Supporting Mindful Presence at Standing Rock

The events at Standing Rock have inspired our community into response of various forms, from this pledge of support and call to action, to participation in global solidarity prayer practices. You also have the opportunity offered here to support a Mindfulness/Buddhist contingent to be present, to bear witness, to be counted as part of the resistance, and to be in direct solidarity with the Water Protectors at Standing Rock.

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It means a great deal to those who are oppressed to know that they are not alone. Never let anyone tell you that what you are doing is insignificant.

—Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African civil rights activist

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle, and Indigenous Water Protectors, are calling on religious communities and leaders from all traditions to come and join in prayerful solidarity against the Dakota Access Pipeline (video statement here).

Many Buddhist, Dharma, and Mindfulness leaders and practitioners are responding to this call. Members of the Shamblala community visited a few weeks ago as part of the initial call for clergy participation. A Buddhist Peace Fellowship is on site as of this posting.

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Irene Woodard and Adam Lobel of Shambhala on site at Standing Rock

We invite you to support those joining the action at Standing Rock by contributing to a fund for lodging that offers a “landing spot” and a place of practice. The funds will be used to purchase, transport, and erect two tipis at Standing Rock. The tipis will provide shelter for up to 20 people to sleep at night and for up to 40+ to gather during the day.  We also aim to provide wood stoves, carpets, cushions and other materials. (Funds collected above our asked amount will be donated to the Oceti Sakowin Camp of Standing Rock, and to replenish the bail fund of Red Owl Legal collective.)
A small group is going to Standing Rock on November 21, shortly followed by a contingent from Buddhist Peace Fellowship on November 24, to support the Water Protectors and to set up the tipis at Oceti Sakowin Camp & Red Warrior Camp so that others can organize to come to Standing Rock.

Here’s how you can support the mindfulness/Buddhist presence at Standing Rock:

We intend to offer prayers and presence, and to engage in ways appropriate to each person, and in accordance with Indigenous leadership. We also commit to helping with any practical tasks needed, and to share any skills for furthering the aims of the protectors, appropriately and sensitively, according to Indigenous leadership.

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Members of BPF’s Build, Block, Be at Standing Rock

Our goal is to encourage daily sittings, group practices, meetings, and ways of strengthening community within community. We also aim to offer a healing and open space for listening to those needing support.

Beside direct action, we consider periods of meditation as action. The symbol of sitting in the midst of Standing Rock, of deep composure and listening, in addition to daily practice, sharing, and processing, is an important offering, as it demonstrates the heart energy of the work of protectors, which is a prayerful honoring of the sacred, and a stepping down of ego agendas.

We hold utmost respect for the leadership of Native Elders, leaders, and peoples at all times and in all situations, and will endeavor to maintain humility and refrain from imposing our own agendas, views, culture, and spiritual or religious practices in any way that is not appropriate. We will not enter any Native ceremonial space without clear invitation.

Context for this Initiative

We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinte hope.

—Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

America’s new political reality has dramatically increased the threat to the fabric of a just, equitable, and compassionate society. It also threatens environmental protections and may forcefully accelerate global warming,  setting us on a perilous trajectory. In response, we are called to stand together to protect the environment and the vulnerable.

Rights of First Nation Peoples

It is way past time to reverse the history of colonial appropriation of lands and assets of First Nation Peoples. Permission to use lands must be sought respectfully from Indigenous people and further betrayals and abuse must stop. DAPL Energy Transfer Partners, the company responsible for DAPL, has failed to do a proper review of environmental impacts, acknowledge sacred sites or seek proper permissions.

Sacrificed Communities

The pipeline was diverted from the city of Bismarck, a primarily white city, to the Sioux reservation, which continues the disregard and sacrifice of marginalized communities, primarily people of color and the poor working class.

Alarming Rise of Police Militarization

The transition from protective policing to aggressive militarization of policing is highly alarming. At the DAPL site, Indigenous protectors and allies have been subjected to violence, intimidation, and undue pressure, while around the world increasing numbers of environmental protectors and activists, including many Indigenous leaders, are being assassinated in an attempt to remove resistance to the fossil fuel extractive industry.

