I smell like campfire. Like a child who carries around the blanket that smells like Mom, every day I put on a scarf or a sweater that smells like Standing Rock. It keeps me warm; the smell helps me feel whole in a time when my rage and grief threaten my sanity.
The Lakota Sioux people who invited me to their fire in the Oceti Camp on the Standing Rock Reservation also shared with me their history and their prayers. They reminded me that they have survived the horror of the white conquest, and they have preserved the medicine that has kept them alive. At Standing Rock, they share that medicine. It is in the sacred words, in respect and trust and kindness between people. It is in protection for Grandmother Earth and all Her children. The medicine is carried along on the currents of humility. At Standing Rock, I saw how humility moves and buoys up, it nourishes and transports. Like the water.
“We need to!;” “We must!” are the rallying cries I’m accustomed to. Urgent, direct. On the frontlines of the DAPL, that’s not what I heard. The air and the ground resonated with the Protectors’ prayers of thanks and blessings. For now I’ll end with the prayer I heard throughout my days in Standing Rock. May the knowledge that we all are related hold us together in our struggles to protect the sacredness of all life.
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin: All my relations
All my relations. I honor you in this circle of life with me today. I am grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge you in this prayer…
To the Creator, for the ultimate gift of life, I thank you.
To the mineral nation that has built and maintained my bones and all foundations of life experience, I thank you.
To the plant nation that sustains my organs and body and gives me healing herbs for sickness, I thank you.
To the animal nation that feeds me from your own flesh and offers your loyal companionship in this walk of life, I thank you.
To the human nation that shares my path as a soul upon the sacred wheel of Earthly life, I thank you.
To the Spirit nation that guides me invisibly through the ups and downs of life and for carrying the torch of light through the Ages. I thank you.
To the Four Winds of Change and Growth, I thank you.
You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live. We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. One, not more important than the other. One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below. All of us a part of the Great Mystery.
Thank you for this Life.