Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dalrymple Attempts Eviction at Standing Rock

The wind is howling outside while I sit warm and snug in my new tipi. Snow is building up by the minute making any outside task difficult and in some cases impossible. People all around me are sheltering where they can with others to conserve heat. Elders and children are all inside being looked after. The men are delivering firewood, gas and food to them. This is what being part of a village was like back before European settlers came. We can hold out as long as supplies can be sent to us from time to time.

Governor Jack Dalrymple has imposed as many inhumane restrictions of the camps as he can in an attempt to evict people from Standing Rock in the dead of the North Dakota winter. A mandatory evacuation was ordered after months of population growth and preparing for winter. Some gave up their homes, jobs and security to come here and stand against the tyranny of big oil and a government who is still breaking treaties at will. How can any rational thinking official think he can evict them in the dead of winter in North Dakota? Winters here are some of the harshest in the country. It will get below 0-F degrees soon. The river is frozen over and roads impassable. I just heard security close all camp roads after 1806 was closed. We are here now.

Today, Bismarck Tribune posted an article saying that people caught bringing in supplies to the camps could be arrested with fines as high as $1,000.00. Hotels told travelers that no rooms would be rented to DAPL protesters! A hardware store told campers he could not sell them propane by order of Morton Co. Sheriff’s office.

These are the same racist traits that existed here when the US Army came to starve the Lakota and others from their lands. First they cut off any trade with the natives then later killed off the buffalo used for food. Hides were used for clothes and building materials for tipis. The bones were made into jewelry or tools. The US government took all of that away from them with no more thought than this governor is showing today. I lay in my teepee and can almost imagine Custer coming across the hills to wipe us out. Today’s Custer is Sheriff Kirchmeier and the  new DAPL gang is the 7th cavalry.

Recently a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of the water protectors who were assaulted by the militarized police forces from many different communities. I like to call them the DAPL gang. They are lawless in their tactics using weapons and gases on people who are the rightful owners of this land where the Dakota Access Pipeline crosses. It was never bartered for nor any compensation was given. It was taken under imminent domain when Lake Oahe was built. As a result of the dam's construction the  Standing Rock Reservation lost 55,993 acres (22,660 ha) leaving it with 2,300,000 acres (930,000 ha). Much of the land was taken by eminent domain claims made by the Bureau of Reclamation. Over and above the land loss, most of the reservations' prime agricultural land was included in the loss. The regions where the populations were resettled had soil with a higher clay content, and resources such as medicinal plants were less prevalent.[4]
The loss of this land had a dramatic effect on the Indians who lived on the reservations. Most of the land was unable to be harvested (to allow the trees to be cut down for wood, etc.) before the land was flooded over with water.[5] One visitor to the reservations later asked why there were so few older Indians on the reservations, and was told that "the old people had died of heartache" after the construction of the dam and the loss of the reservations' land.[6] As of 2015, poverty remains a problem for the displaced populations in the Dakotas, who are still seeking compensation for the loss of the towns submerged under Lake Oahe, and the loss of their traditional ways of life.[7] The Dakota people were given 3 choices. 1. Leave 2. Swim, 3 drown. No consultation or treaty negotiations took place.

Americans need to realize that this is about far more than a pipeline. It’s about a racist governor who is politically linked to the pipeline and his appointed militia desecrating ancestral burial grounds, polluting water, and walking all over the people’s right to be free on their own land.

