“This was no accident,” commented Divergent actress Shailene Woodley as she live-streamed this morning from Standing Rock. She was referring to the timing of last night’s events: The US Court of Appeals rejecting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for an injunction at the same time the country was focused on the Presidential Debate.
On September 2, 2016, the tribe had filed numerous sacred sites, graves, and other important cultural areas that are protected by federal law and which were along the proposed pipeline route in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Receiving cultural compliance after archaeological and ethnographical surveys is standard procedure for any and all construction projects in the United States. However, Energy Transfer claimed to have completed these surveys of Lakota land without actually consulting Lakota experts on what their sacred sites look like or where they are located. When the tribe was finally able to survey the area, experts immediately identified dozens of locations and filed for an injunction.
On September 3, 2016, a Saturday morning on Labor Day weekend, Energy Transfer skipped over 13 miles of planned construction in order to destroy the identified sites before the courts could review the case. This led to the first confrontation between unarmed Protectors and hired personnel. The energy company claimed Standing Rock tribal members and their allies were trespassing on treaty land; Protectors argued their inherent rights to protecting such sites, especially when the company was not allowed to proceed with a pending injunction. The injunction was temporarily granted.
Protectors kept filing into the Sacred Stone Campground, ready each day for the destruction to continue. A number of non-violence trainings were held to help Protectors keep the spirit of the movement intact. Then, last night on October 9, 2016, the US Court of Appeals denied Standing Rock the injunction — on a Sunday night while the world was watching the Presidential Debate.
Shailene Woodley, who has been active since the Standing Rock youth ran over 2,000 miles to hand-deliver a petition to DC, arrived yet again to the front lines in Cannon Ball.
Protectors were ready at the front lines as militarized riot police arrived on the scene. Woodley kept her phone recording for about two hours this morning to make a video documenting the encounter. In the video, you can hear discussions about an accident on Highway 1806 that the police were blaming the #NoDAPL people for causing. The Protectors peacefully prayed, danced, and chanted until they were asked to disperse.
When Woodley returned to her RV on Highway 1806, she found it completely surrounded by police officers. You can hear her try to reason with them, stating that she left as asked. They accuse her of trespassing and she asks why she is being targeted? Is it because she had, at that moment, over 40K live views on her video? She handed the camera to her mother as the police proceeded to arrest her.
Woodley is not the only person who has been arrested in this lengthy defense of treaty land and tribal rights. She will also be far from the last. Please share this atrocity on social media using the hashtag #NoDAPL. This battle is far from over, and we need the world’s support.
Other ways to support include calling entities like the Army Corps of Engineers and announcing your position on the #NoDAPL case. As winter approaches in North Dakota, the Sacred Stone Camp is in need of supplies – so also consider donating.
We need to get this trending immediately, especially on #IndigenousPeoplesDay. Especially when neither Trump nor Clinton has made one mention of indigenous peoples in their debates. Share the news. Use the hashtag. Help us end this silence now.
Photos: Shailene Woodley Facebook Video