Saturday, 03 December 2016 00:00

Veterans Arrive at Standing Rock to Act as 'Human Shields' for Water Protectors

Written by Nika Knight | Common Dreams

As tensions grow in North Dakota, with multiple eviction orders facing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline, U.S. military veterans on Friday began arriving at the Oceti Sakowin protest camp.

The 2,000 veterans, which include Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), plan to act as an unarmed militia and peaceful human shields to protect the Indigenous activists from police brutality.

"I signed up to serve my country and my people and I did that overseas," Indigenous U.S. Navy veteran Brandee Paisano told the CBC. "I didn't think I'd have to do it here, on this land, so here I am. This is what I need to be doing."

The "deployment" is officially planned for December 4-7, but veterans who have arrived early have already taken their stand in front of the militarized police blockade stopping traffic into and out of the camp:

The "Veterans Stand for Standing Rock" action has garnered widespread support, with the National Nurses United (NNU) union sending $50,000 to fund their expenses and a popular fundraiser surpassing $800,000 by Friday afternoon.

"We salute the brave veterans who are standing up for the rights of the water protectors, and all of us who support this critical defense of the First Amendment right to assemble and protest without facing brutal and unwarranted attacks," said NNU co-president Jean Ross.

Also on Friday, water protectors fulfilled a wishlist of supplies created by the Morton County Sheriff's Department in Mandan, North Dakota, as an act of goodwill.

The generosity was striking, as officers from Morton County have subjected the Indigenous activists to extreme uses of force in recent days—including water cannons in subfreezing temperatures, mace, rubber bullets, and allegedly concussion grenades. One activist is still in danger of losing an arm after being struck with by what witnesses described as a concussion grenade thrown directly at her by police in riot gear.

"North Dakota taxpayers have already bankrolled the Morton County Sheriff Department with approximately ten million dollars for the suppression of peaceful water protectors. Despite this excessive financial support, Morton County officers are asking taxpayers to donate supplies," said the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Indigenous Peoples Power Project in a joint statement.
 
"The Oceti Sakowin camp is a prayer camp, and a resilient, self-sufficient community," the advocacy groups continued. "The camp is full of abundance—in spirit, in humanity, and in resources. Oceti Sakowin has enough to share. Generosity is an original teaching for the Lakota."

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe also pushed back earlier this week against Dakota Access Pipeline company CEO Kelcy Warren, who has claimed that the pipeline would have been rerouted if only the tribe had spoken up sooner, with the release of a recording that showed the tribe had officially opposed the pipeline since at least 2014.

"[T]he recording provides audio from a Sept. 30, 2014, meeting in which Standing Rock officials expressed their opposition to the pipeline and raised concerns about its potential impact to sacred sites and their water supply—nearly two years before they raised similar objections in a federal lawsuit," the Bismarck Tribune reports.

Meanwhile, since the Monday evacuation order from North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, officials have been threatening those bringing supplies into the camp with exorbitant fines.

The Indigenous activists (and journalists covering their fight) are already grappling with exaggerated criminal charges—which are often later thrown out in court.

The fines and charges are a tactic to dissuade and silence them, the water protectors say.

Yet the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies remain firm in their commitment to their fight for clean water and traditional territory. The New York Times' Timothy Egan wrote Friday:

[M]any of the natives at Standing Rock are not bitter, and see this stand in spiritual terms.

"In the face of this we pray," Lyla June Johnston, a young Native leader, told me the day after the blizzards blew in. "In the face of this we love. In the face of this we forgive. Because the vast majority of water protectors know this is the greatest battle of all: to keep our hearts intact."

As CNN's Sara Sidner reported: "The only thing that's going to make protesters leave [...] is if the pipeline is stopped."

Link to original article from Common Dreams

Read 9626 times Last modified on Monday, 05 December 2016 22:12

Latest ERA News

  • 1
  • 2

ERA Calls

  • 01-11-2016 Equal Rights Amendment
    This month we received updates on national legislation — SJ Res 15 and HJ Res 51, as well as update on ERA Action's trip to DC and other upcoming events. We then discussed where things are with Virginia and Illinois, plans for bringing other supporters on board, as well as broader discussions with ERA leaders from across the nation.
  • Equal Rights Amendment
    Listen to the November call as the team hosts the writer/director of a new musical coming out of Chicago called "24 words" about the Equal Rights Amendment. Plus, hear about their meeting with Sen. Diane Feinstein's (D, CA) office, and the pathway to getting a senate majority on the ERA legislation.
  • 10-12-2015 Equal Rights Amendment
    Listen to the October call as the team speaks on several new developments - an additional strategy call outside the monthly call, new co-sponsors who have signed onto the federal legislation, evaluation of the new film, Suffragettes, as an organizing tool - pros and cons, the CA equal pay bill, and new tools available through PDAction.

