Escalating violent treatment of Standing Rock Native Americans puts a massive black eye on the Dakota Access Pipe Line (DAPL), North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple, and Energy Transfer Partners. Joseph Hock is just one of 143 peaceful protesters that police have arrested.
The governor brought in militarized police with tanks and riot gear to attack the nonviolent protesters as they stood guard against the destruction of their sacred lands and water.
The Native Americans are protesting the pipeline’s construction on land they claim is tribal under the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie. The pipeline will run beneath the Missouri River, which provides water to millions of people downstream all the way to Kansas City and on to St. Louis, where it joins the Mississippi River. It is not a question of whether an oil leak will occur, just when.
Dalrymple called a state of emergency, which brought out the National Guard and riot police to use pepper spray, rubber bullets, and sound cannons against the nonviolent Native Americans
Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe David Archambault II wrote a statement:
‘Militarized law enforcement agencies moved in on water protectors with tanks and riot gear today. We continue to pray for peace.
‘We won’t step down from this fight. As peoples of this earth, we all need water. This is about our water, our rights, and our dignity as human beings.’
The militarized police beat Hock as he stood peacefully among Standing Rock Sioux, in sight of the bulldozers razing their sacred ground. Then, the police forced him into a dog kennel in Fargo, North Dakota.
The police destroyed his possessions, including sacred gifts he wore and carried, all from his Cherokee ancestors and friends. They seized his walking staff, wallet, and the rest of his possessions and destroyed them.
Hock walked from Northern Michigan to Washington, D.C. to meet personally with members of Congress and rally with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. In September, the senator asked President Obama to block the pipeline construction during the rally outside of the White House. Sanders stood with Standing Rock Sioux tribal leaders in protest.
President Barak Obama said that he would intervene, but he has not. So Bernie Sanders wrote a powerful letter to the president. The letter called for Obama to boldly intervene on behalf of Native Americans against the Dakota Access Pipe Line (DAPL) abuses. Sanders wrote:
‘I urge you to take all appropriate measures to protect the safety of the Native Americans protesters[sic] and their supporters who have gathered peacefully to oppose the construction of the pipeline.’
The senator urged President Obama to direct the Justice Department to send observers to the site to protect protesters’ safety and First Amendment rights (freedom of speech.)
He also asked the president to call on Dalrymple to remove the National Guard. Finally, Sanders asked the president to tell the Army Corps of Engineers to issue a stop-work order on the pipeline’s construction.
To read Senator Sanders’ letter to President Obama, click on this link.
Police arrested the indigenous people standing near a fire and charged them with felonies related to fire. The situation has traumatized the protesters, and they are in dire need of the president’s help. The National Guard have barricaded the Native American’s camp with tanks, as the bulldozers move to within feet of the river.
This is the latest video update of the Native American’s struggle:
As the tanks roared in, the riot police beat innocent people with batons, attacking them with mace, and arresting them en masse. The president has not intervened to help the Native Americans. But just then, the American bison arrived.
Native Americans protesting a pipe line running through their sacred lands and water just got assistance from a large herd of wild buffalo. Thousands of the majestic animals appeared, lining the top of the North Dakota hills.
Native Americans honor the American bison, maintaining a spiritual tradition with the huge animals. They believe the buffalo are a gift from the Great Spirit, and the people believe that as long as the bison herd can roam freely and grow in size, Native Americans will be free and strong.
As a stampede of bison appeared near the protest camp close to Standing Rock, the Sioux cried out and shouted in joy. From the White Wolf Pack:
‘To the plains Indian, our Bison Brother meant sacred life and the abundance of the Creator’s blessing on Mother Earth. The bison is powerful medicine that is a symbol of sacrifice and service to the community.
‘The bison people agreed to give their lives so the American Indian could have food, shelter and clothing. The bison is also a symbol of gratitude and honor as it is happy to accept its meager existence as it stands proud against the winds of adversity.’
Chairman Archambault criticized law enforcement’s militarized response to the camp. He also called for demonstrations to remain peaceful, but stressed that activists would not give up their cause.
Members of Hock’s Cherokee relatives perished on the Trail of Tears, and still our government punishes Native Americans as they stand guard over a pipe line.
Here is a live streaming video at Standing Rock:
Featured Image: Joe Fletcher’s Facebook Page.