“So you joined law enforcement or the National Guard because you wanted to uphold the law, protect innocent civilians against the bad guys, and help your community in times of need. Instead, they’re having you blockade unarmed people who are trying to hold a prayer vigil, chasing them with armored vehicles and ATVs, raiding their tipis and sweat lodges at gunpoint, and shooting them (and their horses) with pepper spray, concussion grenades, tasers, and rubber bullets. You thought you’d be the cop on the beat or the citizen soldier, and they’ve made you into the cavalry riding in with Custer.”
-Winona LaDuke, Ann Wright and Zoltan Grossman-
And thus begins the open letter, penned by these three amazing individuals, published today in CounterPunch Magazine, which I gratefully share the link to further down in my post, as they have expressed their desire that many should do so. The entire title of the piece is, “Public Servants or Corporate Security? An Open Letter To Law Enforcement And National Guard In North Dakota”. The article runs a little over 1500 words, and in my own humble opinion, there is not even a single word wasted.
The situation with the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the heavy-handed methods being employed against peaceful Water Protectors as they are properly known (despite the false narrative of the mainstream media that insists on portraying them as violent protestors), has truly gotten out of hand, and if you check with the few progressive channels that have actually sent their people to the site to see things for themselves (and bring back the video as proof), the place looks like a war-zone, but only one side has guns, armored vehicles, sound-cannons and fully-armored troops. The other side… has prayer-sticks.
I plan to do a post of my own dedicated to the whole situation down there, but this post was really meant as a heads-up for the wonderful letter written by these three people I named above. Just to give you a quick idea of whose letter I’m asking you to take notice of:
Winona LaDuke is an internationally renowned activist working on issues of sustainable development, renewable energy, and food systems. She lives and works on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota, where she is program director of Honor the Earth and founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project. She has authored Recovering the Sacred, All Our Relations, Last Standing Woman, The Winona LaDuke Reader, The Militarization of Indian Country, Chronicles: Stories from the Front Lines in the Battle for Environmental Justice, and other books
Ann Wright is a retired Army colonel and a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran. She was a U.S. State Department diplomat, and was posted in nine countries (including Afghanistan and Somalia) until she resigned in 2003 in protest of the impending war on Iraq. She was recently imprisoned and deported from Israel for challenging the illegal naval blockade, on the Women’s Boat to Gaza. She is co-author of the book Dissent: Voices of Conscience; Government Insiders Speak Out Against the War in Iraq
Zoltan Grossman is a professor of Geography and Native Studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, working at the intersections of ethnic/racial conflict, environmental justice, and militarism/G.I. rights. He is co-editor of Asserting Native Resilience: Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations Face the Climate Crisis, and author of the forthcoming Unlikely Alliances: Native Nations and White Communities Join to Defend Rural Lands
So as you can see, these aren’t conspiracy theorists, or anything, and I promise you, if they see a problem occurring at Standing Rock, then there should probably be someone looking into things. And i really do hope you get a chance to read their letter, and if you should know somebody who IS in law enforcement in that area, maybe they could use a link to the letter themselves. Which reminds me:
And now, everyone have a good downhill coast until the week-end (we’re having our 31st straight day of rain today), stay safe, and keep smiling.