In September, Deb Konechne and S. Gutierrez conducted a number of interviews with opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Travis LaRouche is from the Lower Brule reservation in South Dakota. Travis also was active in opposing the Keystone XL pipeline. Travis was one of the Riders on the first day of breaking through the police lines and challenging the Dakota Access Pipe Line machines and retold his experience.
“I was out there, everybody was praying, keeping peaceful. They brought those barriers in, told everybody move back , let them bring these barriers in because we keep tearing that fence down. For me it was like, why we giving up more ground? Why we letting them do that?
“You know what, I said, I mean prayer’s good, but in situations like this, I said prayer ain’t enough. I said they don’t understand prayer. I kinda got disgusted with it and I went back to camp here; we was the only ones here at the time. Brule camp, first ones to set up a teepee. Came back and my nephew showed up. And he got his horses and got all regalia’ed up. Come on get on, he said.
“We got up there, and kinda riding around, and they called us over to the ditch. Elders pulled us down in the ditch, they asked us if we’d do something for them; explained what they wanted done. And that’s how we greet the enemy. He explained how to greet the enemy and push them back. You guys don’t have to do it, they said, it’s dangerous, you know. Everybody was committed. I was all committed because I wanted action. So I said, I didn’t come up here to watch construction being done, I said. I’m all about prayer, but I said we need to do something, I ain’t gonna stand here and watch them. Anyway, when the elders approached us to do that and explained the ceremony and everything, we all agreed, they prayed with us and they told us that you do it in a good way, a good heart. They explained all that and we acknowledged it, they said they was gonna sing us in, and the rest is history. I had goose bumps doing it.”
Fight Back!: Describe how you moved the police back?
Travis LaRouche: “Just charging them, coming in, charging them, if you see some of those videos that’s what they was doing, and held them at bay. I was kinda surprised, we didn’t know the other people were gonna jump the fence, but it was just like a domino effect, cause and reaction, gave the people hope; that’s what it was after and that was what I was after too.
“So being a part of that was a great honor, you know, because we did it for the people. And within that action, we, we’re here today. We pushed them back, we caused the construction to stop, to cease. We got that ground back. And it was [because] of action. Yeah I just had goose bumps doing it, and I turned around and seen everybody jumping fence and running after those dozers was pretty cool. Being a warrior that’s kinda what you do – things you do for your people.
“Being part of AIM, that’s who we are, we fight for the people, I’ve always had that mentality whenever, wherever.
“I was pretty exhilarated, we got done and then they called us in the circle and the guy explained to the crowd what was just done what the elders asked us to do, how to acknowledge, greet the enemy, so he explained all that. Everybody shook your hands and seen a post, we were in New York Times, front page. The pitch [to the states] was it created more jobs in their state with $5, $10 million, if they let this go through it’d help the economy. But if you think about it, if Keystone would’ve went through, and went all the way down to Texas, these little, drops in the bucket here, each state, ten, whatever million they’re giving these states to do this, or these landowners, shit, that’s just a drop in the bucket, Koch Brothers, Canada will get trillions of dollars to get that oil where they wanna get it, so this little $10 million ain’t nothing to them.
I was just glad I did that action.”