As the rain falls from the sky, I am holding back the tears I feel for the people of Standing Rock. They are not just the protectors of their sacred land and their water, but for the water of that region of our country. It is a living symbol how we should protect our Mother Earth and stand united as her children. My heart is singing a water song of peace and resolution. I want the waters of our land to stay pure and I want a fresh start for the needed balance of power, which will aid in the process of the healing of our country, the honoring of our Mother.
Fresh water is a fundamental requirement of all living organisms, crops, livestock and humanity included. Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and therefore, a basic human right. Contaminated water jeopardizes both the physical and social health of all people.
The human body is 50-60% water. The brain is composed of 70% water, the lungs are 90% water and the blood is 83% water.1 We can survive 3 weeks without food, but only three days without water. Our bodies use water in all of its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate the body’s temperature and maintain other body functions. We are living, functioning bodies of water.
Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline is a conflict with one of two different perspectives. One being, the pipeline could be an economic boon that could possibly make the country more self-sufficient. Or, the other, it could be an environmental disaster that could destroy sacred Native American sites and could possibly pollute their reservation water source.
The Dakota Access Pipeline or Bakken pipeline is the product of Dakota Access, LLC, a subsidiary of the Dallas, Texas corporation Energy Transfer, L.P. In order to get their project goals implemented, it has allowed brutal and military assault on the peacefully gathered, praying Native Americans. They have been shot with rubber bullets and weaponized bean bags, possibly resulting in brain damage and impaired vision, bitten by vicious attack dogs, strip searched, sprayed with water in sub-freezing temperatures (leading to hypothermia) and had concussion grenades launched at them—one woman nearly had her arm severed from her body, plastic bullets were pummeled at them, protesters were arrested and caged in animal cages. The list of the inhumane injustices goes on and on.
As an American of the 1960’s, it reminds me of the civil rights sit-ins and demonstrations throughout the south, staged to ask for basic civil rights. It seems again, we are caught up in the grips of a power struggle of money or human rights, a refusal to grow in unity as a people.
We are now standing in the midst of a decision to honor the old ways of using fossil fuel power or to be modern in our thinking and honor the old ways of honoring life as sacred. We get a chance to honor the importance of water as sacred and the preservation of it essential support of human life. I think supporting water as life giving resource is more important than the acquisition of power and money.
We are singing a water song with choruses ringing of a fight for sacredness of a culture, access to clean water, with verses asking for profit gained by using fossil fuel. We are at a standoff at Standing Rock. The old wounds created by our country’s disrespect for the Native American culture that began with act of the Thanksgiving, to separating generations of Native American families in a quest to erase their culture and language, to maintain dominance over them.
The pains of the past are coming back in known echoes and is causing these modern wounds to bleed freely. We cannot bring back the lives that have been lost with the genocide of the Native Americans. This is not a time of shaming of either side. It is a time of change and possible solution. We must also honor the sanctity of Mother Earth.
It is a time to sing echoes of change, echoes of honor. Sing echoes into the sky and let tears flow from your eyes so you can wash the windows of our souls, clear the history of misguided power seeking, money making. If we are to be truly respectful to the holiday of Thanksgiving, we should respect the Water Protectors and begin to rewrite our history with the “Original People” of our country. We need to change the echoes that are ringing in our ears, the truth of the value of the quality of life for the “Water Protectors” and the water sources of our country.
The echoes of fossil fuels are echoes of power. We, out of necessity, have dug into the earth to retrieve the buried combustible geologic deposits of organic materials, formed from decayed plants and animals. These deposits have been converted to crude oil, coal, natural gas, or heavy oils by exposure to heat and pressure in the earth’s crust over hundreds of millions of years.
Water and oil are as ancient as the earth. Water and fossil fuel, especially oil are and have become essential elements in our personal and societal survival. The time has come to make a decision on what is more valuable, human life or the filling the linings of the pockets of large corporations. I hope corporations remember, “Corporations are not people. People make up the corporation.” In my opinion, water is the new oil.
As a sustainable artist of change, I seek to up-cycle the human condition and honor the sacredness of life and value a rich quality of life which includes access to clean water. I want to hear the echoes of compassion and compromise, a unity of purpose. I want us to take the opportunity to do the right thing, begin the rebuilding of trust and faith in the morals of our country and close the open wound that has been open for so long. We can begin to close the wound by honoring “The Water Protectors” and then we can begin to honor the life force of the human condition, water.
It is our duty to take the time to sing a different type of water song of with notes crafted in compassion and respect of the body which houses our human spirit. It is time to allow the act of washing away the sins of the past by the honoring of the sacredness of their right to have clean water, honor the prayerful conversations of protests of “The Water Protectors.”
I believe pain not only gives you the right to forgive. It also allows us to be reborn as a united people. This is an opportunity to come out of the “letter of the law” framework of the mind and step into the heart to utilize the “spirit of the law.” The law of the land should be one of an opened spirit to serve all in our great country. We should stand together in securing the safety of the water that gives us all life.