Tension between Standing Rock protestors and military personnel near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, has only escalated in recent months. Despite federal mandates to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), its development continues. It’s for this reason that unarmed activists are putting themselves in grave danger to preserve sacred burial ground and protect the Missouri river.
Just days ago, one of the most horrific assaults against the protestors took place. In freezing temperatures, police officers sprayed supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe with water, unleashed tear gas canisters, and even let loose concussion grenades. According to reports, hundreds of people were injured, and some – including tribal leaders – remain in the hospital in critical condition.
To offer support to those at Standing Rock, a number of veterans are preparing to “deploy” to North Dakota and offer support to those who are present. The event, called “Veterans Stand for Standing Rock” already has 276 confirmed RSVPs on Facebook, and that number is growing by the hour.
A number of several high-profile progressive activists who served in the military have RSVPd to be present from Dec. 4th to the 7th, including U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Baltimore police officer-turned police brutality whistleblower Michael A. Wood, Jr.
Wood, who is a Marine Corps veteran, has said in the past:
“This country is repressing our people. If we’re going to be heroes, if we’re really going to be those veterans that this country praises, well, then we need to do the things that we actually said we’re going to do when we took the oath to defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic.”
The event was organized by Wes Clark Jr., who sees the December 4th resistance at DAPL as “the most important event up to this time in human history.” He wrote in the event’s description:
“Come to Standing Rock Indian Reservation and hold the line with Wes Clark jr, Michael Wood jr, Tulsi Gabbard and hundreds of other veterans in support of the Sioux nation against the DAPL pipeline. Bring Body armor, gas masks, earplugs AND shooting mufflers (we may be facing a sound cannon) but no drugs, alcohol or weapons. Op Order to be published 10 November 2016.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: This event (and this event page) will not tolerate hate, violence or divisive behaivor of any kind. We’re doing this to support our country so lets do it with honor, working together. We can stop this savage injustice being committed right here at home. If not us, who? If not now, when?”
As USUncut shares, conversation is already stirring with people organizing rideshares and financial assistance for veterans around the country who want to lend support. If you’re interested in supporting the venture, Clark has launched a GoFundMe page which he says will be used to provide material and logistical support to all the veterans wanting to join. So far, approximately $45,000 has been raised toward the $100,000 goal in just 10 days.
According to Clark, who is best known as a co-host for the Young Turks, veterans are needed to support the indigenous protestors at the pipeline construction site due to the excessive and heavy-handed militarized police who are present.
He told Task & Purpose:
“Most civilians who’ve never served in a uniform are gutless worms who’ve never been in a fight in their life. So if we don’t stop it, who will?”