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01x02 - Red Power: Standing Rock Part II

Posted: 02/07/17 00:00
by bunniefuu
Reporter: There is a standoff in the Great Plains. Two hundred Native American tribes are fighting construction of an oil pipeline.

Reporter 2: Workers are digging trenches in Emmons County for the Dakota Access Pipeline. The North Dakota section would cross under several rivers, which prompted protest on the Standing Rock and Fort Berthel reservations about the thr*at to drinking water supplies.

Reporter 3: The encampment near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's reservation is now one of North Dakota's newest and biggest communities. Two, at times 3,000 people, are joining tribal members in their fight against the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline.

You're on our land.

You're on Sioux Nation land.

Move back!

Please continue to the south.

Reporter 4: Now the standoff is intensifying.



In the last few weeks, police have used water cannon, stun grenades, and other non-lethal w*apon against protesters.

Hundreds have been arrested and injured.

The police are protecting and serving a pipeline.

They're protecting pr... fossil fuel profits over human beings.

They're macing people.

They're f*cking tasing them in the face.


(Helicopter whirring)

This is a w*r story, and we need to continue to tell our w*r stories as Indigenous people in the spirit of Crazy Horse and Geronimo and Tecumseh, and all the great leaders and warrior women that have faced off with this state.

You're on our land.

You're on Sioux Nation land.

(Drum b*ating)

(Helicopter whirring)

Dj: Hello, all you folks out there in Standing Rock.

It's almost 90 degrees.

The earth is about 90 degrees since noon.

Dinner is being put together... and that would be the music going up.

87.9 broadcasting live from Standing Rock, Spirit Resistance Radio.

(Helicopter whirring)

Nahko Bear and a couple other really popular musicians will be in the house.

Yeah, there's some soup down there.

It's called Cannonball Stew and... Heather Little b*lls.


Heather Little b*lls!



Yeah, this has been a journey, but the journey ain't over, you know, for many of us.

A lot of them, they're gonna come and they're gonna go, but me...

I've always chose to stay.

You can't give up. (Honking horn)

Daydreaming, walking the dogs.


Hey, hey, whoo!

Families, kids, jobs, you name it, they got it.

To be here... I've seen people give up their jobs just to be here, to stand strong.

That's how much it means to them themselves to stand for something that's for the kids, like this little guy right here wearing a bandana.

This is like a new beginning for each and every one that comes here.

Even the babies, even these little kids, they can feel it.

You know, they sense it.

It ain't about the colour or what shade your skin or your hair is, it's what you feel inside.


Gotta rear up a little bit.


Grab that mane and hold on.

Say, "Come on, horsie. Let's go, horsie".


It don't get no gooder than this, or better than this.

Each one of these tents is probably about 3,000.

Three thousand teepees, too.

Shows the world that we don't want this big black snake coming through.

They didn't want it in Bismarck.

Why in the hell did they say, "Well, let's put it down here on the reservation where the Indians won't, you know... they won't say nothing wrong"?

No, that ain't gonna happen, and you can see it's not gonna happen.

And they say that there used to be, all along this river, a thousand teepees at a time, in different areas.

In 1803, the United States, the fledgling United States, purchased a stretch of land between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains.

As we know it today, that would be considered the Missouri River Basin.

What was at the time the largest real estate transaction in world history, and I think to date that actually still is true.

Reporter: Out of the Louisiana Purchase will be formed the states of Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and Oklahoma in their entirety, and most of Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana.

Over a million square miles, for the price of only $15 million, about four cents an acre.

The Lewis and Clark expedition was sent to map out this area and claim it for the United States.

And with that, you know, they brought their flag to stick it in the ground.

And they were conscious of the fact that they were violating the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples at that time, that they had no right to traverse that part of the river.

It was the Sioux, right? That was the Sioux Indians, that's where they lived.

We offered them food, we gave them a place to stay, we offered them shelter, and they rebuffed that.

They rebuffed the kinship we tried to make with them, and that sort of began this failed settler kinship with this river.

It's not that we were just outright hostile to them in the beginning. We tried to make kinship with them in the beginning, and they... the United States rebuffed that kinship.

They took hostage to headmen, and used them as protection to guarantee their passage through our territory.

And later on, they wrote in their journals that the Sioux people were the "vilest miscreants of the savage race".

And that began one of the longest, most intense conflicts in the history of the world.

Reporter: As the stars and stripes go up and the tri-colour comes down, the size of America is doubled.

America is on its way to becoming the greatest nation in the world.

(Fanfare playing)


Good morning, my relatives, good morning.

We invite all youth to come at 6:00pm to meet at the main cook shack.

We're all going to march in together and welcome youth who are just showing up to camp.

