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BPF Reportback from Standing Rock: December 7th

in Mandan, ND

Participants in a forgiveness march, supporting Standing Rock and encircling the local courthouse in Mandan, North Dakota, hold a hand-painted banner. Photo by Katie Loncke.

Video Call

Reportback from Standing Rock:

Wednesday, Dec. 7th

5:30–7pm PDT /// 8:30–10pm EDT

Buddhist Peace Fellowship and friends (Download software before joining)

Standing Rock is one of the most significant movements of our time. This peaceful, prayerful, indigenous-led effort to defend sacred water from the North Dakota Access Pipeline (purposely re-routed after a neighboring white-majority community rejected it) has drawn support from millions worldwide. Tens of thousands of supporters, young and old, including indigenous people from dozens, if not hundreds of different tribes, are physically going and camping in the elements, to stand alongside the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people defending the land and water of their ancestors.

We were honored to send a contingent of over 15 people, majority people of color, from Buddhist Peace Fellowship to Standing Rock — and they return to us with questions and reflections on how to continue to be in solidarity with decolonization movements.

One particularly central question that we continue to hold: as non-Native settlers (whether people of color or not), learning and benefiting so much from the opportunity to go to Standing Rock, how do we strive to contribute to this movement more than we deplete?

We are grateful to everyone who helped us raise over $11,000 — half to cover the costs of our group, and half to offer to the camp and legal defense fund. We are also very grateful to Thanissara and her team for hosting us in the winter tent (affectionately nicknamed the “Dharma Dome”) that they are donating for the camp’s indefinite use.

Whether or not you were able to give to our fundraiser, you are welcome to join us for the reportback!

Read on to find (1) How to join; (2) Who’ll be speaking; (3) Great ways to support Standing Rock; (4) Photos from our contingents; and more.

BPF at Standing Rock: Julia, Jimmy, Kazu, Sarah

Four of the 15 participants in the people-of-color-majority BPF contingent to Standing Rock, November 2016.

Standing Rock in snow

Oceti Sakowin camp, an indigenous-led encampment of Water Protectors defending against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Some estimate over 8,700 people camped at the time of this photo, late November, 2016.


Dear friends,

We’ve been deeply moved by how many of you have reached out to us in recent weeks, seeking refuge in Buddhist community in light of this election. We have tremendous resources in the BPF community, and we’re eager to connect all of you to your spiritual-political comrades.

Please join us December 7 from 5:30 – 7 pm Pacific time for a community Zoom call with BPF supporters of Standing Rock.

Join by Video (Preferred): Choose “join audio by computer”

Or by Phone: +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll, or int’l numbers here); Meeting ID: 646 978 571

We all have many questions about how best to keep organizing for spiritual and political freedom in the Trump era. On this call we will:

  • Hear a Reportback from BPFers who have been on the ground at Standing Rock, aiming to follow indigenous leadership in protecting sacred water from the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • Reflect on what keeps us steady, smart and ready during periods of sustained resistance
  • Highlight our comrades in current movements for racial- and eco-justice rooted in spirituality

Speakers on our call will include:

Venerable PannavatiVen. Dr. Pannavati

A former Christian pastor, Ven. Dr. Pannavati co-founder and co-Abbot of Embracing-Simplicity Hermitage and Co-Director of Heartwood Refuge, a new intentional community, and residential retreat and conference center in Hendersonville, NC. She is president of the Treasure Human Life Foundation. A black, female Buddhist monk ordained in the Theravada and Chan traditions, she remains a disciple of Great Master Kuang Seng, continues Vajrayana empowerments and teachings with beloved Rinpoche Zhaxi Zhouma and received transmission from Roshi Bernie Glassman of Zen Peacemaker. Pannavati is both contemplative and empowered for compassionate service. She conducts retreats nationally at over 50 centers and churches each year sharing living truths that are deep, yet apprehendable.


Originally from London, Thanissara trained in the Thai Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah for 12 years as a Buddhist nun. With Kittisaro, her husband and teaching partner, she has taught meditation retreats internationally since 1992. Together they founded Dharmagiri Insight Meditation Centre on the border of Lesotho and South Africa in 2000. Thanissara has an MA in Mindfulness Pyschotherapy Practice from the Karuna Institute UK, and is author of Garden of the Midnight Rosary, The Heart of the Bitter Almond Hedge Sutra, and has co-authored Listening to the Heart with Kittisaro. Her new book is Time to Stand Up, A Buddhist Manifesto for the Earth.

Our Buddhist Peace Fellowship Contingent

Our crew consisted mainly of alums from the 2016 Block, Build, Be retreat, as well as a few other friends who have trained, organized, or made media with us in the past. In addition to hearing reflections from BPF members who traveled to Standing Rock, we’ll also learn from those who have been supporting local indigenous sacred site defense where they live, from a buddhist perspective.

Part of BPF's POC-majority contingent to Standing Rock

Part of BPF’s POC-majority contingent to Standing Rock

6 Ways YOU can give to Standing Rock right now

Protect the Sacred, Defend Standing Rock, #NODAPL illustration by indigenous artist Jackie Fawn.

Protect the Sacred, Defend Standing Rock, #NODAPL illustration by indigenous artist Jackie Fawn.

Let’s help each other donate via trusted channels. (There are some fake fundraisers out there, but the ones below are vetted by people we know. Apologies for any imperfections; things may change after publication.)

1. Legal Defense: Water Protector Legal Collective (formerly Red Owl Legal Collective)

2. Winter Infrastructure: Oceti Sakowin Camp

3. Directly to the local tribe: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (Oceti Sakowin people)

4. Indigenous Media: Indigenous Rising (a project of the Indigenous Environmental Network)

5. Ongoing training: Indigenous Peoples’ Power Project (a project of the Ruckus Society, offers training by and for indigenous people. To give, donate on the Ruckus site and specify IP3 in the comments.)

6. Two-Spirit Water Protectors: Two-Spirit Camp (Not sure what Two-Spirit means? Here’s one place to start learning. Those who know, good links & resources in comments would be most welcome and appreciated!)

May all beings be free; May the pipeline be blocked!

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