Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 23, 2016

Repression and Media Manipulation at Standing Rock Camp

Federal and state agents repress, and media manipulates facts, endangering Native Americans at Standing Rock camp

By Brenda Norrell

Censored News

CANNON BALL, North Dakota -- Thousands of Native Americans gathered to protect the Missouri River from the Dakota Access Pipeline now face aggressive state repression and media manipulation. Outrageous claims by the State of North Dakota and police, and media manipulation, is now endangering those camped at Standing Rock with the Dakotas and Lakotas.
Native Americans at Sacred Stones Camp said that Governor Jack Dalrymple declared a State of Emergency in order to make additional state resources available to “manage public safety risks associated with the protest," Native Americans said in a group statement.
Dalrymple has complained of “outside agitators” responsible for “hundreds of criminal acts,” and called on federal officials to help.
However, LaDonna Allard, director of the Camp of the Sacred Stones, says, “The gathering here remains 100 percent peaceful and ceremonial, as it has from day one. We are standing together in prayer. No firearms or weapons are allowed."
"Why is a gathering of Indians so inherently threatening and frightening to some people?” Allard said.
Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier last week announced outrageous, unsubstantiated claims of “pipe bombs” and gun violence at the protest site. Sheriff Kyle’s unsubstantiated claims has led people to fear for their safety.
The ACLU of North Dakota states that the current roadblock south of Mandan, North Dakota, is a violation of free speech and violates rights.
The ACLU said, "Peaceful protest is at the core of the First Amendment and restrictions to such activity, such as the closing of highways with the effect of preventing assembly or effective messaging of protesters, should be viewed skeptically. Law enforcement agents have a duty to ensure that the rights of protesters are protected, not just the rights of corporations."
The unsubstantiated claims include allegations of “laser strikes” at planes overhead.
However, Native Americans continue their defense of the Missouri River in ceremony and prayer.
“We, the Indigenous defenders of the land and water within the traditional treaty lands of the Oceti Sakowin, make an urgent appeal to the international community to assist us in facing a human rights crisis. Dakota Access is trying to put a crude oil pipeline under the Missouri River. This is a dire threat to the drinking water and future generations of the Oceti Sakowin who have lived here for generations,” Native Americans said in the group statement.
With an urgent call for help, the legal team in the Standing Rock camp has issued a call for international observers to be present.
“For the past few days there has been unidentified aircraft circling the camp and we've been surrounded by federal and state police. We believe the elders, women and children present at this peaceful assembly could be under threat and in danger of imminent harm and possible violence from state and federal police (including Homeland Security) as well as private security. The Governor of North Dakota has issued a state of emergency and closed roads and restricted freedom of movement. We are unarmed.  We do not have cell phone service or wifi.  We are unable to communicate and document for the world community this peaceful assembly.”
“We are committed to peaceful defense of our water and our territory.
“We urgently seek national and international human rights observers to come.  We need United Nations' rapporteurs, NGOs (especially Indigenous NGOs), and Churches, to be aware of the rapidly escalating dangers facing this peaceful gathering. Please come and bear witness.”
From their teepees, Oyate at Red Warrior Camp of Owe Aku International Justice Project point out that Dakota Access Pipeline is violating the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which states Indigenous Peoples are to give "free, prior and informed consent" before destructive development enters their territories.
A campaign of divestment, boycott and sanctions is underway of those investing in the Dakota Access Pipeline, including Enbridge of Calgary, Alberta, Marathon and Phillips 66.

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