Remain Vigilant, Keep Praying


Arvol Looking Horse and Shiye Bidziil check out video captured by drones near the Oceti Sakowin Camp. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Veilleux Photography.

By Vi Waln

The drama and sensationalism drummed up by major news sources continues to cloud the real issue of why there is a huge gathering of human beings in North Dakota. The Sacred Stone, Oceti Sakowin and Rosebud Camps were formed to show support for the Missouri River and all her tributaries. The human need for clean water to live should not be turned into a political issue.

There’s really nothing political about our need for clean water. You either want clean water or you want an oil pipeline, that will eventually leak, buried under the Missouri River. Please don’t get sidetracked by all the irresponsible news reports skewing the real issue behind the stand against the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL).

For example, take those ridiculous press conferences hosted by the DAPL protectors working in the Morton County Sheriff’s Department. Water Protectors cringe when they see those press conferences go live on social media from the news outlets in Bismarck, North Dakota. That is, the video footage shared by Indigenous media sources working from within the Water Protector camps has debunked a lot of the public statements made in those press conferences.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department recently had to take down their Facebook page. Since a lawsuit based on their use of “excessive force” was recently filed against the department, they had to scrub information posted on Facebook that wasn’t completely accurate. So, they had to rush to remove pictures and posts about their encounters with Water Protectors. It’s called covering your ass.

Still, the social media manager for their Facebook page must have forgot that the internet remembers everything. Thus, a skilled hacker could easily find and repost all the “deleted” information removed during the Morton County Sheriff’s Department Facebook hiatus. In any case, screen shots of the “deleted” material taken by devout NoDAPL Facebook users might soon appear as part of the Court record in favor of the Plaintiffs.

This week’s visit by thousands of veterans in support of the Water Protectors has also drawn fire from media outlets. In the rush to provided “balanced” coverage, many newspapers ran stories about veterans who were not in support of their comrades showing up at the Water Protector camps. Veterans were quoted as not wanting to get involved in politics.

Yet, when one joins the military, they must take an oath which includes the following statement: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” There’s really nothing political about defending your people against enemies. You either fight the enemy or you don’t.

The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States guarantees all of us the right to peaceably assemble anywhere in this country. The Constitution does not give law enforcement the right to abuse people who are peaceably assembled. Maybe if Morton County’s army wasn’t so violent, the veterans would not have had to travel to North Dakota.

The video footage taken by Indigenous journalists, who are providing continuous coverage of what is going on near the Water Protector camps, are the main reason why our veterans felt the need to travel to North Dakota. The violent actions by the militarized police force at the Backwater Bridge were all caught on video. Their actions are those of an enemy. Soldiers swear to defend “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Tribal and non-tribal veterans grew tired of seeing their unarmed relatives violently attacked by the police, National Guard and DAPL mercenaries.

There have also been attempts to quash the video coverage released by Indigenous journalists. In fact, one drone was hacked and stolen by the police. In addition, video footage shows members of the militarized police force in North Dakota shooting at drones operated by Indigenous journalists. They obviously don’t want to see anymore drone footage showing the world their propensity to engage in violent acts against unarmed citizens.

Indigenous journalists are growing in numbers. Yet, there will always be someone out there wanting to silence the real voices we represent. We have to stand strong. We are here to offer the perspective our ancestors didn’t get to voice during the bloody wars fought on our homelands in the 18th and 19th centuries.

We are tired of reading the one-sided stories written and filmed about us by those living outside of our world. I encourage my fellow Indigenous journalists to continue documenting our living history reports from Standing Rock. The world needs to read our stories. The world needs to watch our video.

We have to get the truth out there for everyone to see. It’s no fun covering controversy, but if we don’t do it, the non-native journalists will. We are weary of seeing their sensationalized news coverage.

Wopila to all Indigenous journalists for providing a service that is often thankless and always dangerous. Don’t let the fools who want to kill the messenger stop you from reporting the truth of what is really happening in Indian Country.

I also want to say Wopila to all the Water Protectors who sacrificed much in the NoDAPL fight. The announcement from Tribal Leaders on December 4, 2016 regarding the Army Corp of Engineers’ (ACE) intent to deny the easement for DAPL was welcomed by many humans across the globe. Apparently, an environmental impact study will be done and other routes considered.

