Saturday, December 17, 2016

My Personal Adventure Visit at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation: Day #2-Saturday, December 3rd 2016

As I shared in my previous blog post (Day #1), I didn't sleep well and didn't get up in time for the prayer vigil along Cannonball River (tributary of Missouri River)...

... However, I was able to watch part of it, which I'm not able to share a photo of it as I found out afterwards that I couldn't take a pic of this ritual ceremony event. It was very peaceful to watch as I prayed myself and talked to God during my morning meditation. I would try to have this spirit of prayer throughout the weekend as the speakers would encourage all of us at camp to do throughout my time there.

As I walked through the camp I was lodging at, I took a pic of this cool looking bus..

I just translated it just now, which it goes something like this "Road on the way". After crossing the bridge over Cannon Ball River, I walked towards the prayer vigil and just got there as it finished :(..

While standing there, some friendly lady made a statement saying, "You look cold". I lied and replied, "I'm alright", which then just started rubbing my lower back without my! She said that massaging your lower kidneys from the back is one way to keep warm. We then chatted and she shared that she's from France. I was awwed and she then later shared she is originally from New York and introduced herself to be Emily. She ended up sharing some of her life stories of her travels since leaving her hometown of New York (was a hippie during the Vietnam War Era), which she attended Woodstock. She would later ask about my background and I told her I was Filipino American, which she replied that I looked "Native". I replied that I get that a lot. I somehow lost my notes I took , so that's about it that I can remember. Stay tune as I might find my notes and I'll share more detail of this particular chat.

I then walked back the "stage" to see of any new developments of the various speakers. Nothing much was going on, so I decided to tour the main "Oceti Camp", which I took many photos that I already have shared on my photo-video facebook posts or Sal Photo-Videography site... or

Feel free to click above for the caption (e.g. links and blogs on the various topics I'm still "researching" on).

"Above is a pic of one of the possible barracks/tents "we" helped built the other night. There were several or more of these throughout the camp

As I walked back to the "stage" to hear more speakers, there were a lot of people compared to last night. Throughout the day, there were flocks of people (mostly veterans that were expected) coming. While waiting for the next "speaker", I overheard a "Native" mom speaking to her kids...

"Look kids, this is how we live back in the "old days" (tepees)>" I asked her, where she was from. She told me she lives up north by Mandan and that she had to take the longer route from Bismark because the county closed the overpass bridge going to this camp, so they had to go the roundabout way..

"According to google, it's about 7 minutes longer only", but it depends what part of Mandan-Bismark metropolitan area"

Later, I met this lady (Heather) from California. She has been in the camp for the last 3 weeks, which I was amazed. She told me she's been hanging out with lot of Veterans since her husband is one himself...

While we were chatting, one of her Veteran (I believe an Iraq War vet) friends came to chat with her. He and I introduced each other and I noticed he wasn't as clearly spoken. He wold mumble his words and appeared he had some disability. My heart grew fond as I feel he was injured when he was an active duty. I've met several injured disabled vets before. In fact, there is this guy I met from a Men's Retreat (w/local church) years ago who suffered from "agent orange" (see Neutral Perspective: Iraq War was justified or not? ). Anyways, getting back to the chat, she shared with me how her dad is a Christian and wasn't supportive of what she was doing (e.g. "anti-imperialism", she has actively protested back in Los Angeles with "Occupy Wall Street back in 2012, etc..).

During our chat, we paused to listen to one of the speakers from the "Native" community. She gave us a history lesson of the global issues impacted by the "greed of oil" (see another blog I wrote after my experience here-> Deep Thought: Is “Oil” causing wars? ). It was like going back to college, a whole quarter/semester of information pack all in one speech. She really captivated my ears and was anxious to re"search" all she shared. In conclusion, she repeated the echo of this whole camp theme-"please be in prayer throughout" this time your here.

