The final days of Oceti Sakowin in North Dakota in February 2017. The camp hosted tens of thousands of people who oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline. Photo: Rob Wilson / Resistance Photography [GoFundMe]
The evolution of a peaceful protest
Witnesses saw good and troublesome behavior
By Avis Little Eagle and Georgianne Nienaber
For the Native Sun News Today
Part 1: Native
Sun News Today: Tracking millions raised for Standing Rock
STANDING ROCK –– A society of thousands that had its genesis in a prayer camp in the summer of 2016 at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers has evolved into something that is almost unrecognizable from those languid summer days.
The rhythmic notes of Junior Cuero’s bird songs summoning unity and respect were lost in the roar of Dakota Access bulldozers and sonic blasts from long-range acoustic devices combined with the whoosh of tear gas canisters.
Media narratives have been mixed. Those of us who were there witnessed much good and also some very troublesome behavior.
Elliott Rhoades is a member of the Standing Rock Tribe and is a regular columnist with Teton Times. Rhoades is a former Vice Chairman for the tribe, a former tribal councilman, and he is the former Tribal Veterans Service Officer. Here is a portion of a narrative he wrote for the paper.
“I went out to those camps as they were being formed, Red Warrior camp consisted of people who were intent on creating trouble and problems from the start. They intended to disrupt everything and everybody, thus creating problems then decided to leave.
The over flow camp consisted of everyone else who thought they should be a part of this protest, but had no idea of why? Hundreds of people were soon descending on Standing Rock with the intent of taking part in a peaceful, prayerful, non-violent protest to try and stop this pipeline from being completed. Thus putting an end to the route. This was the intent. But as you read, this did not happen…
There is plenty of fault and blame to go around on both sides. Hundreds of protesters were arrested, jailed and are bound for court off the reservation. Personally, all that was accomplished by getting arrested is that the protesters now will have a jail record, pay a fine and the protest will continue. They did not stop the pipeline in any manner. Court action later, delayed the pipeline easement, but the fight continues in the courts.”
Those summer and early autumn days of people living together in an organized community with shared traditions and values are gone. The heavy presence of Big Green Environmental groups as well as opportunistic wolves who prowl cyberspace in search of the gullible and guilty have crushed the birds sent by the Creator. Creator offered the birds to teach the People how to sing and dance and treat each other with empathy and not indifference.
The sun no longer bathes campsites in warm light while people gather together to pray. Instead, a grandmother is found zip-tied to a chair in a tipi, diaperless and surrounded by her own urine and feces. (Source: Bismarck Tribune) Meanwhile a middle-aged man freezes to death behind a building and women die for lack of propane, while Indian women in Pendleton jackets party at Hollywood fundraisers and are interviewed on national television.
Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun
News Today website:
The evolution of a peaceful protest
(Standing Rock Tribal Member Avis Little Eagle, has served as Councilwoman, Vice Chairwoman and Councilwoman-at-large for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
She is a 1987 graduate of Sitting Bull College and attended Black Hills State University where she majored in Mass Communications with a minor in Native Studies.
She began her career as a journalist in 1990, working at original The Lakota Times Newspaper for Lakota newspaper publisher Tim Giago. She eventually worked her way from newspaper reporter to managing editor at the newspaper and when the paper changed its name to Indian Country Today she was appointed editor. She resides in McLaughlin, S.D., where she also is the publisher of the Teton Times, a newspaper covering the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Reservations.
Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative and political writer)
Copyright permission Native Sun News