Report from Inside the Oceti Sakowin Camp, December 2016
Representing for Gaol Naofa at Standing Rock, Oceti Sakowin, Dec 2016
There are representatives from hundreds of indigenous nations all over the globe, as well as many non-indigenous allies that I met who came from all over the country and the world, including Italy, France, China, Japan, Peru, Mexico, Norway and many more. There are Hindus, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, pagans, and likely polytheists (aside from myself) and many others who all gathered to offer their prayers at the central sacred fire in solidarity with our indigenous relatives, and we are all welcome. An Apache Elder even gave a shout out at the fire specifically honoring the Irish and Scottish, and those Americans of Gaelic and Celtic descent, who have joined them from all over.
This is an indigenous-centered movement with the world’s support and it should absolutely include us as Gaelic Polytheists, who see water – and the rivers who carry it – as sacred. We must also remember this is an issue of indigenous sovereignty and we are gathering to bring to light the atrocities committed against the Lakota, and all indigenous peoples, so that justice may be served and amends made.
On Sunday, Lakota Elders made an announcement at the sacred fire that they were officially going to forgive the U.S. Military for the killings of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse (this is a huge deal). As everyone listened (and cried) as they made that announcement, new life was breathed into hope for a better future for the indigenous people of Turtle Island and a better relationship between Native people and those living in occupied territory.
It’s not over, there is a long way to go, raise up your prayers and song, send donations, go to Standing Rock and help and see what it looks like to have a world united with Indigenous peoples working for a common goal. It is beautiful and also terribly sad considering what it has taken for it to finally get to this point.
Is Beatha é an t-Uisce!
‘S e an t-Uisge a’ Bheatha!
Water is Life!
Breandán Mac Suibhne,
An Chomhairle Ghaol Naofa
If you are considering going to Standing Rock, you must be prepared for harsh winter camping conditions, with subzero clothing and sleeping gear, and a winterized tent. If you are non-Native, you will also need to read the cultural protocols to prepare yourselves for how camp life is run. Read the regular updates posted on The CAORANN Facebook Page, and follow the people in camp whose updates are shared there.
The informational packets at this site go particularly in-depth about how to avoid culture-shock, and how not to act in a colonial or otherwise disruptive manner. We strongly recommend you read them if you are going.
December 6, 2016
As a spiritual community, we pray with our families and our broader communities for peace, healing and justice in these times of crisis and pain.
The horrific injustices being faced by our loved ones who are people of colour have created an emergency situation for us in the USA and for many of us worldwide. As people of faith – whatever faith – basic human rights are non-negotiable: the right to not be shot dead in the street, or in a nightclub; the right to have clean water to drink and fresh air to breathe. As an organisation, and as a community, we pray for peace, we pray for healing.
We pray for justice.
An Chomhairle Ghaol Naofa – The Gaol Naofa Council
An Chuallacht Ghaol Naofa – Community of Sacred Kinship
September 26, 2016
Original photo by Kyle Brown – Dawn on the Mississippi River
Although Gaol Naofa as an organisation is generally neutral when it comes to politics, as a council we have decided this is too important and vital an issue to stay silent. In addition to our avowed stance on Indigenous Solidarity, we believe that as Gaelic Polytheists we have a duty to honour and respect the land spirits of wherever we reside, and advocate for the protection of the environment and sacred sites that will be affected by things like this proposed pipeline.
In that spirit, a number of our members, along with those in our related organisation, CAORANN, have been joining in prayer with our friends and relatives who are at the demonstrations and prayer vigils in Washington DC, at sacred sites all along the proposed route of the Dakota Access/Bakken Pipeline, and at the sacred waters all over the world. Some of the people on the front lines of this struggle have been instrumental as advisors to our organisation, and without them, we probably would not exist.
The young people from Standing Rock reservation have run all the way from the Dakotas to Washington, DC to bring awareness to the danger facing our water supply. We are so proud of them.
We have been praying at the water, making offerings, singing and praying for protection. We are sending love, strength and gratitude to the runners and the land/water defenders who are carrying this forward for all of us. Slàinte Mhath.
From the Center of the Land
The spirits are guarding the water
The spirits are guarding the land
Who speaks for the waters?
Who speaks for the land?
Sacred waters of Turtle Island
Watershed of Oceti Sakowin
Ogalala Aquifer, sacred
Rivers Mnišoše, Mníšošethaka, Iowa, Illinois
and every tributary and well and stream
feeding spreading flowing
into us all.
The water is in us all.
Every time you feel the thirst
Every time you reach for water
you hear us. The spirits of the land and waters
The ancestors upon whose bones you stand.
Sacred waters from which we are born
flowing from the lands of our ancestors,
Abhainn Chluaidh, Uisge Dhè, An Life, An Bhóinn,
Flowing to the ocean, dancing across
to the shores of Turtle Island
merging and twining as one.
Who speaks for the water?
Who speaks for the land?
From sacred Standing Rock, reaching out worldwide,
to the all the sacred rivers, flowing, and circling back
to the center again. As one.
Land defenders crying, praying, “Come, Protect the water!”
Land defenders rising, singing, “We Protect the Water!”
The waters flow free. Clear. Strong. As one.
Pure. Sacred. Forever. As one.
With love and gratitude to the youth, Elders and allies of Standing Rock and all the water runners, in Solidarity. – An Chomairle Ghaol Naofa
- A Shail-Spioradain – Gaelic for “Oh Guardian Spirits”
- Turtle Island – name used by many Indigenous North American Peoples for the North American continent
- Oceti Sakowin – The Seven Fires Council aka The Great Sioux Nation or the Lakota and Dakota people
- Mnišoše – Lakota (Lak?ótiyapi) name for the Missouri River
- Mníšošethaka – Dakota (Dakhótiyapi) name for the Mississipi River [please note, the second-last “a” is supposed to be a
- Abhainn Chluaidh, Uisge Dhè, An Life, An Bhóinn, – In both Gaelic and Irish, “River Clyde, River Dee, Liffy and Boyne”
- Standing Rock – The Lakota reservation where they are blocking the proposed pipeline, and where the runners began their journey on foot to Washington D.C.
- Slàinte Mhath – Gaelic for “Good Health/Strength/Wholeness”
August 9, 2016