Spark of Light in a Dark Time

If you’re like me, there are small moments that keep you going, in the midst of the general gloom of a dark time. Usually, those small moments aren’t considered “newsworthy” by the MSM, so you have to search for them. Here’s one:

On December 2, a group of activists from the International Indigenous Youth Council and several Water Protectors from the Oceti Sakowin camp (one of the No DAPL camps of the Standing Rock Sioux) made a visit to the Morton County Sheriff’s Department in Manand, North Dakota. They brought with them transparent tote bins containing items like hand warmers, batteries, energy drinks, thick socks, protein bars – items on a wish-list circulated by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department as of November 22. [1]

The Sheriff’s Department had issued its list of desired donations only a day after it led a multi-state coalition of police in a six-hour assault against the Standing Rock Sioux, using rubber bullets, impact grenades, water cannons and hoses, and tear gas on the night of Nov. 20 – 21, injuring hundreds.

Nonetheless, on December 2 the Water Protectors also delivered the item at the very top of the Sheriff’s Department wish-list: “Thoughts and prayers for officer safety”. Led by Leonard Crow Dog, the activists and Water Protectors offered a prayer while standing on the public sidewalk, with International Indigenous Youth Council member Thomas Lopez saying, “We hold no hatred in our hearts. We don’t want to see you hurt. You are our brothers and sisters and we will treat you as such.” [2]

Native News Online reported: “Prayer songs led by youth at the front of the Morton County Correction Center were sung in unison and brought a chilling emotion to the streets of Mandan. Supporters and youth emphasized that their intention has always been about peace and prayer and voiced everyone would be included in prayer.” [3]

The Indigenous Environmental Network and the Indigenous Peoples Power Project issued a joint statement to accompany the delivery of the donated items: “North Dakota taxpayers have already bankrolled the Morton County Sheriff Department with approximately 10 million dollars for the suppression of peaceful water protectors. Despite this excessive financial support, Morton County officers are asking taxpayers to donate supplies. The Oceti Sakowin camp is a prayer camp, and a resilient, self-sufficient community. The camp is full of abundance – in spirit, in humanity, and in resources. Oceti Sakowin has enough to share. Generosity is an original teaching for the Lakota.” [4]

As Thomas Lopez stated during the delivery of donations, “What we’re doing here is offering them this water of life, to show the people who believe that we’re here to hurt them that we’re actually here fighting for your rights to clean water, for your rights to clean air.” [5]

Morton County accepted the donated offering and posted thanks on their Facebook page to the International Indigenous Youth Council, but made no mention of the Oceti Sakowin camp or the Water Protectors. [6] For its part, the MSM seems to have completely ignored the incident – arguably one of the few inspiring moments in a dark time.

[1] C. S. Hagen, “Police in Riot Gear Welcome Native Winter Gifts,” High Plains Reader, December 3, 2016.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Darren Thompson, “NODAPL Contingency Delivers Supplies To Morton County Sheriff’s Department,” Native News Online.Net, December 3, 2016.

[4] Indigenous Environment Network, “Water Protectors Deliver Donations to Morton County Officers,” commondreams.org, December 2, 2016.

[5] Hagen, op. cit.

[6] Thompson, op. cit.

Joyce Nelson’s sixth book, Beyond Banksters: Resisting the New Feudalism, can be ordered at: http://watershedsentinel.ca/banksters. She can be reached through www.joycenelson.ca.