Standing Rock, North Dakota (TFC)— The Fifth Column News contacted Michael Wood Jr. regarding his organization Veterans Stand and it’s Standing Rock operations. Wood responded shortly before the government issued eviction orders, then raided the remaining camps. He relayed Veterans…
Tensions flare once more as North Dakota officials graduate their militarized tactics against protesters. Sheriffs have now threatened a blockade of people, food, and medicine to the camps.
The threats comes on the heels of the US Army Corps of Engineers warning protesters to leave by December 5th. Anyone remaining stay under fear of prosecution for trespassing. Fines have also thrown into the basket of incentives for the water protectors to surrender.
Establishing a blockade represents yet another ultra-militarized tactic used against peaceful American citizens. Denying nourishment and medical treatment is a classic strategy to degrade will and resolve. Combined with harsh weather conditions, water protectors are faced with a tormentingly deadly roulette.
Millions around the world are again gawking over police brutality against water protectors. Following DAPL’s (Dakota Access Pipeline’s) corporation dishonoring Obama’s requests the to halt construction, a new wave of violence hit the protest camps. However, whereas these acts are obvious, those of contracted intelligence firms remain more insidious.
“Do not believe that your cellphones or your computers are clean and uncompromised”, said journalist Jeremy Scahill. “I guarantee you that they’re using the entire suite of surveillance devices.” Scahill was giving water protectors, and fellow journalists in Standing Rock advice on Democracy Now.
“I know that people have been complaining that their cellphones have been down”, he continued, “their internet has been down. That can be caused by surveillance weaponry targeting their devices.” Scahill describes how phones and computers belonging to water protectors can be used as “geo-tracking devices.”
The struggle at Standing Rock, North Dakota grabbed the world’s attention for a time. It’s a fight which isn’t halting, even though signs of scale-back are beginning to surface. Among the many things Standing Rock’s resistance has reminded us of is Native American heritage, and its place in our country. It’s for these reasons that I’ve played the traditional game of lacrosse recently as a kind of symbolic support. Hoping to reach into the game’s old role as remote spiritual reinforcement, hundreds of miles away.
For those unfamiliar, lacrosse is a sport often compared to field hockey. It’s very different, however, and has been modified over the decades. It’s always required a lacrosse stick, which is a metal pole with a head and net on one end. Many players customize their sticks, and with endless marketed varieties each one is unique. Pads, helmets, and other things were added and evolved respectively as time went on. The original game, however, was bare skinned and gritty.
Widespread outrage over both the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and violent police crackdowns rages on. That outrage is spreading even to police agencies now returning from deployment to the reservation. Two departments have already refused to return, citing personal and public objections. As if that wasn’t enough, an army of sympathizers is re-purposing social media to combat police efforts in Standing Rock.
Minnesota’s Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department is among that group. Lawmakers, according to MPR News, found police activities in Standing Rock “inappropriate”. It’s to the point where they’re considering rewriting legislation to avoid future deployments to incidents like the pipeline resistance.
Police officials, of course, declined to comment on their return from North Dakota or their feelings on what’s happening there. It’s also made the task of rebuilding trust with the community an even loftier uphill battle. “I do not support Sheriff Stanek’s decision to send his deputies to North Dakota”, says LT. Governor Tina Smith, “nor did we approve his decision to begin with. I do not have any control over the Sheriff’s actions, which I think were wrong, and I believe he should bring his deputies home if he hasn’t already.”
Authorities have only amplified an already ultra-militarized presence against water protectors at Standing Rock. Supporters and journalists are targeted, arrested, and charged with various crimes on a daily basis including renowned reporter Amy Goodman. Amy’s charges were recently dropped, but surveillance and abuse continue without halt by the government.
Democracy Now! has been on the forefront of Dakota Access coverage since construction of the pipeline began. The $3.8 billion dollar project has already destroyed sacred Native American lands and threatens water supplies. Although focus on water tainting revolves around native communities, they certainly aren’t the only one’s in danger. Dakota Access also flies in the face of pleas by climate scientists that literally no more oil or gas can be harvested from the earth, if we want to prevent climate catastrophic.
As there are many heartbeats, so are there different opinions, preconceived notions, and prejudices for any group you can think of. As Natives make up for a little less than 2% of the population in the United States, and a little less than 4% in Canada; they have been a target of a large number of stereotypes. Natives have been the targets of questions based on terrible misinformation, such as gathering ideas about Natives from movies and television shows, and believing that information to be factual. Here is a list of some of the major misconceptions being circulated today:
NATIVES ARE PAID MONTHLY CHECKS BY THE GOVERNMENT JUST FOR BEING NATIVE – There is no federal government program or initiative in either the U.S. or Canada that simply gives money to people just for having Native heritage, yet this is a widely popular notion even among the most well-meaning of people. One possible origin of this belief is from the Per Capita payouts that some tribes *do* give to their enrolled members from the profits of casinos that do well, which brings us to:
The US government took a sharp turn down Orwell Avenue after issuing an arrest warrant for renowned journalist of Democracy Now! Amy Goodwin. Democracy Now traveled to North Dakota to cover protests against a massive pipeline project threatening Native American lands. The charges arrive as activists are detained, and concerns of political suppression germinate.
According to Democracy Now!, Goodwin is charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing. Her team traveled to North Dakota to cover the pipeline protests spearheaded by a coalition of Native American tribes. The charges come after Goodwin’s team filmed Dakota Access security guards unleash dogs on peaceful protesters.