Sarah and Monet Poe are the mother-daughter duo from Charleston who have joined the #NoDAPL water protectors at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, and they posted a live Facebook video on Monday and this morning to discuss the very publicized encounter with police on Sunday night. They’ve also detailed exactly what the camps need right now.
“It’s been a rough night for our water protectors,” Sarah said. Their message boils down to this: They need more able bodies to join them in North Dakota and more funds for warm housing.
Early on Sunday, the Poes decided to get a hotel room with a few friends to get fresh, warm showers. The temperature is currently below freezing in North Dakota. “We were so grateful for the room, because we were able to cart people back and forth to get them all showers and wound care,” Sarah said. “Everybody came together to take care of everyone, so all night we drove back and forth and got people from the frontlines.”
In doing so, they’ve witnessed many injuries. “This is no joke. This is barbaric,” Sarah said. “They were freezing last night. People were drenched wet with water cannons. [The police] used sound machines that disoriented everybody and were shooting people in the face and body with rubber bullets. We witnessed a lot of injuries caused by them. And it’s nasty and it can cause internal bleeding and broken ribs. Many were shipped to the hospital and others were treated onsite with our medical teams.”
Speaking as someone who herself had been up all night, Sarah emphasized the need for more people to come to Standing Rock and join the fight for the tribe’s land. “A lot of people have been here for a long time and are tired,” she said. “Many are up 24 hours a day sometimes, so we need more people to come and stand, but we also need more shelters for them.”
According to Sarah, a nurse has a room at the casino there that is constantly full as the critically ill are treated. Sarah wants to provide the same service. “A lot of people have pneumonia and a lot are getting hypothermia,” she said.
She went on to say that people shouldn’t be deterred by the fear of the frontlines. Sarah won’t put her 16-year-old daughter in direct danger. “But you can serve in so many other ways,” she said. “You can help with medics, building, children. You can donate money for rooms for people who need to get away from camp for a night.”
But if you want to physically join the movement, you need to come prepared. Bring warm housing, building materials, and plenty of food for yourself and other people. “Yesterday we met a woman who is a Jewish grandmother with a backpack and a suitcase and said she had waited her whole life to be a part of something and had to be here to be a part of this. We hear this every single day of people who can’t sit there any longer. We want you to come, but we want you to stay healthy,” Sarah said.
As we reported last week, Sarah and Monet originally planned to sew new tepees with money raised to buy canvas. But as the need for housing has become increasingly urgent over the past few days as temperatures continue to drop, Sarah says her goal is to buy tepee canvas that’s already made in addition to getting more yurts built.
Their housing priorities are with the elders, women, and families who have been at camp the longest. “And we have hands, we just need the materials to build tepees, yurts, and domes,” Sarah said.
Domes provide sleeping space for for 30 to 40 people, and a source is ready to ship 10 domes their way as soon as they raise half the money needed for a deposit.
The camp doesn’t need food or winter coats, but donations of long johns, emergency blankets, and wool blankets are requested. Sarah also has asked for echinacea throat spray, lip balm, and a grief relief herb from Albizia Apothecary, which is located at 2010 Wappoo Road, Riverland Terrace, James Island).
In her Facebook live talk, Sarah also noted that significance of this being Thanksgiving week. “Screw the traditional Thanksgiving,” she said. “All we want to do is give the best we can to our indigenous brothers and sisters. They were promised the best in the beginning and continuously are given the worst. Now is the time for healing to begin. By sponsoring yurts and tepees you’re not only supporting them here but supporting them for the future … We need to be sacrificing the highest of what we can give, letting go of what we don’t need. We live in a world of excess and have so much to give. And let’s talk about education — a lot of us don’t know the history but it’s our responsibility as Americans to learn the true history, to know about service and what we can do to help other human beings.”
Many have voiced concerns for the mother and daughter’s safety, but Sarah assured all that she and Monet are OK. “Don’t be afraid for us,” she explained. “We are walking in faith, and we are not afraid. I’m afraid for my brothers and sisters, but they’re not afraid — they’re strong and when they’re on the frontlines, they come back and are cleaning themselves up and getting warm clothes and going back out. That’s their honor.”
Sarah pointed out that though only violence has been publicized, there’s another side. “You can’t video the sacred ceremonies and prayers, but we want you to know that is what’s happening. Everything we do is a ceremony, and you’re not seeing that, the prayer and ceremony and peace. Love is overflowing here.
“And we’re not leaving here until this is over,” she said. “We’re here to stand with these people from all over the world. And even after this, we can’t turn our backs. This the heartbeat of the world right now, and what we’re creating now will spread like the roots of a tree.”