Last week I watched security guards working for the Dakota Access pipeline company using dogs and pepper spray to attack protesters:
We were kids and knew only what our history classes taught us which only made passing reference to the brutal indignities perpetrated on the people who lived on this land before the settlers came. We never understood how the people came to be on the Indian Reservation or what that term even meant.
What I took away from those experiences in my youth was a the great sense of pride and strength that these people carried, the dedication to tradition, the respect they had for nature and the reverence with which they treated their elders. They set for me examples that I must admit I haven't always lived up to.
Seeing the way the protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline have been treated made me feel sad sick and angry all at once. A friend of mine shared this video and I think it sums up much of why I felt those feelings while watching a private company's private security guards use dogs on non-violent Native American protesters.
Here is a quote from a show "Around the World in 80 Faiths" that the presenter made after participating in a sweat lodge ritual with a Navajo tribe:
"The ways of these people are really coming to an end. There are two worlds that have collided here, there is the world of the Navajo and there is the world of the white man. And what have we replaced this way of life with? Stress, money, junk-food. Is that progress?"
~Reverend Peter Owen-Jones
I think of it from time to time and wonder this very thing.