Heading to the Standing Rock Ceremonies

Angie and I have decided to go try and help out (if we can) with the water protector's ceremony. We've both promised our families we'll be home for Christmas (a bit ironic, I know... but it's when my family gets together every year), so we'll be there for only a short time... whether we go back afterward is open and probably dependent on how helpful it looks like we can be.

Our plan is to show up, stay on the outskirts away from the center and away from conflict, and watch for things we can respectfully attempt to help with. We tried a few contacts to see if we could rustle up an internal contact but failed... so we're just going to go. Angie is a Nurse, I have a variety of practical skills, and (hopefully) we're decently kitted out to deal with ourselves and avoid becoming a burden on the camp. There's always a chance we'll just turn around and leave, depending.

This blog doesn't usually get political. I try to keep it to just facts and information about being outdoors... but sometimes politics sneak in around the edges because it's what I'm doing, or because it's directly related to outdoors pursuits, like with the Buffalo Field Campaign post I wrote some time back.

There are a lot of articles out there about NoDAPL, and surprisingly little information. I've been sifting through what I can, trying to get the real information. What I think I know is that this is about two related issues:
  1. American Indians (I'm using the term I have most often heard is preferred... sorry if it's not in this case) taking yet another stand for something after hundreds of years of being trampled on.
  2. It's about the environmental cause of keeping water clean... heightened by the special religious place that water holds in the various Sioux traditions.
I've read repeatedly that #1 is very important. The show is being run by the Standing Rock Sioux who's sacred land is at risk, and has been repeatedly violated and shrunk in the past... and folks of other backgrounds tromping on toes to try and "help" are not appreciated.

Anyway... here's some sources that are a bit more fact based

The first article is fairly comprehensive as to the legal situation and a general rundown of events... It also seems fairly unvarnished:

One thing they miss is the actual safety of pipelines. For environmental impact, or oil spilled, they are worse than trains (which is what is in use now). Why push for a pipeline then? Because it's cheaper:

It also misses the more mundane day-to-day story and what most of the people at Standing Rock are doing... Media only reports when things get violent, and mostly things haven't been violent: It's important to realize that this is thousands of people when considering that allegedly someone fired 3 shots. This article is less "just facts" but I think is still helpful background reading for what is really going on:

Pipeline leak detection techniques are not very good.

Here's something I read early on that I think is really helpful for non-American-Indians understanding what's going on, and how to actually be helpful.

And, to lighten the mood a little:


  1. Thanks for doing this! Wishing you and Angie strength and good fortune on your mission.

  2. A wonderful friend pointed us at a place to sign up to volunteer for medical stuff (thanks again BTW if you see this) - so we did that.

  3. Brewer, a friend of mine's daughter is there and has been for a couple weeks. She's a massage therapist and is helping out in the medical area. If you want I can try to get some contact info for you. (Sue Mink)

    1. We'll be there in a couple of hours and expect phones not to work very well... we'll find our own way at this point.
      thanks for the offer though!