After she spoke, I chatted more with this lady from California. She shared about the "racial tension" between "Natives" and "Whites" (see Deep Thought: Does it matter if your part of another “ethnicity or race”? ), which I wrote after a post (after I came back to Morris) on this "on-going" topic shared on the #nodapl group I'm in. Also, she shared about the possible "spraying" of a crop plane that made many people sick. She said it could be caused by just the inclement weather, but she and many other campers noticed the increase of symptoms (e.g. throat issues, coughing, etc..) since this "crop spraying" (see Neutral Perspective: North Dakota Law Enforcement with DAPL Security Firm vs #NODAPL “Water” Protectors as I did some re"search" and some say it was a false rumor, but re"search" it yourself. I replied that I wouldn't be surprised as I shared how the "government" admitted they did this 40+ years later in Kansas over this predominately "black poor community" and they still do this (e.g. re"search" yourself "chemtrails").

Before we parted our ways, I asked if I could pray for healing for her sickness, which she obliged ..

If you read this far, please join me in prayer for not only these "water protectors", but everyone else (e.g. Morton County law enforcement too) impacted or involved (directly/indirectly) by this #standingrock movement..

"Heavenly Father, we lift all the people directly/indirectly involved by this situation in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation. We pray that justice will be done and also healing (e.g. physical and emotional/mental from the meetings that has happened-> peace and forgiveness among the "Natives", "Whites", "various ethnic groups", Veterans, law enforcement agency, residents of Bismark and North Dakota overall, etc..) from everything that has happened and still Jesus' "mighty" name..AMEN!

To be continued...

After praying for her, she recommended me to find Veterans around the camp and get to know their story. I decided to walk around part of the camp looking for one who to chat with. I took more pictures (more will be show on my facebook photo-video site) and eventually got tired. I walked back to Rosebud Camp. Along my way, I met this guy name Ivan, who is originally from Bosnia (asked him because of his accent) and now lives in Iowa for the last 2 years or so. I then continued walking to my camp site (car), so I can take a short afternoon nap. On my way back, I saw more tents being put up around my camp site. I was going to see if they needed help, but they seem to have numerous helpers. I went back to my car and had lunch. After eating, I did a quiet devotional time with God. I was led to the David vs. Goliath story prior (see @goodnews_usa Twitter account) to this trip, so I ended up reading all of it and additional chapters..

I then took a "power" nap and was awaken by more "monitoring" aviation action (both a plane and a helicopter). I then decided to check the builders progress of the tent behind my car. They were making progress! I started to walk back towards Oceti Sakowin Camp across the river. Along my way, I saw a bunch of workers chopping firewood.

I decided to ask if anyone needed help. One worker told me that there was an extra ax in the shed. As he walked with me to get it, we introduced ourselves to each other. He told me he's from the Duluth area in Minnesota. I told him, he was the first Minnesotan I've met this weekend. Then he shared that there is a big group taking turns from the area going to Standing Rock. After chatting with him, I started chopping the wood around me. While chopping wood, a worker next to me started to introduce himself to me. He told me he was from Scotland, which I was wow! I didn't have a chance to ask what interested him coming here. Instead he shared about his background on how he's in a season looking and researching his family "tree" roots. While chatting, this "Native" elderly lady was passing some cornbread to the workers. I couldn't refuse, so I took a break and accepted her offer ..

My new "friend" from Scotland and I continued to chat more. He told me that he's been sleeping from one tent to the other as he asked me where I was sleeping at tonight. I then gave him my business card , offering him to contact me whenever he's around my neighborhood.

It was already sunset and too dark to chop wood, so I decided to continue my way back to Oceti Sakowin Camp. I was delayed when a truck carrying hay bales was stuck (earlier I was helping some young ladies that were helping unload them) after unloading it's cargo.

I continued to walk across the bridge to the other camp...

