Long time local Sebastopol resident Julia Bystrova, who many folks know from her many years of contributing to our community in various positive ways, has been at the main Standing Rock camp for a while now assisting hands-on with the medic and healers team.
Julia has been posting some personal updates on her Facebook page now and then, and I messaged her to ask if I could post those updates here on Wacco, which she approved. She says she has been working very hard to the point of being maxed out and doesn't have the time to post on Wacco.
Here are Julia's Facebook postings from the last two days, starting from yesterday's at the top to the latest at the bottom:
Yesterday at 12:08pm
Our camp has doubled in size within the last 2 days. It's nuts here! But we definitely have DAPL outnumbered
So many here, most of the long term resisters are overwhelmed. Many of my friends have left already, but Spirit isn't letting me leave yet. Working with arrestee women in trauma. The need is great. Tomorrow I join the women's prayer vigil. Starhawk will be with us. This place is big medicine and everyone is getting dosed. I'll post pics as soon as I can get to it
Too many people at Standing Rock. If you are thinking to come, I advise you stay home right now.
Standing Rock, and especially Oceti Sakowin camp, is a resistance camp. And it is ceremonial ground. The sacred fire burns 24/7 and we are called to prayer all through the day and night whenever we can or feel moved to. The land is powerful and the ancestors are all around us in their burial mounds. Over 300 indigenous tribes are represented here. This started with just 5 Lakota youth who began to camp. One dreamed that there would be thousands. And now that dream has come true. There are many who came here to stay no matter what, and to stay until we have accomplished our goal--to protect the water. The goal is also symbolic for water everywhere, and a world where we take care of the earth and each other. There are many of us who are willing to give their lives for this, though no one wants it to come to that.
This last holiday weekend, many came with good intentions. Some people came to help and are sincere, but there are those who are here trying to make it a party and a photo op. Many donations coming in all the time. We have enough medic supplies for a hospital. I am concerned, some people have come without being prepared, without understanding whats happening, and they are putting a big burden on the camp--using resources, creating waste, and dropping off unneeded donations that those left behind then have to clean up. This is NOT a festival. It is not a free-for-all. This is a war zone. It is real and it is rough. Please only come if you can truly be of use or join the actions. And I advise waiting until after the crowds have thinned. The coming 3 days of snow will likely chase people off.
Thanksgiving day was one of my best days ever. I started the day with a Lakota water ceremony and a special blessing with a very revered Mexican shaman (who told us that the earth feeds us, but we have just taken and that we must give to the earth too--the spiritual food of our prayers). I decided to go to an action that day, happening down at the water. The police were lining the top of the hill on the other side, where they shine the flood lights on us all night. We were a massive crowd, praying and singing at the water, some of us crossed to the other side (using a little pallet bridge). Leaders with bullhorns sent the police words of love and invitation. We told them we loved them. At one point 4 police sat down on the side of the hill and I saw 2 of them wave at us! It was amazing.
Then most of us gathered in what was the largest circle I have ever been a part of. I couldn't see it all. We invited the police to come down and circle with us. Looking up a little later, I saw them gathered in a little circle. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but it was cool.
Later a huge feast was offered at a local high school. I caught a photo of rev. Billy busing the tables.
We have been told to vacate our camp by dec 5th. We have hundreds of veterans and clergy coming in right before to stand in solidarity. Not one of the long term folks I've talked to has any intention of leaving. This is Sioux land. PLEASE!--You can turn the tide of what happens. Call the following numbers and give your opinion that we should stay!
White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111
US Army Corp of Engineers Numbers
Emergency Management: 202-761-4603
Freedom of Information Act: 202-761-4791
Inspection General (Fraud, Waste, Abuse): 800-328-2207
During a lull in the activity, I went to say some prayers at the "border", the bridge where police have barricaded--you can see the snipers with their guns pointed. I prayed and visualized the police walking out to shake hands with us. Shortly after this photo, some security from our camp came and told us we were WAY too close and to get back. I invite you to visualize this with me, the fence coming down, the police putting down their guns.