Still, considering a different route doesn’t mean the pipeline is dead. The ACE announcement can only be viewed as a small victory in the ongoing war against big corporations who think nothing of raping Mother Earth. Remain vigilant relatives. Keep praying.


Woman Harasses Students Near Campus

By Vi Waln

MISSION – A self-proclaimed street minister upset many parents when she shouted inappropriately at several students waiting at the bus stop at the Todd County High School campus last week.


Angela Cummings carried a video camera to tape her harassment of students last week. Photo from Facebook.

Angela Cummings carried a camera to video-tape her visit to the high school campus. She posted what she said was an edited video of the encounter she had on YouTube. Any Internet user can view the YouTube video by searching for “Mission South Dakota High School Revival or Riot.”

“Your God is dead; my God is alive!” Cummings yelled at students waiting to board the bus. “You are miserable, you would rather go to the medicine man than God the father, God the son and God the holy ghost, your medicine man cannot save you. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him, not the medicine man loser. The medicine man are losers. Your medicine man does not love you!”

The woman also allegedly called a local medicine man 57 times with the intent of harassing him. The man had to report her to police to stop the harassing phone calls.

She is also seen on her video hollering at teens, yelling “Justin Bieber wannabe” and challenging a parent to “Come on, hit me.”

Students on the video could be heard yelling “Go home!”

“Today, I went to the only high school here on the Indian reservation and begin to preach against sin,” Cummings wrote in a November 21 error-filled post on Facebook. “Presented the gospel and 3 police showed up. One drove by and didn’t bother stopping. The other 2 did nothing and asked about free speech laws. He did not even know. I told him my legal right and not once did he attempt to stop me. A mom threatened to get out and come hit me. I said ‘Come on’.”


Photo from Facebook.

“However, when I left another mom came after me with 2 teens and got so mad, that she parked car and followed me with camera in my face,” she wrote. “I walked to post office for safety and a Lutheran pastor was there placed by God.”

A video of this encounter also appears on YouTube, titled “Native American stalks Woman Street Preacher in Mission, South Dakota.”

Another Facebook post from Johnny Wade read “I’m the Pastor of All Nations church, we are appalled at what we have seen and heard from Angela [Cummings] on the sidewalk at Todd County High School. We could not believe she would say such things to students and other people. She completely and totally crossed the line in regards to any and everything we represent. We would never endorse such behavior towards students and against any other person in this community or anywhere else.”

“On behalf of our church, we apologize to all who were insulted out there by [Angela Cumming’s] very hard and careless words,” wrote Pastor Wade. “I know we weren’t out there but I feel compelled because our church name was used out there and if a person is going to use our church they must represent our views and values and this totally goes against what we believe and who we are as a church so on behalf of All Nations Church I ask forgiveness for what Angela [Cummings] said to our students-it was unacceptable.”

Several subsequent social media posts by parents of Todd County students appeared to advocate for the iron fence to remain around the high school following the incident. The school board had previously approved an action to take the fence down.




We Weren’t Supposed To Survive

By Vi Waln

I rarely use the word evil. It’s a word best left to the Christian fanatics to pepper their fire and brimstone speeches with. Still, what we’ve all witnessed in person, as well as on social media video shared from Standing Rock, can only be described as evil.

The Indigenous people of Turtle Island were not supposed to survive. The evil wasicu army led many massacres in their efforts to wipe us out. Their notion of Manifest Destiny had no place for Indigenous people.

Members of the National Guard and numerous law enforcement officers serving in the Morton County army in North Dakota are direct descendants of those blood thirsty military gangs who led government ordered attacks on our ancestors. The militarized police force is committed to protecting and serving the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) construction. Several attacks led against unarmed Water Protectors have been marked with violence.

For example, the brutal attack on Red Fawn Fallis on October 27, 2016 was documented on a cell phone video. The footage depicts the dog pile attack on her by a gang of officers clad in riot-gear. The video shows her being hit several times with a Taser while she was immobilized on the ground.

