Standing Rock Solidarity Events Held in Atlanta, Decatur
(APN) ATLANTA — Activists held two events, one in Atlanta and one in Decatur, in recent weeks in solidarity with the Native American-led protests at Standing Rock, in South Dakota, against the Dakota Pipeline, which have been ongoing for months.
Vigils and rallies for Standing Rock are popping up everywhere across the country, and even in other countries.
In Decatur, an impromptu prayer vigil by Ella Johannaber–whose daughter was arrested at the Oceti Sakowin Camp–gathered over thirty people to pray for Standing Rock on Sunday, October 30, 2016.
This prayer vigil will be ongoing at E. Trinity and N. Candler next to the Kimball House restaurant every Sunday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
On Friday, November 04 over 200 people, mostly young people, gathered in Atlanta’s Woodruff Park to oppose the Dakota Pipeline and support the indigenous people at Standing Rock.
In Solidarity with the Water Protectors, they marched from Woodruff to the CSX railroad tracks near Decatur Street, and shut down the U.S. Southeast’s main freight line for hours, preventing materials for a new pipeline from being shipped.
A few people started a fire on the tracks and then split, leaving the others to clean up the mess and be threatened with arrest.
Jonathan Yellowhair, a Navajo man, responded with this message on Facebook.
“It is not ‘burn with Standing Rock,’ or ‘destroy with Standing Rock,’ or even ‘fight with Standing Rock.’ We are here to Stand with Standing Rock,” Yellowhair responded to those who started the fire.
“If you want to destroy things in our name then at least have the gumption to stay and face the repercussions and not hide behind a bandanna like a coward because when you run away it puts all the repercussions and weight on my people,” Yellowhair said.
All these prayer vigils and rallies in Atlanta and around the country are in response to the brutal attack on Indigenous people by over three hundred militarized law enforcement officials from several states including the National Guard in riot gear.
The Native Americans and their supporters are being treated like an invading army of terrorists, instead of peaceful water protectors trying to save their land and water from corporate pollution and greed.
In late October 2016, they were attacked with rubber bullets, beanbag bullets often at close range, large canisters of tear gas and pepper spray, Tasers, and large sound cannons to hurt and damage ears.
Over 140 men, women, children and journalists were arrested from the frontline Oceti Sakowin Camp that stands directly in the path of the pipeline.
In jail, they were further humiliated by being stripped searched and put in what some called “dog cages.”
Private media drones were shot down by law enforcement.
The land at issue is purportedly private land sold to the Energy Company; however, in reality, it is the unceded 1851 Fort Laramie treaty land which native people own.
The camp is a symbol of ongoing injustice and oppression by the State and U.S. Governments that collaborate with the energy corporation to steal their land, pollute the water, and commit human rights violations against the indigenous population who resist.
Amnesty International and the United Nations are sending delegates to investigate the escalating levels of repression, violence, and intimidation against tribal members and their supporters by state law enforcement, private security, and the National Guard.
Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault has also called upon the U.S. Department of Justice to monitor police and military civil and human right abuses to indigenous people.
Rev. Jesse Jackson called what is happening at Standing Rock “environmental racism.”
The fears of native people regarding the pipeline polluting the water are realistic: Since 2010, over 3,300 incidents of crude oil and liquefied natural gas leaks or ruptures have occurred on U.S. pipelines, according to the Center For Effective Government.