North Dakota police with military-style equipment surrounded Native Americans gathered in prayer against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on Wednesday, disrupting their plan to cross sacred and treaty-protected land in protest of a project they fear will destroy their livelihood.
“ND authorities deploy armed personnel with shotguns and assault rifles, military vehicles, and aerial spray on peaceful Water Protectors gathered in prayer,” wrote the Sacred Stone Camp, in a Facebook post.
Officers with military-style armored vehicles and shotguns threatened the protesters, who call themselves “water protectors” for defending the Missouri River from imminent pollution, reported Unicorn Riot. Up to 21 were arrested, the channel reported.
Witnesses filmed the crackdown but said their access their Facebook was blocked. One participant, Thomas H. Joseph II, posted a chilling video narrating the mobilization and his getaway. Helicopters are heard as he says that tear gas is being dropped, and an officer loads his gun as protesters, some on horseback, chant, “We have no guns.”
In the video, Joseph said that “one guy’s about ready to blast us” but later added that no fires were shot.
“We gathered in prayer un-armed, prayed, sang songs, and attempted to leave,“ he later wrote in a Facebook post. "No threats, No vandalism, No violence was taken on our part.”
Police and private security personnel have been more aggressively cracking down on actions against the pipeline since the governor declared a state of emergency. The state is currently investigating an incident in which contracted private security film Frost Kennelsunleashed dogs during a nonviolent direct action, ending with six bitten, including a pregnant woman and a child, according to organizers at the action.
Alternative media outlet Unicorn Riot previously accused Facebook of censoring its livestream of police repression, saying they received a popup security alert when they tried to post the video.
“We will not let them stop our mission to amplify the voices of people who might otherwise go unheard, and broadcast the stories that might otherwise go untold,“ they told RT.
The pipeline, expected to transport over half a million barrels of oil a day through four states, has united over 300 tribes in resistance. Several lawsuits are pending against the company, which has retaliated with restraining orders. The White House halted construction on federal land, which makes up three percent of the pipeline’s path, but has not issued any other statement against the pipeline—motivating Facebook users to demand a response after Wednesday’s crackdown.
President Barack Obama met with tribal representatives on Monday but only made an indirect reference to the historic native gathering: “I know that many of you have come together across tribes and across the country to support the community at Standing Rock,“ he said. “And together, you’re making your voices heard.“
I can’t inline the videos, but there are two videos if you follow the link
The El Santuario de Chimayo is considered the most important pilgrimage site in the United States. Its popularity owes to the curative powers of the “Tierra Bendita” or “holy dirt” found in a small hole in a precept off the main altar. For nearly 200 years, the dirt is believed by many to have miraculous healing powers over a wide variety of ailments and afflictions.
One of the most visited tourist attractions in New Mexico, the Santuario hosts over 300,000 visitors a year. During Holy Week alone, over 30,000 people from all over the world make the pilgrimage to Chimayo. The local tradition is to walk, and people walk to Chimayo from all over the state of New Mexico, some traversing over 100 miles. Some people make the journey barefoot or on their hands and knees, and others carry enormous wooden crosses or put cactus needles in their shoes in order to demonstrate their devotion.
Continue your pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayo on Atlas Obscura…
Last week, the federal government gave final approval to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will run for 1,172 miles to transport crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oilfields to Patoka, Illinois.
the sacred headwaters is a remote region in northern british columbia that is the shared birthplace of three salmon rivers: the stikine, skeena and nass. it supports an incredible ecosystem of large mammals and is the traditional territory of the tahltan first nation. but it is also rich in minerals and gas, which has left the tahltan fighting for the protection of their land.
the sacred headwaters is also home to todagin mountain – a grassy plateau that is home to what is thought to be the largest herd of stone’s sheep in the world. nearly the entire plateau was opened to mineral exploration, and an open pit gold and copper mine is proposed. should the plateau be lost to mining, the herd could be forced from the mountain and the tahltan would lose the economic benefit of hunters who travel there from around the world.
Ojibwe tribes are seeking to nominate an island on Lake Superior for
listing on the National Register of Historic Places, a move that may
affect how construction or expansion projects move forward there.
Madeline Island is a sacred homeland for the Red Cliff and Bad River
bands of Lake Superior Chippewa. The tribes’ migration story says they
were told to travel west until they reached the place where food grows
Army Corps of Engineers Archaeologist Brad Johnson said the island
won’t receive any cut and dried protections if it’s eligible for
“It means Madeline Island would receive additional consideration as
an historic property during our permit evaluations,” he said.
Red Cliff Tribal Chairman Bryan Bainbridge said the tribes want to preserve their history.
“It’s not to make anybody’s life hard to get a project done, but out
of respect to what the culture was there and still is there,” said
Johnson said the Army Corps and the state need to agree on whether
Madeline Island is eligible for listing on the National Register.
According to the New York Times, it would have been the first time in history Native American lands would have been handed over to a foreign company by Congress. The site has long been used for Apache coming-of-age ceremonies, particularly for girls.
“This fraudulent action is the latest in a long list of egregious bureaucratic abuses of power by the Obama Administration. I will continue to fight this overreach,” Gosar wrote in his statement.
In response to the proposed sale of the publicly-held ancestral grounds, the Apache people had been occupying the land, according to the Times. About 300 people marched 44 miles from tribal headquarters to occupy the site, beginning on February 9.
“Why is this place sacred?” Wendsler Nosie Sr., former chairman of the San Carlos Apache, told Cronkite News. “No difference to Mount Sinai. How the holy spirit came to be.”
Scientists for the Society for American Archaeology corroborate this, and testified before Congress that archaeological evidence of Apache occupation and use of the site go back before recorded history.
The talk of “abuses of power by the Obama Administration” shows that Gosar doesn’t understand how the National Register or US historic preservation laws work.
But the site is not safe, yet:
Republican Rep. Paul Gosar and Sen. John McCain had joined forces with Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in an effort to sell off the ancestral Native American land, known as Oak Flat or Chi’chil Bildagoteel to the Apache community, to mining firm Resolution Copper, owned by an Australian-British corporation.
The designation of Oak Flat as a National Historic Place could hamper the plan to construct a copper mine on the land. But ultimately nothing “guarantees that a historic property cannot be modified or even destroyed,” said Stephanie Toothman, the National Register’s keeper, in a letter to the two lawmakers.
That is why it is important to bring pressure on the government to actually protect the site. Learn more here.
Native Americans, particularly the Apache tribe in the area, say digging a massive mine under their ancestral lands will destroy sacred ceremonial and burial grounds.
In this case, the addition of the Arizona swap and the other land measures were never discussed in public, and were added during secret negotiations between the House and Senate Armed Services Committee. the deal was never publicly revealed until the House started work on passing the entire defense bill last week.
This is disgusting. Imperialist assault on Native Americans is NOT a thing of the past. It continues on to this day.