Yatika Fields

Oceti Sakowin

Watercolor on paper, Image; 19"h x 26.5"w, framed: 28.25"h x 36"w, Item No. 15259,

Mni Wiconi, Oceti Sakowin Camp- September 30th 2016 5:50pm

This landscape, along with the other are from my first trip to camp. At this point, the front lines
still stretched a few miles northward from this vantage point, well beyond backwater bridge. I
didn’t know what to really think before arriving other then it’s a resistance camp, let’s stand with
brother and sister for our people and prepare to get arrested, I found out it’s much more. I fell in
love with this view, it would end up as a stopping point on my morning long runs to Cannonball
and back- passing through Rosebud camp then the killer climb up and over Sacred Stone and
back to the front lines where I would talk with whomever was there, then returning with a sense
of all around geographic and scope of the daily situation- I fell in love with the camp and
Standing Rock after this trip, I would soon return.
The afternoon was overcast, I was hoping for some good sun but frequent breaks allowed for
some good painting. I could see all from here, the camp was still growing and fluctuating with
the weekends being prime time for mass arrivals and ceremonies. Watching from this point I
could see the camps movement, alive and ready for whatever is needed for whatever situation.
Kids played in groups, laughing and screams of joy rolled through the camp below. Groups of
horse riders, young men racing one another in a show of bravado traced the outlines of the
newly formed roads with such names as Rain-In-The-Face, Oglala Road, Three Affiliated Path,
Facebook Hill Road and Two Bears Avenue.
It’s hard to relate to something when it’s never been encountered, just like the recent sub zero
temps and maniacal blizzards that’s been hitting camp recently, I had never been in a climate as
such until being there again recently. I couldn't relate it to anything or compare it too past arctic
storms but I evolved and learned how to adjust to it, just like the whole camp seems to adjust
constantly as well as all who's there, and this is a daily occurrence. Observing the camp that
day I still had much to take in, but the beauty I saw and wanted to paint I'm sure is an awe
inspiring view for any well rounded camp veteran.
From a historical viewpoint, were looking at the same thing, same area, same people before
and after Ft Laramie treaty. Numerous attacks were had on Ft Rice in 1865 which was an army
outpost built in 1864 and played a major role in the Ft Laramie signing of 1868 and current
Standing Rock Reservation. Ft Rice no longer exist but is a State Historical site, it’s 5 miles
north of Oceti Sakowin Camp and currently is occupied by DAPL, Military, SWAT and National
Guard. For obvious reasons of encroaching on Lakota land, the attacks of 1865 and after are
justified, DAPL is an ongoing war between what was then the Yellowstone expeditions to
expand the Northern Pacific across Traditional Lands to whatever means possible to expanding
pipelines through once again traditional lands with the same attitude of disrespect for all of
Humanity. So as I’m looking out at the camp and then gaze beyond the hills I think of the past
and present, same situation and same people. I wouldn’t have thought in my lifetime I would see
such a sight, I have had vivid dreams of similarities long ago and maybe it was a premonition of
sorts but painting that day felt like a dream, a step back in history seeing a lively camp below
filled with tipis and relatives all coming together to support one another but fight another battle
together against the same enemy and same greed.
Now a # hashtag is synonymous with global prominence and #STANDINGROCK #NoDAPL
and #WATERISLIFE takes the place of a void that was never had. We've seen support grow in
solidarity with NoDAPL, the widespread circulation and outpouring of support, actions and other
events that allow the world to see the unjust treatment of North Dakota and DAPL supporters is
being heard. Divest from DAPL banks, plan local actions and put your creativity to work! 2017
will be a challenging year and this camp has been a precursor to the front lines which will be in
your city and state in years ahead. as Cornel West said by the Sacred Fire in camp recently
“Part of our humility is connected to our solidarity, and thats why were here”

-Yatika Fields

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