Full disclosure. I am a native South Dakotan who spent many years working on the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and Lower Brule Sioux Tribe reservations. My sympathies lie squarely with the indigenous people, trying to protect burial sites and other sacred areas. I firmly support their right to a peaceful, prayerful protest of the pipeline scheduled to cross their historic lands.
Many people weren’t aware that this protest has been going on since April. And that the tribe has been in court attempting to get an injunction against the construction. They are following all the proper legal steps. Last Friday their attorneys presented documentation to the Federal Court proving that the lands in question are indeed archaeological and religious significant sites. The court was scheduled to rule on their filing this week.
Instead of waiting for the ruling, the construction company, Dakota Access Pipeline Company, waited for the holiday weekend, and moved bulldozers into the area and plowed up the ground which is currently under contention. The protesters were rightly enraged. They were playing fair, the company was not.
The renowned Sioux leader Black Elk made a prediction in the late 1800’s, stating that the 7th generation Sioux (which would be now) would unite the Native American nations to save the Earth. Another legend speaks of the zuzeca snake, a black snake, which would threaten and destroy the world. Many of the protesters believe this pipeline, which could threaten the existing water systems, is that black snake. The tribes are indeed uniting, the 7th generation has come, and the leaders of this protest believe the very earth, and the water we depend on, is threatened.
A call went out to Native Americans across the country: please join us, and help us save our lands and water. The numbers at the encampment began to swell. More than 100 NA nations are now represented at Standing Rock.
I need to state again that this is a peaceful protest. That the entire campsite was founded after a prayer walk. These people are standing up for their beliefs, in a non-violent way. What happened Saturday brings me back to visions of the police in Selma, during the Civil Rights era.
Saturday morning the protesters became aware that the land had already been torn up. Land where many of their relatives are buried. They knocked down the construction fence and yelled at the bulldozer operators. They did not fling rocks, they did not fire guns, they did not threaten violence.
Suddenly pick-up trucks with Ohio license plates began pulling on to the site. Private security guards with snarling dogs descended on the assembled men, women and children. These dogs were not the properly trained security dogs you see with police officers….they were, as Jonni Joyce, a canine security dog trainer with 25 years of training experience stated,”alligators on leashes”. http://www.democracynow.org/2016/9/6/canine_expert_decries_egregious_horrific_dog
The dogs were lunging, barking and actively trying to bite people. You can watch the video of the altercation here: www.democracynow.org/2016/9/4/dakota_access_pipeline_company_attacks_native
It was mayhem. People were screaming as they were pepper sprayed and bitten by the dogs. One of the dogs broke away and repeatedly attacked a horse being ridden by a protester. According to news sources, at least 6 people were bitten, including a pregnant woman and a young child, who had to be hospitalized for her injuries.
Watching the video was difficult for me. I love dogs, and to see them being so misused was horrifying. You could tell the handlers had no control whatsoever, and that the dogs’ training, other than to make them vicious, was non-existent.
According to news articles, the dogs were “trained” by Frost Kennels. Please feel free to leave a message on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/frostkennels/ The owner of the kennels is accusing the protesters of throwing rocks and hitting the dogs with sticks. Well duh…if you are being attacked by a vicious dog, you are going to take steps to defend yourself.
Probably the most disgusting display was by a young woman named Ashley Nicole Welch. This woman sent her dog into a group of protesters who were just standing there. Gave her dog the full length of the leash and urged him to attack. And when the dog tried to retreat, she hauled off an hit him, hard enough to move him sideways. When you watch the video you can see that she urges the dog forward again and again. In this photo, you can actually see blood dripping from the dog’s muzzle after he attacked one of the by-standers.
This woman’s actions were assault towards the humans, and cruelty towards the dog. She needs to be arrested and charged for an unbelievable display of cruelty. According to one report, the dog actually turned on her and bit her at one point.
This poster is currently being circulated:
You may or may not care about pipelines, or indigenous people, or protesters. But I know most of my readers are dog people. You certainly should care about this gross misuse of dogs….Dogs who will probably end up euthanized for their part in this horrific event.
UPDATE: The Federal Court has granted the tribe their restraining order for at least part of the land. And the Army Corps of Engineers is in full support: http://www.indianz.com/News/2016/09/05/army-corps-backs-restraining-order-again.asp