Nov 12, 2016 - #NoDAPL: Let’s Talk About the Wins by Patty Stonefish

I reference Egypt a lot. I do so because I was there not only during an influential time in my life, but an influential time in history. The culmination of the two lead to many lessons – and lessons do little good if they are not shared.

One of the lessons I learned along the way, from a close friend, was to “count the small wins”. He was referring to the importance of recognizing these wins during the time following the January 25th Egyptian revolution in 2011.

Since then, I’ve worked hard to apply this to my daily life, and doing so has helped immensely! Counting small wins in your day to day life has numerous benefits such as; increased energy, improved outlook, increased self-confidence, lower anxiety, and can even decrease stress levels.

These same benefits may be seen in any movement. It is with this thought I decided to revisit this knowledge with the one who originally passed it on – Tarek Nasr. Tarek is the managing director of The Planet, a digital creative agency in Cairo, Egypt. However, like many people, he is so much more than a title. He is a revolutionary, a father, a friend, but above all, he is one of those rare minds who keep pushing regardless of obstacles faced.

So I asked him – just exactly why are the small wins so important to recognize in movements?

Tarek: “Small wins are important to recognize because (re)gaining your rights happens incrementally. You’re not going to get your freedom back in a day. If you recognize the small wins, it provides energy, which in turn helps push the force of the movement forward.”

There you have it. Short. Sweet. Simple.

Now let’s get on to taking a moment to recognize some wins along the journey of #NoDAPL…

We trended on social media! Not only did “#NoDAPL” trend across the board – but so did “#StandingRock / #StandWithStandingRock”! That’s impressive.

#NoDAPL has made mainstream media – not just nationally, but internationally!

Because we have now made it into mainstream media, people around the world now know we exist! It may sound laughable, but due to the flawed way history books are written, it looks like we didn’t make it past the 1800’s to many worldwide. Now – there is the chance, the next time I set foot in Egypt, I won’t have to Google a photo of Sitting Bull to explain to people what my heritage is. This…is amazing.

UNITY! When is the last time we had this many of our nations represented in one place?! We all know there are divides within our nations – but we are also seeing them tumble. This, is simply beautiful. Beautiful, powerful, Indigenous love.

#NoDAPL has successfully gotten the attention of the President. We may all have different viewpoints on what was said, but the fact remains – his attention was grabbed.

Allies! We have allies. Protecting water is an everyone issue, but look at how many teachable moments have come out of this…and it’s still early! Look who is on the ground or speaking out with us in any way they can…they’re not just Indigenous.

People are waking up! To many things here. Because of #NoDAPL, people’s eyes are being opened – sometimes forcefully, but they are being opened. Opened to injustice, racism, and hundreds of issues many previously didn’t understand. (The word “treaty” is being used in mainstream media – six months ago most people didn’t even understand the U.S. had any treaties with the Indigenous populace.)

This is only a sample of the wins that have already come from #NoDAPL. It goes much deeper than this, with many more wins to come – and it’s still very early.

We have a lot ahead of us, there are many fronts to fight – but please, remember to take a moment along the way to hold, feel, and recognize the wins – no matter how small they seem. These wins (and our indomitable will / sense of humor) will keep us pushing forward. No matter what obstacles may come.

Patty Stonefish is mixed Lakota (German, Russian, French, Polish, Mexica – HUMAN), born in North Dakota & raised throughout the countryside.

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