Most Americans 50 years old or more, remember the civil rights era. It is taught in history books in school as something we should never forget or repeat. Here at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation I am witnessing something far worse that that. Not since the 1800’s has this degree of racism been shown. I pray that history will not be repeated as it was on Dec. 29, 1890 at a little church overlooking Wounded Knee.
Sunday night, Nov.20, 2016 I saw somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 people wounded, hypothermic, gassed, and sprayed with water from a canon in subfreezing weather. It’s a miracle someone wasn’t killed that night. One young lady did lose an arm when a concussion grenade went off near her. Many people were first hand witnesses but according to Morton Co Sheriff’s office it didn’t happen. The second story from them was it happened when she tried to use a homemade bomb that didn’t exist. Then the story from them was it happened somewhere else. They spat out so much misinformation it was almost comical if it wasn’t so serious.
Now the DAPL Gang wants to evict us in the dead of winter with the roads impassable. I ask each of you who read this to contact your local media and demand they cover the story. Contact all of your elected officials and demand an end to the aggression shown by Morton County and the DAPL Gang. Contact your local law enforcement and demand they not participate in the gang’s activities and if they are already here, demand they stand down and go home immediately.

Call, write, email, and fax the Whitehouse to step in and stop the pipeline and demand a full EIS of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Enough is enough!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Turkey Day At Standing Rock

The DAPL Gang
Thanksgiving is a day of celebration for millions of Americans. Some even consider it a religious day. For large portion of Native Americans it is something much different. For them the coming of European settlers was the beginning of the largest attempted genocide ever perpetrated. What Hitler did in Germany is nothing by comparison to what has happened here since European settlers first set foot on Turtle Island.

Treaties are consistently broken to suit the needs of those in power and control of the majority of the country’s wealth. The Standing Rock Sioux reservation is no stranger to it. For years their land has been taken for various reasons without proper attention to the treaties. George Custer was probably the most famous character in history for breaking the very treaty being dealt with today. The Sioux have had enough. Today they are standing their grounds to demand fair treatment.

On this Thanksgiving Day while most families were eating way too much turkey and dressing the camps at Standing Rock went to pray for the victims and wounded from the previous battle.
That Sunday night the scene was very surreal. It looked more like a scene from a war movie than citizens exercising their right to assemble. Fortunately the police did exercise more restraint than in the past. At one time they did try to use a water hose on people in subfreezing weather. Fortunately the people they were trying to spray were too far away to reach so you know they couldn’t have been any threat.

One group of protectors walked along the riverbank and was met by a squad of militia from all over ranging from city police to game wardens. There must have been a couple of dozen armed with everything from pepper spray to lethal semiautomatic weapons. No one else was armed. There was never a need for such a show of force.

It was cold and overcast all day until late afternoon. The clouds broke just as the prayers on Turtle Island came to a close. The police pulled back and the water protectors went back across their bridge for a final prayer. If the police had just allowed us to do that all along there would have never been such violence as shown in the past 6 weeks by the militarized police force I call the DAPL gang.

The next morning DAPL security is suspected of destroying the bridge, stealing and tearing up the canoes owned by citizens with a right to use the river. There was miles of razor wire completely surrounding the beach. We are talking about a waterway of the US and treaty land which they have no true jurisdiction over.

Millions of tax dollars have been wasted in North Dakota protecting an industrial investment that is tied to several North Dakota elected representatives including the governor. No American taxes should ever be spent protecting a project that continues to violate treaties. It’s time America respect, honor, and obey the international laws that supercede the US Constitution.  

It’s your money America… Just Say No!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Inhumane Treatment at Standing Rock


Inhumane Treatment at Standing Rock

Once again the Morton County Sheriff has used his office to spread lies and misinformation about the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. He claimed that his troops only used water cannons to “put out fires set by the protestors” #1. There were NO fires at the bridge! Once again he is using this as an excuse to call for over reaction by militarized police officers. 2. They act more like a militia than police officers.

I arrived at Standing Rock Sunday night, Nov. 20, 2016 after the action had all started and could not get to the bridge for security reasons so I went to the river bank to a place where I could see the action and shoot it with telephoto lenses. It was a surreal scene from where I was. I saw a couple of smaller fires set by protectors in a humanitarian effort to give aid to people soaked with water.
A small group held tarps up to shield the fire from the water cannons. It wasn’t a dangerous fire and at no time did the militia come under threat from the Water Protectors. It was one of the most inhumane scenes I have ever witnessed.

