“Give thanks for the water that crosses your lips, blesses your body and falls from the skies of your beautiful eyes.” ~ Bryonie Wise
In our rushed, overstimulated culture of incessant media streams and pleas for help from all corners of the globe via crowdfunding and online petitions, it is easy to become desensitized.
We need to re-sensitize ourselves and wake up to the facts:
Water is life.
I live near the shores of a sacred water site, Lake Atitlan in the Guatemalan highlands. This gorgeous volcanic lake, surrounded by three volcanoes and a lush, green, floral basin, looks beautiful and blue—but trouble lurks beneath its presently presentable state. In 2009, there was a major cyanobacteria bloom, and there have been additional blooms in the years since.
The lake is the primary source of drinking water for approximately 100,000 people, mostly indigenous Mayans living in the pueblos surrounding the lake. The contamination of Lake Atitlan has increased exponentially over the past decade due to population growth, tourism and the chemicals and phospates entering the water from farms in the lake basin, as well as untreated sewage from many of the pueblos.
Unfortunately, scientists have concluded the wastewater treatment plants will not solve the problem. And composting toilets are not catching on like wildfire, though there are a number of residences (including my own) and businesses in the region that have functional, if not attractive, composting toilets.
Of course, this sad reality of pollution is true of an alarming number of lakes, rivers and oceans.
Right now—today—human beings are coming together in a powerful way. After 500 years of oppression, land-grabbing, mistreatment of indigenous folks by white colonizers, more commonly called “cowboys,” “conquistadors” and “pioneers,” and subsequently the government, everything is coming to a head at Standing Rock right now.
“In 1868, men came out and brought papers. We could not read them and they did not tell us truly what was in them. We thought the treaty was to remove the forts and for us to cease from fighting. But they wanted to send us traders on the Missouri, but we wanted traders where we were. When I reached Washington, the Great Father explained to me that the interpreters had deceived me.”
~ Red Cloud (Makhpiya-luta) , April, 1870
The authorities and corporations wanting the pipeline to be completed are willing to use violent methods to dissuade the protestors. Peaceful people with the intention of protecting their sacred lands and access to clean water have been attacked by dogs, pepper spray, rubber bullets, fire hoses and more since the resistance officially began on April 1, 2016 with the establishment of the Sacred Stone Camp by a Standing Rock Sioux elder and her grandchildren.
We cannot, in good conscience, look away, eat our leftover turkey, watch our football and sleep in our warm beds without remembering those struggling, at Standing Rock and countless other places around the world, for the simple right to pure water, enough food, shelter, love and safety.
On Saturday, November 26th, at 3:00 p.m. Central Time, thousands of the water protectors who have gathered at the Standing Rock camp in North Dakota will go down to the shore of the Missouri River for a group meditation and prayer.
Other ways to help:
> Educate yourself on what is happening.
> Talk about it, write about it, expand awareness of this issue, which is largely not being covered by the mainstream media.
> Sign this petition.
“You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round…The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours.” ~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux Holy Man, 1863-1950
We stand in solidarity.
We pray for peace.
We take action to support important movements for equal rights, access to natural resources, and respect of ancestral lands.
We give love and gratitude to the water.
In lak’ech. (I am another you.)
“It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth…the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him…
Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint…
The old Lakota was wise. He knew that a man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his children close to nature’s softening influence.” ~ Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Chief
Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus
Image: @captain_potter on Instagram
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren