Veterans arrive at Standing Rock to act as human shields for water protectors

Over 1,000 veterans plan to “deploy” and are calling on their fellow veterans to assemble as a “peaceful, unarmed militia at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.”

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For the past several days hundreds of veterans have begun arriving at Standing Rock to show solidarity with the water protectors.

Starting on Thursday, veterans from across the country began arriving at the Oceti Sakowin and Sacred Stone camps in North Dakota. Over 1,000 veterans plan to “deploy” and are calling on their fellow veterans to assemble as a “peaceful, unarmed militia at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation” to “defend the water protectors from assault and intimidations at the hands of the militarized police force and DAPL security.”

Among the veterans planning to deploy are General Wesley Clark’s son, Wes Clark Jr., and Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard.

The deployment was originally planned from December 4-7, with December 5th being the eviction date set for the camps by the Army Corps. Veterans began arriving early on December 1 and were already confronting the militarized police blockade that is stopping traffic in and out of camp.

The deployment has raised more awareness for the water protectors, leading the National Nurses United (NNU) union to donate $50,000 and the Veterans for Standing Rock fundraiser to raise over $1 million.

Due to the overwhelming amount of support the water protectors have received, they decided to fulfill a wish list of supplies created by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department. This act shows an enormous amount of generosity towards law enforcement, who have not only attempted to block supplies to camp through the use of blockades and heavy fines, but have been brutal in their efforts to remove the water protectors with the use of water cannons, rubber bullets, mace, and concussion grenades.

The Indigenous Environmental Network and the Indigenous Peoples Power Project released a joint statement on the donation:

“North Dakota taxpayers have already bankrolled the Morton County Sheriff Department with approximately ten million dollars for the suppression of peaceful water protectors. Despite this excessive financial support, Morton County officers are asking taxpayers to donate supplies.”

“The Oceti Sakowin camp is a prayer camp, and a resilient, self-sufficient community,” the advocacy groups continued. “The camp is full of abundance—in spirit, in humanity, and in resources. Oceti Sakowin has enough to share. Generosity is an original teaching for the Lakota.”

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