As the winter months are upon us, support of the water protectors protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock is as important and urgent as ever. Sunday night saw a horrifying and violent police oppression of the activists who were trying to remove burnt out police vehicles that were impeding traffic and potential emergency vehicles on a bridge on highway 1806. The Morton County police used rubber bullets, concussion grenades and tear gas on peaceful activists, and shot water cannons into the crowd during subfreezing temperatures, and used lies to “justify” their actions. According to reports from the camp, over 160 people, including at least one child, were injured in the attack; among those severly injured were many people hospitalized for hypothermia, a few people who had seizures or heart attacks, a man whose skull cracked from a rubbet bullet and one woman who faces potential arm amputation due to injuries sustained from a concussion grenade. Though this pipeline was a violent and indefensible affront from its inception, the recent silence and neglect on the part of the Obama Administration (who could easily stop the pipeline’s construction) and violence on the part of police forces are reprehensible.
Lifted by activists before me and the unrelenting work and bravery of the water protectors, today I will be going out to North Dakota with my handsome and brilliant partner in crime, Michael De Anda Muñiz (who some of you may know from 96 Acres Project and his amazing work teaching in universities around the city), who was nice enough to let me come along. I am fortunate to have people in my circles who are proactive in their support and inspire me to do more, as evidenced by the organization and attendance of a large, beautiful fundraiser at the National Museum of Mexican Art on Saturday, and the fact that at least two caravans are going to North Dakota this week, from the Pilsen/Little Village areas alone.
Vocalo 91.1 FM radio, which has been covering the actions of the #NoDAPL moevement, caught wind of our plans to head to Standing Rock this week, and I did a short piece with them this morning to talk about it:
In preparation for our own trip, we also did a small fundraiser and were able to raise money for necessary winter gear and food to donate at Standing Rock. As our car is already pretty full, we are no longer taking donations after today, but I highly encourage those who have extra funds to donate to do so directly to funds like these: Standing Rock Medic and Healing Council; Stand with Standing Rock (Oceti Sakowin Camp); and Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund. And for those who can’t donate, there are many other ways to help out!
All this being said, I will not be direclty ‘covering’ Standing Rock on behalf of Gozamos this week, in order to respect the rules at the Oceti Sakowin Camp that permits media passes only to indigenous folks; furthermore, my main intentions for this trip are to bring supplies and help out where I am needed. Gozamos, however, is very invested in disseminating information about the #NoDAPL movement and I will continue working in that vein. I do encourage our readers to stay informed about the occurrences at Standing Rock, the larger movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline and other interrelated struggles happening across the country; in practice, this means avoiding mainstream media outlets that value profit and upholding power than the truth. Besides Gozamos, here are a few suggestions for independent outlets and people covering the #NoDAPL struggle:
Indigenous Rising Media — Indigenous Environmental Network — Dallas Goldtooth — Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council — Indian Country Today Media Network — Unicorn Riot — The Nation — Standing Rock Sioux Tribe — Oceti Sakowin Camp
Water is life! Mni Wiconi!