Last Sunday night, in below-freezing temperatures, unarmed water protectors just north of Standing Rock survived shocking assaults from water cannons. Many were traumatized, and some needed emergency room care. In the aftermath of these attacks, and in the months prior, my congregation has received countless messages from people around the country – and world – asking, "What can we do?”
Meanwhile, we have received one of the most important invitations we are ever likely to receive, as people of faith and conviction. Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle, has called upon each of us to join him at Standing Rock on Sunday, December 4th, for an Interfaith Day of Prayer. In solidarity with indigenous people and mutual love for the water, it is my hope that you and your communities of faith will participate in this history-making day.
As those who have visited know, the nonviolent water protector movement at Standing Rock is deeply rooted in prayer. Each day I spend at Oceti Sakowin camp, I feel myself challenged and inspired to live a more prayerful and faithful life. We awake with prayers, dine with prayers, go to rest with prayers, and pray continuously throughout each day.
The camps at Standing Rock are based on the conviction that prayer, especially collective prayers, can protect our living water. Your prayers – and your presence – mean the world. I would be honored to see you here.
For more information and to register to participate, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/standingrockdayofprayer
To learn more about the Dec. 4th Interfaith Day of Prayer and other opportunities for solidarity, please join me in a conference call discussion on Wednesday, November 30th at 6:30pm CST. This call will be facilitated by Unitarian Universalists who have been working directly with Native coordinators at Oceti Sakowin Camp. People of any and all traditions are welcome to join this conversation. Please register here.
Please share this call to prayer and solidarity widely. Thank you.
If you aren't able to be here in body on December 4th, please join us in spirit by praying for the water and the water protectors in the morning, before meals, before bed, and whenever you are able. Please invite others to join their prayers with yours – with all of ours.
In peace and faith,
Karen Van Fossan, M.Div.,
Minister, Bismarck-Mandan Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Bismarck, ND