Consequently, those now serving in Morton County’s military force carry the memory of their ancestor’s violence in their DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). This DNA memory contributes to the overt cruelty inflicted upon unarmed Water Protectors by members of the military force operating in North Dakota.

It’s very difficult to transform DNA. It takes great effort by the individual to rise above the detrimental effects that inherited memories have on their DNA. What we’ve seen coming from the militarized police force, through their recent attacks against unarmed people, shows that it’s easier for them to succumb to the violence handed down by their ancestors. They would rather perpetuate the violent cycle handed down to them by their murderous ancestors than work on healing themselves.

We were put here to evolve into higher level human beings in order to care for Mother Earth. People who choose not to do the work required to reach an evolved thought process can be compared to plastic; think of them as kind of like man-made dolls. They might appear human on the outside but they’re spiritually empty on the inside. Their spirit left long ago, no one has called it back for them.

The lack of human compassion also contributes to a tendency to lie. Arrogance, ego and denial are attributes continuously displayed by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department. That is, contrary to statements made in press conferences by law enforcement employees, video footage captured by several Indigenous journalists shows countless violent acts perpetuated against unarmed Water Protectors. Cameras don’t lie.


Photo Courtesy of Digital Smoke Signals

Images of the army force decked out in riot gear standing behind concrete barriers reinforced with prison grade razor wire, aiming firehoses to soak unarmed people in below freezing temperatures have been viewed by millions around the world. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department lost face long ago. They have zero credibility. Their behavior has changed the way I now perceive law enforcement.

The members of the Morton County army who step up with smiling faces to brutalize unarmed people, epitomize evil. Their inhumane actions are characteristic of people whose spirits have left them. Their behavior has many of us wondering what kind of deal they’ve struck with the demons controlling their actions.

On November 25, 2016, a day designated by President Barack Obama as Native American Heritage Day, a letter was received by Dave Archambault II, Standing Rock Tribal Chairman. This letter was written by the US Army Corp of Engineers District Commander/Colonel John W. Henderson and read in part:

I am closing the portion of the Corps-managed federal property north of the Cannonball River to all public use and access effective December 5, 2016. . . Any person found to be on the Corps’ lands north of the Cannonball River after December 5, 2016, will be considered trespassing and may be subject to prosecution under federal, state and local laws. Furthermore, any person who chooses to stay on these Corps’ lands north of the Cannonball River does so at their own risk, and assumes any and all corresponding liabilities for their unlawful presence and occupation of such lands.

The land referred to in Henderson’s threatening letter is where the Oceti Sakowin Camp is currently located. This area is also a part of the 1851 Treaty land. Consequently, the Water Protectors now inhabiting the camp have issued publicly statements indicating they will not leave until the Army Corp of Engineers denies the easement application submitted by DAPL.

Again, we were not supposed to survive. Today, our physical presence reminds the wasicu that their efforts to annihilate us failed miserably. Every time they see one of us, it is proof their ancestors failed in their genocide attempts. We are still here. We will continue to fight for clean water for our unborn generations.

Will Morton County’s trigger happy Army attack the Oceti Sakowin camp in the same manner they did at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee? The world is watching to see.

November 27, 2016 UPDATE: The Army Corp of Engineers issued an update to the November 25, 2016 letter sent to Chairman Dave Archambault II of Standing Rock.

November 28, 2016 UPDATE: North Dakota Governor issues Executive Order to immediately evacuate Oceti Sakowin Camp

Oceti Sakowin lit in Ceremony


The Oceti Sakowin Fire was lit in a ceremony held November 5, 2016. Photo from Facebook.


By Vi Waln

Our Lakota ancestors had unwavering faith in the Seventh Generation. Their prayers were from the heart. The prayers they offered long ago were intended for those of us here today. As a people whose lives are based in prayer, we understand that once our prayer is made, we ride on the faith that it will manifest.

The unwavering faith we have in our prayer was inherited from our powerful ancestors. Their long-ago prayers were for the Seventh Generation to come back stronger than they were. Their prayer was made knowing they would not see it manifest during their lifetime. They prayed anyway.

The 19th century Lakota had little choice when they were forced into the concentration camps on the land we now call home. There were two options: accept life on the reservation or die. Ever mindful of the children and the unborn, our ancestors reluctantly relinquished their freedom for the confinement of the reservation.

