Let me tell you how my world shifted on its axis last month when I traveled to Standing Rock. The first time I set eyes on the encampment was early dawn, just as the dark was lifting. The silhouette of teepees against the pink horizon and the smell of wood fire smoke in the frigid air touched something so deep inside of me that tears started welling up before I knew what I was feeling.
As we drove into the camp, we heard the drum of the prayer circle, followed by piercing chant in an unfamiliar language. That was the moment I knew we had stepped beyond time, beyond the veil of our consensual Western, white worldview, into an alternate reality.
But what exactly was it about Standing Rock that created this alternate reality? Three things.