The Oceti Sakowin Camp is a historic gathering of tribes, allies, and people from all walks of life standing in solidarity to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline. Mini Wiconi (Lakota for “Water is Life”)
Frontline Reporting: Cheryl Angel Leads Women Procession for Silent Prayer to Backwater River Bridge.
Cheryl Angel, a Sicangu Lakota tribe member who has been at the Standing Rock camps since April, said she has personally seen what appear to be indigenous artifacts in the line of construction and that she believes the pipeline operators have intentionally hidden discoveries of sacred sites and knowingly destroyed them.
“It’s a tremendous blow to our history. They are trying to erase our existence,” said Angel, 56. “That’s a blatant disregard for our culture. That hurts when someone purposefully tries to erase you as people from … the land we’ve occupied for centuries.”
Angel said she suspected the state might be taking action against the company simply because there is now international attention on the conflict.“They have no choice now, because the world is watching.”
Police have responded to protesters in some instances with pepper spray, bean bags, and other controversial means, and used private security staff with guard dogs in one confrontation with protesters that included women and children. Amnesty International also reports that those recently arrested have reported being strip searched and forced to pay bail for minor offenses.Members of the media and legal observers have also been arrested or charged with minor offenses.
“People here just want to stand up for the rights of Indigenous people and protect their natural resources. These people should not be treated like the enemy. Police must keep the peace using minimal force appropriate to the situation. Confronting men, women, and children while outfitted in gear more suited for the battlefield is a disproportionate response” – Eric Ferrero, director of communications for Amnesty International USA.
Blackwater Bridge is the dividing line between the Water Protectors and Oceti Camp which is to the south of the bridge on Highway 1806. Law enforcement are on the north end of the bridge behind concrete barriers with military vehicles facing south. I was able to hitch a ride with strangers from Washington State and we joined a caravan of about one hundred cars to travel to the north side of Blackwater Bridge via backroads. We were spotted by a helicopter and were met by County law enforcement and several green and white US Border Patrol vehicles just short of the entrance to the north side of the bridge. To their credit they allowed the Water Protectors to hold a prayer ceremony on the highway without disruption.
On the way my fellow passengers were singing a Chief Dan George’s prayer song for safe travel into unknown waters – it must have worked because there were no clashes or arrest.
A sunset drive on the A72 near Rosebank, Scotland. Standing sentry are ancient elders of oak, silver birch and pine that border the country lane which is empty of all traffic. With the windows down the crisp air dashes about and fills the cab with aroma of turf, heather and earth. For a moment my soul is lifted from all of life’s complications and I slow the car to a crawl to absorb every second. To my left is the River Clyde, running dark and silent as the sun ends another day in the land of my fathers. I am home and received by the spirits and magic of Scotland and yet I struggle to believe that I just saw a unicorn on the banks of the River Clyde. It was a magical mystery tour and I can’t wait to go back because Scotland is in my heart and soul.
August 15, 2015. The $585 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 is one of the must-pass pieces of legislation that Congress moves every year. But like they did in attaching other extraneous riders to the must-pass government-funding bill, lawmakers used the defense bill as a vehicle to pass a massive public lands package. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona slipped the giveaway language onto the defense bill at the 11th hour. Which gives sacred Native American site in Arizona to Australian-British mining company. The tactic was successful only because, like most last-minute riders, it bypassed public scrutiny. This sacred land has had special protections since 1955, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower decreed the area closed to mining — which, like cattle grazing, is otherwise common in national forests — because of its cultural and natural value. President Richard M. Nixon’s Interior Department in 1971 renewed this ban. Despite these protections, in December 2014, Congress promised to hand the title for Oak Flat over to Australian-British mining concern. By doing this, Congress has handed over a sacred Native American site to a foreign-owned company for what may be the first time in our nation’s history. The Apache Nation of Oak Flat in Arizona, say digging a massive mine under their ancestral lands will destroy sacred ceremonial and burial grounds.