives in sponsoring this ceremony for the Water of Life.

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Water Protectors who attended a Native American Church prayer service led by Chet & Melaine Stoneman, Sicangu Lakota, on October 1-2, 2016 were treated to this cake as part of the ceremonial dinner.

Unfortunately, the news of the US Court of Appeals ruling against Standing Rock’s request for an injunction to stop DAPL construction seemed to be a setback for all Water of Life protectors.

However, a Joint Statement from Department of Justice, Department of the Army and Department of the Interior Regarding D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Decision in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. US Army Corp of Engineers was released on October 10 which called for DAPL construction to remain halted while the issue continues to be investigated.

We have to keep praying for our Mni Wiconi. Our faith in the power of our prayers can help turn things toward the good in ways we may not expect.

I encourage you all to go visit the camps. Even if you stop in for a few hours, you won’t regret it. If you can’t make the trip to Standing Rock, please keep the human beings who are there in your prayers as they are now preparing for winter.

Pray every single day for our Water of Life. Our coming generations are depending on us to guarantee their access to clean drinking water.

Mitakuye Oyasin.