Published September 5, 2016
EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA – In response to Saturday’s peaceful protest that turned violent when security workers for DAPL unleashed pepper spray and vicious attack dogs on a crowd of water defenders. I demand answers from North Dakota’s governor and law enforcement. The State of North Dakota is quick to erect military barricades and try to portray us as savages when our water defenders merely park their cars along the side of road, but where were all the police when dozens of innocent and peaceful Tribal members, including many from my tribe, were intentionally shot with pepper spray and ravaged by vicious dogs at the hands of DAPL’s mercenaries?
On Saturday afternoon DAPL’s private security guards initiated force against a crowd of mostly tribal members who were protesting in a non-confrontational manner to stop the ongoing stripping of land, including areas of land where documented sacred sites have been discovered. DAPL used dogs and pepper spray to attack innocent, unarmed women and children, while helicopters were threatening overhead. They will stop at nothing. They do not know the meaning of humanity.
According to many witnesses at the scene, neither state nor county law enforcement officials were at the construction site during the incident. It is extremely suspicious to me that law enforcement became scarce at the exact time when DAPL’s hired guns were planning to attack the water defenders. A press release recently issued by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department insinuates that the peaceful protesters were the provokers of the incident because several individuals allegedly cut a fence and entered the work site. State and local law enforcement officials keep telling the media, without proof, that the protesters are committing unlawful acts. In my opinion unleashing vicious attack dogs on women and children, and spraying dozens of unarmed people simply because they are exercising their constitutional right to assemble, is unlawful.
I am calling on all members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to avoid traveling to or doing business in the Mandan-Bismarck area until this crisis is resolved. I fear for my people’s safety. Today’s act of terrorism shows us how desperate DAPL and the State of North Dakota government are to keep things at a status quo. I am concerned about the escalating violence against Natives in that area.
When will Governor Dalrymple step up and meet with Tribal leadership in an open, good faith effort to resolve this conflict? The key to settling this situation is in the hands of North Dakota leadership. I requested a meeting with Governor Dalrymple last week, but as of today has received no response.
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