On the eve of the recent New York Dance for All People, a council of elders met to craft a statement to address the current climate of confusion and fear that has chilled the spirits of so many in the country, and indeed the world. It was a lively discussion, marked by passion, tears and a deep commitment to serve the best interests of the people. The following statement – written by Rosette Royale who sat in on the meeting – distills the sentiments of the dozen-plus elders who gathered that evening, and is endorsed by the Board of NCPC:
In these times, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed…
…to succumb to the belief that the realms of politics and economics forecast a dire future. But to fall prey to such ideas is to forget a central tenet taught by many elders: that a circle of people, gathered with intention and guided by Spirit, can transform hearts and alter minds for the better.
We’ve experienced this in ceremony. There, each person arrives with their own beauty, their individual gifts. Together, the strength of these gifts becomes magnified, and our individual spirits are buoyed. When we join as one to scale the walls society often places between us – the false divisions of race, class, gender, religion, sexuality, nationality – we can overcome our fears. We can lay down old stories, and direct our energy to craft a new narrative where humans, in magnificent humility, work to forge a healthier connection with all people, all animals, all creation.
So it is with this conviction that we stand, side by side, with the people of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. It is with this understanding that we offer our support to the protectors of water, of earth, of sky. We offer our support to the indigenous people around the globe who are committed to the preservation of sacred lands and sacred ceremonies, and to all people that sense in their hearts that we as a people are capable of much more.
In these times, we pledge to draw strength together from the power of prayer and the blessings of Mother Earth – and the transformative nature of love that comes when we join together as one people, as a circle.