Protection of Water

The primary issue here is protection of Sioux lands and access to clean water. DAPL threatens the Missouri River and Ogallala Aquifer, the water security of millions, and sentient life. Altogether, 10 states and 28 tribes depend on clean water from the Missouri. Clean and accessible water is a right for all beings.

Resisting Ecocide

To ensure a livable, sustainable world for future generations, we must ensure that fossil fuels are kept in the ground. We must intensify the call for government investment in renewable energy. We must expose the campaign of climate disinformation and efforts to undermine evironmental protections. We support the fast transition to renewable energy and the emergence of a new way of being in relationship with the web of life, guided by the wisdom of the Indigenous people, Elders, and the forces of wisdom and compassion.


Support the mindfulness/Buddhist presence at Standing Rock:


Campaign Leaders

  • Thanissara – Buddhist Teacher
  • Rachel Humphrey – Social Justice Activist
  • Jim Rogers – Environmentalist
  • Jeanie Daskais – Buddhist Chaplin

Endorsements

We need to stand with our brothers and sisters at Standing Rock in any way we can to ensure a livable, sustainable world for present and future generations. NO time to lose!

—Santacitta Bhikkhuni, Anandabodhi Bhikkhuni &
community of Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery, CA

Deeply inspired by the nonviolent resistance at Standing Rock, I have been supporting the Water Protectors there by making donations and spreading the word. I believe a Dharma tipi would bring a powerful presence to this historic event.

—Joanna Macy, teacher, author, activist

It’s imperative that the Dakota Pipeline be stopped for the sake of the indigenous peoples who are at risk of having their drinking water contaminated and their sacred lands destroyed. The permit for such construction must be reversed.

—Mark Coleman, Meditation teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center
and founder of The Mindfulness Institute

We stand in solidarity with our friends at Standing Rock and to anyone in the world who is defending the sacred. May the water run free of poison and pollution, and may those who seek to restore the dignity of the water meet with every success.

Suvaco Hansen, Kirsten Kratz, Julia Wallond:
Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement (DANCE)

We are humbled at the courage of the protectors at Standing Rock, and deeply grateful. Daily we sit in solidarity with you, bringing our prayers to the people, to the water, to our relationship with the sacred, and with all living things.
—Lindsay Alderton, Guhyapati and Alex Swain:
The Ecodharma Centre, Catalunya

Indigenous peoples’ bodies have been on the frontlines of protecting the earth since time began. Our good thoughts and fervent wishes are welcome, but it is now our bodies that are needed to stand behind them. Join me in using your resources to support those that can show up to protect the most precious resource of all. In doing so, we all stand together.

—Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Sensei, author, Radical Dharma,
senior teacher, newDharma Community Founder, Center for Transformative Change

The protection initiative led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe challenges not only the Dakota Access Pipeline project but the fundamental presumption of the Western economic model which centralizes private profits above all else, relegating people, planet, and all that is sacred to the margins. The leaders at Standing Rock are sharing with all of us, through their acts and words, powerful teachings on interbeing and peaceful resistance. I fully support our Mindfulness/Buddhist community in embodying our support for the preservation of indigenous rights and the protection of Mother Earth.

—Kristin Barker, Director and Co-founder, One Earth Sangha

Further Endorsed by

  • Pennie Opal Plant, Native Elder, Idle No More
  • Bonnie Duran, Native American, Leader, Buddhist Teacher
  • Carol Cano, Native American, Leader, Buddhist Teacher
  • Kerry Nelson, Green Group at Spirit Rock Meditation Center
  • Dawn Haney, Co-Director, Buddhist Peace Fellowship

Resources

We thank you for your support, for showing solidarity, and for your prayers, Dharma practice, and good will for those on the front lines in the struggle for a sustainable future.

Support the mindfulness/Buddhist presence at Standing Rock:

 

It seems impossible until it’s done.

—Nelson Mandela

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