I'm sure the irony of the protests at Standing Rock is not lost on many of us. Standing Rock Sioux are once again fighting for the protection of their lands against a hyper-militarized mercenary force that has sprouted up around the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site. This past Sunday resulted in one of the most traumatic conflicts in the history of this organized protest that began in August.
Here a few videos that should make you sufficiently angry. They are graphic.
As shown in the first two videos, police, in freezing weather, unleashed blasts from a water cannon onto activists attempting to remove a barrier that blocked access to the construction site. In addition, police also lobbed flash grenades and tear gas into the crowd of protestors in the hopes of dispersing them.
This is only the most recent tense standoff between protestors and police though. The last few months have been checkered with various incidents of brutal arrests, scare tactics, and injury. Despite all of this, Standing Rock Sioux have since been joined by numerous tribes as well as thousands of other activists and veterans since the protests began, and there are no signs of it ending anytime soon.
It is interesting though that this dogged fight over the pipeline has grown to encompass a number of other issues. What started out as a fight over clean drinking water and preservation of lands has grown into a fight over climate change, mistrust of the government, America's addiction to oil, the militarization of corporations, and police brutality. The symbolic nature of this fight cannot be understated, especially in the wake of a president-elect who seems to fall opposite the protestors on so many of these issues.
As the Water Protectors (the protestor's preferred name) and the construction workers gear up for the winter, I think the defining issue above all else will be where the role of protesting falls in a Trump presidency. It'll be interesting to find out. Successful protesting has always been about sending a message, a message that can't be ignored. It's never been about a display of power. It's always been a reaction to power unchecked.
So what can you do if you aren't able to hunker down in the hills of North Dakota?
Here is a link to their Amazon Wish List. Their address is already set within Amazon.
Here is a link to their website with more information about supporting the protests.
Here is a link to their GoFundMe.
In the end, a personal touch always seems to work best though. Who wants to go on a road trip to North Dakota?