September 3, 2018. 10 miles from Huxley to Ames.
It was a nice change to sleep indoors (in the Fjeldberg Lutheran Church) especially because it rained again. When I arrived in the dining room at 7 a.m. several people were continuing the discussion stimulated by Lee Tesdell’s presentation the night before.
Prior to beginning today, Tricia performed smudging for us, to remove negative energy and bring positive energy. That this was offered to all of us, sharing this Native practice, is just one of many examples of all of us sharing with each other. This sharing was crucial to our growing interconnections, and building a single community, together.
This video was shot by Mahmud Fitil who is marching with us. My feet actually felt better after that.
For the first several hours it was raining pretty hard. Prior to this march, I never would have ventured out into such heavy rain. But this morning I didn’t hear one person suggest we should wait until it wasn’t raining so heavily. Not one person complaining. We just put on our rain gear, had our morning circle to discuss the day’s route, and began to march and continue sharing our stories. One of the most remarkable and most meaningful things that happened on this march was the extended length of time we were with each other, and the conversations went on almost non-stop.
Just before I began writing this morning I found this on Facebook:
‘We are our stories, stories that can be both prison and the crowbar to break open the door of that prison; we make stories to save ourselves or to trap ourselves or others, stories that lift us up or smash us against the stone wall of our own limits and fears. Liberation is always in part a storytelling process: breaking stories, breaking silences, making new stories.’” Rebecca Solnit, ‘Silence Is Broken’, in ‘The Mother of All Questions’ (07/03/2017).
After Lee Tesdell’s presentation last night, he took me to see where the pipeline crossed the highway we would be traveling on when we left Huxley. We planned to have a ceremony when we reached the pipeline. Donnielle Wanatee offered good prayers, asking for protection for the walkers, and for their families at home. I was surprised at what an emotional time this was. It was especially difficult for Kathy Byrnes, bringing back a lot of bad memories of her past experiences with the construction of the pipeline on her neighbor’s land. Many offered her hugs.
These deep emotions were felt by all of us every time we crossed the pipeline. I could see from the expressions and body language that every one of us was feeling the trauma of the land and water being desecrated by the black snake.
There was a moment when Donnielle and I were standing together. I reminded her we had traveled to Minneapolis in a van together in February. She said she remembered me, thinking I had a kind face. That made my day. I would usually refrain from sharing something like that, but wanted to show how our connections are extended and deepened each time we come together again.
Each day we have a break every 3 to 4 miles. We meet portable toilet shed and the sag wagon at each stop. Food and water are available. These are important things that help us cover the distance each day. We appreciate those of us who volunteer each day to drive these vehicles to each rest stop.
There were additional pipeline crossings. Miriam offered prayers at the second crossing. It was deeply emotional, again.
We marched past a pipeline pumping station, where we also stopped and offered prayers.
We arrived at our destination, the Oakland Road Church and Community Center in Ames.
So today was mostly about walking in the rain, sh aring more stories,and experiences at the pipeline sites. The tipi was setup again. Following is a short video of putting the cover on the tipi.