Thousands of Jingle Dress Dancers Appear At Standing Rock

Tiffany Midge

During a heated standoff between riot police and peaceful protesters, many jingle dress dancers suddenly appeared in the hills overlooking the Standing Rock protest … I mean… the water protector’s camps.

“Whoa!” John Counts Enemies shouted upon seeing them coming up over the bluff.



The protesters…I mean the Protectors, gathered and watched in awe and triumph.

“It’s a Christmas miracle!” One of the Rainbow Nation protectors cried.

“It’s a blessing.” Estelle Keeps the Pipe corrected, giving him side-eye.

Loretta Fast Elk commented, “the last time so many jingle dancers came together like this was…at that powwow we had in the gym two weeks ago.”

The dancers gathered on the main highway and took to the front lines, dancing about 150 yards away from where roughly nine armored police vehicles remained behind a wall of concrete barriers.

The appearance of the sacred jingle dress dancers came at a very critical time. On Thursday the Morton County Sheriff’s Department arrested 141 people and at least one bullet had been fired from the frontlines. Over 300 police officers in riot gear, 8 ATVs, 5 armored vehicles, 2 helicopters, and numerous military-grade humvees showed up north of the newly formed frontline camp just east of Highway 1806. The water protectors were armed with sage and sweetgrass bundles.

To add salt to those wounded by rubber bullets and tear gas, the armed antigovernment protesters led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy were acquitted Thursday of federal conspiracy and weapons charges stemming from the takeover of a federally owned wildlife sanctuary in Oregon last winter.

“Justice was not served. There’s a double standard when it comes to the law. You can be white and armed with weapons and have no consequences, but there’s a different set of rules that apply if you’re Native protecting your right to clean water.” John Counts Enemy stated.

Additional blows were issued when Secretary Clinton on the very day of the police takedown, gave the following statement in regards to the DAPL conflict: “…all of the parties involved—including the federal government, the pipeline company and contractors, the state of North Dakota, and the tribes—need to find a path forward that serves the broadest public interest. As that happens, it’s important that on the ground in North Dakota, everyone respects demonstrators’ rights to protest peacefully, and workers’ rights to do their jobs safely.”

“Man, that blows! And I was going to vote for her too! Not anymore!” Celeste Thunder stated upon hearing Clinton’s announcement.

“Yeah. I’m not with her anymore, I’m not with any of them. You know who I’m with? I’m with Standing Rock, I’m with water! Mni Wiconi, Mni Wiconi!” Alberta Diaz stated.

 “That was a terrible, terrible day and our hearts were sick and weak, but when we saw the jingle dress dancers rising at the hill’s crest, it gave us hope and our spirits were lifted.” Jonelle Fast Elk stated.

Earlier that week, Mark Ruffalo, aka Sacred White Ruffalo, as dubbed by Native columnist Terese Mailhot, visited Standing Rock. He was joined by Rev. Jesse Jackson who planned to stand with Standing Rock, and stated “if necessary, go to jail with them.” Jackson was held up by Morton Co. Police on his way out of Cannonball, but not arrested.

“I’m grateful for the Sacred White Ruffalo, and Rev. Jackson. We need help. But those jingle dress dancers, ho! That was something!” Clarence Two Bears stated.

The jingle dress dancers could not be reached for a comment. They appeared momentarily on the highway, danced, lifted the spirits of the people, and then dissolved back over the hills from whence they came, the swish and tinkle of their jingles could be heard beyond the horizon.

Tiffany is an assistant poetry editor at The Rumpus, and an award-winning author of The Woman Who Married a Bear. Her work is featured in McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Okey-Pankey, The Butter, Waxwing, and Moss. She is Hunkpapa Lakota. Follow her on Twitter @TiffanyMidge

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