Members of Laughing Rivers Sangha joined in 2 local Interfaith actions during November and December to support the Water Protectors at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Native American tribes and their friends have been resisting the building of an 1170 mile pipeline that would pass through their Treaty-chartered lands, and under a portion of the Missouri River, which is their primary water source.
On Nov 15th, Natalie Neal, Kate Fissell, George Hoguet and Anne Kolesar joined hundreds of others in downtown Pittsburgh for 3 hours of ceremonies led by local Native Americans, which included a Mindful March, and ended in a moving, Water Blessing Service at the Allegheny landing under the Convention Center. At the gravesite of Shanwee Chief Red Pole, where the Ceremonies began, George was invited to share with the gathering the Buddhist Statement of Support for Standing Rock. Anne Kolesar carried our banner, with Thay's teaching, as part of the Mindful March.
On December 4th - the Interfaith Day of Prayer called for by Chief Arvol Looking Horse - Pat Cassidy, Jon Robison and Laura Langer also joined Natalie, George and Kate for a silent flash meditation at the Point in Pittsburgh at the exact hour that thousands of US Veterans, clergy and spiritual practitiones from 30 Faith communities were praying together with the Native Americans at the Camp of the Sacred Stones. Three others from various faith communiites joined our meditation. Such efforts and more were being shared at that exact time by hundreds of Plum Village practitioners during retreats at all the monasteries and in sanghas worldwide.
The Good News is that after 8 months of struggle and assaults by police and contractor security, and before the Interfaith Day of Prayer could even conclude, the US Army announced that it was halting the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. Courage, Unity, Non-Violence and Prayer won out.