Dakota Access Pipleline

What They Are Not Telling You About Standing Rock

by Shannon Kiss/Guest

You will hear of the sea turning black, and many living things dying because of it. You will see many youth, who wear their hair long like my people, come and join the
tribal nations, to learn their ways and wisdom.

These are the 8th and 9th signs in the ancient Hopi prophecy prior to great earthly

The 8th sign of the Lakota prophecy states: “The black snake will come and attempt to
cross our river into our land. The 7 tribes must come together to defeat the black
snake. If the 7 tribes fail and the black snake succeeds in crossing the river, it will
mark off the end of the world.”

At this time 10,000 people from 400 nations have gathered by the Cannonball and
Missouri Rivers at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota to protest
completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline that the US Army Corps of Engineers
(USACOE) routed through contested sacred Tribal land. The initially proposed route
through Bismarck, ND was rejected due to risk and proximity to residential and
municipal water sources. The USACOE subsequently elected to route the pipeline
under the Missouri River half a mile from the Standing Rock reservation. As a result
of shifting that risk to Tribal land with very little environmental study by the
USACOE and being contested by the indigenous people, there is an ongoing effort to
raise awareness and cease development of this pipeline.

There is a great deal occurring at Standing Rock that is being misrepresented or is
not being covered by mainstream media. It hasn’t been reported that the military
police on site are removing the protective rubber from their rubber bullets before
firing, but they are. We are not being told that the security officers are taping down
the safety valve on tear gas canisters so they explode instead of spraying a targeted
stream, but this is happening. We haven’t learned about the financial warfare of
hundreds of falsely created GoFundMe pages to divert donations intended for the
Tribe, but it is rampant. We also weren’t informed that the DAPL aggressors
deliberately set fire to the fields above the camps and refused to put them out, but
those fields are now charred and black. We haven’t been told about the seizure and
destruction of personal property, such as medical canoes, and their broken pieces
being placed behind razor wire in the face of their owners who used them to carry
their harmed brothers and sisters to safety. Mainstream media won’t tell you that
the former front line at the bridge on 1806 has been deemed a “Kill Zone” where
DAPL security are permitted to use live rounds against unarmed citizens because
they are deemed an “imminent threat to their safety”. And we are being shown
images in the media of young native warriors placing themselves between armed
forces and civilian protestors with captions that state they were attacking the police
officers, when in fact they were placing themselves in harm’s way in order to protect
untrained civilians from police assault.

Payu Vane Harris, a recent resident of Boulder CO, is a member of the North
Cheyenne Tribe from the Lame Deer Reservation in Montana. He has been living on
site at Standing Rock for 4 months, spending time every day at the front lines. One
of his main roles for the Tribe is to ensure that protestors remain peaceful and to
move anyone who has been harmed by DAPL security to safety. There have been
days when he has pulled as many as 30 people out of danger during a direct action,
although sometimes too late to prevent injury. Other days he simply works as a
mediator to calm protestors who are incited and must be reminded that their words
or actions could cause the police to harm many others who are there in prayer. He
is even working to conduct friendly dialogue with the security officers to diffuse
emotions and remind them that the protestors are people, not just targets.

“Prayer” is another word and concept that mainstream media is not speaking of,
however it is the most prevalent element and objective of the Tribal elders and most
residents of the camps. Every morning begins with a prayer ceremony and the
sacred fire remains lit, often with elders present, for spiritual guidance. There is a
prayer circle before every meal, and prayers are conducted in the healing tents, at
the water ceremonies, at the front line and throughout every inch of these camps.
The overwhelming effort and method of protest from natives and most traveling
protestors is peaceful and prayerful. But, you aren’t hearing about this on the major
news networks.

The indigenous people who hold their burial grounds, water and land resources
supremely sacred are standing up in prayer to face the men in black on the hill.
They are speaking to them from the water’s edge with respect, yet asking with great
strength how they would feel if their grandparents’ graves were being desecrated
for profit. They honorably ask where is their compassion for the oppressed Tribes
whose land continues to be stolen out from under them in spite of signed treaties.
They reach out to find understanding and appeal to some sense of a conscience
about how they could brutalize unarmed people who are merely coming to their
sacred place of prayer in attempt to protect their water. They look up and ask the
officers if they pray. Upon receiving an answer of silence, they say they will pray for
them, for their children and for their safety.

