Water Is Life: In Defense of Sovereignty at Standing Rock

Steve Pavey, Standing Rock, Water Protector on ridge on horse back in North Dakota
Photo courtesy Steve Pavey/ Hope In Focus

Today, I was asked to name an ancestor into the room. I named Tasunka Witko also known as Crazy Horse. He fought for our people and gave his life. He loved our people and worried about our survival. I think of him often not for his notoriety but for his righteous anger and defense of our people.


Make no mistake about how far the Morton County Sheriffs will go to take our people down. They are backed by the Governor, who called up the National Guard and hundreds of deputies from other jurisdictions. Our people are in a dangerous and precarious situation. We won’t back down. These are the exact circumstances from all the Indian Wars. Pray for our people, for their safety and survival. Pray that this won’t turn into a massacre.

#OcetiSakowin #NoDAPL #StandWithStandingRock #Resist

Coya Hope White Hat-Artichoker

Over the last few months, we’ve witnessed the growing movement and active resistance led by the Lakota/Dakota Nations, or the seven council fires that make up the Oceti Sakowin. Many more indigenous nations, brave and visionary elders and young people, women and two spirit warriors from around the world have joined them, because they know the fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline is part of the long-standing battle against colonization that has plagued this continent and the globe for hundreds of year (Learn more by reading the Standing Rock Syllabus). These Water Protectors are standing in defense of water, land, traditions, and the right to govern themselves without interference from corporations or state entities. The SONG political family stands in solidarity with the Water Protectors and warriors currently at the site of major political and spiritual resistance: Standing Rock, North Dakota, one of the largest gatherings of indigenous people in modern history.

This act of resistance is occurring on federal trust land in Morton County, North Dakota, where the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, law enforcement agencies from multiple jurisdictions, and private security agencies are carrying on the generational war towards sovereign nations and indigenous people. Blasting Water Protectors with water canons in subfreezing temperatures, shooting rubber bullets, and the use of tear gas and other chemicals are only some of the brutal weapons of the militarized force being used to protect corporate oil interests. As tribal police cannot cross into Morton County, and militarized forces are upholding bridge blockades and media blackouts, the question stands, who will protect the Water Protectors?

Our political mandate in this moment calls for us to be in alignment with multiple liberation struggles. Our alignment must not equate to silent solidarity or a false notion that our fates are not intertwined. Today, we ask you to join us in reflecting on the questions, “How am I contributing to the liberation struggles of our time, not only in word but in deed? How am I joining, showing, and acting on the spiritual imperative to protect the safety, dignity, and demands of the Water Protectors? What can I do to help stop the act of war on these nations?”  As your reflections lead you to action, please use the following resources to take concrete steps to joining the struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Where Can You Find Accurate Information?

Sacred Stone Camp

Indigenous Rising Media

Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council

Water Protector Legal Collective/NLG-formerly Red Owl Legal Collective

Indigenous Environmental Network

Kandi Mossett


How Can You Support?


Oceti Sakowin Camp
Seven Council Fires

Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council

Water Protector Legal Collective

Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund

Digital Smoke Signals Media
Frontline Media Coverage


Supply List

Two Spirit Nation
PO BOX 724
Mandan ND 58554

Please send large donations to

Kunsi Keya/Two Spirit Nation
PO Box 55
Huntington, VT 05462


When you are organizing people to go to Standing Rock, take into consideration that you are entering into indigenous ways of community. Each person who comes to stand in support has an impact on the physical and spiritual resources of the Standing Rock Lakota people. Each Water Protector stands on the front lines, comes back and then goes into ceremony to release, grieve, ground and get fortified before going back out to stand against the State. There should be an equal number of people who come to stand in resistance and those who come to offer up healing to those on the front line. Please also be equipped to prepare your own meals  to reduce any additional requirements on the community kitchen.

If you’re interested in joining other SONG members and political family traveling to support on the ground resistance or if you have additional ways to support and amplify please contact kindred@southernersonnewground.org


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