“Law enforcement agents seemed to be enjoying what they were doing.”
Sacred Stone Camp Flags of Nations, North Dakota
This Occupy World Writes Exclusive Report written by Carol Benedict.
On October 27, mass arrests were made of 83 people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). When Davis Gonzalez heard about it, he decided to do something. He knew he had 4 days away from work in which he could get there, find his clan, and see how he could help. He and Shaw Day, a Bois Forte, Ojibwe tribe member, along with their daughter, left Minneapolis for an incredible journey.
Before they even reached Sacred Stone Camp, they got word that 49 of the people arrested were being released from jail – 200 miles away from where they had been arrested at. Davis and Shaw decided to go directly to that location to see if those being released had immediate needs and contact with their families.
What they saw at the law enforcement facility was quite unique. The North Dakota courts would not release any of the people until Saturday morning, after businesses were closed for the week, and demanded cash only with no bonds. Each person released had to have $1,500 cash paid on their behalf. Once that had happened, no effort was made to put the person released back where they came from – they were on their own with nothing.
The most concerning to everyone that had been arrested was the observation that the “out of state law enforcement officers seemed to be enjoying what they were doing to us,” one of them told Davis. They were placed in cages, similar to dog kennels, clad only in underclothes and left that way for long periods of time. Access to toilets, medical assistance and water were denied.
Supporters rallied for the cause, and a bus was supplied to take some of the people back to the camps. Davis and Shaw took two young women with them and headed back to Sacred Stone Camp.
By the time they got back, the roads were all closed going into the camps. They drove around until finally parking outside the camps and trying to rest in their vehicle. When morning arrived, they were able to find their clan and talk with other water protectors.
They observed that within the camps, the youth wanted to do something; march, dance, any activity. The elders, however, were encouraging conversation and reflection. The sense of spirituality was prevalent. Everyone there was there for the same reason, driven by the same compelling force that this was something far bigger than any of them as individuals will ever be.
The following things were also noticed and discussed:
- Internet inside the camps has been blocked.
- A no-fly zone has been placed over the area to prevent news crews from filming any actions on the ground
- After the no-fly zone was enacted. law enforcement destroyed the camps
- Possessions returned to the camps were smashed, destroyed and thrown in a pile like a heap of garbage
- Cars that were impounded by law enforcement had the oil drained out of them and mechanical sabotage was performed on steering columns and engines
- North Dakota is the 1st state in the country to legalize use of weaponized drones
- Jack Dalrymple, Governor of North Dakota, has financial interests in DAPL
Remember that the original route for this pipeline went through Bismarck. When the people of Bismarck rejected the plan because they were concerned about the pipeline poisoning their water, the pipeline was re-routed through land belonging to Native Americans through a treaty that remains in effect, and was forced on them under eminent domain laws, even though all 5 of the criteria for meeting eminent domain requirements had not been satisfied.
What should concern us all though is the utter disregard shown by the authorities for the rights and well being of the residents of Standing Rock, as well as the people who’ve gathered to support them. As winter approaches and no resolution presenting itself, the water protectors have vowed to stay. Meanwhile, the world watches as our government continues to violate the treaties it made with the original inhabitants of our country. We as a people need to tell the authorities that their callousness and greed are not OK; that as human beings we have to do better by our fellow man or woman than this.
If you wish to show your solidarity by supporting the water protectors’ efforts, your can donate to the Official Sacred Stone Camp Go-Fund-Me campaign.