Part 1, in case it was missed. Click for full size. All photos © C. Ford, all rights reserved.
We’re back home, and safe. As always happens when we’re back to camp, we wish we could simply dig in and stay. In the first two shots, you can see where the fire was set. (That night, the constant air surveillance mysteriously stopped about two hours prior, and no one responded to the numerous 911 calls about the fire.) There are always infiltrators in the camp, you can’t keep them all out, and then there are people like the man in a truck full of weapons, who wanted to put up a confederate flag. Security has tightened up within the camp, and at least one infiltrator was found and being detained as we were on our way to the action on Turtle Island. There were many new semi-permanent structures up, and many more in the process of going up. Lots of yurts popped up all over camp, too.
Back to the beginning. We loaded up with firewood and supplies, and took off. Things were mostly normal for about half the trip, then we started seeing cops everywhere. Right about when we hit the town of Solen, which is still many miles away from camp, we saw cops pull over a large U-haul truck, that was full of supplies and donations for the camps. Cops were pulling them over and making them take everything out of the trucks. When we got to the Cannonball pit stop, there was another large U-haul truck, many more trucks and vans, several large dumpsters, and piles of good all over the place. At the time, we didn’t know what that was all about. We had to pass through several large masses of cops and finally made it to camp. We headed straight for the main kitchen, to offload the firewood, but it was gone. We found a spot to stay in Oglala camp, then wandered off to try and figure out wtf. Calls were going out for the elderly and women with children to get to the Cannonball School across the river. Then there were calls to get out to Turtle Island, for the action there. (In the 5th photo, you can see the cops massing on top of the hill). We took off on the long walk (in the 8th photo, you can see where it starts – all the way to the left, there’s cops on the hill, and in the boat almost directly down). Warriors race by on horseback, going full speed with messages and information. Cars were driving on the small road non-stop, and foot traffic was thick.
A bridge had been built, and subsequently destroyed by cops. On the other side of the hill, DAPL was working, and once again, DA and ETP failed to report finding sacred sites and artifacts. Up on the hill, where the cops are, right by the tree, are the graves Alma Perkin and Matilda Gain. People wanted to protect this area. Cops showed up, in increasing numbers, armed to the teeth, saying they were asked by ACE to keep the land clear. A cop at the top of the hill kept shouting through a megaphone for everyone to take the protest back across the river, then they would leave. Right. You’ve seen some of those photos, there will be more to come. As always, surveillance was constant. There were three planes and two helicopters that day.
Later that day, we made it back into camp, and settled into the council fire area to hear the latest. Rick was working on more walking sticks, and I had the horse quilt with me. 500 ministers had descended, from all over the states, and burnt a copy of the Doctrine of Discovery in an act of ceremony and solidarity. We spoke with one minister, Vicki, from California, who was active in Indigenous affairs and actions local to her, and was still a bit blown away and dazed at being in the camp. There were visitors to the camp representing Amazon Indigenous peoples, and it was very moving, listening to them talk, through translators, about their own troubles with extractive industries, and the importance of unity in the fight to protect our earth. About that time, the wind was whipping up, so I retreated to the van to continue working on the quilt. I could still hear what was going on at council fire. There was an announcement that there would be trucks coming in, including a Veterans for Peace van, with all the stuff from the Cannonball pit stop. When the cops finished destroying the 1851 Treaty Camp, and arresting and/or injuring everyone there, apparently, they tossed everything they could find into four dumpsters and just left them at the pit stop. Volunteers had been out there for a couple of days, going through the dumpsters, and retrieving peoples’ goods, and many sacred items. Everything was being brought into the camp to be sorted, and to start the process of trying to return things to their rightful owners, especially all the sacred items which had been treated so disrespectfully by cops. Head over to the Sacred Stone Blog to read more about the 1851 Treaty Camp and what happened there. ICTMN has more on the police action which took place on Wednesday and Thursday. We’ll be going back out again next week, so things might be very slow on Affinity for a while.
Oh, it has been reported that two cops have turned in their badges over what they have been made to do lately. Here’s hoping more of them find their conscience.
© C. Ford, all rights reserved.
Driving by back home to pick up more firewood. We arrived at camp in time to hear a call for all women with children and the elderly to get to the school across the Cannonball River, word was the camp (Oceti Sakowin) was going to be raided. It wasn’t, but that’s because they were busy a bit to the northeast of camp, what was being called Turtle Island by all those at camp. More on this later, when I have more time. The unnecessary, cowardly actions taken by cops was very ugly to see. Protectors were being gassed and shot by cops who were mere feet away from them. (Rubber bullets, but one young man has already been hospitalized with bleeding from the lungs, thanks to one of those harmless bullets). It was a terrible shock to hear and see one of the cops raise his gun and fire into the protectors. Over one hundred cops were there, including snipers. Okay, off again, back home tomorrow. Click photos for full size.
