Opposing the Black Snake Pipeline & Running for Future Generations by Shayla GaytonTweet
Han, mitakiyapi. Chante wašteya nape chiyuzapi. Waohola win emačiyapi. Othunwahe hota el wathi. Inyan woslate hematahan kšto.
When I was first asked to join this run, I didn’t know the facts. I always supported the opposition of the pipeline because I listen when elders talk. I remember listening to all Unci Delores taken Alive’s stories in my high school Lakota classes. She talked about the land and how it used to be and what it has and is becoming. The land is the way it is and it was never meant to be altered in any way.
This black snake that is threatening our water is going to affect everyone using the Missouri River south of where they intend to establish it. Should it fail, it will poison our water and we won’t ever be able to drink, bathe, or cook with it again. Everything our ancestors ever fought for will almost be for nothing.
Experiencing this run and actually being a part of something bigger than myself has taught me more than any person could. I had to and still am fighting through soreness, hurt, and injury. I only just realized how powerful my mind is and how much prayer helps throughout this journey.
I’m willing to fight through so much more in order to have clean water for my people, my family, and future generations to come. Whenever I run, I make sure I keep in mind those that can’t be here and those that aren’t able to run or walk. And I am so proud of each and every person that has joined in along the way. Whether it be for 1/2 mile or 10 or just to show support and to encourage us. It all makes a difference. They are all a part of this and we will carry this with us forever.
If we are successful, we will be remembered by our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and so on. I pray that our voices be heard. I’d rather suffer for a week than have to suffer for a lifetime.
Mitakuye oyasin. Shayla Gayton
Editors note: On April 24th, runners set forth from Cannonball, ND, on the Standing Rock Sioux tribe reservation, to embark on a 500-mile relay run to deliver a message to the Army Corp of Engineers that they oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.