Published September 20, 2016
EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA – On September 29, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier sent a letter to United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch requesting Federal monitors in North Dakota and asking her to condemn of the aggressive actions against the water protectors at Standing Rock by privately sanctioned personnel and law enforcement.
“We are a peaceful people who have fought and died for the right to pray and be present in the protection of our lands. Yesterday, people who were gathered in peaceful prayer near the construction site near St. Anthony to protect Unci Maka – our Grandmother earth – were subject to arrest by the Morton County Sheriff’s office. Officers called to the prayer circle arrived in armored vehicles, armed with guns and terrorized elders, women, and children as they attempted to comply with law enforcement. In 1890, the United States gunned down hundreds of unarmed Lakota people in what is remembered as the Battle of Wounded Knee. I am fearful that if North Dakota law enforcement does not deescalate their tactics that we will be forced to witness a repetition of that massacre. We strongly urge the state of North Dakota to reconsider any efforts to use violence to discourage native protectors of water from actively exercising their First Amendment rights,” said Chairman Frazier.
Concern is growing among protestors since the September 3rd attack on anti-pipeline activists by private security forces that included the use of attack dogs and pepper spray, where six people were bitten and 12 maced. Activists have been organizing nonviolent actions to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which crosses treaty-protected Native lands and which they fear will contaminate the drinking water of multiple reservations. The Chairman is a vocal opponent of the Dakota Access Pipeline Project, citing recent history in Flint, Michigan as an example of what can happen when government fails to protect the water of its citizens.
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This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.