All photos © C. Ford, all rights reserved.
We’re headed back to Sacred Stone and the No Dapl camps, be back on Friday. Sorry, Affinity will be closed until then. I won’t be live blogging, because we aren’t taking much beside firewood and supplies, and support, of course. I also don’t have a spare computer in case I run into cops, so it will stay safe at home. Will be taking the camera though.
If any pests show up, please ask PZ nicely to deal with them. Thanks. See you all in a few days.
The mass arrest of 127 water protectors on Saturday, October 22 led to the resulting Oceti Sakowin reclamation of 1851 and 1863 Fort Laramie Treaty land in the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Heightened tensions in the days that followed culminated in an even more violent clash between militarized law enforcement officers and unarmed water protectors on Thursday, October 27. In the aftermath of that confrontation, in which 141 more people were arrested, protectors at the camps know it is critical now more than ever to remain focused and calm.
Water protectors continue to hold their ground at the Sacred Stone Camp, Oceti Sakowin. They hold their ground in the name of spiritual commitment to ancestors, future generations, water and Mother Earth. …
There’s been a call for more people to come to the camps, people who are willing to be arrested. We will be back out this week, carrying more firewood. If I happen to go absent for a day or three, well…
Despite escalating police violence and AFL-CIO leadership of pipeline, a delegation of union members from around the U.S. are spending the weekend of October 29 at Standing Rock camp to join Sioux water protectors against Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL.)
The delegation from Labor For Standing Rock (LSR), comprised of rank-and-file union members and working people.
Liam Cain, Union Laborer at LIUNA Local 1271 Cheyenne, WY and a LSR spokesperson, over years worked on numerous heavy construction sites and pipeline construction spreads. “To the union laborers working on these projects I would just implore you to listen to what regular folks are saying,” Cain said. “Don’t just listen to the bosses, and not to just the echo-chambers on the spread.
“Listen to the water protectors, listen to folks talking about just transition, a view of the future, involving good paying union jobs, involving many of your skill-sets. Just generating energy in a much more environmentally sustainable manner, rather than just gross over reliance on fossil fuels, that we currently engage in. As the saying goes, ‘there’s no jobs on a dead planet’.” …
© C. Ford.
…Psychological scholarship has demonstrated the importance of land and water to American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Psychological and spiritual well-being are inextricably linked to traditional lands sacred to Native people. In the instance of the events at Standing Rock, the proposed pipeline is designed to violate sacred space that includes a traditional burial ground. For American Indian and Alaska Native people, threats to the natural environment are a continuation of historical trauma contributing to current health disparities. The proposed project threatens the well-being of our relatives directly affected and indeed all U.S. citizens. The specter of genocide is continued in the pipeline yet to be built.
Finally, the treatment of the Indigenous people in this protest is a chilling repeat of a pattern of dismissal, disrespect and dehumanization. The pipeline was not placed near Bismarck, North Dakota, because of danger to the citizens there. Yet, contaminating Indian Country was considered acceptable. For American Indigenous Nations, the energy and spirits of water, earth, air, the standing ones (trees), winged ones, crawling ones, four leggeds, and life in all expressions, are composed of the same root spirit – hence, all are related. Yet in Western society, few speak for these relatives. The Standing Rock People steadfastly remain our principal spokespersons. The Standing Rock Dakota and Lakota have withstood degradation of their water, lands and their own bodies with resilience and strength over many generations, with the most recent being the unprovoked use of attack dogs and mace on peaceful protesters. Health equity for all citizens can never be achieved without first acknowledging and respecting basic human rights and dignity, including that due to the land and water on which life depends.
Water is life, and without respect for water, its source in the land, or the human need for water, not only are Indigenous rights violated, so are the rights to humanness and human life. Land is a part of our people’s psychological wellbeing. When our land and water are threatened, it is an unimaginable spiritual, physical and mental burden not just for Native people but for all residents of the United States and the world. This protest is essentially in support of humanity. Native people leave no one out. All are welcome to the well.
— RoseAnn DeMoro (@RoseAnnDeMoro) October 31, 2016
— Fusion (@Fusion) November 1, 2016
This video, taken directly from the front lines of the October 27 police crackdown on the camp established in the pipeline’s path on treaty-protected indigenous land, contains disturbing images. Police douse protectors with mace as if squirting water from a hose, shoot them with tasers and throw them to the ground, all in the name of building a pipeline. Those against the project say they are there solely to protect the water.
My name is David Archambault II, and I’m the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has long opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline project. This proposed pipeline presents a threat to our lands, our sacred sites, and our water. Current and future generations depend on our rivers and aquifer to live.
