Today we went to the front line – this is the camp that is closest to the digging of the pipeline – but the front line has been pushed back – and they are trying to inch their way back to the digging. We visited with women and men that have been there a week and they are waiting for reinforcements who should be arriving soon. Now that I know where the front line is, I can easily see their teepees from Media Hill. We asked them how we could help. They need shin guards (made from hardback books – they promise to return them) and shields ( made from the tops of storage bins). My son is making the shields now. He was given gas mask hoses that he can use to create handles on the shields. We went to the school to pull any hard back books that might not be in good shape (water logged). The front line has two canoes (or maybe a kayak I can’t remember). The shields are necessary to deflect the rubber bullets and the bean bags. As I write I’m talking to a young man who was on the front line and he shows us a large bruise on his chest from one of the bean bags. He says they were shooting rubber bullets and bean bags from a boat as they tried to make a bridge in order to get across Cannonball River and pray. He says that one day, when 140 got arrested, the police shredded his tent, and everyone else’s.
We worked in the school today as well. We organized books, getting ready for the move to a more spacious spot for the kids – typically 25 or so a day. I’m hoping I can help teach on Monday (once it’s moved) if they need me.
Tomorrow morning there is suppose to be a Sun Dance very early at the bridge. I’m going to get up and head there to see it. This camp, Oceti Sakowin, is a place full of kindness, constant music, and friendship. Sam is digging a fire pit for us right now. We haven’t had a shovel and one suddenly appeared allowing Sam to dig the hole. It’s freezing at night. I can’t feel my toes. Today an extra blanket is suddenly inside my tent.
If I need food, there is food. If I need medical assistance, there are medics. Everywhere I turn there is someone to help. I think about the children I taught last year in the Aurora Public Schools and the lack of resources available to them. Yet, here, we have a group of The Front Line | BustED Pencils: