Every day brings new atrocities to the protestors at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Today the soldiers are chasing women and children into the river. Military and police are shooting rubber bullets and pepper spraying people of all ages, including children. All these Water Protectors are unarmed. They are praying and standing firm to protect the land that was stolen from them, to protect the water that serves everyone, not just the Standing Rock Tribe. I am not ashamed to say this is making me cry.
Why does this matter to you?
Because when you allow innocent people to be brutalized and possibly killed, you are losing your freedom, too. You are losing part of what makes you human. If you can turn away from this injustice on our own soil, and watch our own people be hurt, you are hurting yourself in ways that cut across your soul.
But what can I do? I'm not Indian!
Water isn't Indian, either. And a good heart is a good heart.
Those who would like to help out can buy items on their amazon wish list or the on their site supply list. If you would like to get involved then checkout the “#NoDAPL Solidarity” website to find an action near you. There is a legal fund to donate to at the “Red Warrior Camp Legal Fund.”
Call NBC, CBS, ABC, every news outlet, national and local. Can you go down there and help the Water Protectors? DO IT. Call the President, your Senators and Congressmen. DO IT.
My neighbor, a Native from Alaska, is down there now. She has a son who has a birthday soon. They impounded her rental car this weekend (plus many others cars, too). People were knocked down with batons when they tried to keep the police from taking their cars. Her ID and wallet, and medication are in the car and she isn't allowed anywhere near it to retrieve these items. She is more than willing to talk to any news outlet that wants the inside story. She is staying at the camp. I will send her phone number to people who are serious about helping.
Ignorant white people are still afraid of "Wild Indians." Soldiers are overzealous and brutal. Contrast that with the treatment of the ARMED white pseudo-military men who did serious damage to Malheur Wildlife Center (they started bulldozing!) who were set free, blameless after their ARMED stand-off!
Consider this: When I lived in Albuquerque, I had many Native friends. One afternoon, in a mixed white and Hispanic neighborhood, one afternoon we had a potluck and some drumming and singing. The white next door neighbor CALLED THE POLICE ON US because there were WILD INDIANS. And this is in a place where brown people used to be in the majority of the population, in a place where tribes and Native people are everywhere.
People are afraid of Indians. Native people are seen as dangerous and bloodthirsty, thanks to Hollywood (which didn't even bother to hire Indians to play Indians).
People at the protest are not armed. Alcohol is prohibited. No bows, no weapons. If we get a report of an armed protestor, you will know it was a plant.
We also have reports of police planting illegal items in protestors' cars. If they would pepper spray a child, you know they would plant items, too.
I was last involved in a land struggle on the Navajo Reservation in the eighties, when Peabody Coal Company, (yes, THAT coal company--see the song "Paradise") wanted to mine for coal on the Hopi and Navajo reservations. Peabody found a few Mormon converts in the Hopi hierarchy to champion their cause and managed to turn the tribes against each other. What should have united Hopi and Navajo divided them, due to the dirty tactics of Peabody Coal Company. The struggle was ignored by the media because it was seen as a petty "internal affair" between Natives. (I send peace and honor to Roberta Blackgoat, who, with other traditional Navajo women, worked so hard, and local AIM leader Larry Anderson.)
The DAPL people are severely afraid because they have not been able to turn the tribes against each other. Instead, tribes and indigenous people from all over the world, not to mention non-natives too, are UNITED against the pipeline and the injustice of destroying Native sacred ground. Our unity is our biggest strength! You know there are moles sent in by the company to try to cause problems.
Pipelines are dangerous and they ALWAYS leak. There are ALWAYS spills. Ask any Alaskan. We know. People have to monitor this stuff full time, and they still never get all the spills and leaks. How are they going to monitor a pipe under the river? This is NOT high tech. It's a time bomb, plain and simple. It will leak, and it will poison the water, I have not one doubt. Scientists agree, look it up.
Finally: it was originally planned to put the pipeline through Bismarck, ND. Why didn't they? They thought it too dangerous for the town, and that it might poison their water.
So when people say this isn't based on racism, think again. Racism is a huge part of this.
Stay together! Be strong! Do what you can!