Yesterday, militarized law enforcement agencies moved in with tanks and riot gear on water protectors who stand in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline—a massive pipeline project that would cut through four states, impact the water to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and violate sacred sites and ancient grounds. While native elders prayed in peace, they were attacked with pepper spray, rubber bullets, as well as sound and concussion cannons. By the end of the day, more than 140 people were arrested.1 Please, add your name and demand that President Obama reject this pipeline once and for all.
While we engage in the long legal process to curtail construction of the pipeline, Dakota Access is still poised to begin construction. Halting the construction was an unprecedented step in response to our powerful movement—and now President Obama must reject the pipeline’s permit outright.
Current and future generations depend on our rivers and aquifer to live. The Dakota Access pipeline jeopardizes the heath of our water and could affect our people, as well as countless communities who live downstream, as the pipeline would cross four states. The pipeline, as designed, would destroy ancient burial grounds, which is a violation of federal law.
Please, please, sign, and pass this on to as many people as possible. Lila wopila to all you who do so (very great thanks). If enough people do, we can get millions on this petition.
While Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier sat down with President Barack Obama at a private roundtable in Los Angeles on Tuesday, October 25, Morton County, N.D. Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier was calling in police reinforcements from six states to enforce Energy Transfer Partners’ demands that “trespassers” be removed from the path of the pipeline.
Authorities implied they may forcibly remove the water protectors from the new camp, which is on land recently purchased by Dakota Access LLC, the subsidiary that is building the pipeline.
“We have the resources. We could go down there at any time,” Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney said, according to the Associated Press. “We’re trying not to.”
“We are here to enforce the law as needed,” Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said. “It’s private property.”
The so-called trespassers are Lakota citizens and their allies determined to stand their ground to prevent further destruction of burial grounds and cultural sites, and to protect their water supply from the pipeline. As DAPL moves forward with aggressive construction even on weekends and at night, water protectors took the bold action to declare eminent domain over their homelands last week and set up a new camp directly in the pipeline’s path.
What began with prayers and a single tipi alongside Highway 1806 quickly grew to more than a dozen tipis surrounded by tents, buses, cars and hundreds of water protectors. Some are calling it the “1851 Treaty Camp” to acknowledge their Treaty rights.
Across the road is the encroaching pipeline and a heavily militarized police force with armored vehicles, helicopters, planes, ATVs and busloads of officers. Tensions are growing as unarmed citizens worry that police will use unnecessarily harsh tactics.
In recent weeks, nearly 300 unarmed water protectors who were arrested have been subjected to pepper spray, strip-searches, delayed bail, exaggerated charges and physical violence, according to interviews with several who were taken into custody. The ACLU and National Lawyers Guild recently sent attorneys to Standing Rock to help the Red Owl Collective, a team of volunteer lawyers headed by attorney Bruce Ellison, who are representing many of those arrested.
On Wednesday, October 26, civil rights leader and Rainbow PUSH Coalition founder the Rev. Jesse Jackson arrived in Standing Rock to speak out against the multiple human and civil rights violations being perpetrated against water protectors.
“When will the taking stop? When will we start treating the first peoples of these lands with the respect and honor they deserve?”
The decision to change the pipeline route from north of Bismarck to its current route is “the ripest case of environmental racism I’ve seen in a long time,” Jackson said. “Bismarck residents don’t want their water threatened, so why is it okay for North Dakota to react with guns and tanks when Native Americans ask for the same right?”
Full story at ICTMN. Related news:
Concerned and angered by the use of dogs, pepper spray, military tactics and strip searches against unarmed water protectors at the construction sites of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to step in.
“I am seeking a Justice Department investigation because I am concerned about the safety of the people,” Archambault said in a statement. “Too often these kinds of investigations take place only after some use of excessive force by the police creates a tragedy. I hope and pray that the Department will see the wisdom of acting now to prevent such an outcome.”
In a formal letter, Archambault called on U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate the alleged civil rights violations, outlining the ways in which the protectors’ safety is being compromised and their First Amendment rights jeopardized.
Archambault said protesters and tribal members have told him that “the militarization of law enforcement agencies has escalated violence at the campsite,” even as the tribe’s lawful efforts to keep the 1,172-mile-long pipeline from being routed through sacred burial sites and underneath the Missouri River a half mile from its reservation have drawn worldwide support.
“Firsthand accounts and videos filmed by participants reveal a pattern of strong-arm tactics targeting Native Americans and peaceful protestors,” the Standing Rock Sioux said in the statement. “The abuses include strip searches, violent security dog attacks, pepper-spraying of youth and intimidation by law enforcement.”
Archambault’s letter went further, describing roadblocks, checkpoints and unwarranted stops, all of which “are clearly targeted at Indian people, and are designed to intimidate free speech.”