Latest News

  • How about some good news? Kansas Democratic Representative advances bill for Native Peoples. +

    How about some good news? Kansas Democratic Representative advances bill for Native Peoples. How about some good news? Kansas Democratic Representative advances bill for Native Peoples. Read More
  • How One Dying Man Changed The Debate About The Tax Bill +

    How One Dying Man Changed The Debate About The Tax Bill What mattered was that he showed up — that he put himself in front of the people whose opinions on Read More
  • Democrats Just Won a Major Victory in Virginia +

    Democrats Just Won a Major Victory in Virginia On a night of Democratic victories, one of the most significant wins came in Virginia, where the party held onto Read More
  • Repealing the Jim Crow law that keeps 1.5 million Floridians from voting. +

    Repealing the Jim Crow law that keeps 1.5 million Floridians from voting. A seismic political battle that could send shockwaves all the way to the White House was launched last week in Read More
  • Nuclear Weapons: Who Pays, Who Profits? +

    Nuclear Weapons: Who Pays, Who Profits? In an interview with Reuters conducted a month after he took office, Donald Trump asserted that the U.S. had “fallen Read More
  • Sessions issues sweeping new criminal charging policy +

    Sessions issues sweeping new criminal charging policy Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the sweeping criminal charging policy of former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and directed Read More
  • Veterans Arrive at Standing Rock to Act as 'Human Shields' for Water Protectors +

    Veterans Arrive at Standing Rock to Act as 'Human Shields' for Water Protectors As tensions grow in North Dakota, with multiple eviction orders facing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their battle against Read More
  • Bush’s Iraq Lies, Uncontested, Will Haunt Us Under Trump +

    Bush’s Iraq Lies, Uncontested, Will Haunt Us Under Trump The CODEPINK Tribunal taking place December 1 and 2, and live streamed by The Real News, is a historic collection of testimonies about the lies Read More
  • Michigan Fights To Avoid Delivering Water To Flint Residents +

    Michigan Fights To Avoid Delivering Water To Flint Residents The ongoing crisis has left the city without safe drinking water for over two years, but the state claims water Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Featured ERA News

  • Meryl Streep could get the Equal Rights Amendment passed, says Michael Moore +

    Meryl Streep could get the Equal Rights Amendment passed, says Michael Moore Meryl Streep, political leader? Director Michael Moore suggested onstage at the Toronto Film Festival premiere of his latest movie, “Where Read More
  • Now Is Our Time +

    Now Is Our Time Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state Read More
  • Meryl Streep Asks Congress to Revive the ERA +

    Meryl Streep Asks Congress to Revive the ERA No actor or actress can match Meryl Streep's 19 Academy Award nominations, and only Katharine Hepburn has bested her three Read More
  • Patricia Arquette (and All U.S. Women) Need ERA Now +

    Patricia Arquette (and All U.S. Women) Need ERA Now Now that Arquette has called out the naked emperor, the question is, who will provide the leadership to harness the Read More
  • Fearless Carla Cunningham and Introduction of ERA in NC +

    Fearless Carla Cunningham and Introduction of ERA in NC ERA is ‘in the air,’ according to the NC National Organization for Women. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is the Read More
  • Virginia still deciding if women are equal +

    Virginia still deciding if women are equal RICHMOND — In 1972, when Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment and asked states to ratify it, “The Godfather” was No. Read More
  • Virginia GOP Rescinds and then Passes the ERA +

    Virginia GOP Rescinds and then Passes the ERA UPDATE: On February 5th the Virginia Senate passed SJ 216 after rescinding passage on February 3rd. The status of the Read More
  • Letter to Legislators on the ERA - Don't Let Phyllis Schafly Fool You (Again) +

    Letter to Legislators on the ERA - Don't Let Phyllis Schafly Fool You (Again) The Illinois House is poised to vote on ratification of the ERA tomorrow before noon. Phyllis Schafly and her cronies Read More
  • Fight to ratify Equal Rights Amendment draws new interest +

    Fight to ratify Equal Rights Amendment draws new interest It's not just your mother or grandmother's fight. Thousands of women are expected to rally on the west lawn of Read More
  • 1
  • 2