...I notice some guy on the ground. I found out he was a Veteran in uniform. I decided to stay and see how I can help. Several people were there and one asked if there is a blanket thy can have to keep him warm until the medics came. I volunteered to take my jacket off and put my warm Columbia jacket on him. He said that he thinks he broke his leg after falling on the ice (very common during my weekend here). I was silently praying in my spirit for healing, which I kick myself afterwards wishing I had more boldness to just lay hands on him and pray. Several folks started to chat with him to keep him to have "positive vibes". He shared with all of us that he brought his own EMT kit in case someone needed it , but didn't imagine that he would need it. The EMT folks came and did first aid, which a group of folks carried him to a nearby pick-up truck to take him to the EMT tent. Thank God he got the medical care and praying for him and the other US Veterans!

I then went to the "stage prayer" area, which was close by and listened for more updates. They had various speakers and "entertainers". While watching-listening, my lady friends from Ohio came by and found me. We chatted how our day has been. Then we met a group of people from Chicago wearing the same t-shirt...

They shared about their support for #standing rock and we would chat a bit, but I got distracted as one of the speakers mentioned about her injury during the protest. I then look to the "stage" and was listening. I found out this was the same lady I saw in social media that got shot in the eye with a rubber bullet ....

Nov 20, 2016 Confrontation at Standing Rock

This was one of the pics (see Neutral Perspective: North Dakota Law Enforcement with DAPL Security Firm vs #NODAPL “Water” Protectors ) that really bothered me prior to coming here, so I was touched to see her in person. I missed the announcement, but I notice a bunch of people going up front and praying for her and donating money to pay her medical bills. I'm not sure if it was just for family or tribal members, but I just went up front to bless (donated $) her. I gave a hug and quietly "Jesus name..." as I touched her wounded head.

I then walked back to the group of people I was chatting with and would watch more people giving their prayer and thoughts. I continued to be in spirit and prayer as I watched. After her brother or family member shared about this young women's injury. There was a group of young men sharing about this "Round dance" happening later tonight. They shared a sample of what it'll be like. My Ohio friends and I decided we should go, so we walked to the "big tent" (a.k.a. "largest sweat lodge) later in the evening and had a great time.

It was a cool cultural experience, which I remember doing something similar when there were "pow-wow" dances back in Morris each year. As I was trying to still be in spirit of prayer in the campgrounds, I started to speak in tongues out loud during the "round dance" yelling. People around me were holding hands in a circle, smiling, and really enjoying themselves. During the dance, I felt something in the bottom of my feet that I stepped on. I stopped and picked up someone's Hyundai key chain. I put in my pocket and thought to myself, "How can I announce this lost and found?". I felt bad for the person who might've lost it and I'm sure he/she was stressed out. Within 5-10 minutes or so, a guy shouted out between dances and asked if people can look in the ground for his keys. I was just 3 people down in front of him, which I stretched my hand with a smile and said, "here you go". My Ohio friends tapped behind me and said, "that's awesome" with a smile. I thought to myself, "praise the Lord!". It felt like a "night club" scene, but in a spiritual peaceful purpose common bond type of way! :)

I somehow lost my Ohio friends as they went out earlier for a smoke break and I was getting hungry (had some tea with one of my Ohio friends earlier only), so I left the camp around 9ish and headed across the river to my lodging (car). It was a great night and felt very peaceful as I continued to pray in spirit (e.g. singing various parody songs I recorded -> "Come & Let Your Presence Fall in this place..." ). When I got to my car, I looked across the river and paused in prayer for the workers across the river as I can see them working with the lights on. I asked God that "Justice will fill this place" as one of my last recorded songs before I came to Standing Rock. I ate some of the snacks (turkey sandwich) I brought and then went to bed in my sleeping bag as I wrote notes during my reflection-meditation. It was a great day!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

My Personal Adventure Visit to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation: Day #1 -Friday, December 2nd 2016

