In 2016, a small group of first nation people from North Dakota decided to stand up and resist towards the unlawful seizure of their sacred lands by the Keystone company, responsible for the building of an oil pipeline that would put in danger not only their ancient burial sites, but also the water they need to support their communities.

They then started a small resistance camp, which thanks to the involvement of young people and their knowledge of social media and the backing up of their elders firmly grounded in indigenous spiritual practice, soon became the pilgrimage destination of thousands of people, other indigeous tribes, from all corners of the USA and the rest of the world.

Standing Rock was thus born, triggering the largest intertribal alliance on the American continent in centuries, and possibly ever, with over 200 tribal nations represented. Their fight in Defense of Water, became the struggle to Defend the Sacred, as water is the condition for life itself to exist and to defend it is to ensure the possibility of life to continue on this planet.

The slogan Mni Wiconi, Water is Life, was coined and thousands of Water Protectors stood fiercely in its defense, in freezing temperatures, in the face of a brutal and scandalously violent repression at the hands of the army hired by the fossil fuel industry to stop the rebellion. In a historic moment that will be forever etched in the memory of millions, unarmed people backed by the elders gathered in prayer around the Sacred Fire, showed the world that when supported by spiritual practice, peaceful activism can overcome even the most brutal form of violence.

In this very special presentation, LaDonna Brave Bull, one of the founders of the Sacred Stone Camp, historical activist in defense of the rights of First Nations people and Lakota elder of her community, will hold a prayer and will share the stories of Standing Rock, what happened, what was learned, what are the new challenges, how can we support them and how can Sacred Activism spread all over the world to support the shift towards a life supporting culture.

LaDonna Brave Bull (Bio)

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard-Ta Mak’a Wast’e Win (Good Earth Woman) is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; from the Dakota and Lakota Nation of the bands of Ihunktonwana, (Upper Yanktonais) Pabaska (Cuthead), Sisseton and Russian/German on her Father’s side, Hunkpapa, Sihasapa (Blackfeet) and Oglala on her Mother’s side of the family. She was raised in Cannon Ball, North Dakota and currently lives in Fort Yates on the Standing Rock Reservation.

In 2016, she opened her land for the first camp, Sacred Stone, to be built which was the first prayer camp to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline. Allard’s family has been in North Dakota since the1800s, and she’s been a driving force in the Standing Rock movement.

Allard has compiled the history of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for the last 23 years, including battlefields, sacred and ceremonial places and has done the historical research for different projects and the history of the Oecti Sakowin people.

She has complied all the genealogy for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe which includes other area tribe’s genealogy and was a Historian Consultant for Whitestone Hill, Little Big Horn, Killdeer Mountain, North Dakota State Historical Society and the Tribal Historic Preservation Offices. 

Now that the camps are closed, Allard is returning to her roots as an educator, travelling the country to speak about environmental issues, indigenous rights and calling on international banks to divest from fossil fuel companies that violate Indigenous peoples’ rights.

She is currently working to help support and encourage the Standing Rock community inspiring youth to share their voices, and also has plans to set up an eco-village that will run on green energy, grows all of its own food and serves as a model for other communities.

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