Indigenous water protectors at the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site just got assistance from military veterans.
Between December 4 and December 7, veterans of various branches of the United States armed forces have scheduled a “deployment” to show solidarity and lend support to the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota. The event, called “Veterans Stand for Standing Rock,” already has 108 confirmed RSVPs on Facebook, and features several high-profile progressive activists who have served in the military, including U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Baltimore police officer-turned police brutality whistleblower Michael A. Wood, Jr.
“Bring Body armor, gas masks, earplugs AND shooting mufflers (we may be facing a sound cannon) but no drugs, alcohol or weapons,” the event page, organized by Wes Clark Jr., states.
The Facebook event is already being used to organize logistics for the veterans to come to Standing Rock, complete with rideshare registration and financial assistance for veterans scattered around the country who want to support the protest.
“My husband is a veteran Army Combat Medic,” wrote Morgan McClure on the event page. “He has been talking about doing this for so long.”
Clark has also launched a GoFundMe page for the deployment, which he says will be used to provide material and logistical support to all the veterans wanting to join the Standing Rock protest from around the country. As of this writing, approximately $30,000 has been raised toward the $100,000 goal in just 10 days.
“Everyday becomes more evident that the defenders of America must stand with the Water Protectors,” Clark wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Let’s stop this savage injustice being committed right here at home. If not us, who? If not now, when?”
Here are some of what the protesters at Standing Rock have faced:
Mace, sound cannons. sniper guns pointed at unarmed civilians, journalists being shot with rubber bullets, journalists being arrested for covering the protests, attack dogs unleashed on groups including children, elder Natives getting tased and violently arrest[sic], protesters marked with numbers and kept in dog kennels after arrest…
The Dakota Access Pipeline, which would transport roughly half a million barrels of crude oil daily underneath the Missouri River, has had construction held up for months as protests continue to grow. Indigenous communities gathering at the construction site say the pipeline has the potential to permanently poison water supplies for millions of people who depend on the Missouri River for drinking, bathing, and farming. Part of the Dakota Access Pipeline construction route have been held up by the Obama administration, though that order has been ignored by pipeline builders.
“Most civilians who’ve never served in a uniform are gutless worms who’ve never been in a fight in their life,” Clark told Task & Purpose. “So if we don’t stop it, who will?”
Zach Cartwright is an activist and author from Richmond, Virginia. He enjoys writing about politics, government, and the media. Send him an email at [email protected], and follow his work on the Public Banking Institute blog.