Lessons from Standing Rock
“We certainly need to pray for courage these days. ‘Dear God, please deliver me from the fear of my enemies.’” Dorothy Day 1970
Why talk about such inconsequential subjects as prayer in the time of hatred and irrationality? We don’t have time for that.
The Standing Rock Water Protectors called on prayer as their foundation to protect their lands and our waters. People responded to their prayer: indigenous people from Hawaii, Australia, Canada, Congo, the Arctic, the Caribbean. Not only indigenous people,people of all backgrounds responded.
And government forces attacked. Again and again and again.
This is not the first time prayer had been attacked by government forces:
Aaron Mair recounts the government reaction to the Sioux Ghost Dance 1890. He relates that
The ‘Ghost Dance’ (Nanissáanah), a religious and spiritual resistance of prayer and dance was practiced by the Sioux Nation in 1890 to enlist the spirits of the dead to fight on their behalf, to make the white colonists leave, and to bring peace, prosperity, and unity to Native peoples throughout the region. Alarmed by the Ghost Dance, the United States government and local authorities sent in thousands of troops to violently put down this peaceful protest and sought the arrest Sitting Bull, who was believed to be one of the spiritual resistance leaders. The unarmed Sitting Bull was shot and killed when the attempt was made to arrest him.
Sierra Club 2016
Judge the power of prayer by the reaction it gets from the powerful.