Oh, Great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my Spirit may come to you without shame.
– Chief Yellow Lark
“I personally won’t stop bringing awareness to this struggle and the struggle of our indigenous rights.”
Robert: I’m speaking with four students from Standing Rock High School in Fort Yates, North Dakota about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). DAPL is the proposed 1,172-mile underground oil pipeline extending from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to an oil tank farm in Illinois. Standing Rock was the site of victorious protests last fall to stop the pipeline from crossing beneath the Missouri River only to be followed by approval of the pipeline by the Trump administration.
The young voices here are Aliya Eagle Martinez, Chaská Moore, Jalyssa McLaughlin and Wanbli Waunsila Win Eagle (which means, Compassionate Eagle Woman).
Where does the struggle to stop DAPL stand now?
Jalyssa McLaughlin: The pipeline is in the ground and they have oil flowing through it.
Aliya Eagle Martinez: Even though Trump approved the pipeline, that doesn’t mean we’ll stop fighting to protect Ina Makha (Mother Earth). I personally won’t stop bringing awareness to this struggle and the struggle of our indigenous rights.
Robert: How far is your school from the Missouri River? Tell me a little about what the river and the land around the river means to you and your family?
Aliya Eagle Martinez: Fort Yates is on an island on the Mnisose (Missouri River). The river is where me and my family fish from, and occasionally take a dip in when it’s way too hot out. We also water our horses there when we take them on rides.