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Standing Rock: A Moment of Clarity for Progressive Activists


Standing Rock: A Moment of Clarity for Progressive Activists

Rev. Billy Talen

Earth-force meets money-force at Standing Rock. I’m so relieved I’m here. It scares me to think that I might have missed this.

We get up at dawn. Four hundred people walk slowly in a light snow to the river by the camp. A teacher is talking. His headdress is a crisscrossing of long, narrow feathers. He is of the Havasupai, the people who live by the blue-green waterfalls at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. He calls out across the river. “Water is life! Take me! My heart beats with you!”


Billy Talen points to a hopeful future. No more hand-wringing about the rigged election. No more finger-pointing about who was responsible for this nation electing an out-n-out fascist for president. No more waiting for the other shoe to drop, a burning of the Reichstag event that will usher in a new totalitarian regime. "We must fearlessly love until there is no hate! Earthalujah!"


Standing Rock. Trail of Tears ends here. "Love and only Love can break down hate." so says Neil Young and I wholeheartedly concur.

Progressives Rock? Words are flyin' about, on the grapevine, talk about an "Alliance" of Left and other Progressive voices, every one of them. On the same page, acting as one giant ONE. lol. Equality and justice for all and especially Mother Earth. Standing Rock = Water of Life, without which nothing can exist.


Thank you Rev. Billy for beautiful visions.......and your principled action.


Reverend Billy is a performance artist. He sounds "completely nuts" because he's spoofing folks who really are nuts, like the ones who think the world was created 6000 years ago and it doesn't matter if we screw up the planet because Jesus is coming back to carry their sorry asses off to Heaven. Now that's nuts.


Poetic heart felt language does sound nuts in our literal money bound coffee addicted electronic world. And that hippy dippy bologna you mentioned was that generations effort toward a world that works, that's sustainable and encourages community. And it scared the living shit out of the Darth Vaders of the world that the Rev. was looking at.

It is possible to care about each other you know without slinging shit at a slightly different approach to the issue. And the Reverend has been doing his trip for the world long before he was on in N.D. so feeling like an Indian was most probably not on his agenda.

And in case you hadn't noticed, the carrying capactiy of our dear Earth is slightly strained at the moment so we might just be pushing our right as a species a tad to dominate the planet. So whatever suspicion and disregard you might harbor toward the Rev., you might just want to acknowledge that he's on the side that in your words, "truly wields power." The one of the heart.


Reverend Billy Talen,

Thank you for those beautiful words and the meaning behind them.

You made me feel as though I was there at Standing Rock.

I loved the photograph as well.

I wish there was something that I could say or do to take this hurt
away immediately and that you could live in peace with the land.

I own some land, very little but enough to live holistically with
the herbs that I grow and the vegetables that taste so much
better without the pesticides. I understand your love of the
land and what the water means to you.

Just remember that when all of you are bravely marching in
unison, that for every one of you, there will be at least hundreds
of us supporting you with our spiritual love.

May your minds be clear, your bodies strong, and your mission
accomplished with no fatalities.

Love to you all, Spiritlady


Stopping this pipeline must be a top priority for progressives. It is unacceptable to allow attention to fade. We will never throw our Native brothers and sisters under the bus!!! Bless them all, we will fight!!


As another poster notes, the author is a kind of performance artist. See for example, "Monsanto is the Devil!":


"Data is bloodless. Lobbying, position papers, endless graphics and electronic petitions might as well be abandoned in the age of Trump."
I understand the sentiment, but disagree with the prescription to abandon evidence. To do so is to forget the nature of our audience. We are speaking not just to the incoming administration and their propaganda machine. Our audience is also the reality-based community - the majority of Americans. We are motivated and informed by science. This is what pierces the posturing of demagogues. To abandon science is to do President-Elect Trump's work for him. Instead, we need to double down and communicate the science better. We need to level the playing field so all of us understand what is at risk using the evidence of the adverse climate, environmental, social, anthropological and health effects of fossil fuel extraction. In New York State the banning of fracking was due in large part to the activist community being inspired by, and driving home this evidence against the full-out influence peddling of the big energy companies in Albany. We should learn from this.


Perhaps you may choose to start here: find a way into your Heart and be FOR something. Witness your very own shift of consciousness.
Too "hippy, dippy" for ya? Try it again, adjust your frame.
I'm sure that you have noticed the diversity, the people of all nations, colours, creeds at Standing Rock are standing up as Protectors of Water. I have friends there from Guatemala, Brazil, Peru.
That wee little word shift, moving out of the language of the dominant paradigm (demonstrator, protestor) so seemingly simple, has brought people from all over the planet to the cause of protecting water and everything else sacred to Life.
There is a clarity, a moral compass from which to move.
I know what's being fought for a Standing Rock. I've been there and am going back.

That sacred fire has been lit for a reason (unity); it is also to light, to spark the fire in each one of us, to stand for Life. For you to dismiss (?) the Spiritual aspect of this stand (and Rev Billy's) is to ignore the moral center from which all of these battles can be won from.
I welcome Rev Billy as another fine ally. Humour is a fine medicine.
I absolutely welcome you. And thank you for showing up, dear ally!


Yes, but listen to the Indigenous speakers and leaders at Oceti Sakowin camp (below) speak about their power. It comes from the sacredness of a stand in prayer for sacred water and life. It is not just on a material level of laws and science, or of numbers of people. The power upholding this whole stand is deeply spiritual and moral, and that should be a lesson to all of us, and something we need to deeply respect. Would the tribes and indigenous peoples and allies have come this far without that foundation? Indigenous leaders have also asked supporters to contribute their prayers--so when Reverend Billy does this as well as contribute his body, he is being an ally.

("Earthalujah!" Fallujah, Lollapalooza, Hallelujah... remember and transform, transform these - love your resonances, Reverend!)


Thank you, Rev. Billy.

I'd just like to add that the Morgan Spurlock documentary "What Would Jesus Buy?" which follows Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir as they drive across the U.S. in two biodiesel buses, trying to stop the Shopocalypse, is one of the funniest, most informative, and most moving, Christmas films ever.

"What Would Jesus Buy?" is free, on youtube:



You are welcome. Earthalujah!


An excellent and inspiring article. I agree, "We must fearlessly love until there is no hate! Earthalujah!"
* However, the burning of the Reichstag happened on 9/11.