I want to share the story about today’s dinner, served to the Water Protectors at Standing Rock in North Dakota. These are the people who are trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline DAPL from happening. This dinner was put together by people in the food world, and others from all over the country, to feed all the people who have gathered at Standing Rock. We honor and support this effort to stop the pipeline from destroying their sacred water and land, plus burial sites of their ancestors.
I’m not sure about the whole timeline of everything that happened to pull it all together, but I can tell you what I’ve read and done, along with a lot of other people, to help make it happen. Like many people, I’ve been staying informed about what’s happening to stop the DAPL and donated warm things for people who are staying out there all winter.
My first clue about the dinner was a story in our local paper about a woman, who is starting a new restaurant in the area. Someone that Adrian knows in Indiana, also in the restaurant world, mentioned that she was making soup to take out to Standing Rock for a Thanksgiving dinner. The woman was concerned about traveling out there with perishable ingredients to make the soup for 500-1000 people. She didn’t have refrigeration and it would be a long drive. Since she was coming through the area on her way there, Adrian offered not only space in the walk-ins overnight, but put the word out that she would ask the community to come help make dinner rolls for 1,000 people. I read about this last week and made the call to volunteer to come make rolls on Tuesday.
When I arrived I saw a couple other Berniecrats who were helping, too. There were probably about two dozen people working at one time. Several people were mixing the dough. There were three stainless tables where four people per table were making dinner rolls and putting them on a tray. Several people moved trays from these tables to the ovens, A couple more people worked the ovens. Adrian washed utensils in the sink while keeping an eye on the whole thing. There was a little background music, but it didn’t intrude on the great conversations that were going on. What a great way to build community and help the cause.
That evening I heard a story on NPR about a woman in Philadelphia, Judy Wicks, the founder of the White Dog Cafe, an early Farm to Table restaurant. She organized a 50-person brigade to provide a hearty Thanksgiving dinnerfor the water protectors, although she wasn’t sure if the Thanksgiving meal offer would be accepted since lots of native people consider it a day of mourning. She was reassured by a former Standing Rock tribal chairman that “everyone is welcome to be among us.” What began as one woman’s plan to feed about 500 people turned into a larger number of chefs and celebrities that are involved in the Wopila Feast (Wopila means thank you in Lakota). They are hoping to feed up to 10,000 people during the holiday weekend. That’s when I realized that those of making those dinner rolls were part of a movement to feed these wonderful people who are taking a stand to defend our Mother Earth.
There is another aspect to Standing Rock that also needs to be shared. While doing research online I came across this story about the building of MakagiOti – the Brown Earth Lodge. This is a straw bale structure that is being built as a community center and kitchen. The plan was to have it finished by this weekend for the feast, as a temporary structure until it is converted to a permanent structure in the spring.
Stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is important, and we need to thank these people who are literally putting their lives on the line to protect their sacred water, ancestors and land.
Please check out the links above and below, especially Ways to Help Standing Rock Water Protectors fight the good fight.