In the midst of Thanksgiving and Black Friday this week, much of the US is deep into traditional meals, gatherings, and shopping but the camps and water protectors in North Dakota are still standing against the Dakota Access Pipeline. These protectors are frequently met with violence and intimidation from police and others. Just a couple days ago, those on the ground were sprayed with water cannons in the middle of the night and in North Dakota at this time of the year, that can be fatal. One medic shared his story about that night and many others countered the police’s narrative and shared that the protectors have been nothing but peaceful.
Burial grounds and sacred places continue to be destroyed and activists are being targeted. In addition to the water cannons this past week, tear gas has consistently been used, attack dogs have been used, the protectors have repeatedly been met with militarized police and those in riot gear, the company behind the pipeline built a razor wire wall around native burial grounds, and so much more.
As the struggle continues into the winter, those on the ground still need support both in bodies and in resources. But if you are planning to go and if you’re white like me, please listen, center and refer to the indigenous peoples that are there and have been there since April. But if you can’t make it in person, there are several other ways in which to help. The camps need supplies like warm sleeping bags, food, firewood, and so much more – several Amazon wish lists have been created or you can just donate money directly to the camps and legal funds:
Sacred Stone Camp:
- Amazon wish list
- Donate to the camp
- Paypal: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The legal defense
- Needed Supplies
Red Warrior Camp:
Oceti Sakowin Camp:
With Thanksgiving just yesterday and winter starting to truly sink in, it’s important for white people like me to support native and indigenous people. A part of that is realizing that Thanksgiving, for some, might often be a day of food, community, football, and giving thanks but for many native and indigenous peoples, the day is often a day of mourning. In general, white people throughout US history have treated the native and indigenous peoples horribly and with how the water protectors are being treated now, that behavior and oppression hasn’t stopped. We as individuals might not be actively complicit in this behavior but it’s important that we be actively against this.
Learning more about the history of how native and indigenous people have been treated and what’s going on with the #NoDAPL movement is definitely one step. A short documentary about the #NoDAPL fight came out recently and can be found here. Supporting the camps financially and with resources and calling executives and elected officials to vocally oppose the pipeline are both additional ways to help.
I don’t have all the answers and I’m continuously learning about the history and current fight. The ways I’ve listed are, I’m sure, just some of the ways to help but I encourage anyone who can to help the fight against the pipeline.