Standing Rock: The Ghost Dance for a New Way

The Dakota Access Pipeline began construction in June 2016. The 1,572 mile, 30 inch diameter pipeline will carry 470,000 barrels of domestically produced light sweet crude oil from North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. The pipeline’s original route ran north of Bismarck, ND but was repositioned to run north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation after white citizens cited concerns over the potentially negative effects on drinking water and the Missouri River.

During the solar eclipse of January 1, 1889, Paiute Shaman Wovoka (Jack Wilson) had a vision. He told his people that a new time on Earth was coming when there would be an end to white expansion. The buffalo would return, the Earth would be replenished and Native American tribes would unify. In his vision ‘the Father’ gave him sacred knowledge in the form of the Ghost Dance, which would bring an end to imbalance and environmental degradation by summoning the ancestors’ spirits’.

The Ghost Dance spread quickly. It was adopted, and adapted, by hundreds of Native American Tribes and in 1890 the United States government responded by outlawing it. Powerful government interests feared an “Indian uprising.” The Army was ordered to stop any individual performing the dance.

“All Indians must dance, everywhere keep on dancing.” — Wovoka

This culminated in the Massacre at Wounded Knee when the US Army killed hundreds of unarmed Native American men, women and children. This closed one chapter in the multi-century conflict between US forces and Native Americans. For the past 125 years, industrial ‘development’ has continued to encroach upon and destroy Indigenous peoples’ territories and cultures.

Early this year, a new chapter began. It began with two people sitting in opposition to the multi-billion dollar Dakota Access Pipeline, which is currently under construction. They called themselves water protectors, and were dedicated to safeguarding the Missouri River. Soon more started to gather. As the graves of Sioux elders were overturned and desecrated, Wovoka’s prophecy began to materialize….

“The whole world is coming. A Nation is coming, a Nation is coming….

The eagle has brought a message to the tribe… The father says so….”

People from all walks of life made their pilgrimages to Standing Rock. Over 200 Native American Tribes are now standing together as water protectors. They are flanked by Black Lives Matter water protectors and LGBTQ water protectors and white water protectors. On November 4 water protectors were joined by 500 clergy who joined to “bear witness.”

“Over the whole Earth they are coming. The buffalo are coming, the buffalo are coming….

The crow has brought a message to the people… The father says so….”

Alternative media are coming too. Millions of people who could not be there stood with water protectors through Facebook check-ins. Finally, on October 29th, the Buffalo came, running across a landscape that has been honoured and preserved in natural balance for millennia.

Humankind is at a crossroads.

Live as we have, out of balance in a finite world, and we will scorch the Earth. Or build a new economy, restoring nature’s balance, respecting the wisdom of ancient cultures, and turning away from greed, and we may yet find the harmony Wovoka foresaw. The choice is ours.

standing-rock-protectorsAt Junxion, we have made our choice. We stand with Wovoka. We stand not for extended oil pipelines, but for wind turbines and solar panels. We stand for a redefinition of capitalism, that accounts for social and environmental costs. We stand for transparent corporations that create benefits for all. We stand for ancient wisdom to equip our children with hope. And we stand for Indigenous voices in climate action and policy development.

We stand with Standing Rock.

Want to get involved? Here are six things you can do.

This piece was written by Kristy O’Leary, Junxion’s Business Development lead, and is endorsed by Principals Mike Rowlands and Adam Garfunkel. Due to the mainstream media’s (lack of) coverage of #NODAPL, information has been hard to find. We welcome corrections, additions and feedback on this piece.

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