Standing Rock is on many minds lately, but, this month, Catholic Sisters did more than send their thoughts to North Dakota. Two weekends ago, eight Catholic Dominican Sisters ventured to Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with the water protectors there. Dominican Sister of Blauvelt Ceil Lavan, OP was one of the eight. Sister Ceil had worked with Native Americans in one of her previous ministries in Chicago, and she calls the experience eye-opening.
“I worked in Chicago about twenty-five years ago, and there was a large indigenous population there,” Sister Ceil shares. “One young Cherokee woman opened my eyes to understand what has been happening to indigenous people.”
At Standing Rock, Sister Ceil saw first-hand that their plight continues today.
Hundreds of Native Americans who self-identify as Water Protectors have left their reservation to come stay at Standing Rock, where they protest against a proposed oil pipeline that would run near their reservation and endanger both their sacred sites and water supply to millions of Americans.¹ The issue is about Native American lands, but also everyone’s land, and everyone’s water.
“Indigenous people remind us that, in the 1800s, a treaty of the Sioux with the United States Government determined that no one could use that land without the permission of the Sioux nation,” Sister Ceil says.
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