This weekend, people of faith and conscience will join the thousands of people holding prayerful witness in solidarity with the Water Protectors resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline. For folks traveling to Standing Rock this weekend, please join the UU Solidarity with Standing Rock – Dec 4 Interfaith Day of Prayer Facebook group for up to date information.
Conditions continue to evolve on the ground as resistance and support continues to grow. Camp coordinators and participants are deeply centered in prayer and are generously offering this prayerful space for those of us showing up in solidarity. Whether you’re able to travel to Standing Rock or not, below see some timely resources important to inform and ground your work with this movement. Wherever you are, accountability rooted in discernment, reflection and prayer is required as we support the Native-led prayerful organizing taking place in Standing Rock. Click here to find #NoDAPL Solidarity events taking place across the country.
If you are a UU traveling to Standing Rock this weekend and have not already registered, please be in touch with Rev. Ashley Horan at 651-769-3062.
If you are looking for housing with the UU Congregation Bismarck-Mandan, please contact Liz Franks Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org immediately.
In these times of heightened repression and resistance, there are opportunities to further our understanding of what it means for our organizing to be a spiritual practice. This requires humility, love, generosity and fortitude. May we show up and be bold.
With love and solidarity,
Campaign Coordinator, Standing on the Side of Love
Oceti Sakowin Camp – learn more about the camp, find latest news and support directly
Standing Rock Solidarity Network Resource Packet - This resource packet was created by the Solidariteam. The Oceti Sakowin Camp Protocols were written with camp elders. Documents include "If You're Thinking About Going to Standing Rock," "Joining Camp Culture," "Oceti Sakowin Camp Protocol: 7 Lakota Values," and "When You Return Home."
Why Was the Pipeline ReRouted to Standing Rock - a GIF from Monica Virtue
Reflection Questions from Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, UU Minister and President of DRUUMM
Hi All - I just got back from #OcetiSakowin with the #ORNODAPL group we organized. I'd like to share some clarifying questions that we used, that ground my theology and ministry. My hope is these may be useful to White Unitarian Universalists planning or considering showing up. Knowing your leadership, I hope you would reflect with me and share with those in discernment.
I give credit to the Native colleagues and friends who took time to dialogue with me in advance of going, and the QTPOC folks who traveled with us, whose leadership our group centered.
1. Why am I going? What is my purpose? Who am I serving? What do I hope to gain? How can I gain what I hope for in my local community?
2. What are the resources I'm using to go? What support do I expect when I arrive?
3. What concrete support am I generating in support of Standing Rock Sioux Nation?
4. What is my relationship with Native American and American Indians in my congregation and in my community? How will my going strengthen these relationships?
5. What is my long term vision for better understanding and acting in support of Tribal Land Sovereignty, Colonialism and Environmental Racism in my congregation and in my community?
6. How am I accountable to Native UU and People of Color UU who face similar racist and colonial attitudes and beliefs in our UU congregations and organizations? What is my relationship with UU People of Color in my congregation? What am I doing to address the root causes of oppression in Unitarian Universalism?
7. What work am I doing to build relationships with White People working for racial justice in my community? Am I a member of the UU Allies for Racial Equity? Am I a member of SURJ or another organization that supports White anti-racist/anti-oppressive leadership? If not, why not?
9. How does going, or taking local action, reshape my role and long-term commitment my local congregation? My local community?
10. Who will I look to, and how can I lead or support collective leadership in my congregation and in my community to address the root causes in our own state, center the experiences of those most affected, and work to shift the balance of power?
11. What other questions come up for me?
Tips on Showing Up Respectfully, by Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen, UUA Staff, Leadership Development Associate for Youth and Young Adults of Color
I will be sad to not be with you this weekend, but grateful to be filled up/fired able to support local solidarity organizing. Thanks Joseph Santos-Lyons for your powerful questions. I wanted to share some unsolicited advice from my week at Standing Rock. Most of these thoughts are amplifying things I heard from Native leadership. I hope you can receive these imperfect reflections in the spirit they are offered, with such love :)
1. At meetings or other gatherings at camp will begin and end with someone asking for someone to pray. If you're not native, wait. And wait longer. I love praying and perhaps you do, too. But most likely a native person will offer a song or prayer that will blow your spiritual socks off.
2. If you are a woman, please consider wearing a skirt. Usually I'm definitely not interested in telling people what to wear or telling folks of a particular gender to behave a certain way and I kind of can't believe I wrote that sentence. But it is a request from Native elders and of course there is diversity in what people think about that. To me, it has become a bit of a symbol of whether non Native folks are willing decenter their selves and their expression as guests. And it's warmer to add a skirt over long johns + fleece pants/jeans!
3. Give love to Rev. Karen Van Fossan and the UU congregation in Bismarck! They are living our values in a fierce and powerful way. If you have a letter you can bring from your congregation to them or a token of love to let them know that we have their back and we see them, do it. Or donate to the faithify to support their ministry, do it!
4. Resources: I'm sure folks have already immersed themselves but I would recommend everything on Kelly Hayes' blog but particularly how to talk about #NoDAPL which has good framing for those of us who are coming from a white environmental background. Also refresh yourself on the doctrine of discovery, Unitarians role in perpetuating it, and some of our current work around it.
5. Get real grounded. Real real grounded. What are you afraid of? What makes you angry?
6. If you are thinking offering yourself as arrestable not as part of this interfaith day of prayer but later in the week during an action, helpful to know that when I left it was taking 1-3 days for folks to get our jail and 3-5 if folks were going to go to court so they didn't have to return to North Dakota.
7. Do not consume spirituality. At a meeting led by elders it was shared that someone at the clergy day had ask to buy a sacred object; that people were adding objects that do not belong on the altars to the altars; that people were wandering around asking to join a sweat. Imagine if someone said they wanted to participate in baptism or a bat/bar mitvah just for fun, just to experience it. Not because they believed necessarily or were becoming Christian or Jewish. Practice humility.
8. Learn by watching. It's exhausting for folks to explain again and again why what happens and how. and exhausting for folks to witness us doing something awkward. Better to watch and learn. See someone pick up tobacco in their left hand, walk counter clockwise around the sacred fire, feeding the sacred tobacco to it.
9. Get in where you fit in. If you are there for longer than day of prayer, work. dishes, picking up trash, shoveling, asking someone if they need wood chopped, give directions to people newer than you if you know them, driving folks to the casino...
10. Dig into flexibility. Things i said here may no longer be true. Things will change quickly. Understand that colonization has many impacts - lack of trust, different opinions from different leaders are some. Let spirit lead.
11. Do not share rumors. With low self phone service and high anxiety, rumors circulate wildly. Be willing to not know what is happening.