Important information For those headed to standing Rock for Thanksgiving:
Letter to the Global Festival Community & Individuals Thinking of Coming to Standing Rock
Greetings from Standing Rock.
Word is that there are a LOT of people intending to come to Standing Rock over the Thanksgiving Holiday week. In the spirit of wishing to be in service & right relationship to the indigenous community, as well as support our community to be respectful, educated & safe ~ we as a collective are choosing to share the following information collected upon consultation with different indigenous & camp leaders here. This information may help you figure out how best to be of service at this time as well as respectful and educated allies.
THIS IS NOT A FESTIVAL. It’s an indigenous movement on indigenous land, and is a prayer camp. Please don’t come thinking it’s a camp-out or festival, or just a place to hang out with people. There’s many festivals designed just for that. Unfortunately there has been some festival & alternative non indigenous people already at Standing Rock who have not respected the ways of the indigenous people and have been perceived as colonial and disrespectful. We invite you to align yourself in how to behave & be in right relationship to the indigenous people of these lands - please take the time to read the rest of this letter & this information - https://www.protectorsalliance.org/read-me/
The situation at Standing Rock is not a stable one. The recent clash between Protectors and authorities on Sunday 20th November was highly militant and violent toward Protectors, who were unarmed & prayerful. Be aware that things could change here in the camps any day. You are fully liable for your own safety at all times and need to be prepared if things escalate. You are not generally at risk of arrest unless you are on the front lines - but there is no guarantee that things will remain this way. If you wish to engage on the front lines, please make sure you attend Action Meetings and follow tribal leadership at all times. All actions are peaceful, prayerful & non-violent. There is non-violent direct action training daily for Water Protectors ~ you must attend if you are considering going to the frontlines. You are taking a risk by coming to Standing Rock, this is a serious battle for indigenous rights & the terrain is constantly changing. Be vigilant, and prepared. Be safe.
Want to learn more about Non-Violent Direct Action? (read more here)
Be aware that not all Native Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. The holiday is actually a Day of Mourning for many.
Only come if you are genuinely able to be in service to this camp and are willing to follow indigenous leadership. If you have a skill to offer, are willing to work & volunteer daily, can bring resources, or are willing to be arrested - then you have a purpose here. This is not a place to come for a couple of days so you can say you went to Standing Rock. This is not a place to come unless you genuinely have something to offer, in service to this indigenous movement. Please check in to the volunteer tent, and attend the 9am daily meetings for newcomers, so you can receive proper orientation and information about how to be in camp.
Do not bring any alcohol or drugs whatsoever. This is clean camp and you are expected to respect that protocol. Absolutely no weapons or firearms in camp.
PLEASE RESPECT THIS UTTERLY OR DON’T COME.
You need to bring EVERYTHING you need so you are not a burden on the camp - your own food or food to contribute to the kitchens, your own winter structure, your own warm clothes, your own bedding, firewood, and everything else you might need. Please do not come if you cannot be self sustainable here, it taxes the movement rather than supports it. If you are coming with a caravan of more than 10 people, bring your own kitchen, camp infrastructure, firewood & structures - and be self sufficient. Please don’t expect to be provided for in any way. Bring alternative energy sources. Leave knowing you gave more than you received. Make sure you speak to your neighbours before setting up camp, to ensure you are welcome & in a suitable camp location.
BE PREPARED FOR WINTER CONDITIONS & SNOW - that means winter structures, heating, firewood, winter clothes & shoes, winter bedding. Don’t come if you’re not prepared to live in extremely cold temperatures.
You are on indigenous land, and are expected to respect indigenous leadership. Respect the elders, and indigenous camp leadership at all times. Do not come in a colonial way, with your preconceived plans of what you think will be a better solution to anything and impose those ideas. Come in humility and service, offering help, skills & resources - and look at how you can plug into the winterization projects already underway. There are meetings at 9am daily for newcomers letting them know camp protocols, please attend those meetings so you can find out how best to be in service, and what projects are going on - then offer your skills & resources where appropriate. Do not impose your ideas in any way, instead look to offer support in any way you can and you will be well received. There are also winterization meetings daily, keep an eye out at the Sacred Fire for notices on what times these are.
Educate yourself about cultural protocols, and how to behave accordingly. Educate yourself on what cultural appropriation is and ensure you do not exercise such behaviour. Educate yourself on decolonization, and decolonize yourself before you come. - Here is a link to resources to help you do this
Bring resources to donate - here is a succinct list from Oceti Sakowin website of current needs.
OCETI SAKOWIN CAMP WINTERIZATION NEEDS - If you would like to donate specific infrastructure/build supplies needed for the current winterization projects in Oceti Sakowin camp - here is a list of items that the winterization team on the ground have asked us to pass on, as well as information on where to drop off these supplies & gift cards:
Don’t take photos in camp if you aren’t registered as press, and learn protocol around photography -
If you are intending to donate money, ensure you are donating to a fund/camp that is most in need, and do your research to find out where funds are most needed & if your funding choice is legitimate. There are many fundraisers not directly benefiting the indigenous people at Standing Rock. We recommend you donate to Oceti Sakowin camp - as it is the main indigenous camp & is in need of more support in the winterization process -
Really evaluate if you are going to be of use by coming to Standing Rock. You may be more effective in supporting from afar by raising funds, or joining actions locally.
- For more ideas on how to support the cause from home see here -
Respect the Seven Lakota Values: Prayer. Respect. Compassion. Honesty. Generosity. Humility. Wisdom.
For more information about Oceti Sakowin Camp please go HERE.
In solidarity with Standing Rock,
Protectors Alliance Team
~Solutions in Service to Solidarity~