Mni Wiconi, Oceti Sakowin Camp- September 30th 2016 5:50pm
This landscape, along with the other are from my first trip to camp. At this point, the front lines still stretched a few miles northward from this vantage point, well beyond backwater bridge. I didn’t know what to really think before arriving other then it’s a resistance camp, let’s stand with brother and sister for our people and prepare to get arrested, I found out it’s much more. I fell in love with this view, it would end up as a stopping point on my morning long runs to Cannonball and back- passing through Rosebud camp then the killer climb up and over Sacred Stone and back to the front lines where I would talk with whomever was there, then returning with a sense of all around geographic and scope of the daily situation- I fell in love with the camp and Standing Rock after this trip, I would soon return.
The afternoon was overcast, I was hoping for some good sun but frequent breaks allowed for some good painting. I could see all from here, the camp was still growing and fluctuating with the weekends being prime time for mass arrivals and ceremonies. Watching from this point I could see the camps movement, alive and ready for whatever is needed for whatever situation. Kids played in groups, laughing and screams of joy rolled through the camp below. Groups of horse riders, young men racing one another in a show of bravado traced the outlines of the newly formed roads with such names as Rain-In-The-Face, Oglala Road, Three Affiliated Path, Facebook Hill Road and Two Bears Avenue.
It’s hard to relate to something when it’s never been encountered, just like the recent sub zero temps and maniacal blizzards that’s been hitting camp recently, I had never been in a climate as such until being there again recently. I couldn't relate it to anything or compare it too past arctic storms but I evolved and learned how to adjust to it, just like the whole camp seems to adjust constantly as well as all who's there, and this is a daily occurrence. Observing the camp that day I still had much to take in, but the beauty I saw and wanted to paint I'm sure is an awe inspiring view for any well rounded camp veteran.
From a historical viewpoint, were looking at the same thing, same area, same people before and after Ft Laramie treaty. Numerous attacks were had on Ft Rice in 1865 which was an army outpost built in 1864 and played a major role in the Ft Laramie signing of 1868 and current Standing Rock Reservation. Ft Rice no longer exist but is a State Historical site, it’s 5 miles north of Oceti Sakowin Camp and currently is occupied by DAPL, Military, SWAT and National Guard. For obvious reasons of encroaching on Lakota land, the attacks of 1865 and after are justified, DAPL is an ongoing war between what was then the Yellowstone expeditions to expand the Northern Pacific across Traditional Lands to whatever means possible to expanding pipelines through once again traditional lands with the same attitude of disrespect for all of Humanity. So as I’m looking out at the camp and then gaze beyond the hills I think of the past and present, same situation and same people. I wouldn’t have thought in my lifetime I would see such a sight, I have had vivid dreams of similarities long ago and maybe it was a premonition of sorts but painting that day felt like a dream, a step back in history seeing a lively camp below filled with tipis and relatives all coming together to support one another but fight another battle together against the same enemy and same greed.
Now a # hashtag is synonymous with global prominence and #STANDINGROCK #NoDAPL and #WATERISLIFE takes the place of a void that was never had. We've seen support grow in solidarity with NoDAPL, the widespread circulation and outpouring of support, actions and other events that allow the world to see the unjust treatment of North Dakota and DAPL supporters is being heard. Divest from DAPL banks, plan local actions and put your creativity to work! 2017 will be a challenging year and this camp has been a precursor to the front lines which will be in your city and state in years ahead. as Cornel West said by the Sacred Fire in camp recently “Part of our humility is connected to our solidarity, and thats why were here”