Thursday, October 27, 2016, the Dakota Access Pipeline aided by police forces from Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, Indiana and Nebraska, violated the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Larami by violently invading sovereign land and attacking Water Protectors in Cannonball, North Dakota. This coordinated attack was waged against the indigenous resistance camp blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which would cross beneath the Standing Rock Sioux reservation’s main drinking water source and through their sacred burial grounds and was originally slated to go through the predominantly white North Dakota capital, but was rerouted due to concerns, about safe drinking water.
Online live streams of the attack revealed rubber bullets, the arrival of armored vehicles, flash bang grenades, tasers and tear gasses used on the Water Protectors including children and the elderly. Live coverage also exposed police firing from helicopters at buffalo and horses, with one confirmed horse fatality reported. Over 117 people were arrested including tribal chiefs, elderly and youth. Reports of broken ribs, head injuries , broken arms, broken wrists, leg injuries and shrapnel wounds were received by youth and elders.
As reported by Alternet, Steven Salaita, professor and author of the soon to be released book Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine, stated, “The current buildup of tremendous force at Standing Rock should be understood as a military invasion of a sovereign nation on behalf of a foreign oil company.”
The attack on Standing Rock illustrates the current way in which US colonialism exists in the present by violating the 1851 treaty, thereby violating international law and invading a sovereign land. The no fly zone enacted yesterday, gives further credence to the erasure and invisibalization of Native lives from mainstream discourse and consciousness and the telling manufacturing of American mythology.
Black Lives Matter Chicago and Lifted Voices unequivocally denounce the violence enacted by state and county police forces against the Standing Rock Water Protectors. We demand immediate release of all arrested and call for the end to the construction of the pipeline by Dakota Access.
As Black and Brown fighters, we realize that our histories as well as our futures are inextricably tied together. In this historical moment, where Black people have risen up nationwide against extrajudicial killings by police officers and vigilantes, we understand that our liberation fights are interconnected. Natives are the population most killed by police in the United States, though this fact is intentionally erased from public discourse. White supremacist, colonialist, US capitalism was founded on Native and Black exploitation and death, and our blood continues to flow through the streets and valleys of the United States today. This important historical moment is, about Native and Black liberation and self determination. The attack today was meant to be ignored, hidden and forgotten. We refuse to allow the continued violent erasure of Native lives to proceed as usual. We refuse to stand in silence while our Native family and Native lands are invaded and brutalized. We refuse to accept a society that deems Native humanity less important that big oil’s profits. Native genocide is not a thing of the past. It is happening right now in 2016 with a Black president.
Black and Native peoples are combating the violence of anti-Blackness and colonialism in real time. We are living history, and standing on the right side of it is far from enough. We call on everyone offering fleeting lamentations of the injustice at Standing Rock to take action. In times of struggle, there is no such thing as passive allyship. Both Black people and Native people should have the support of all who believe in freedom as they fight for survival and self determination.
Black Lives Matter Chicago and Lifted Voices will continue to act together in solidarity and denounce the violence waged by Dakota Access’ private and state police forces against the Standing Rock water warriors. We demand the immediate removal of all Dakota Access police, personnell, equipment and lackeys from sovereign Native land. We demand the 1851 Treaty of of Ft. Larami be honored.