Published September 11, 2016
On Friday, September 2, 2016, attorneys representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed court documents identified a stretch of land on the Dakota Access pipeline constuction site near the confluence of the Missouri and Cannon Ball rivers as home of the tribal sacred sites.
The next day, the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the Dakota Access pipeline, had a construction crew leapfrog 10 miles from where they worked the day before to bulldoze the strech of land identified in the court documents. The area, about 150 wide and two miles long, contained ancient burial sites, places of prayer and other significant cultural artifacts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Since it was Labor Day weekend, some 4,000 American Indians and allies were at the Standing Rock encampment on that Saturday. When word spread around the encampment that the sacred sites were being destroyed, a group of land protectors–about 300 men, women and children–went to the area to plead with the construction workers to stop the desecration of the ancetral burial sites. The land protectors were greeted by some private security employees who peppered sprayed and unleashed pit bull and German Shepherd attack dogs on the land protetors.
Exercising the freedom of the press, which is valued in the United States of America, Amy Goodman, the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, was there to document the historic event — a disgusting immoral act of the desecration of the sacred sites and the outrageous unleashing of the attack dogs on the land protectors.
On Saturday, September 10, Democracy Now! announced Goodman now face a criminal trespassing charge in Morton County, North Dakota.
“This is an unacceptable violation of freedom of the press,” said Goodman in a statement. “I was doing my job by covering pipeline guards unleashing dogs and pepper spray on Native American protesters.”
Goodman is an award-winning journalist. She simply was there to do her job as a journalist.
On the night of the bulldozing of the sacred burial sites and unleashing of the attack dogs, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II lamented: “This demolition is devastating. These grounds are the resting places of our ancestors. The ancient cairns and stone prayer rings there cannot be replaced. In one day, our sacred land has been turned into hollow ground.”
It is quite apparent the law officials and county prosecutor in Morton County have a 1960s Mississippi mentality that protects evil over good. Using attack dogs and arrests were tactics used by racist Mississippi law officials.
In radio interviews I gave this past week I wondered out loud what would happen to me if I bulldozed a local cemetery in the community where I live. I did not have to wonder long; I know that if I mounted a bulldozer and excavated a cemetery, I would be arrested and would be demonized in the local media as a monster.
I considet the oil company executives as monsters for ordering the destruction of American Indian graves.
It is also quite apparent the wrong person is being criminally charged in Morton County. Law enforcement in North Dakota have their investigation completey in the wrong direction.
The oil company executives are the ones who should be criminally charged, not Amy Goodman.