Temperatures dropped very quickly as soon as the sun set to well below freezing. By the end of the conflict it was in the 20’s but Morton County kept pouring the water to them. My photos show a line of people silhouetted against the bright lights and multiple sources of water being directed on them from more than one angle. The rest of the scene was dark and no fires at first.
Morton County and other police officers from around the country were called in to serve in the governor’s militia. They came with heavy armament used the water cannons as weapons against people who went to the bridge to pray for the water. Anything said by the sheriff to the contrary is absolutely false.

He also stated that his troops did not use concussion devices. False again. I saw them go off and heard them even from my position. After a bright white light and very loud explosion and shrieks of pain a young girl nearly lost her arm. She may still lose it if the doctors can’t repair it but it will never be the same. They had to take an artery from her leg and use it to repair the damage caused by the DAPL militia. Fragments of the device were removed for evidence. What evidence does the sheriff have to refute that but his discredited word?

Other devices were launched with a rifle launcher or mortar. I have photos seen here that show fire trails leaving the launcher and arcing through the air where they landed among the people on the ground.
You can see the smoke trails and clouds of smoke when they hit. Interestingly enough the weapons launched by the militia set small fires in the grass far outside the water canons reach but there was no action to try and put those fires out.

What I saw and photographed that night Sunday Nov. 20 looked more like a war zone than anything else. With canons firing gas canisters, flash grenades, and water cannons to blast people to the ground it took on an eerie battleground setting.

Morton County militia carried it to an even lower standard by targeting young people who were running in to retrieve the injured. Several people have told me of being shot in the legs while carrying people out of harms way. Shot with rubber bullets and beanbags that are supposed to be “less than lethal”. Firing into a crowd at night is dangerous and irresponsible because clear targets can’t really be seen. Shooting people who are running away carrying wounded is an inhumane act. Nearly 400 people were treated for injuries that night ranging from frostbite to explosion trauma to cardiac arrest. All of this was to protect an industrial investment over the rights of humans and international treaty.

I have one of the shields used on the line that night. There is a dry, yellow powder stuck to it that was either sprayed or stuck to it during one of the explosions. I will be taking samples of it to a lab to see just what this stuff is. An elder told me today that the ice in the creek where this took place is different colors. They polluted the creek with all of their chemicals and should also be held accountable for that.
The police are people we are supposed to be able to trust to uphold our rights as citizens. In North Dakota it is just not true if you are native and want to live in peace. This land still belongs to the Sioux Nation according to treaty. The part of it in question was taken by the Corps of Engineers to build Lake Oahe. Anyone living in the flood zone was told to leave without consultation or amendment to the treaty. The US Government used imminent domain law to steal it just as they have so many times. There has never been a treaty written with any native nation that has been honored. Every treaty has been broken.

Some want you to believe that this is just about a pipeline, which has been properly permitted and approved and the Water Protectors are just a bunch of riotous protestors who are out of control. It is far deeper than that. It’s about treaty rights that supercede US constitutional law. It is about the right to clean drinking water guaranteed to them for as long as the grass grows, the wind blows, and the river flows.

Over the months I have been here I have been to many of the actions. I can tell you first hand that no Water Protector goes on an action with any weapons. We go with drums, the Canupa (Sacred Pipe), songs and prayers. We have taken willow sprouts and planted them on the right of way, which is trespassing in their eyes but nit when you figure that the land was stolen from the Standing Rock Sioux in the first place.
Trespass is not a reason to mobilize federal troops, police from various cities and counties surrounding Standing Rock,, federal troops and I have even seen a game warden and park ranger called in to control peaceful people. Every act of violence I have sees has been incited by the governors militia in Morton County. He has political and financial ties to this project, which should be considered a conflict of interest. Not in North Dakota, where he has been successful in mobilizing an army headed up by a “jack booted thug” (his words) sheriff to protect his interest.

This has become without doubt, the most lawless operation I have ever seen perpetrated by law enforcement.