I was contemplating whether or not on going to Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation for over a week. I made a blog early August called- Neutral Perspective: Dakota Access pipeline project’s Pros & Cons , which the number of "views" was the largest (130 at the time before I left on my road trip). After the unfortunate "Civil-rights" like abuse that friends on facebook was posting, I felt the "need" to want to see this historical event going "next door" myself in person. Also, I had many other reasons (e.g. dream of two "W's" in a cloud formation in a bright blue sky, which I feel like I saw the interpretation after my trip. I'll be sharing this in Part #3 of this continuous blog). I decided to just "step in faith" on Friday, December 2nd 2016. After watching and reading about this movement, I wanted to see myself with my own eyes after getting so much traffic on my blog ( Neutral Perspective: Dakota Access pipeline project’s Pros & Cons

Friday, December 2nd 2016: I left a little after 9ish in the morning after packing my car with all my "necessities". The driving conditions between the eastern SD-MN border and the town of was a little slick

, which slowed my travel destination time. I didn't arrive in Mobridge, SD (southeastern border town of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation) till 2:15ish (an hour or so later than expected). Other factors was due to some breaks, such as getting meals at Walmart in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

When I got to Mobridge, I took my time driving through as I was curious about the town. I even drove off from main street to check out the neighborhoods..

I then stopped at the Burger King parking lot to get out and take pictures of the Missouri River..

Road Trip Vlog: Mobridge to Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

It was a beautiful view!

I didn't get to the actual reservation until I went on the Highway 12 overpass bridge across the Missouri River..

I did some reading prior to my trip and wanted to visit the Sitting Bull Memorial..

I couldn't stay long as I marveled the scenery as the winter days are short, so I went back on the road to travel north to Cannon Ball. Along the way, I gained an hour as I drove through the daylights saving time zone. When I went a little back east again from McLaughlin ..

While stopping here at a gas station, I ran into this elderly native. He tried to speak to me, but it wasn't in English. I thought it was cool to hear his "tribal" language. I just smiled and walked to the restroom. I notice the price of gas ($2.45) was the highest along this road trip. I would later find out that it might've been raised to prevent outsiders traveling to the "protest" site.

I continued the beautiful scenic drive up north on Highway 24 towards Fort Yates and accidentally took a detour drive around the town. I realized I was going the wrong way, so I went back to 24 and continued north to Cannon Ball.

Before reaching the campsite, I saw the church that I found online that I contacted prior to my trip...

I met one of the caretakers (Peter) and would chat about my trip. He shared how the pastor wasn't feeling well, so I ended up asking if I can pray together with him for the pastor. He accepted and we prayed. I brought extra food, so I decided to donate some to the church before heading to the camp to see if they need some more there too.

I finally arrived at the campsite around 4:20ish. The first camp was Sacred Camp..

When I got there, I was met by a gatekeeper telling me rules of the camp, which I then drove in and found a spot. However, I didn't feel it was a great spot as there were no nearby bathrooms or community . I then drove out and decided to look for another camp, which I read about the others. However, the sun was getting close to setting, so I went back. As I was driving to the camp entrance, a new gatekeeper told me that the roads are going to get icy and might be slipper to get up the hill by tomorrow morning if I leave. I decided to look for another camp, so I drove further north on 24 towards Cannon Ball River..

I arrived at Sicangu Camp or Rosebud according to the locals I camped with there..

This was going to be my home for the weekend :)

As I drove through Rosebud, I was looking for a place to "camp". I found one just across a couple of porta potties along the river. I parked next to this car, but never had the chance to meet my neighbor as he drove off the following morning. This would become a regular pattern as people came and go. I took a pic from where I set up "camp" and marveled the beauty as the sun started to set..

.. I decided to walk around and bring a bag of snacks to hand out to people. I didn't walk too far and some young lady offered me one as she too was carrying a bag of snacks. I felt welcomed immediately as people would greet me and many would even say "welcome brother". I walked towards the entrance of the camp to the highway entrance and then veered along the pedestrian path on the bridge towards Oceti Sakowin Camp. As I entered the camp, I started chatting with a group of young Natives (teens or older?). I greeted them and they welcomed by saying "your Native" now! I then walked towards the big tent (a.k.a. largest sweat lodge) where they reportedly had a schedule of events (e.g. meetings for non violent protest).I then walked around and saw a group of people around this "stage" area...

