Over the years I have protested. My first protest, with tiny babe in arms, against development of Trident Missiles. My most recent opportunity came when the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, UCC General Minister and President, and numerous other religious leaders called for clergy to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at Canonball, North Dakota Why? As the Standing Rock Sioux have dubbed their movement, MNI WICONI. Water is Life. They were taking a stand to protect the clean, cold, flowing water from the Dakota Access Pipeline. The nearest source of fresh water.
The image expanded as my husband Matthew and I wondered whether we should go. By morning, a sense of call was strong and clear. It was impractical, inconvenient, yet when I pressed for it to go away the inner tug would not disappear. I felt called to stand with the Standing Rock Souix Water Protectors.
Water is life.
I raised children in Titusville, Florida, surrounded by water. I knew the NASA report, “Water’s unique chemical and physical properties are essential to human survival … None of the essential physical functions, such as breathing, digestion, or muscle movement could take place without water.” NASA did not need to tell us. The Native Americans knew it long before NASA.
Water is life.
I am thankful for the oil industry. Oil feeds our economy and lifestyle. And yet, disemboweling the planet without every possible caution is foolhardy (and worse). Environmental balance is crucial for survival. Transported oil through pipelines can result in significant leaks. Period. Oil spills in rivers poison the environment and all species relying upon clean water. Geologic studies and permits, in addition to common sense, exist for good reasons.
Water is Life.
And yet, all truth and wisdom alongside, my husband Matthew and I drove the 22 hours to North Dakota out of call. An undeniable sense that impelled us to go — more than faith, more than important debates on water rights. We felt called to stand up for the difference between right and wrong. We came home with more questions than answers. The most pressing is this: How many hundreds of years will the Native Americans pay the price for others’ greed? We believe the time to honor and respect is way past due. We give thanks for their commitment to preserve the water for all. We pray God will grant wisdom and peace to rise up and for the water to remain clean and safe.
Water is life. MNI WICONI.
Other Articles and Resources on the Dakota Access Pipeline Water Protector Efforts: