Happy Holidays & Greetings from Standing Rock

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This holiday editorial may seem familiar, but that’s because its message is always needed.

Whoever you may be, no matter what you have done, whatever the pain in your life right now or whatever circumstances surround you, look around and see what is giving you laughter and hope. You are not alone and you are loved. Your life is precious and if you open up, others will share. That is part of this time of year and it just takes that one step.

Then there are those who are more fortunate than others. I ask you to remember our Cree traditions of sharing. At this time of year more than other times make an effort to be a person your ancestors would be proud of. It can be a random smile, a joke in passing, a contribution to the local food bank, presents for children and families having a hard time or simply a friendly nod of approval to boost someone’s spirit. Hopefully you’ll do all of the above.

The holidays are a time of joy and laughter and the Creator wants us to show our love unconditionally. It’s a time to enjoy life and to help others do the same. It is not a time to judge others – we do that too often the rest of the year. This season is the occasion where you can share the joy and laughter that changed your life and may change others.

So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of the Nation staff. Be safe, give generously to local food banks and to those who have less than we do. Don’t drink and drive and make peace on Earth part of your community’s holidays.

Cold Dakota Nights

by Harry Joseph Benedict, in  Standing Rock, North Dakota

North Dakota winter is officially here with fluctuations of high winds and snowdrifts. Saw a bunch of cars in the ditch last night. Luckily enough the majority of them got pulled out. I had been riding with an Elder when a cop stopped in the the left lane across from a car in front of us. She hit the brakes and we slid perfectly between them. Fortunately enough no one got hit.

The cop scolded her lightly. “When my lights are on that means stop.” She explained that she had tried and he was courteous enough to follow behind her to make sure that we were safe.

It gets cold at night but it’s manageable for the most part if you have some decent layers. The night before I had slept in a tent after I though I had space in a teepee and the floor got soaked from rain and snow… Heater didn’t make much different, so I slept in the kitchen area that night.

First night was solo, second night more got together. So now we’re just gonna’ be chopping wood here and there throughout the day. Honestly, I like this lifestyle. There’s more of a sense of community for the most part. I’ve been given time to reflect on a lot of things and with each hurdle I find some aspect of healing and growth. It’s a beautiful journey.

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