Don’t Be Passive Observers of Last Night’s Terrorization in Standing Rock: Here’s What You Can Do

Nov 24, 2016 by

Water fired from the water canons that battered protesters in freezing temperatures last night froze to the razor wire of a police barricade. (Photo: Redhawk)

Water fired from the water canons that battered protesters in freezing temperatures last night froze to the razor wire of a police barricade. (Photo: Redhawk)

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 concussion 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 country 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
(219) 874-3221

North Dakota Highway Patrol
Offices across North Dakota
(701) 328-2455

Hammond Police Department
Hammond, IN

Munster Police Department
Munster, IN
(219) 836-6600

Griffith Police Department
Griffith, IN
(219) 924-7503

Anoka County Sheriff’s Office
Andover, MN
(763) 323-5000

Washington County Sheriff’s Office
Stillwater, MN

Marathon County Sheriff’s Department
Wausau, WI
(715) 261-1200

La Porte County Sheriff’s Office
La Porte, IN
(219) 326-7700

Newton County Sheriff’s Office
Kentland, IN

South Dakota Highway Patrol
Pierre, SD

Jasper County Sheriff
Rensselaer, Indiana

Lake County Sheriff Sheriff’s Department
Crown Point, IN

Laramie County Sheriff’s Department
Cheyenne, WY

Wyoming Highway Patrol
Cheyenne, WY

Ohio State Highway Patrol
Columbus, Ohio

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency
Lincoln, NE
(402) 471-7421

Supply note: With at least two hundred injured last night, Standing Rock medics are in critical need of the following items:

Milk of Magnesia
Wool socks
Wool blankets
Space blankets
Hand warmers
Trauma kits (portable)
Suturing kits
Straw bales

Supplies can be shipped to:
Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council
PO 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.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes is a direct action trainer and a cofounder of The Chicago Light Brigade and the direct action collective Lifted Voices. She is community relations associate and a contributing writer at Truthout and her photography is featured in the “Freedom and Resistance” exhibit of the DuSable Museum of African American History. Kelly’s contribution to the anthology Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? stems from her work as an organizer against state violence and her ongoing analysis of movements in the United States, as featured in Truthout and the blog Transformative Spaces.

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  1. Ken Franklin

    As a former resident of St. John, IN I am embarrassed and appalled to see so many Hoosier police departments supporting this fascist attack on American people who are merely exercising their First Amendment rights. My whole life I was brainwashed to believe that this type of thing only happened in Russia or in Third World banana republics, certainly not in the land of the free and home of the brave. Disgusting and criminal what our elitist plantation owners are instructing their hand-puppet militarized po-po to do to their fellow citizens.

  2. Susan Zweig

    I am from Munster Indiana & am totally ashamed that our police department is there using these barbaric methods. What century is this? Our craze for oil continues to cost us our humanity it must stop.

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