It's taken me a little bit to post about my travels to North Dakota to deliver donations to the Water Protectors near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's sacred land 900 miles northeast of Salt Lake City. The truth is, I've found it excruciating to answer the simple, earnest question from friends, and students: "Well, how was it?"
The journey, which I made with James Hardy @thehardyheart, Sharon Tapias @shazzyrocker, my husband Mike and my dog - was inspiring, sobering, and without question the most thought-provoking experience in my recent memory.
Yes. It is true that our generous and loving @21st_yoga community answered our call for donations so heartily we filled two full truckloads of supplies for the camp of 3,000 mostly indigenous families, elders and others headed into the arms of winter.
Yes. We traveled on Thanksgiving Day. Yes. We donated $4,800 toward protester's legal costs. Yes. We were stopped by armed US National Guardsmen who said they'd been ordered by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple not to let us pass on the county road. Yes. I saw the razor wire, the police presence. I also saw hundreds of tribes from around the country gathered in one peaceful, self-sustained settlement. I heard elders delivering powerful messages, prayers, songs.
The truth is that nothing is simple, and the cocktail of race, land, history, and energy issues makes this a toxic Tallboy indeed. Lay over that, America's rapacious hunger for oil and the undeniably monstrous treatment of indigenous people through time. To say native people have been "marginalized" - albeit under the siren call of Manifest Destiny - is a first-world insult.
The truth is, there is no easy fix. It's 28 degrees and snowing in the area tonight.The governor today issued an emergency evacuation of camp. Tribal leaders say no one is moving.
The most I can say is that if your gut ever tells you to do something -- to raise money for a cause, to stand up for an issue, to visit a place and see for yourself -- then do it. Make time. Care. Show up. There are always multiple truths. There may not be a solution. But the richness of life always lies in the deeper waters of these callings.