This afternoon, hundreds of water protectors, many of whom were injured by law enforcement last night, are peacefully assembling in downtown Bismarck to protest the egregious colonial violence inflicted upon Water Protectors on Highway 1806 last night. When gathering in Bismarck, which is 90 percent white, Protectors are frequently met with calls to “go back” where they belong — the irony of which is apparently lost on the white residents of Bismarck.
Last night, as the temperature in Standing Rock plunged below 30 degrees, hundreds of people were blasted with water cannons near the Oceti Sakowin camp. Water Protectors on 1806 were also hit with percussion grenades, sprayed with mace, hit with rubber bullets and tear gas, and otherwise abused by the law enforcement. For nearly a month, Water Protectors have been prevented from removing a barricade on the Backwater Bridge on 1806. The Protectors created the barricade on October 28, to protect the Oceti Sakowin, Sacred Stone, and Rosebud camps during a police assault that resulted in the violent eviction of the North Camp. The police have since used the barricade to put added distance between DAPL construction and the protectors, and to disrupt community traffic. Yesterday, people attempted to peacefully remove the barricade and were immediately attacked by law enforcement.
An elder went into cardiac arrest on the frontline. People were trapped on a bridge, and in some cases gagged until they vomited and urinated on themselves. Many experienced trampling injuries. Hundreds are experiencing hypothermia.
The media is running “news” from last night with the Morton County Sheriff’s press releases as the only source. This complete failure to uphold the tenets of journalism is not simply unethical. It is dangerous. The Morton County Sheriff remains largely unchallenged by the press in its claims that it did not fire water cannons at human beings but merely put out fires that had been set on the bridge, in spite of video footage that directly contradicts such claims.
Protectors at the Oceti Sakowin Camp say they are calling on President Obama to create and sign an executive order that cancels the Dakota Access Pipeline. “We call on the President to instruct the Army Corps of Engineers to no longer ‘wait and see’ when they need to determine an ‘appropriate response’ to Dakota Access drilling under the Missouri River without an easement permit, which they are.”
As a Native woman who has been to Standing Rock three times, and whose health now prevents me from making a fourth trip, I have my own asks. Call every number put in front of you. Jam every phone line. Look at the target list of financial institutions supporting this pipeline. Pick a bank. Shut it down, just like we did in Chicago on Saturday and people did in Philadelphia this morning. The Trump administration hasn’t even taken hold yet, and I watched over a livestream last night as my friends and people were battered with water streams that can tear skin from flesh and eyes from sockets. I watched my people hold space and scramble to save one another as drops of water froze to razor wire.
I know marginalized people around the county are organizing for their own survival right now, and sitting around tables discussing the difficult days ahead. But a strategy of protection, defense and obstruction cannot wait for the inauguration of an autocrat. It must be applied here and now.
Please show us that you see us. Please do all you can to stop this.
If you cannot travel to Standing Rock, or support or organize an action where you live, consider contacting one of these Sheriffs and police departments that have loaned out the officers who are abusing Native peoples in Standing Rock. Jam their phone lines and tell them to bring their people home. If your community is on this list, actively organize to recall the deployment.
Michigan City Police Department
Michigan City, IN
North Dakota Highway Patrol
Offices across North Dakota
Hammond Police Department
Munster Police Department
Griffith Police Department
Anoka County Sheriff’s Office
Washington County Sheriff’s Office
Marathon County Sheriff’s Department
La Porte County Sheriff’s Office
La Porte, IN
Newton County Sheriff’s Office
South Dakota Highway Patrol
Jasper County Sheriff
Lake County Sheriff Sheriff’s Department
Crown Point, IN
Laramie County Sheriff’s Department
Wyoming Highway Patrol
Ohio State Highway Patrol
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency
Supply note: With at least two hundred injured last night, Standing Rock medics are in critical need of the following items:
Milk of Magnesia
Trauma kits (portable)
Supplies can be shipped to:
Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council
P.O Box 1251, Bismark ND, 58502
or if you are shipping via UPS or Fed Ex, please use the address:
220 E. Rosser Ave. 1251, Bismark, ND, 58502
Or you can donate to the Standing Rock medics here.