#NoDAPL: Prayer Ceremony Met With Violent Law-Enforcement Response

As President Obama says he will let the situation “play out for several more weeks,” protesters face a violent response from law enforcement in North Dakota.

Law enforcement responds to protesters standing in the Cannonball River in North Dakota. Sacred Stone Camp via Facebook

Less than a week after militarized police raided a #NoDAPL resistance camp and arrested 141 water protectors, the Morton County, N.D., Sheriff’s Department and supporting law-enforcement agencies responded to protesters conducting a ceremony on a sacred site along Cantapeta Creek near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Wednesday morning.

Independent news site Unicorn Riot reports that a group of water protectors wanted to establish a prayer camp on a sacred hill near Cantapeta Creek and built a wooden footbridge to assist those attempting to cross the Cannonball River, which is along the Dakota Access Pipeline route.

SWAT officers in a boat tore the footbridge down, and law enforcement fired nonlethal projectiles at people attempting to cross the water. Several people reported being shot in the back by the projectiles at point-blank range, including a journalist.

People who remained standing in the water had pepper spray, OC (or oleoresin capsicum) gas and a concussion grenade used on them by Morton County sheriffs, North Dakota Highway Patrol and unidentified out-of-state law-enforcement personnel, according to Unicorn Riot.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department issued a press release (pdf) Wednesday that stated it was acting at the request of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to “assist them in removing any trespassers who enter Corps land to the north of the main camp area.”

“Law enforcement responded to the shoreline on the north side of the creek,” the statement said. “Officers ordered protesters to remove themselves from the bridge and notified them that if they crossed the bridge they would be arrested for trespassing. This order was repeated several times.”

According to the Morton County sheriff, one individual was arrested for “aiding in illegal activity by purchasing canoes and kayaks to be used for crossing the waterway.” That person was arrested for conspiracy to commit obstruction of a government function.

This confrontation between law enforcement and water protectors happened less than 24 hours after President Barack Obama said that the Army Corps was considering rerouting the pipeline. As previously reported on The Root, the president said that his administration was going to let the situation at Standing Rock play out for several more weeks before taking any further action.

Unfortunately, it would appear that the time for action is now. The indigenous people in this country have suffered enough, and they need our government to act responsibly where this matter is concerned. In the meantime, if you are looking for ways to support and show solidarity for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the #NoDAPL water protectors, the following is a list of ways that you can do so:

  1. Continue to check in to Standing Rock Indian reservation on Facebook. This helps raise awareness of the pipeline protests, and it amplifies the voices of those on the ground who are on the front lines of this battle.
  2. Donate to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. The tribe is soliciting donations that will be used for legal, sanitary and emergency purposes. You can donate directly to its PayPal account or send a check (made payable to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe—Donations) to Standing Rock Tribe, Attention: Donations, P.O. Box D, Building No. 1, North Standing Rock Avenue, Fort Yates, ND 58538
  3. Donate to the Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund. A legal fund has been set up to help those who are on the front lines and may be arrested while fighting against the pipeline. You can also donate to the fund through PayPal by using the email address freshetcollective@gmail.com.
  4. Donate money and supplies to the Sacred Stone Camp. You can contribute money to the camp’s official GoFundMe account or purchase needed supplies directly from its Amazon Wishlist. Visit the camp’s needed supply list for more information.
  5. Sign the petition asking the White House to stop construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline. It just takes a few seconds to add your name here.
  6. Call North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple; he can be reached at 701-328-2200.
  7. Call the Army Corps of Engineers. Demand that it reverse the permit that is allowing the pipeline to be built: 202-761-5903.
  8. Contact the executives at Energy Transfer Partners, the company that is building the pipeline:
    • Lee Hanse, executive vice president, 210-403-6455
    • Glenn Emery, vice President, 210-403-6762
    • Michael “Cliff” Waters, analyst, 713-989-2404

Read more at Unicorn Riot.

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