Stand with Standing Rock

faith convergence at Standing Rock

Taigen Dan Leighton

to Rebecca, Joan, Alan, Wendy, Soto-Zen-Membe., Shodo, Linda, Greg, Peter, dragonboard, Dragon, Doanryo

Dear Friends,
Thanks to all for sharing this Faith Convergence call for support of Native American water protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota, under ongoing attack by heavily armed police and Dakota Access pipeline security workers with tanks, rifles, pepper spray, helicopters:
I am unable to travel to Standing Rock myself in the next two months due to sangha and teaching commitments.
But I will give my weekly Dharma talk tonight about Standing Rock and the courageous stand of the Lakota and other native people on behalf of our water and world (and try to make that available as soon as possible).
My message in our monthly sangha e-mail sent out Friday included the following:
One of the most important and inspiring actions in the world now is the ongoing encampment at Standing Rock in North Dakota, where the Standing Rock Sioux and thousands of other native peoples and their allies are protecting our water and standing firm against dangerous fracking oil pipelines, working to shift our energy use away from fossil fuels and toward a healthier future for our world.
For basic information, see []. For how to help, see [].
For fine comprehensive resources see the website of Soto Zen teacher Shodo Spring []. from this morning, Oct. 31, includes an update on the militarized attacks in the last few days against the Standing Rock encampment.
for peace and a safe world,
Taigen Leighton
Ancient Dragon Zen gate, Chicago


Rebecca Solnit :

I know you all are doing heroic work already, but I just wanted to make this call available—to pass along, share, post, etc. I thought there might be a young zen person—maybe one of Roshi’s chaplains—who’d love to go out there.

And hello Wendy! Hope to see you one of these days, and I expect you’re glorying in this glorious rain.

deep bow,



Joan Halifax :

dear ones, have cc’d wendy. tho calling her is best. thank you for all you are doing……………. standing with standing rock, r

Rev. Joan Jiko Halifax
Abbot, Upaya Zen Center
Santa Fe, NM


Alan Senauke :

Good morning to all. First off, I am attaching the Sept 1 SZBA letter for your interest. Feel free to distribute.

My plan today is to sort through various messages and posts to see who is doing what. There is this call to faith leaders and I am looking at our Buddhist response. I wish I could go, but Laurie and I are headed to Nevada for four days of election work and BZC is in the middle of a practice committee to which I am committeed.

I spoke to Wendy Johnson a little while earlier—Does one of you have Wendy’s direct email? She and I are looking at responses to Standing Rock here in the Bay Area. Rebecca, have you heard of anyhting.

Seems to me the essential thing is to encourage people to participate and to use our extensive networks to get out informations.


Rebecca Solnit :

I think the idea was sermons, statements, vigils, etc. If you want to say something about it, I will promote it like crazy—and I’ll try to find someone to ask about a faith leaders statement.

Or maybe Alan and I and maybe Dan should try to draft something for the Zen community to sign onto? It’s a climate/water/sovereignty/human rights/antiracism issue all rolled up into one, of course—



Rebecca Solnit :

Sending love from Charleville–

Faith leaders from all traditions called to stand with water protectors at Standing Rock
October 28, 2016

Written by Connie Larkman
A coalition of clergy, including United Church of Christ ministers, will be converging on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on the banks of the great Missouri River next week, Nov. 2-4, called by an Episcopal priest who serves the community. Fr. Joseph Floberg is reaching out to interfaith friends to come stand with environmental advocates and the people of more than a hundred Tribal nations, in protection of the water and sacred lands, against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

“We will gather to stand witness to water protector’s acts of compassion for God’s creation, and to the transformative power of God’s love to make a way out of no way,” Floberg writes in an internet invitation. “I have been serving 25 years as the supervising priest of the Episcopal churches of Standing Rock in North Dakota. In recent days, the repressive power of the state has increased: armed riot police are guarding ongoing pipeline construction, increased arrests and repression of non-violent prayerful action.”