Of course there is a growing element in the camps of young warriors who want to
fight for their rights. They are struggling to honor the requests of their elders by
remaining peaceful while also harboring great concern that their forces need to be
strengthened and more aggressive action should be taken to slow pipeline progress.
The Red Warriors were asked to leave Oceti Sakowin, the main camp in contested
territory on the north side of the river that borders the front line. As of November
27 they had not left, but they remained peaceful. It is imperative that non-native
people coming to protest know to respect the Tribe’s stated wishes and do not incite
violence. As Payu stated, “no matter what they do to fight back, it will impact the
people living in the camps and praying at the front line. The police will assert that
they feel threatened by acts of aggression and will respond with undue force.”

The USACOE has stated that they are asking the camps to clear out of the contested
territory by December 5, the day after thousands of veterans are planning to arrive
at the site to stand with the Tribes. The Army Corps of Engineers has clarified that
they will not forcibly remove camp residents but those who stay will be subject to
citations. The USACOE claims this move is to ensure public safety, however the
people in the camps are working to feed each other, to heal each other and to
prepare their shelters for the oncoming harsh winter. They have no interest in

Of notable concern is the fact that the Army Corps has taken it upon themselves to
identify 41 acres on the reservation side of the river as a “Free Speech Zone”,
declaring police access. US military is not needed or permitted on the reservations,
nor does this country governed by our Constitution need any area to be officially
designated as permitting free speech, per the First Amendment. Is the Army Corps
using this transparent propaganda to militarize the reservation in yet one more
clear violation of Tribal rights?

Jana Stone of Telluride, CO recently spent some time at Standing Rock around the
Thanksgiving holiday. She worked with Payu to establish a new camp on the
reservation side of the river, as well as offering her counseling services to those
experiencing trauma. She has great concern for what may transpire on December
4th and 5th, especially how it may impact the currently insulated camps on the
reservation south of the river. If the military unilaterally claims access to this area,
there will be no camp remaining that is not vulnerable to police assault. The
reservation is and should continue to be self-governing and safe from US military of
any kind.

Payu Harris is working tirelessly to establish a permanent lobbyist in Washington
DC to continue to advocate for native rights. His effort, DC Camp 2017, is an attempt
to shift the fight from firepower on the front lines to lobbying on Capitol Hill. He is
determined to maintain public interest in these critical issues to ensure that leaders
will listen and act appropriately. You can help support this vital effort by making donations to http://www.gofundme/dccamp2017. Their goal of raising $87,500 will cover expenses for 2-3 lobbyists to maintain a permanent presence in DC for 18-24
months. Financial support for this cause is crucial.

If you choose to travel to Standing Rock, what they most need for the coming
months is wood, quick-starting fire logs, propane, dome tents, immune boosting
vitamin powders and a special request of cookie dough. Yes, cookie dough is a quick
way to give front line protestors in the dire cold a shot of energy, especially if they’re
being assaulted by water canons in freezing temperatures. If you go, please go with
an open heart, ready to serve the indigenous people in they way that they need.
They request peaceful protest, not violence or rage. This is absolutely critical, so if
you are not in the presence of mind to honor that request from the elders, please do
not intrude.

There is great power in prayer, and this issue now expands beyond that of water
protection. Our country is in a dark time of turmoil where good and evil are facing
off in almost every facet of our culture. Standing Rock is an opportunity for a shift to
occur. The exposure this event is achieving through civilian protestors is helping to
shine a light on the peaceful truth of the Tribe’s actions. They are not armed or
violent. They are not deserving of the brutality that has been inflicted upon them,
but they do deserve a clean water source just as much as the white residents of

Shannon Kiss is a freelance photographer from Boulder, CO who went to Standing Rock to help.

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