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Standing Rock Peace Offering: Guards Turn Down Olive Branch from Native Protestors

Matt Howard, Co-director of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IRAW), Skype calls into Salon. He apologizes about the clanking dishes and Christmas music in the background. He says he had to go to a diner in Mandan, ND to pick up wifi. Howard was in Mandan, ND this weekend with thousands of fellow veterans to support the water protectors standing peacefully against the Morton County Sheriff’s department and its assigns, who are keeping protestors from accessing a controversial easement site at the Missouri river. There, Energy Transfer Partners is attempting to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline, a controversial ongoing effort that pits Native Americans and their supporters against big energy.   On Friday, members of the camp, with an assist by IRAW attempted a peaceful handoff of supplies to Morton County Sheriff’s Department workers who had put out a request for prayers and goods to combat the bitter cold in North Dakota at the Dakota Access Pipeline standoff site.  The offer of goodwill was refused, says Howard. “The water protectors and heads of the Oceti Sakowin camp at Standing Rock wanted to show that even though they are being oppressed, they still want to help the guards.”
In November, IRAW wrote a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, who have the authority to grant permission for Energy Transfer Partners to continue their build, asking them to honor Native American treaty rights, sovereignty, and provide fair treatment of indigenous people protecting their water source. They wrote, “We call upon the USACE to uphold American democracy by denying permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline. We must respect the laws that protect the land of first nation peoples particularly with regards to how many treaties have been broken against them. We support your decision to honor the sovereignty of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and evaluate the pipeline by considering both its environmental impact and the role of the U.S. military in the dispossessions of Indigenous lands throughout American history.”

Howard said on Friday that after the considerable snowfall of last week, planes and helicopters that had been flying over the camps “non-stop” had been grounded, a kind of calm had settled in, and press and supplies were being allowed on the highway from Bismarck, ND.  However, Charlie May, a Salon video intern currently at Standing Rock, reported on Saturday that police had actually closed Highway 1806, the main road to Cannon Ball, in order to keep supporters of Standing Rock out.
Alli Joseph

Alli Joseph is a writer/producer and family historian; a Native New Yorker, she is a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation.

Alli Joseph.

Source: Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture > Politics

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