By Mike Anderson
22 October 2016
CANNON BALL, N.D. (Rapid City Journal) – A peaceful protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline ended in the arrests of 126 people in North Dakota on Saturday morning amid a chaotic scene in which police in riot gear used pepper spray to break up and subdue a group of 200 to 300 protesters.
It is the highest number of people arrested in a single day in North Dakota during the last several months of protest actions against the oil pipeline, bringing the total number of arrests up to 269.
Though the protesters behaved non-violently and cooperated with the police, North Dakota law enforcement officials described Saturday’s events as a riot. Police have offered conflicting reports alleging that one protester either verbally threatened an officer, or tried to physically grab away a can of pepper spray, resulting in the protester and the officer both being pepper sprayed in the face.
Most, if not all, of those arrested after the 5-hour ordeal on Saturday will be charged with criminal trespass, a misdemeanor, according to Morton County Sheriff spokesperson Rob Keller. Other charges included assault on a peace officer, reckless endangerment, engaging in a riot, resisting arrest, and fleeing an officer on foot.
“It’s an unlawful activity,” Keller said during phone interview on Saturday afternoon. “The bottom line is it’s on private property. It’s posted, ‘No Criminal Trespass’. It’s like you’re invading someone’s home. Consequently, there were arrests that were made.”
The arrests occurred as the protesters were marching through wide-open prairie lands along the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline west of Highway 1806 outside Cannon Ball, N.D. They hoped to get to four fellow protesters who had locked themselves to a piece of construction equipment in the early morning hours at sites where the pipeline, which is planned to be buried beneath the Missouri River, is now under construction.
A police statement said the four were arrested after they were found, “attached to the vehicle; two attached to the outside of the vehicle, one attached to the steering wheel and another whose body was outside the vehicle with his arm fed through a hole in the door and his hand was in a bucket of hardened concrete.”
The call to action went through the main resistance camp around 5:20 a.m. while it was still dark and freezing cold. A man walked through the camp speaking through a megaphone.
“Wake up relatives,” he said. “Wake up water protectors. Wake up land defenders. Time to wake up. Time to send our boys to the universe. Time to send our boys to the rising sun.”
A convoy of vehicles formed in the camp, a prayer was held, and the assembled were instructed to behave peacefully and respectfully if they encountered police.
“I know it’s hard on the front line,” the prayer leader said in the dark. “But do not cuss, do not holler. If you see someone getting out of hand, tell them to calm down.” […]
“It was all peaceful. And then the cops showed up,” said Harmony Restoule, a young Ojibwe woman from Northern Ontario, Canada. “It was really scary when the police kicked into action.” […]
When asked if she felt protected by the police, Harmony Restoule said, “No.” [more]
By Brenda Norrell
23 October 2016
STANDING ROCK, North Dakota (Censored News) – The Morton County Sheriff and police carried out a brutal attack on Native Americans as they gathered for prayer today. Native Americans and supporters defending the water of the Missouri River from the Dakota Access Pipeline were beaten with batons by police, pepper sprayed, and thrown to the ground.
More than 80 water protectors were arrested today during the unprovoked attack by police on peaceful water protectors. The police are defending a private pipeline.
Tipiwizin, a young mother at Standing Rock, called out for help, urging all those who came and camped at Standing Rock to return.
“The police, the military, armored vehicles, assault rifles, they are chasing our people, surrounded our people, chasing them into the river.”
Watching the live stream today, she said, “I started crying, holding my baby daughter, because we come from people who were chased down, hunted down and gunned down by the military and the police. History is repeating itself. All those stories we were raised with, that we carry in our hearts, of our people, fleeing, running, racing, for our lives, just to live. We are the grandchildren and great grandchildren of those who survived the US Government federally mandated massacres on our people.” [more]
By Kit O'Connell
22 October 2016
STANDING ROCK SIOUX RESERVATION, North Dakota (Mint Press News) – As reports of police abuse at Dakota Access Pipeline protests accumulate, a civil liberties NGO warns that activists’ constitutional rights are under attack.
