“We’re Still Here” First-Hand Report by Rachel Anne Saudek from Standing Rock
“We’re still here. Apparently media has been reporting that camp is empty, or was being evacuated yesterday, or who knows what else, but after two days of snow and roaring winds, there are still thousands of people here keeping each other warm and safe.
The storm gave everyone a good idea of what still has to be done in order to truly be prepared for winter here. Common spaces are set up for people to sleep in, kitchens are still cooking for hundreds, the donation center is still overflowing with warm things.
Yes there have been eviction notices and an ordered evacuation and the governor has even cut off emergency services from the area. But this camp isn’t going anywhere.
An elder said last night, “You’re going to hear a lot of threats from them. Because that’s all they have.” It’s hard for me to imagine them coming in to try to clear this place out, it would take so much work and brute force.
Because people live here and they are not leaving.This is people’s home. It is not a protest, it is not a passing phase, it is not a festival or a campout. It is not easy.
So many people have left their jobs, left school, left their old lives to be here. It is family, it is true community, it is true commitment. I don’t think the officers realize how many people here are willing to die to defend the land.
Yesterday I woke up before there was even a glow on the horizon and through the whipping wind and snow there were morning prayers and songs coming over the microphone from the folks gathered at the sacred fire. Just like every other day. Prayers for the land, for the water, for the people, for the officers and the drillers, and for the next seven generations.
Every day I am more honored and grateful to be here, to be amongst people who live with such deep dedication, devotion and service to the all. To my family, friends and community that have been so supportive, thank you. Your love fills me with warmth, strength and purpose. I love you!!”
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