November at Standing Rock

This post features a selection of images from the past month at Standing Rock. I’m in the process of writing a written reflection on this last trip, and have an upcoming piece coming out in Huck Magazine’s December issue, both of which I hope to share online soon. For now, enjoy the pictures!

October 27, A man holds a flag on the 134 bridge while just a short drive away, police raid the frontline camp. Protectors on 134 managed to use controlled fires on the bridge as a barricade that prevented more police from joining the raid.

October 27, A water protector rides his horse onto the 134 bridge during the action to hold off police.

November 12, Drummers sing an honor song to thank those who helped build yurts during the opening ceremony of the Sacred Stone yurt village.

November 11, One of the many yurts that have been built at Standing Rock, which now has the highest concentration of traditional Mongolian yurts outside of Mongolia.

October 27, Sacred Stone security watches construction progress across the river through a pair of high-power binoculars.

November 9, A water protector in a Daoist bandana prays towards Dakota Access security stationed on Turtle Island, a Sioux burial site where construction is currently underway.

November 11, A young girl waits to bring campfire-heated coffee to her mother.

November 11, Lauren Howland and her twin brother Alex Howland, members of the International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC), prepare a bearskin that has been donated to the Youth Council.

November 11, Five members of the IIYC sing a prayer song together in an army tent at their camp.

November 16, Bettina the goat eats from a bag of hay. She, along with her baby Honey Bunny and her human companions John and Allison, drove from their homestead in Berkeley, CA to support the camps.

November 3, People walk the road from Sacred Stone to Rosebud Camp at sunset.

Northside’s New Rules

Yesterday I took pictures for a Twin Cities Daily Planet article on a new coworking space in North Minneapolis called New Rules. To quote the article,

“Like most coworking spaces, New Rules offers monthly memberships to creators, merchants, designers, engineers, artists – anyone with an interest in fostering community, creative collaboration and transforming their economic situation. But unlike other coworking spaces like COCO or Industrious in Uptown and Downtown Minneapolis, New Rules’ rates are more affordable. Northside residents even get a discount when renting the space for events.”

Winter Is Coming

It’s now October, nearly November, and winter is fast approaching. These days the camps wake up to frost on car windows and sighs that make little clouds in the air.

Much of the daily work is focused on preparing for the coming months, which locals talk about ominously. “Have you ever experienced -40 degree weather?” I’ve heard several people ask. “Well get ready.”

Preparing for seasonal change is an integral part of living in harmony with nature. At one point or another, all of our ancestors had the skills to do so, but now so many of us lack even basic knowledge about living in cold climates without indoor heating, plumbing, and electricity. We’ve insulated ourselves from the natural world and as a consequence, have misconstrued our relationship with it.

I say “we” in an overly general way, but I don’t mean everyone. Such knowledge is still alive in the people (mostly First Nations people, but others as well) who are orchestrating the preservation of food and building of natural shelters, as well as sharing their knowledge with others. They’re keeping alive generational memories of thousands of years spent living with the land, while demonstrating how it’s possible to do so today.

I personally know very little about surviving outside in subzero conditions. To be honest, I’m nervous and not entirely sure I’m up to the challenge. The only reason I feel confident enough to try is that time and time again, I’ve experienced and born witness to incredible support from the camp community. However harsh this winter will be, we’re all going to get through it together, seasoned winter campers and cold-averse newbies alike. I imagine that almost as much as practical knowledge, it’s this sense of collective responsibility that helped our ancestors survive the winter too.

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