So important to me is my work in covering the Indigenous Resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline that I traveled to Standing Rock to support our water protectors, bring supplies and comforts of home and witness the human rights abuses, Treaty violations and evaporation of First Amendment Rights, first hand. I was greeted by Luke and Linda Black Elk who offered me and my son a place to stay when we arrived to the Dakotas late on the evening of November 6, 2016. The next morning, Luke and Linda brought us to Oceti Sakowin camp, just outside the Standing Rock reservation boundaries on unceded treaty land, taken over by the Army Corps of Engineers. We stayed with Uŋpa Nuŋpa and Zephyr until our departure November 12, 2016. During our visit, we met a number of dedicated water protectors, including the three featured here.
Candace Ducheneaux from Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe talks to Kira about her role as protector of the water protectors and her long struggle for water justice. She informs us of the broken water cycle and the need to heal it before it is too late. Sounds of camp life can be heard in the background. You can support Candace’s organization through PayPal send payment to firstname.lastname@example.org or send to P.O. Box 924 Mobridge, SD 57601
Oglala Lakota, Stefanie Mesteth tells the story of her family’s involvement in founding the Oceti Sakowin camp as well as the story of the police brutality she endured at the hands of the Morton County Sheriff’s Department. Her committment to non-violence in the face of such brutality shines as a testam to her character. Theresa “T” Martin makes a brief cameo on her was to an action. Sounds of camp life can be heard in the background.
Sundancer and Headsman, Louis Grassrope joins Kira to talk about the traditional form of government being implemented in Oceti Sakowin camp. He discussed his reasons and motivations for answering the call to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In a nutshell, the Governor of North Dakota, Jack Dalrymple and the Sheriff of Morton County, Kyle Kirchmeier have hijacked the emergency management system in order to import bully cops from other states to beat up on unarmed, praying Native Americans, protecting the oil industry over the people. Governor Dalrymple should not be able to declare a state of emergency, simply because Native Americans are asserting their treaty rights and trying to stop a pipeline from going through their land, when the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was not properly consulted, as is the law. Emergency declarations are for real emergencies where lives are in harm’s way. Governor Dalrymple has created the emergency by deploying all the anti-insurgent war machinery he can against peaceful, prayerful Native Americans.
Flood lights are on the camp all night and planes and helecopters fly over all day and night, making sleep almost impossible. We are awakened at 5:30 AM by camp leaders reminding us that were are there for a reason. The day begins with prayer songs. We know our time there is all ceremony.
When the militarized police roll up in their tanks to a group of unarmed, praying Native Americans and declare it a riot, know their gaslighting is a function of empire. The cowards who call themselves the police know they have not arrived on the scene of a riot and they are aware that the people are unarmed but deploy LRAD, water cannons, sponge and concussion grenades, rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas and pointed semi-automatic weapons at the people anyway. They arrest them and charge them with felonies anyway. This will not stand.