All Out for Actions in Solidarity with Standing Rock
The resistance by Indigenous peoples and supporters to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in Standing Rock, North Dakota, is intensifying in defiance of the use of state violence against them. The conflict shows the continued refusal of the U.S. ruling circles to provide solutions to conflicts with Indigenous peoples on a political nation-to-nation basis. Instead, they are repeating all the practices from the time of the Great Sioux War of 1876, also known as the Black Hills War, between the Lakota Sioux, the Northern Cheyenne and the government of the United States. The cause of the war was the desire of the U.S. government to obtain ownership of the Black Hills where gold had been discovered and settlers began to encroach on the land. Since that time, the Sioux and Cheyenne have refused to cede ownership to the U.S. The Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s last Stand, was one the battles of the war.
On October 28, some 140 people were arrested and many more assaulted by 100 riot police from several states and the National Guard, wielding pepper spray and armoured personnel carriers. Attempts to suppress and criminalize independent media and individuals failed, and eyewitness reports and videos on social media confirm the brutalization of women, elders and children by law enforcement.
The outrageous use of violence by the state while it refuses to acknowledge the claims and just demands of the Standing Rock Sioux is rallying more and more people in defence of their claims on the land. Many are joining the protest in North Dakota or are holding actions across North America to express solidarity, including bringing forward their own struggles to defend the land and water against monopolies and governments in their service.
TML calls on everyone to participate in actions in support of the Standing Rock Sioux.
Protection of Land and Water Continues in North Dakota
On November 2, law enforcement desecrated the burial grounds of Alma Parkin and Matilda Galpin, the Indigenous women who once owned the Cannonball Ranch near the proposed site of the DAPL and the Cannon Ball River. As water protectors held a water ceremony in the river, snipers shot at them with “non-lethal” rounds from armoured vehicles parked around the tree marking the graves. Activists report that some 100 people were injured by the police.
Actions at Mercier Bridge in Montreal
Mohawk Nation News writes: “The Kahnawake Mohawks, their friends and allies, have set up a solidarity camp for Standing Rock at the southern foot of the Mercier Bridge that spans the St. Lawrence River to Montreal. Friends and allies welcome.”
On October 28, Kahnawake community members held a blockade of the bridge for two hours as a show of solidarity.
The Mohawk at Akwesasne held a solidarity march on October 30.
Actions Target Pipeline Financiers
Solidarity actions across North America are targeting banks financing the DAPL, including CitiBank, TD Bank, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan.
Occupation of Clinton Campaign Headquarters
On October 28, just minutes before the massive police raid in Standing Rock, Indigenous youth from Standing Rock occupied the campaign headquarters of U.S. Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton to demand she take a stand on the DAPL. The letter they tried to deliver to Clinton was refused by staff at the headquarters, nor did anyone deign to speak with the youth about their concerns. A statement issued by the Clinton campaign later that day was widely rejected as devoid of any content insofar as addressing the people’s concerns and was otherwise condemned for defending state repression and monopoly right.
More than One Million People “Check-In” at Standing Rock via Social Media
On October 31, more than one million people took part in an online action to protect activists at Standing Rock from police surveillance of social media.
“The Morton County Sheriff’s Department has been using Facebook check-ins to find out who is at Standing Rock in order to target them in attempts to disrupt the prayer camps.
“So Water Protectors are calling on EVERYONE to check-in at Standing Rock, ND to overwhelm and confuse them. This is concrete action that can protect people putting their bodies and well-being on the line that we can do without leaving our homes.”
Support from Researchers and Academics
In September, more than 1,200 archaeologists, anthropologists, curators, museum officials and academics signed a letter in support of the protests against the DAPL and calling on the U.S. government and its agencies to put an end to the construction of the oil facility.
The letter states in part:
“As archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, and museum workers committed to responsible stewardship, we are invested in the preservation and interpretation of archaeological and cultural heritage for the common good. We join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in denouncing the recent destruction of ancient burial sites, places of prayer and other significant cultural artifacts sacred to the Lakota and Dakota people.
“On Saturday, September 3, 2016, the company behind the contentious Dakota Access Pipeline project bulldozed land containing Native American burial grounds, grave markers, and artifacts — including ancient cairns and stone prayer rings. The construction crews, flanked by private security and canine squads, arrived just hours after the Standing Rock Sioux tribal lawyers disclosed the location of the recently discovered site in federal court filings.
“We call on the federal government to abide by its laws and to conduct a thorough environmental impact statement and cultural resources survey on the pipeline’s route, with proper consultation with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. We stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and affirm their treaty rights, tribal sovereignty, and the protection of their lands, waters, cultural and sacred sites, and we stand with all those attempting to prevent further irreparable losses.”
For background on the resistance at Standing Rock, see TML Weekly, October 1, 2016.
(With files from sacredstonecamp.org, TeleSUR, MNN. Photos: Standing Rock Sioux, MNN, E.R. McGregor, J. Davis-Hockett, Rising Tide North America, J.F. Tinternet, S. Skinner, J. Cordova, R. Wilson, Kehrt.)
Source: TML Weekly, November 5, 2016 – No. 43