For the past several months, news reports have been full of stories about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). All of us have seen the protestors gathering, the atrocities committed by the police, National Guard and a security firm on those same protestors, and even a few familiar faces among the protestors.
Despite a recent request by the Army Corps of Engineers for a stop on building the pipeline while they investigate claims on the environment, and in particular on Reservation land, this issues seems far from over. With this issue still making headlines, I felt like it was high time I went back and reviewed what has happened so far. Having the story condensed into a series of posts may spur on more people to keep up the fight for clean water, and open a few more eyes to what these protestors have endured already in a country we are constantly touting as “free” for all citizens.
In a time where the recent election of Trump has brought a lot of hidden racism and bigotry to the forefront, we need to support these Standing Rock Sioux more than ever. Our past is laden with atrocities toward people of any color (including, but by no means limited to, Native Americans). It’s time to put an end to that. Hopefully, Standing Rock will become a defining moment in our history, a point where we can look back and realize this was one of those moments where we as US citizens all stood together for something important. If enough of us join together for this cause, maybe our future can be something we can all look forward to, rather than just more of a past we are ashamed of.
Actress Shailene Woodley is Arrested and Strip-Searched
On October 20th, actress and activist Shailene Woodley (Divergent) was arrested during a live stream while protesting at Standing Rock. During a peaceful protest which included praying, chanting and singing, she was arrested in front of her mother, near a tank. Charged with criminal trespassing and being involved in a riot, she was taken to jail and, in front of a guard, was strip-searched and then redressed in an orange jumpsuit.
Check out the video below for more on Shailene’s arrest.
“Cruel and Inhumane” Treatment
In a recent article on The Guardian, many of the Natives – especially the women – have been complaining about the “cruel and inhumane” treatment they received after being arrested. This included having numbers written on their arms to track them, temporarily detained them in what one of the protestors called “dog kennels”, postponing medical treatment, and again, police conducting invasive body searches for misdemeanor crimes.
According to an article on DeSmog, In the article, Rachel Lederman, a spokesperson for the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), stated ““We have seen many civil rights violations including but not limited to illegal mass arrests of persons, including journalists, who were attempting to comply with police orders; women strip-searched and forced to remain naked in front of male guards; and blatant surveillance and jamming of cell communications.”
While those aren’t mentioned in the video, the fact that anyone is being strip-searched after being arrested for such misdemeanors is ridiculous, and just goes to show how unbelievable the response is from local law enforcement to these protests. And that seems like it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the inhumane treatment these protestors are being subjected to.
Thankfully, they have caught the attention of the United Nations, a branch of which is now investigating the claims, as is international human rights watchdog Amnesty International, states website Common Dreams.
Part of #NODAPL yet? Stick around for Part III.