“In Standing Rock, the cops are out of control,” warned Cooper Brinson, staff attorney at Civil Liberties Defense Center, in a report published on Thursday.
Citing reports of humiliation, beatings by police, and unnecessary strip-searches of arrestees, Brinson wrote:
“The actions of police against the land and water protectors at Standing Rock are depraved, abusive, and disgraceful. They are exceedingly disrespectful and radically humiliating to the people who have occupied this land since time immemorial.”
Brinson reported that police have confiscated sacred tribal drums and tools used by Native American journalists.
On Oct. 17, a North Dakota judge dismissed criminal charges against Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, but several journalists still face charges for reporting on Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Four members of the Unicorn Riot media collective are charged with misdemeanors, and three other journalists are facing felony charges, including Emmy-winning documentarian Deia Schlosberg, who could receive a maximum penalty of 45 years behind bars on three felony charges.
Construction on the $3.8 billion pipeline continues, but so do protests along its 143-mile path. Brinson wrote that his organization had counted a total of 150 arrests in North Dakota, but dozens more have occurred in other states. Militarized police, often wearing riot armor, have become commonplace at protests and direct actions.
In one incident on Oct. 17, five Native American anti-pipeline activists, who prefer to be referred to as “water protectors” rather than protesters, were surrounded by dozens of heavily armed police and threatened with arrest for the “crime” of praying by the side of a road.
Arrestees in North Dakota have also reported routine strip-searches, even when they are only charged with misdemeanors. On Tuesday, Goodman interviewed two water protectors who had been strip-searched, Dave Archambault II, tribal chair of the Standing Rock Sioux, and Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle, a pediatrician and member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
Jumping Eagle recalled spending several hours in jail, and noted that her family was unable to find her for some of that time. She compared her treatment to the historic mistreatment of her Native American ancestors:
“It made me feel—you know, it made me think about my ancestors and what had they gone through. And this was in no way a comparison to what we’ve survived before, so just made me feel more determined about what I’m doing and why I’m here.”
“Never did it cross my mind that while trying to protect clean water, trying to ensure a future where our children have access to an element essential for human survival, would I be strip-searched. I was just shocked.”
In an editorial published Thursday by Time magazine, Woodley noted that she doesn’t feel it should take the arrest of a white celebrity to bring attention to the Native Americans’ “ignored” struggle against the pipeline. She wrote:
“I was in North Dakota, standing side by side with Native Americans. You know, those who were here before us. Well, guess what, America? They’re still here. And they are still fighting the good fight. A fight that serves each and every one of us.”
Woodley stressed that the stakes in fighting climate change are nothing less than the survival of the planet and the human species. “Whatever you care about most… none of your efforts or hard-earned opinions will matter when the planet and the people you’re fighting for have nothing left to show for it,” she wrote. [more]
By Richard McCloud
20 October 2016
BELCOURT, N.D. (Grand Forks Herald) – I am writing this to communicate in no uncertain terms my utter contempt and disgust for the actions of certain North Dakota officials taken against David Archambault Jr., the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, including subjection to arrest, booking and strip search in a North Dakota county jail.
As chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band, I have had good relations with the state of North Dakota. I served as an employee of the U.S. Postal Service for an entire career, the last 22 years as postmaster. I served as president of a school board of a state school district. I own several businesses and was named the North Dakota Businessman of the Year in 2008.
Like Gov. Jack Dalrymple in North Dakota or President Barack Obama of the United States, I worked hard and earned the respect of constituents to be elected, and I am honored to serve.
Here's my message to the president, the governor, the sheriff of Morton County, N.D., and the people of North Dakota.
Archambault represents a nation of people as chairman of one of the “states” of the Great Sioux Nation. Throughout his life, he earned an education, worked hard and gained the respect of his people. They voted him into their highest office because he'd earned the respect to be a public servant.
Archambault and his elected position represent the very idea of direct democracy. And what respect does his democracy get from his counterparts in the state of North Dakota?
The pipeline situation should never have come to this, and it would not have come to this if leaders of the federal and state governments had respected the sovereignty and people of the First Nations of this land. [more]