Add to that the “constant surveillance, with low-flying planes and helicopters constantly overhead at the camps of the water protectors,” the confiscation of at least one drone and the shooting down of another, even those being used by journalists, plus the actual arrests of journalists such as Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, add up to a “larger effort by local law enforcement to intimidate the press and to prevent the full and fair reporting of the activities of law enforcement on this matter,” Archambault’s letter said.
“Rather than seeking to keep the peace, law enforcement personnel are clearly working in tandem with private security of Dakota Access,” the chairman wrote, adding that the tactics not only evoke the civil rights movement of 50 years ago but also bring up the collective memory of the U.S. government’s “long and sad history of using military force against indigenous people.”
Via ICTMN. In related news: Justice Dept Reaffirms It Will Not Grant DAPL River-Crossing Permits Anytime Soon.
Sarah Sunshine Manning highlights and details the need for more water protectors to make their way to the camps.
On October 18, water protectors called for reinforcements as the Dakota Access construction is quickly closing in on the Missouri River in North Dakota.
Water protectors, skilled in non-violent direct action, should plan to make their way to Standing Rock as quickly as you can get here.
This massive call-to-action is endorsed by more than 10 groups, including the Indigenous Peoples Power Project (IP3), The Ruckus Society, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Honor The Earth, the Oceti Sakowin Camp, the Sacred Stone Camp, West Coast Women Warriors Media Cooperative, Ancestral Pride, Digital Smoke Signals, Greenpeace USA, and The Other98.
“If we’re going to beat the pipeline, we’re going to need more people,” Nick Tilsen, Oglala Lakota, and co-founder of the Indigenous Peoples Power Project, told me.
An informational video was released in accompaniment with the joint-statement made by the groups with the title, “Warriors Wanted.”
“We’re asking for reinforcements to come stand with us, to pray, and to protect,” Tilsen said. “Of all the times to take action, the time is now.”
On October 22, water protectors in the camps reported that Dakota Access construction was just a few miles from the camp, and approximately 5 miles from the Missouri River.
In another Facebook video posted by Mark K. Tilsen, Oglala Lakota from Porcupine, South Dakota, Tilsen delivered a poignant message to allies across the globe:
“I’m asking you to come to Standing Rock,” he said. “Follow local leadership, but you will be given autonomy to choose your actions, and how you choose to creatively stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Please. Come to Standing Rock.”
Mark Tilsen has been stationed at the Oceti Sakowin camp for the past two months, also assisting in non-violent direct action trainings.
“We need help. We need bodies on the ground,” said Tilsen. “We need people here who are dedicated and willing. This is not a tourist action. This is not a party. We’re here to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Thank you.”
There’s much more here, including a video about strip searching protesters who were arrested for disorderly conduct. This is an obvious tactic on the part of the Keystone cops here to humiliate those who dare to protect the earth and water. Even Chairman Archambault was subjected to this.
In other NO DAPL news:
Plans for cultural genocide as well as the stories of courage and oppression at the famous/infamous residential Carlisle Indian Industrial School appear in an unprecedented collection of essays, poems and photos entitled “Carlisle Indian Industrial School/Indigenous Histories, Memories and Reclamations,” recently published by University of Nebraska Press and edited by Jacqueline Fear-Segal and Susan D. Rose.
This compelling gathering of work examines the legacy of the Carlisle experience through verse by noted poets N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa) and Maurice Kenney (Mohawk) along with essays by distinguished historians and scholars such as Fear-Segal, Rose, Barbara Landis and Louellyn White (Mohawk). It also includes the recollections and reflections of some descendants of the more than 10,000 Native children who attended the school between 1879 and 1918.
The book is divided into six parts—1) A Sacred and Storied Space; 2) Student Lives and Losses; 3) Carlisle Indian School Cemetery; 4) Reclamations; 5) Revisioning the Past; and 6) Reflections and Responses—and provides a panoramic view of the experience, including many poignant and heartbreaking stories.
The anthology starts out with a comprehensive introduction to the school, the historical context of Manifest Destiny, Native dispossession and a compelling re-imagining of how the Native children must have felt after being seized and sent far away to be forcibly “assimilated” into white culture. The removal of children, in effect the tearing apart of families and communities, was part of the attempt to “Kill the Indian, and save the man,” a seminal quote from the school’s founder and superintendent, Richard Henry Pratt who sought to change the children, beginning with their names.
One of the many themes in the book involves names, the white names given to Native children and the names on tombstones in the school’s cemetery.
“Names are especially important in Native American culture,” Momaday wrote in “The Stones at Carlisle.” “Names and being are thought to be indivisible. One who bears no name cannot truly be said to exist, for one has being in his name… In this context we see how serious is the loss of one’s name. In the case of the tombstones at Carlisle we are talking about the crime of neglect and negation. We are talking not only about the theft of identity, but the theft of essential being.”