So you heard about Standing Rock…
What did you hear? Where did you hear it? Social Media, private Security Forces, Local News Outlets, National News including Networks, and first person reporting have all been used to spread the #NoDAPL, Standing With Standing Rock, and Pro-0il industry stories. This weekend long conference will tell the story from the viewpoint of the Church and Clergy Standing With Standing Rock.
For me it began while I was away on a short sabbatical. Standing Rock people started to gather at the bottom of what became known as Sacred Stone Camp. They were preparing to take a stand.
I watched from afar – sneaking some time on Facebook to see pictures and hear songs on live stream video. I was in Norway for the month of June of 2016.
I listened for what I could not anticipate. For me it was like a clap of thunder without the flash of lightning. Something was taking place along the valley floor or the Cannon Ball River. There was a stirring that spun the open field into an encampment of hundreds, then of thousands and then to tens of thousands. The tribal nations of Turtle Island – those territories that stretch between great oceans and from the frigid north to heat of the south – they came.
Indigenous people from the four winds came. There were so many languages spoken, sung and used in prayer on the floor of that valley and around this one sacred fire.
I witnessed them coming. I sat with them along highway 1806 and in its ditches. They hung their flags on the fences that lined the road until the fences had no room. I looked and I saw flags from tribal nation after tribal nation. They were standing together. They were standing with Standing Rock.
Our flags – flags representing the Christian faith – were missing. Our support of Standing Rock was unknown. The absence of the church was as visible. As the local priest standing ground with Standing Rock I didn’t need the church to come in order to offer prayer. I didn’t need the church to come in order to provide leadership. I didn’t need the church to come to provide its resources. The church needed to get there to stand with, to be present among these nations and it needed to witness for justice. I needed its witness that is communicated in presence and risk.
Justice is beginning to pour from a well that has been plugged with the refuse of church and civil doctrines: Discovery, Manifest Destiny, and America as the Great Melting Pot. We are a diverse nation with many cultures existing within and alongside of one another. The first – the Indigenous – have unique claim to this territory as its keepers and protectors. Join EPF members on this cross-cultural pilgrimage in September 2018 by registering HERE.
For more information about Standing Rock or participating in the EPF Pilgrimage, please contact The Rev’d John Floberg