Hundreds have aligned with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in a several months-long effort to stop construction of the pipeline they say threatens water supplies and sacred sites. The reservation straddles North and South Dakota, with the camps housing the water protectors in the territorial lands just north of Cannon Ball, N.D. On Thursday Oct. 27, more than 140 people were arrested after officers in riot gear used pepper spray to drive people back from DAPL construction areas. Law enforcement from outside of the Dakotas is being deployed to keep water protectors in check. Last weekend, there were more than 100 arrests as well.

“I think the call for clergy is important,” said the Rev. Rebecca Voelkel of Lyndale UCC’s Center for Sustainable Justice in Minneapolis, Minn. She has already spent time at Standing Rock in solidarity with the Native people, is currently contesting the use of Minneapolis area deputies at the Standing Rock sites, and would like to get back there next week. “Water Protectors are under the threat of repression and violence from a highly militarized police presence. Indigenous leaders from Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault to American Indian Movement founder Clyde Bellecourt have put out the call for witnesses, support and solidarity, especially from clergy.”

The Rev. Gordon Rankin, conference minister of the South Dakota Conference UCC is changing his schedule next week to make sure he can join his spiritual colleagues at the camp established by the Standing Rock tribe.

“While there have been countless visits to the Oceti Sakowin camp by interfaith allies and denominational contingents, this is the first coordinated gathering of religious leaders,” said Rankin. “Those who gather will be participating in an allied action of prayer with indigenous tribes from all over the world.”

The Rev. Todd Smiedendorf, senior minister of Washington Park United Church of Christ, in Denver, already had plans to go to Standing Rock this weekend with his wife, driving up on Saturday.

“It’s important for me to be there because this protection effort represents a most timely expression of Incarnating the Gospel,” Smiedenorf said. “There’s a lot in this situation that is rich in potential for change and for healing the First Nations, the United States, and the earth. We can make other choices in this moment as a nation than we have made for centuries; to honor the rights and desires of First Nation peoples, to choose the earth over short term financial profits.”

“As a religious leader in the Dakotas I am ever aware of just how shameful the church’s history is in relating to the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota people. For decades the church had a direct hand in silencing their voices,” Rankin said. “Now it is time for us to stand on the right side of justice. Now it is time to amplify their voices. And that is what we gather to do.”

The Rev. Lise Sparrow, who serves Guilford Community Church United Church of Christ in Vermont had planned a later trip, but changed her arrangements to be there Nov. 3. “I am going with the blessing of my church. Our youth group travels to South Dakota every summer to work on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation so we feel a deep connection.”

“Certainly our stewarding of the earth and its peoples is a call rooted in the Judeo-Christian story,” Sparrow continued. “The Native peoples gathered are protecting sacred lands and opposing violence with prayer. I believe this is a time parallel to that of the Civil Rights Movement and one which is part of the trajectory we must follow toward justice. If clergy do not uphold a code of moral action for our nation who will?”

“I know this invitation is last-minute. But these are extraordinary circumstances,” Floberg writes. “I hope you will sit in prayer with this request, and I pray this may be the opening door that you have been searching for to engage with all that is happening here.”

“We gather to protect to the sacred,” said Rankin. “We are there to protect sacred burial sites made holy by the tears and prayers of those remembering ancestors interred there. We are also there to protect Mother Earth and remember the sacred call that all of us have received to steward her resources gently.”

“The intersection of creation care and First Nation rights calls my wife and me to witness and support the nonviolent protection of water and the Oyate (the People),” said Smiedenorf. “The abundant life of which Jesus spoke is to be found not in more oil production and more discounting of First Nation people, but in life more in harmony with the Way of Earth and in co-operation and empowerment of indigenous peoples.”

As Floberg writes, “Our duty as people of faith and clergy could not be clearer: to stand on the side of the oppressed and to pray for God’s mercy in these challenging times.”

