Quantcast

21 Arrested During Peaceful Prayer Ceremony at Standing Rock

Popular

The Morton County Sheriff's Department, whose officers used mace and unleashed dogs on Dakota Access Pipeline protestors earlier this month, sent in armored vehicles and arrested 21 people Wednesday at two sites. But a video released by those at the Sacred Ground Camp shows unarmed protestors conducting a prayer ceremony involving the planting of willow and corn.

"We had a really nice ceremony," said a Sicangu Lakota grandmother. "Then we looked and over that way, there were a few police and the next thing we knew there were 40 police all in riot gear."

Police moved in as peaceful demonstrators stood with their hands up. The video then shows officers confronting the protestors, grabbing women and ordering everyone into their cars.

"I've never had a gun pointed at me," said the grandmother. "I went into shock."

In a press release issued Wednesday by the Morton County Sheriff's Department, they allege that "a protester on horseback charged at an officer in what was viewed as an act of aggression."

Another video shows at least three riders on horseback but does not show any "charging" toward officers. At least one officer raised his weapon toward the civilians even as they shouted, "We are unarmed. We have no weapons."

According to the Indian Country news site, Indianz.com, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier "has previously come under fire for spreading his own rumors. As thousands began to flock to North Dakota in early August, he claimed there were pipe bombs at the encampment but resisters told The New York Times that he was mistaken by the presence of sacred Chanunpa pipes used during ceremonies."

The military-style show of force came as a surprise to the 60-vehicle caravan traveling to three sacred sites. The first of these was the Sacred Ground Camp, where ancestral sites have been desecrated. This was the location of the Sept. 3 attack using dogs. In a separate video posted by Indigenous EnviroNet on Twitter, they argue that North Dakota media has portrayed the protestors as violent and stress that their movement has always been about non-violence, prayer and peace.

Thomas H. Joseph II, who filmed one of the videos from yesterday's arrests, posted on Facebook, "Today's action where uncalled for, the police was a direct threat to woman and children."

Famed actor Robert Redford spoke out Wednesday in defense of those opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline. "If this is legal, one must seriously question the laws of the land," Redford said. "They are laws that prioritize the profits of energy companies over the rights of people who actually have to live on the land, drink its water and eat its food."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

New pine trees grow from the forest floor along the North Fork of the Flathead River on the western boundary of Glacier National Park on Sept. 16, 2019 near West Glacier, Montana. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

By Alex Kirby

New forests are an apparently promising way to tackle global heating: the trees absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activities. But there's a snag, because permanently lower river flows can be an unintended consequence.

Read More
Household actions lead to changes in collective behavior and are an essential part of social movements. Pixabay / Pexels

By Greg McDermid, Joule A Bergerson, Sheri Madigan

Hidden among all of the troubling environmental headlines from 2019 — and let's face it, there were plenty — was one encouraging sign: the world is waking up to the reality of climate change.

So now what?

Read More
Sponsored
Logging state in the U.S. is seen representing some of the consequences humans will face in the absence of concrete action to stop deforestation, pollution and the climate crisis. Mark Newman / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images

Talk is cheap, says the acting executive secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, who begged governments around the world to make sure that 2020 is not another year of conferences and empty promises, but instead is the year to take decisive action to stop the mass extinction of wildlife and the destruction of habitat-sustaining ecosystems, as The Guardian reported.

Read More
The people of Kiribati have been under pressure to relocate due to sea level rise. A young woman wades through the salty sea water that flooded her way home on Sept. 29, 2015. Jonas Gratzer / LightRocket via Getty Images

Refugees fleeing the impending effects of the climate crisis cannot be forced to return home, according to a new decision by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, as CNN reported. The new decision could open up a massive wave of legal claims by displaced people around the world.

Read More
The first day of the Strike WEF march on Davos on Jan. 18, 2020 near Davos, Switzerland. The activists want climate justice and think the WEF is for the world's richest and political elite only. Kristian Buus / In Pictures via Getty Images

By Ashutosh Pandey

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is returning to the Swiss ski resort of Davos for the 2020 World Economic Forum with a strong and clear message: put an end to the fossil fuel "madness."

Read More