There was someone on a mic most of the time making announcements or someone doing a performance. Across them, there was some people sitting around a fire and praying. Adjacent to the stage was a place to get hot drinks and some food ("kitchen"). I would hang out there and I wasn't sure what else to do. Awhile later, they announced they needed volunteer at the "carpentry shop" to help build tents for the incoming 2,000+/- expected U.S. Veterans. I heard about them coming this weekend, which I read in numerous social media reports and articles. I decided to go there and join to "do something"....

When I got there, a young man gave us instructions and we just started building these 4'x4' floor sections to be used. We had plenty of volunteers and we worked so fast that they told us to slow down and ended up stopping for awhile.

I decided to go and check out the "stage" for any updates in the evening. While watching-listening to the various speakers, I chatted with some young ladies besides me. They drove all the way from Ohio. They told me they are staying at a tent that their friend left for them as he left to go home after being at the camp for awhile. I would later learned that these camps had people come and go and people would take turns "fortifying" each other's camp. We would all walk back together to our camp as we were just a short distance from each other at Rosebud. I ate a late supper that evening (around 9ish) in my car and would try to go to bed. I had so much "stuff" in my back seat that I wasn't able to sit back comfortably. I ended up having a long night as I just didn't sleep well from 10ish to 8ish. I was hoping to get up at 6ish to attend a prayer along the Cannon Ball River on the other side (Oceti Sakowin Camp), but just didn't. I was awaken throughout the night and early morning. Around 6ish, a helicopter would hover both camp sites back and forth. I learned this from social media, so I turned off my smartphone to avoid of being tracked.

To be continued (as time permits for me to write)...Part 2!

Good News Circle of Tribes

Saturday, December 10, 2016

November 2016

I started the month with our monthly worship practice (Thursdays) on the 3rd. I played some soccer after work the week after (10th) as the weather was still "ok". It got really cold, but I braved it with Luciano on Friday (11th) to cheer for our local high school football team in the 1st round of the state playoffs at Alexandria..

Unfortunately, the Morris Alberta-Chokio Area High School football team lost, but it was a hard fought at the end. If they won, they would've played at the newly built U.S. Bank Stadium the week after.

The year is coming to an end quick, so I had to use up some vacation days. I took 3 days off during the 3rd week of November, but gave up one since my workplace was short staff. I plan to make it up by the end of the year. I took advantage of the 1st day off (Monday 14th) by visiting my sister and her boyfriend after visiting a friend in Wadena. Along the way from Wadena, I took a beautiful sunset along Detroit Lakes..


When I got to my sister and boyfriend's house, I would join my sister to a local group fitness class. I ready worked out earlier before this road-trip, so I didn't push myself too hard. We had some supper at the house and I slept a great 8+ hours!

On my way back to Morris, I took some great photos along the way and stopped at Fergus Falls' Walmart to stock-up on some supplies.

I had 2 additional days of the following week before Thanksgiving weekend. I had to go to Alexandria on Monday (21st) for my quarterly teaching training meeting (for Adult Basic Education). I spent most of that day doing some house cleaning and various errands.

For Thanksgiving weekend, I spent the 4 days visiting family and help with house projects (e.g. cleaning ) . We had our annual pot-luck at my younger brother's (family) house. Great time to reflect on God's blessings and to continue that throughout the year. What blessings are you thankful to God for? I'm thankful to God for many of his blessings (life, family, friends, work, and than many gifts/talents/skills to enjoy life and bless others).

During one of my days off, I came up with this parody worship-praise song as a dedication to what's going on in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation in North Dakota..

"Come & let your Justice fall in this place..."

The last week of the month, I had 2 days off from work, so I spent most of them catch-up on some house "maintenance" projects prior to my every 4 year city inspection as a landlord. I did some painting and making sure all the detectors (smoke & carbon monoxide) were working. I had my inspection on the 30th, which I took a list (e.g. fix leaks in some plumbing) of more projects to do for next month before the deadline (17th of January).