Before we were forced onto the reservation, our people were defined by a central fire that was cared for by a designated individual. This fire was tended around the clock. When the Oceti Sakowin moved to a different area, coals were carefully placed in a buffalo horn and carried to where the new camp was established.

The fire was the heart of our ancestors. The coals signified that life would continue, no matter how far the people moved. Yet, as we all know, the coming of the wasicu changed all of that and the main campfire of our people flickered out at some point. Accounts passed down by Lakota elders say the Oceti Sakowin flame last warmed the camps sometime during the mid-19th century.

When our people were forced onto the reservations, the prayer for the Seventh Generation was always remembered. The intent of the wasicu was to wipe us off the face of the planet, yet the faith of our ancestors’ prayer has carried us into the world we live in today. The ancestral prayer for the Seventh Generation to mend the broken hoop of our nation has always been alive.

On November 5, 2016, a ceremonial fire was lit at the Oceti Sakowin Camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. This fire was lit for the seven bands of the Titonwan Lakota, so our children will live. Tipis representing the Oglala, Sicangu, Hunkpapa, Mnicoujou, Sihasapa, Oohenunpa and Itazipco are once again surround the central fire of our ancestors. Our Dakota and Nakota relatives are also represented by this fire.

This fire is very important. It represents the faith that went into all of our ancestor’s prayers. This fire was also lit for all of the Indigenous people of Mother Earth. How fitting that it be rekindled during the fight to protect our Mni Wiconi.

I realize there are many of you who don’t care that the flame of the Oceti Sakowin is burning again. Colonization has taken a great toll among our people. We all have free will and can make our own decision on whether or not to embrace our Lakota heritage.

Today, I hear many Lakota people say “I didn’t grow up that way” or “I wasn’t raised traditionally.” When you utter those phrases, you are embracing your assimilation. Furthermore, you are actually discarding the faith your ancestors put into their prayer for the Seventh Generation.

Still, it’s perfectly okay to embrace assimilation because you do have the free will to make that choice. We only ask that you continue to pray for your Lakota relatives who’ve embraced the faith our ancestors had in the power of the Seventh Generation. The Lakota people who have embraced the spiritual path of our ancestors, offer daily prayers for all to have a better world to live in. So, no matter what faith you are affiliated with, please remember your Lakota relatives in your prayer.

I was very honored to visit the sacred fire recently to offer cedar and tobacco. I believe the prayers I said at the fire were much like the ones uttered by my ancestors. I want my unborn generations to live healthy in a world where their basic needs are met. I prayed for them to always have enough clean water, food, clothing and shelter.

The fact that the central fire of the Oceti Sakowin is burning at the big camp near the Cannon Ball River gives me hope for our people, humanity and all of our unborn generations. Keep praying.

Young, Hannah Make Unannounced Visit to Oceti Sakowin Camp


KODAK Digital Still Camera

Musician Neil Young is pictured here with former Tribal President Bryan Brewer in 2014.


By Vi Waln

CANNON BALL – The steady stream of celebrity visitors to the Water Protector camps lends high-profile support in the continued fight to protect major water sources from the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL).

On November 12, musician Neil Young turned 71 years old and celebrated by paying an unannounced visit to the Oceti Sakowin Camp. Water Protectors were surprised by the artist, who casually walked through camp at sunset. And despite a chilly evening, he stopped at several camps to offer impromptu performances, entertaining camp residents with his guitar and trademark harmonica.

Young has been very outspoken during the past several years against oil pipeline construction. Actress Daryl Hannah accompanied him on the visit to Standing Rock. Both celebrities were highly visible in the recent fight against the Keystone XL pipeline (KXL).

Young and Hannah spoke with a small group of Water Protectors in a private meeting held in a wood stove heated tipi at the Oceti Sakowin Camp. Young told the group that the gathering of so many people from all over the world is an indication of the awakening of people’s minds and spirits to the damage being done to the environment.

Young recently released the video “Indian Givers” to bring awareness of what is happening at Standing Rock. The video included raw footage of direct actions and police response to them.

