April 12, 2021
“We are the river and the river is us. We have no choice but the stand up.” LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard
The Water Protector Legal Collective expresses our condolences to the family, loved ones, and comrades of LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard. LaDonna was an Elder in her community the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, a Dakota and Lakota educator and historian, a Water Protector who co-founded the Sacred Stone Camp at Standing Rock in 2016, and a fierce advocate for the rights of Indigenous people. LaDonna led the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline, her leadership and call to action drove Indigenous people from all over the world to come together and support the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
We are grateful for her contributions and the mark she has left on all of us at WPLC.
From Michelle Cook (Dineh):
It is with great hardship that we send our matriarch, our leader, and freedom fighter (Tamaka Waste Win (Good Earth Woman) Ladonna Brave Bull Allard to the spirit world. As we sit during these four sacred days, as she travels the holy road home, we remember her gifts, her love, strength, and her courage to face down all adversaries to protect the people, to protect the water, to preserve and protect the culture, historical sites, and future of the Mni Sose, (the Missouri River), and the Great Oceti Sakowin.
Ladonna gave us all permission to become our most dignified and greatest selves. The courage she developed; forged through the fires of her life as an Indigenous Dakota woman, and the barriers she overcame. She taught us all to be brave and healed our collective spirits. To release the fear and stand. She would say, “We stand, not because we want to, but because we have to, we have no other choice.”
She would say, “We stand like the Buffalo, we face the storm like the Buffalo.”
Today we continue to stand, like the buffalo, to face the howling storm of your absence. We know your fight here was hard and now in peace you take your place among the Star Nations. We will continue to stand firm and hold the promise and original instructions to protect the people and water.
From Leoyla Cowboy, executive director of WPLC:
LaDonna is an inspiration to the world. She showed me what true solidarity meant in being a Water Protector. LaDonna showed up to most of the state and all of the federal defendants court cases! She gave so much of herself, selflessly. LaDonna will be missed. Please guide us to protect the world and the people. We honor you LaDonna. I’m at a loss, for real. She adopted my husband Little Feather, she would sit us down and talk to us sternly. She told us to be strong and don’t back down. We have to stand up for our people! We love you LaDonna.
From Jeffery Haas:
LaDonna had the vision to imagine the resistance, the courage to call for it ,the resilience to stand tall and be an inspiring leader throughout, the comradeship to stand with all who were there and who came to defend them, and now is with the stars where her light still shines so brightly radiating her grace and honor and love.
“The water is female; water is life and so we as women must stand with the water . . . We stand in prayer and in civil disobedience. We stand because we must protect our children and grandchildren.” LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard