January 14, 2017
Kandi Mossett, Indigenous Environmental Network’s (IEN) Lead Organizer on the Extreme Energy and Just Transition Campaign and member of the Hidatsa tribe and IEN’s Lead Organizer on the Extreme Energy and Just Transition Campaign, greeted the CSJ Community by saying, “Hello, Relatives!” Despite joining us via Skype, she diminished any technological boundary by inviting us warmly into relationship, as she personally told of to the historic gathering of tribes, allies, and people from all walks of life at the Oceti Sakowin Camp of Standing Rock. There, over the past several months, thousands of people from all over the world have stood in solidarity to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline.
We were deeply moved by Kandi’s personal connections to the struggle and the pictures she showed us — images of the campsite, of water protectors standing in front of pipeline construction equipment, of militarized policemen using water cannons on Native people in freezing weather, and pictures of people who had sustained serious wounds from the bites of police dogs or the rubber bullets shot by police. The “blood memory” of this Dakota land and the witness of many people putting their lives at risk to protect the water from contamination, are a testimony to the unique ways individuals and groups are deeply living the mission in real struggles for justice today.
We paused in our community conversations to listen to the insights of special invited guests. These included Estella LaPointe, Dakota tribal member and Community Programs Manager at Dream of Wild Health (DWH) together with four youth leaders of the DWH’s “Garden Warriors.” They helped to give voice to the next generation’s view about what is happening at Standing Rock and ways we can be supportive.
This experience challenged community members to engage in significantly with CSJ documents Acts of Chapter and the CSJ Carondelet Statement of Solidarity with Native Peoples of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe,
Upon hearing the stories, one community member stated:
I am from North Dakota. I came here with a whole list of complaints against the protesters. After your presentation, I thought my legs were knocked out from under me. Now I’m grateful for what you are doing. You said the men from the ‘man camps’ have raped the women at Fort Berthold. The energy industry has raped the people, the land and the culture of North Dakota, and no one has been able to stop them. You are doing something to stop them, and I am grateful for what you are doing for me, for the people of North Dakota, the land, the water, the world. (Lilly Long, CSJ)
Sara Thomsen, singer and song writer, led us in singing Water is Life – Mni Wiconi. A song she wrote after visiting Standing Rock.
For more information about the legal timeline which was presented at the Community Assembly about Standing Rock can be found at http://earthjustice.org/features/faq-standing-rock-litigation
Community Assemblies are wonderful opportunities for sisters, consociates, and partners in mission to gather with people who share with us a passion for justice and spirituality of loving God and neighbor without distinction—to continue the mission of Jesus in the world today.
January 14th, 2017