Also, included in the music video were clips of Dale “Happy” American Horse locked down to a piece of equipment on one of the DAPL construction sites. American Horse, a Sicangu Lakota, was the first Water Protector to chain himself to equipment using a device called a sleeping dragon.

American Horse and his mother, Cheryl Angel, were among those invited to the meeting. Others attending were Lewis Grass Rope, Lone Wolf Yankton, Anne White Hat, Aldo Seoane, Art Tanderup, John Quigley and Vi Waln. They all shared their perspective on the unprecedented gathering to bring awareness to the dangers of oil pipelines being constructed under major water sources.

Young teamed up with Willie Nelson in September 2014 for the Harvest the Hope Concert at the Tanderup Farm, located in the direct path of the KXL pipeline, in rural Neligh, Nebraska. Both singers were adopted as relatives in a pre-concert ceremony by the Rosebud Sioux Tribal President Cyril Scott and Oglala Lakota Tribal President Bryan Brewer.


Daryl Hannah is pictured here with Russell Eagle Bear in 2011.

Hannah was also highly visible during the fight against the KXL pipeline. She visited the White Plume Ranch in Manderson, SD in 2011 and participated in a ride to bring awareness of the dangers associated with oil pipelines. She was arrested in 2012 when she accompanied a private landowner in Texas and blocked KXL construction equipment. The actress was again arrested in 2013 at a KXL protest in Washington DC.



Sicangu Herbalist Brings Healing


Several jars of herbal cough syrup were distributed to Water Protectors.                     


By Vi Waln

CANNON BALL – Anne White Hat, Sicangu Lakota Herbalist, created several remedies which were recently distributed to the Water Protectors residing in the Sacred Stone, Rosebud and Oceti Sakowin camps.

“I make an amazing cough syrup that is so good you can put it on your pancakes,” stated White Hat. She recently led a workshop to make the cough syrup at the Oceti Sakowin Camp. Herbs, raw honey and Mason jars donated to the camps were all utilized in this special formula. Several herbalist hopefuls crowded around her during the session to learn how to make the cough syrup.

“I work with essential oils as well and I put together a blend specifically for folks here at the camps suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. There’s a lot of people affected with PTSD now,” White Hat stated. “I’ve given away everything I’ve made.”

The trauma people are suffering is a result of what they’ve experienced while participating in direct actions at the front line or during their arrest. The militarized police force now protecting the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) construction site have allegedly committed human rights violations against numerous Water Protectors. White Hat’s blend was created to help people recover from those experiences.

For instance, several people who have been arrested in connection with direct actions in Morton County, North Dakota reported that law enforcement took samples of their DNA by swabbing the inside of their mouth. They were concerned about this. However, the Water Protector Trauma Blend of essential oils created by White Hat will work to heal the DNA of those who are suffering from PTSD.

“We are working to heal people who suffer from PTSD using the essential oil blend that’s really non-invasive. Essential oils are actually flower essences and they work on the DNA level,” she said.

White Hat encouraged many people to “use this flower essence and forget that they took a sample of your DNA, that’s the old DNA, what we are going to do is rewrite the traumatized DNA that you’ve carried for over 500 years,” she said. “We are healing, we are empowering people to leave that DNA trauma behind.”

White Hat also makes arnica salve, a pain relieving ointment created from herbs and beeswax. Many residents on the Rosebud have used this salve and will testify to its pain relieving power. For example, at least one cancer patient on the Rosebud has used the salve to manage pain. Family members applied the salve all over the patient’s body to relieve some of the pain.

White Hat has been creating herbal remedies for about 20 years. She has led workshops on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations. She is planning another visit to Standing Rock in the near future.


Anne White Hat distributed the herbal cough syrup to elders and children at the       Oceti Sakowin Camp.  

Her special herbal cough syrup, arnica salve and other remedies can be ordered online. Visit and place your order today. For more information or to make a donation, you can email



Forgiveness is Powerful


Members of the Morton Co. army subdue Terrell Iron Shell, a Sicangu Lakota Pipe Carrier of the International Indigenous Youth Council, on October 27, 2016 near Cannon Ball, ND. Taxpayers are funding police officers from surrounding states to abandon their posts and join a military force working against Water Protectors seeking to protect the Missouri River from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Photo from Facebook.


