"Where is God?," Corbin, the ranger at the White River visitor center, asked several minutes into our conversation. For a Lakota forced to attend Catholic School, the question about how a higher power could have allowed all this to happen to his people and other tribes must cross his mind every day. Native Americans have suffered so much. Their water is poisoned and then they have to buy bottled water. Censorship still exists and is more prevalent than ever, as we have seen at Standing Rock. All I could think when he asked this rhetorical question is that God is in the natural elements the Lakota and all tribes respect and honor as do I. God cannot be some higher power that transcends nature and sits above the world watching, or God never would have allowed these injustices to continue. Many white people feel too guilty to acknowledge all this pain and suffering and continue to turn a blind eye. I have had my eyes opened and am deeply sorry for the suffering inflicted by my ancestors upon the true guardians of Mother Earth. When I left Corbin, I drove through the Badlands. It had been drizzling and dreary all the while we were speaking. When I reached the northern entrance and the loop drive, the skies began to clear and I saw God as light and life force energy in the pinnacles and formations around me. Whatever we do to the planet, the earth will prevail though we may take out many innocent species along the way. My prayer is that we can communicate with each other no matter what our background and work as one to help protect water that is the source of all life and the earth which so graciously allows us to sojourn here.
Below are a few more photographs from those magical moments before the clouds returned.