Compelled to act, but can’t make the trip to North Dakota? – The UCC invites you to join this online statement of solidarity, a call to action already supported by more than 100 clergy in just a few hours.

“We are compelled by our faith to stand with the water protectors of Standing Rock, who have pricked the conscience of a nation and the world. In opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline that would carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois, they have resolutely declared that they are not protestors but protectors and defenders acting out of a sacred obligation which affirms ‘water is life.'”


Stand with Standing Rock: Request for Your Support

Alan Senauke [aszb]

to Soto, AZTA

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kristin Barker
Date: Sun, Oct 30, 2016 at 8:50 PM

Dearest Teachers, Friends and Colleagues,

As the violence at the site of the the Dakota Access Pipeline protest grows, One Earth Sangha is inviting our community to lend support to the defenders of indigenous rights and the integrity of the land. In coordination with the Earth Holder’s Sangha (Thich Nhat Hanh tradition) and others in our broader Sangha, we’ve created this statement of solidarity with Standing Rock and call for active support.

Besides the statement itself, we’ve offered a short article providing some important context:
Home page article introducing the statement
Statement and call to action
As a leader in the Dharma, we invite you join this initiative. If you have signed the statement, we might like to feature your endorsement so please reply and just let me know to look for your signature.

Please also feel encouraged to circulate this widely within your community (see social media and sample email below). Furthermore, feel free to forward this email in full to other teachers and leaders who you think might provide their endorsement and enlist support from their Sanghas. Not surprisingly, my own networks are heavy on the Vipassana/Insight community so please feel especially empowered to share with leaders from other traditions.

Finally, we have just learned that an interfaith direct action is being organized for THIS Thursday at Standing Rock (I understand there will be a direct action training on Wednesday night). Let me know if you or others in your community might be interested and I’ll get you the details.

With gratitude to the people of Standing Rock for their awakened actions,
With love for you, the Dharma and our one precious Earth,


Kristin Barker
Director and Co-Founder, One Earth Sangha

Sharing Materials

Your organization’s website can link use these links:
Home page article introducing the statement
Statement and call to action (this contains some great art from the protector community)
If you wish to host the statement on your organization’s website and link to our signature form, just reply and I’ll help you set that up.

Social Media:
Facebook: Share this post or this link:
Twitter: Share this Tweet or this link:
Sample email (excerpted from this article introducing the statement on our site):

[opening]: Greetings Sangha/community,

As the violence at the site of the the Dakota Access Pipeline protest grows, we have the opportunity, as a mindfulness/Buddhist community to lend support to the defenders of indigenous rights and the integrity of the land. You’re invited to endorse this Statement of Solidarity with Standing Rock and call for active support.
There is a time for silence and a time for speaking. The protectors at Standing Rock are not only challenging the Dakota Access Pipeline project but the fundamental logic of placing private profits over people and planet. The actions by the State of North Dakota, the US Government as well as a myriad of corporations, fossil fuel companies and banks have made clear that colonialism, the unethical and unlawful seizure of lands and waters by use of force, is alive and well, on display for all who have eyes to see.

Will we turn away from this suffering? If we stand by, what meaning does our wish for the welfare of all beings have? Without action, our warm-hearted expressions risk being relegated to mere sentimentality. What beings and views are being defended by the members of Standing Rock and what tactics are deployed in that defense? Likewise, what beings and views are being defended by the government enforcement agencies and what tactics are deployed in that defense?

If the stand taken by the Standing Rock and allied communities resonates, we invite you to get involved. Just as the giving of dana (or generosity) represents a powerful opportunity to enact our understanding of the teachings, so too does a moment of standing against systemic harm and injustice in the defense of people, their descendants and all the other beings and ecosystems impacted.
I invite you join me in taking a stand for Standing Rock by signing this pledge and following through with the calls to action.
Stand with Standing Rock

Hozan Alan Senauke
1933 Russell Street
Berkeley, CA 94703

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