Oct 19 2016

The Folly Beach Farmers’ Market organizers need our help! Find out how you can stand in solidarity with the Sioux tribes, too

Mini Wiconi: Water is life.

On Wednesday nights, it’s customary on our lovely little island to gather at Folly River Park for the Folly Beach Farmers’ Market. Friendly faces make their way through the crowd, buying fresh local produce and chatting with local artisans. Children run circles in wild abandon before collapsing in a pile of giggles on the grass. It’s always a special time, and this week perhaps more so than ever.

Why? Locals Sarah Poe and her daughter Monet will be in town. Given these amazing women run the Farmers’ Market, that may not seem so out of the ordinary. However, for the last few weeks, the two have been in North Dakota, standing in support and solidarity with the Sioux nation to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline threatening the Missouri River and sacred tribal lands.

“My daughter and I have been following the Standing Rock Reservation for some time,” Sarah told us. “We watched the story unfold and kept imagining how we could support, and then one day we couldn’t ignore it another minute and decided to go while the market had a two week break.”

She continued, “We were born in West Virginia and have seen the negative environmental changes from fracking and other industries that destroy our natural systems and it’s heartbreaking to keep watching it happen over and over. We do our best to be guardians of the earth, and we felt called to this place. Several of our friends and children joined us on our journey.”

While this issue may seem far removed from our little beach town, the truth is it affects all of us. We are only peripherally aware of what’s going on at Standing Rock, while we should be focused on it.

“In the words of the Lakota, ‘Mni Wiconi’ means ‘Water is life.’ We all need water, and we are in a time of what many call a shift. The reports are out – we don’t need any more studies on how certain industries and practices are destroying the planet or whether climate change is real. We have the knowledge, and now it’s time to shift our energy to action,” said Sarah.

“The Dakota Access Pipeline runs for 1,172-miles through the Missouri River and the Mississippi, transporting approximately 470,000 barrels per day with a capacity as high as 570,000 barrels per day or more… enough to make 374.3 million gallons of gasoline per day,” she explained. “There is a document 42 pages long with lists of pipeline breaks over the past ten years. We all need to be standing for cleaner energy.

In that respect, the tribes are setting a standard we should all follow since, as Sarah puts it, “the tribes have gathered to show us all that enough is enough.”

“Tribes from all over the world have gathered together for the first time in over a hundred years to stand together,” she continued. “They are participating in this shift by coming together in prayer and peace. They are close to the earth, and they are gathered together to pray for the earth and to protect the earth. The indigenous way is to take only what we need from the earth, nothing more. It is this belief and this action that will preserve and heal our planet. We should care about this because we all need water. We are all a part of this planet and share it. We need to share the responsibility of protecting and preserving it.”

Simply being there and showing their support has been a transformative time for these beloved Folly Beach fixtures.

“I can speak for my daughter Monet and I and say that we are forever changed by our experience at Standing Rock. We came with open hearts and hands ready to serve as guests on lands we have never visited. We came as humbly as we could, not really knowing what to expect. We were transformed by experiencing connections with one person after the next, who shared their own humble hearts and stories with us. We heard about Wounded Knee from the mouths of women and men who lost family there. We heard about reservation life and our hearts broke over and over,” she shared.

“And we also heard stories of tribes healing and forgiving painful wounds from their past and standing together as a community to protect the earth. Their shining example of love, forgiveness and prayer shifted our consciousness. We listened to the drums and prayers of people from all over the world asking for peace, asking for the waters and the earth to be protected. We felt the power of prayer and people coming together in love and hope. We felt hope for the future as we met brothers and sisters, young and old, of all races and tribes and religions, who were coming together to change things.”

As for how long Sarah and Monet plan to stand with the tribes at Standing Rock, Sarah says there is no definitive timeline, saying, “We don’t know what the future holds, but it felt like meeting friends – and we can’t just turn our heads on friends. We want the tribes to know and feel that we are not going to ignore their struggles any longer. Enough is enough.”

It’s only natural that Sarah would return to Folly with an open, hopeful heart – this special place has fostered her sense of community and supported her and Monet’s sojourn to North Dakota.

“My daughter and I run the Folly Beach Farmers’ Market for the same reason we are at Standing Rock. We know there is power when people come together to create positive changes. We know that nothing will drive out darkness except the light. We come together each week not only to support our local farmers, but also artists, activists and chefs. We come together because we are a community and community is powerful.”

If you feel moved to support Standing Rock, Sarah and Monet will be at the Farmers’ Market starting at 5pm this afternoon to collect supplies for camp and the Sioux tribes there. They are currently helping prepare the came for the fast-approaching North Dakota winter, so there is a rush to purchase canvas for teepees and rent a truck that will carry trees to use for poles.

Other needs are:

Rugs or burlap coffee bags and hides for teepee floors
Wood burning stoves
Rope and stakes
Solar panels
Down comforters and sub-zero sleeping bags
Bulk organic or local foods
Fur or wool blankets
Lowe’s gift cars

For more information on Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline, click here.

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