Looking back, Praying Forward
~ Joelle Clark

People keep asking me about Standing Rock, about Sabal

Trail, about all the pipelines. It’s been difficult to put my

thoughts and feelings into words. 

So I am going to try to get my thoughts and feelings

about Standing Rock out in print, because most of the

other camps have many of the same high points and problems. 

First let me say I am so proud of our people! The strength, courage, passion and fortitude our water protectors have shown is awesome and inspiring. 

I have learned so much in the last year about so many things, including myself. This year has been a kaleidoscope of feelings. Anger, fear, love, pride, disappointment, bewilderment and hope often rapid cycling as events at the camps unfolded. 

I watched the videos with the words my Elders had said to me echoing in my head. "Do this with love, Do this in peace, Do this with prayer. They cannot win against our prayer. It’s the only thing they have ever feared."

I watched camp leaders welcome in those who brought in alcohol and drugs in the name of Unity and my heart said "Do they not realize that we are only as strong as our weakest link?"

I watched conmen and scam artists among our own people start using the cause for their own profit and it hurt my spirit. A convicted felon was promoted as a Chief and an old alcoholic who has never done anything for the people as an Elder. 

I learned firsthand that you have to be careful who you unify with. 

We watched with sadness those with ego issues. Then looked at the mess that always shows up for any major cause, perform their antics. In this case some of them wound up being blessings because their actions may have been negative, however because they were videotaped, Standing Rock got a lot of social media coverage. 

There were wonderful media people and celebrities helping making Standing Rock a focal point. 

Then there was the usual lateral violence, co-intelpro, divide and conquer tactics that have always been used against our people out in full force. 

But there is the other side, the side of life, love and hope! 

All of these strong courageous people who stood and took some of the most barbaric treatment any group has ever been dealt as free citizens within the borders of the U. S. 

They stood on Treaty land and were constantly harassed and attacked for standing for water, for standing for life, for standing for us. 

One battle may be over but the war is not.

The Prayer is still there. Keep it up. Believe it. Live it. Pray it forward!