This past April of 2016, less than 20 Standing Rock Sioux youth began taking action in North Dakota to peacefully and prayerfully protect water, to protect life, to protect the future of our grandchildren's grandchildren.
When they first put the call out for other nations to come and support their work, several months passed before anyone came to support the efforts. Today there are more than 220 Nations who have arrived at camp to stand in Solidarity with those at Standing Rock. Of the thousands there now, many of these protectors are without winter shelter and it is getting closer everyday to the bitter cold winter in North Dakota.
Our plan is to build affordable (roughly $250 material cost each including the wood stove) winter shelters to support the Protectors and the amazing work happening out at Standing Rock. We will be doing volunteer work parties, posting how-to videos and teaching workshops on how to build these affordable winter shelters for the people living in the camps.
Thank you so much for your interest in this project, as we step towards creating winter shelter for the water protectors at Standing Rock. I am Paul Cheyok'ten Wagner, of the Saanich First Nations of Vancouver Island. My mother gave me my name of Cheyok'ten which is "of a feeling to watch over, to care for the people and things that you love for many seasons". With the name comes the responsibility of upholding and honoring oneself and the ones who held this name for hundreds of generations. I first became inspired to participate at Standing Rock when I witnessed the dedication of the youth. They were running accross the country to deliver a message to the White House to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Their mission was heart-centered and powerful- to protect the water and the stand together for the wellness of future generations. After traveling to Standing Rock and experiencing the fridid nights from inside of a thin walled tent, I felt the need for suitable winter shelter.
I came up with a design for a contemporary teepee which utilizes easily acquired materials from a hardware store, the teepee will be wrapped in white 8 mil heavy duty poly tarp material with 2" x 4" X 16ft poles and a 2 ft. round plywood roof top. We will also be building wood stoves to heat these teepees which will be centered in the living space with the stove pipe going straight up and exiting out a metal roof jack. These warm dry shelters can sleep up to 12 people comfortably and allow plenty of day light through the translucent white tarp.
I feel fortunate to have heard numerous elders speak in the spiritual houses of our Coast Salish peoples and the most prominent teaching I've heard these wisdom keepers say is "We are here to help one another" and "I lift you up above myself”. These sayings have taught me the importance of taking time and making the effort to help others who need your strength and energy.
100% of the funds (energy) to make this project successful will be put to good use making sure we can take care of as many brothers, sisters, children and elders and provide them with the winter shelter they need. I'm very excited about the prospects of helping so many who are working for all of us and for our future.
Hyswka siem nu schay'lacha (Thank you my honorable friends) for your contributions! Tlo masi'sta (May Spirit make it so).
The wood stoves and roof tops (with hardware) will be assembled here in Seattle by volunteers and later transported or shipped, the 8 mil tarps will be shipped to Standing Rock straight from the manufacturer, the 2 x 4 x 16 ft poles will be purchased at Manard's hardware store in Bismarck ND.