By Vi Waln

Our Indigenous women are amazing. Over the weekend an event was organized by Lyla June Johnston and Cheryl Angel in Mandan, North Dakota. This event was held to bring awareness to how crucial forgiveness is for the human race.

Most of you are aware of the events which have been happening near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, as the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) continues in North Dakota. Unfortunately, despite all intent to remain in prayer for the protection of the Missouri River from a crude oil pipeline, some direct actions did involve violence.

Many human beings have been brutalized by the police officers. These are officers who’ve abandoned their jobs in their own states and counties to join the military force. Taxpayers from several states, including South Dakota, are the financial sponsors for their police officers to join Morton County’s army. Many people who’ve been arrested have publicly shared their experience of what it’s like to be mistreated in North Dakota county jails.

All the people involved in these actions, whether in person or by watching social media live streams and video, have been adversely affected. This includes the police officers who are inflicting brutality. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a real condition that many of us suffer from. Last week I wrote a little about how PTSD is passed down to our unborn generations through our DNA.

We may not realize it, but this subconscious PTSD carries over into our present lives. This is what is meant when people talk about historical trauma. It’s difficult to move forward when we carry PTSD in our bodies. It takes great effort to transform the trauma we carry in our DNA into forgiveness.

It may seem easier to engage in anger and violence as a way to release the pent-up trauma we carry. We might get so angry that we do things we later regret. Oftentimes, we don’t even know where the anger comes from. This is one example of historical trauma. Today, many of our people are incarcerated because their anger took over and propelled them to commit a violent crime.



Karen Little Thunder and Cheryl Angel, from the Sicangu Lakota Oyate, carry the “Love, Prayer, Forgiveness, Woakiktunze” banner to lead the Forgiveness walk held in Mandan, North Dakota on Sunday, November 6, 2016. Photo by Eileen Janis.


Still, we aren’t being productive human beings when we attribute the dysfunction in our lives to historical events. Our failure to work on transforming inner trauma creates a lifetime of unhappiness. We have to understand that we alone are responsible for our individual inner peace.

It takes tremendous courage to transform the DNA memories we were born with. Yet, when you work at becoming a better human being, you will definitely find happiness. Emptying ourselves of all the negative emotion and deeply buried historical trauma requires a hard look at what we carry inside.

Today, there are many Lakota people who claim they cannot forgive what was done to our ancestors. There are also many Lakota people who actively hold on to toxic energy over events they or their family suffered in this life. Many of us pass these unhealthy grudges to our Takoja, who actively carry them long after we pass away.

We have to forgive. Those of us who pray in traditional Lakota ceremony know that our prayers are greatly diminished when we choose to remain unforgiving. The level of our personal thought and inner emotion does affect the sacred energy we create in Lakota ceremony. So, because we pray with the Cannunpa and other sacred medicines, we have to forgive people who may have done great wrong to us or our family members. Forgiveness is the only way we are going to heal.

It really doesn’t matter if the person you are working to forgive is apologetic about what wrongs they might have committed. The ability to forgive is a gift you bestow upon yourself. You free yourself to higher levels of spirituality when you are able to forgive those who have done you harm. Forgiveness is not about the other person. The ability to truly forgive is all about self. Consequently, the hardest person to forgive is usually yourself.

The following paragraphs are excerpts from an address by Dave Archambault II, President of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who spoke to the people gathered in prayer for the November 6, 2016 Forgiveness Walk in Mandan, ND.

“It’s been difficult because we react to law enforcement aggression. They’ve been doing these things for hundreds of years now. It’s time to start to change how we react and what we do.”

“If you were harmed by law enforcement, you have to take care of yourself and the only way you can take care of yourself is through prayer. To forgive doesn’t mean to forget, we will always remember the wrongs that were done to us. To forgive means to live in a good way, in a better way.”

“I know what we are doing is the right thing. We are protecting our water. We are protecting our land for our future generations and for mankind. This whole movement has been about peace and prayer,” Archambault stated. “We can control how we behave.”

Forgiveness is powerful.