Yesterday, tensions between law enforcement workers and peaceful protestors with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe escalated. A series of standoffs resulted in “protectors” being maced, shot with rubber bullets, tasered, and even attacked with sound and concussion cannons. Ultimately, 117 people were arrested in the plight to stop the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from being constructed.
After months of similar struggle to protect sacred burial grounds and the Missouri river, opposers of the DAPL were blessed today when a herd of buffalo appeared from nowhere. While mass arrests, macing, and beatings from batons took place, a stampede of bison appeared near the Standing Rock protest camp. Reportedly, a cry of joy erupted from the crowd, as protectors have been praying for help from the American bison (known as Tatanka Oyate) during their standoff with riot police and national guardsmen.
As UsUncut relays, the Native American culture honors the Tatanka Oyate as a symbol of sacrifice. Its appearance is reportedly being hailed as a gift from the Great Spirit.
Despite impressive attention being given to the protesting of the Dakota Access Pipeline by alternative media sites, activists on the frontlines, and even celebrities such as Mark Ruffalo and Shailene Woodley, little is being done in Washington D.C. The tribal leaders are calling on state and federal governments to respect the constitutional rights of water protectors and to stop the mistreatment of the indigenous who assert their ownership of the land due to a 1881 treaty.
In a statement, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe David Archambault II wrote:
“We call on the state of North Dakota to oversee the actions of local law enforcement to, first and foremost, ensure everyone’s safety. The Department of Justice must send overseers immediately to ensure the protection of First Amendment rights and the safety of thousands here at Standing Rock. DOJ can no longer ignore our requests.”
“We have repeatedly seen a disproportionate response from law enforcement to water protectors’ nonviolent exercise of their constitutional rights. Today we have witnessed people praying in peace, yet attacked with pepper spray, rubber bullets, sound and concussion cannons. We urge state and federal government agencies to give this tense situation their immediate and close attention.
We also call on the thousands of water protectors who stand in solidarity with us against DAPL to remain in peace and prayer. Any act of violence hurts our cause and is not welcome here. We invite all supporters to join us in prayer that, ultimately, the right decision—the moral decision—is made to protect our people, our sacred places, our land and our resources. We won’t step down from this fight. As peoples of this earth, we all need water. This is about our water, our rights, and our dignity as human beings.”
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