Topics: Environment, Indigenous

Māori supporter shares her Standing Rock protest experience

By Mānia Clarke

Johanna Lloyd and her whānau experienced first-hand what it was like at Oceti Sakawin camp and frontline in North Dakota, where they performed a haka in support.  They recently returned to home from the 7th Generation Fund Indigenous Peoples Conference in California, before heading to support the Sioux tribe of Standing Rock.

A traditional chant from home, words of acknowledgment, a Māori sovereignty flag, and haka were a few ways Johanna and her family showed their support to the water protectors.

“They have a great love for mother earth, the environment, the water, the same as us Māori. Water is our life, we must also care for the water.”

Johanna and her family arrived at Oceti Sakowin camp last Wednesday.

“They were on the alert because they didn't know who we were, perhaps we were the police. When we said we were from NZ, they were really happy. They said, 'Are you are Māori?' They were settled after that.”

Te Kāea asked Johanna about the atmosphere there.

“Really scared, because you didn't know whether you would be arrested, they used force. I was very scared, but when we arrived there we arrived in peace and love. You could feel the love.”

Last week Māori were showing their support for the Standing Rock Sioux peoples in North Dakota, by posting their support haka online, to support a call on social media by native American reporter Myron Dewey.

“Everyone was on alert, you could cut the air with a knife. They were also really scared, because you didn't know what was going on, we didn't know whether the police would come.”

The latest confrontation between law enforcement and water protectors at Cantapeta Creek is another concern for Johanna.

“They need to be protected from the heavy hand of force used by police, and the police have no concerns about that.”

Strong online support continues for the Sioux tribe of Standing Rock by Māori.  A mass haka tautoko planned for anyone to join, to take place here at Rangiriri Pā, late Friday afternoon.