Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

January 19, 2023

Today is Joye Braun Day, Jan. 20, 2023


Joye Braun Day Jan. 20, 2023

In honor of movement leader my mother Joye Braun we will be gathering across Turtle Island to demand Biden “Be a climate warrior not a wimp. Kill the black snakes, reject all fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency."
The time is now – join us! -- Morgan Brings Plenty

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Nearly nine years ago, Lakota Joye Braun halted a mega load on her homeland, the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation in South Dakota. "You see I believe you have to be the change you want, and the day before I just got done talking about being more direct in our actions," Joye said.

Today, we celebrate Joye Braun Day. We remember Joye, journalist, and winner of the Bold Activism Award, when she first set up a tipi at Standing Rock during the first days of the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. 

We remember Joye in her own words.

Journey well my friend.

Standing Rock, in the beginning

Before the camp at Standing Rock, there was Pte Ospiye Spiritual Camp at Bridger, South Dakota, resisting TransCanada's KXL pipeline here in the spring of 2014. The tarsands KXL pipeline was ultimately defeated.

"Your communities are on the front lines of this TransCanada attack. They made this line in the sand. We didn’t. We are only responding to what TransCanada is trying to do to our people," Joye said in May of 2014.

"They are the ones that want to bring the man camps near us and put our women and children in jeopardy. These men in these man camps use Facebook to look for young girls as young as 12 years old!"

"You young men especially please step up and come out and help! There were two young men from Red Scaffold last night that came out to Afraid of Hawks. I was so impressed with them. These are the kinds of warriors we need to step it up! So happy when I get to meet our people like this! just makes me glad to be LAKOTA."

Two years later, with the new threat of the Dakota Access Pipeline poisoning the water of the Missouri River, Joye shared these words with us. It was March of 2016.

"On April 1st, 2016, tribal citizens of the Standing Rock Lakota Nation and ally Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota citizens, under the group name "Chante tin'sa kinanzi Po" will have a Horse Ride to celebrate the founding of a Spirit Camp that will be erected along the proposed route of the Bakken oil pipeline, Dakota Access."

"This camp will be called Iŋyaŋ Wakȟáŋaǧapi Othí, translated as Sacred Rock, the original name of the Cannonball area. The Spirit Camp is dedicated to stopping and raising awareness of the Dakota Access pipeline, the dangers associated with pipeline spills and the necessity to protect the water resources of the Missouri River."

The first tipis

With the announcement of the Spirit Camp at Standing Rock in March of 2016, Joye said, "The dangers imposed by the greed of big oil on the people who live along the Missouri river is astounding."

"When this proposed pipeline breaks, as the vast majority of pipelines do, over half of the drinking water in South Dakota will be affected."

"How can rubber-stamping this project be good for the people, agriculture, and livestock? It must be stopped. The people of the four bands of Cheyenne River stand with you sister nation in this fight as we are calling on all the Oceti Sakowin or Seven Council Fires to do so with our allies, both native and non-native in opposing this pipeline."

On April 1, 2016, a horseback ride from Fort Yates to Cannonball on the Standing Rock Nation, was underway, responding to the threat of the Dakota Access Pipeline poisoning the water of the Missouri River. 

Joye said her cousin Wiyaka Eagleman, was among the first to arrive at the new camp. "When he realized I was going to be out there camping alone, he wasn't going to let that happen."

Water protectors ride into Cannonball April 1, 2016
Photo by Waniya Locke

Then, the Spirit Warriors stood in the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline on August 16, 2016. Joye and Standing Rock Lakota landowner LaDonna Bravebull Allard released a statement, beginning with these words:

"Armed with banners and prayers, members of the Camp of the Sacred Stones stood together early this morning in the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Land defenders camped along the Missouri and Cannonball rivers remain undaunted in their vigilance to protect and defend the water, sacred and burial sites, and sensitive wildlife habitat in immediate danger from the pipeline being built by Energy Transfer Partners and Enbridge."

Blocking the path of Dakota Access Pipeline: The first day.

Then, on August 25, 2016, Amnesty International arrived at the Standing Rock camp:
Amnesty International arrives at Standing Rock. Joye Braun on left. Photo by Michelle Cook, Dine'

Amnesty International USA sent a letter today to the North Dakota Highway Patrol and the Morton County Sheriff's Department:

“It is the legitimate right of people to peacefully express their opinion,” the letter reads. “Public assemblies should not be considered as the ‘enemy.’ The command hierarchy must convey a clear message to law enforcement officials that their task is to facilitate and not to restrict a peaceful public assembly.“

On October 23, 2016, Joye and LaDonna stood for the water.

Photo by Rob Wilson

Ladonna at Sacred Stone Camp, said, “We stand for the water, we stand on our treaties, we stand for unci maka- we stand and face the storm.”

Joye said, “We have never ceded this land. If DAPL can go through and claim eminent domain on landowners and Native peoples on their own land, then we as sovereign nations can then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland."

"We are here to protect the burial sites here. Highway 1806 has become the no surrender line.”

And the world knows the rest of the story.

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