Spiritual Leaders of the Oceti Sakowin Invoke American Indian Religious Freedom Act



Published November 16, 2016

CANNON BALL, NORTH DAKOTA – On November 15th Spiritual Leaders of the Oceti Sakowin, otherwise known as the Seven Council Fires evoked Executive Order 13007, American Indian Religious Freedom Act to conduct a ceremony near the drilling pad Dakota Access is building to drill under the Missouri River. The elders traveled by boat from the Cannon Ball marina to the site and upon arrival erected a teepee. While the elders and tribe were given permission to practice ceremony by the U.S.
Army Corps, Dakota Access security still showed up to harass and question the elders. Dakota Access also filmed the ceremony from a distance, which violates the Executive Order.

Chief Arvol Lookinghorse, the Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, and Spiritual Leader for the Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota, Faith Spotted Eagle, Nakota, and Kevin Dear of the Six Nations were among the elders who led the ceremony.

0_w300_h200_s1_pl15_pcffffff“Today we lit the sacred fire to pray for the water and to pray for unity across the nation. Today we honor our past and present for future generations. In addition, we prayed for the protection of our sacred sites, which there are thousands, along the Missouri River,” said Arvol Looking Horse.

Days before the ceremony took place, tribal headsmen scouted the area and identified sacred sites in this location that is between the drilling pad and the Missouri River.

Photo Credits: Josue Rivas

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