Oct 3, 2016 - Tribes Stand Together against 3.8 Billion Pipeline by Robert Upham

This should be the biggest news story in America. The “Indian” Tribes of America have come together to support Sitting Bulls’ People. The State of Minnesota is a Dakota and Lakota word meaning “Many Waters”. The name of the states of North and South Dakota describe the people who have lived here for thousands of years. The slogan at the Camp is “Mni Wiconi”, Water is life. But, to the oil companies…. “Oil is Life”. Oil is the life of the Money making machine which has $3.8 Billion dollars invested in the pipeline.

In the summer of 1876 there were still a few buffalo left. Back then the headlines could have read, “Tatanka Wiconi” .. Buffalo is life. And all of Indian country would have agreed. the world would have agreed. But, the newspapers would not have covered it that way. In the day those Indians traveling off the Reservation were considered “Hostile”. And in todays media the Indians trying to stop the pipeline are considered hostile. The Indian prayed with the buffalo , just as the Indian Prays today with the water. Why? is it difficult to understand to the consumers and businesses of oil that you can’t drink OIL and you can’t eat gold.

The gold rush was the excuse back in the day for allowing settlers to invade the great Sioux Nation which is referred traditionally as the Oceti Shakowin, the Seven Council Fires. The Seven Council Fires is the name of the main camp at the Army Corps of Engineers land just across the river from the Standing Rock Reservation which is now the camp of the “Water Protectors”.

Every morning at his camp is begun with prayer. Tobacco is offered to the fire and thanks is given. Many have visited this fire to date .. from all over the world.. from Germany, from Brazil, from Columbia, from ALL Parts of the United States. But, the Media has not covered this. WHY???

This is the Chiefs Tipi at the Oceti Sakowin Camp, Seven Fires Camp at the Standing Rock Reservation. We are gathering to Protect the Water from the pipeline of big oil.. the Black Snake. Photo by Robert Upham

Because “WE” Indians are the “ONE PERCENT” .. some say the big Businesses and corporate elites are the “One Percent”. but, in a land that once was ours. Our Native numbers at about 3 million in a country that is 300 million … this makes US, American Indians, the one percent. and the only thing that can conquer numbers ifs Prayer. the only thing that can compete against the lack of media coverage is Paryers. The only thing that can compete against the $3.8 billion in finances is prayer. I would venture to say that much money from big business is financing the media. From the commercials on TV selling the products of cars, plastic products, transportation,and of course the obvious… “OIL”.

Photo by Robert Upham

Many agree with the Sioux that water is life. The people who lived along the river that winds like a snake.. the Missouri River.

The jobs that big oil brings to North Dakota are temporary. But, Water is a necessity to Life. It should not be bargained with and sold to us with a price. We are not for sale. Indian people are coming together and the world wants to know. The media have an obligation to tell the story of the marginalized, the disenfranchised. The media should have the mores to tell the truth without money affecting the voice. But, does mainstream media have the “Prayer”?? I shamefully would have to say , “No’. It makes all the more reason why I wish to help our people have a voice in the media of the REZ. Because only we know how to give that REZ-pect

by Robert Upham (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate)

Last Real Indians