Then starting tomorrow we're having a youth concert.

We invite everybody to come to the youth concert tomorrow.

Good morning, my relatives, good morning.

I hope this isn't too early of a wakeup call.

Good morning, good morning.

There has never been so many nations standing all together.

There is many different cultures that I really don't have a background on, but they don't eat certain things, and so we're trying to provide a menu that kind of fits a little bit of everything so everybody gets food, and then how to distribute the food.

It's almost a 24/7 job.

(Triangle ringing)

Hey, good morning.


Thank you, have a good day.

Where is that big frying pan?

That one I just took?

The huge one.

It's over there.

Oh, that one I got from the donation last night, I put it over there.

Is that good enough?

A lot of donations, and we're thankful.

Every... It seems like every time I need something, that's... ah, we don't have enough, and then... boom, someone's right there. Like this morning I looked at the bacon, and we just had like four packs.

And these guys came and they brought us a bunch of bacon.

And I said, "Do you know what, I was just needing this, you know.

It's happened every time."

I look out for dr*gs, I look out for booze.

I look out for the militia, look out for Feds, undercover.

People might try to bring g*n in here.

This is no place for g*n right now, you know.

If someone was gonna bring them here, it would be to discredit us, you know, discredit us and saying they lying.

You know, there's always something to do.

There's wood, there's the dock down there where we get our groceries.

If you're out here and you can't find something to do, then you know what, I probably would say, "Well, go home and see if there's anything there to do."


Has there been politics out here?

Yeah, I seen it when I first come.

But they got together, bring a circle together, and talk these things out.

We're talking about a treaty, 1851 treaty, talking about the tribes of all tribes, come together and be one and be united, and make that sovereignty.

1851 was the largest gathering of Native people in North America, in history.

There was over 30,000 Native people who were brought in to sign this treaty.

It was a comprehensive treaty.

It involved at least several dozen different tribes and different nations.

It wasn't just the Oceti Sakowin, there was all these other river tribes that signed the treaty.

It was a treaty of peace because the US understood itself as militarily and politically in a weaker position, and it was mainly to secure the safety and the passage of their citizens and their people through our lands.

Their offer was peace amongst us and the various tribes in the region.

It also spelled out the territory that is now known as the Great Sioux Reservation, which is land between the Missouri River and the Big Horn Mountains.

This land... is amazing land.

It is where the sun dances happened.

It is where the trade happened.

It is where multiple villages lived in harmony.

September 3rd of 1864, we were having, as we do every year, a great gathering of all the people.

My grandmother says that on that day they were playing, and laughing, and it was a beautiful day.

The meat is drying.

Everybody came and brought all their trade goods, and we'd trade, and everybody gathers and shares stories and songs and dance.


(Horse neighing)


And then the soldiers came.

(Horse neighing)

And as they came in, it was dusk, just as the sun was going down.

Our leader, Big Head, had said, "We have no trouble with the soldiers.

We have never done no wrong."

So they made a white flag out of a white flour sack, and they put it on a stick. And they went out to General Sully to talk with him, to see why they have come.

And as they got there, they surrounded them and took them prisoners, isolating them from the women and children.

And the women and children were in a panic, so people were tying their babies to the dogs, and hitting the dogs and chasing the dogs out.

(Dogs barking)

And the women all gathered and ran down this ravine as the soldiers got on two sides of the ravine and started sh**ting down into the ravine.


My grandmother was coming across.

She was nine, they sh*t her.


So she laid on that field all night, and she could tell you about all the screams and hollers through the night as people were dying.

(Wind bl*wing)

She said she cried, "Ina, Ina!"

But nobody answered back.

She laid on that field all night.

And as the sun came up, the order came down to sh**t all the dogs.


(Dogs whimpering)

"Oh wait, the dogs were carrying the babies."

(Baby crying)

So they loaded up all these children and dogs, and they loaded up all our meat, and all our hides, and our homes, and our belongings, and they started a great bonfire that day.

This is the first what they call slash and burn of the tribes.

(Crackling f*re)

So my grandmother survived all this.

After they k*lled us at that m*ssacre, they forgot they k*lled us. They wiped us off the history.

One day a settler came in and said, "What are all these bones?"

And they said, "Oh, well, according to this there was a m*ssacre there."

So even the United States did not remember they k*lled us.

We remembered they k*lled us.


Imagine being there in the 1800s, and you had to... you had to suffocate your own baby to not be found.

You had to... You had to hold their cries in... so the soldiers wouldn't find you.

Imagine that.

And when you check down and you look down at your baby, they were d*ad.

Just to not be found.

When I was little and I was reading in history books and reading about Lewis and Clark and their expedition and stuff, like, they never mention in there that, you know, they were already k*lling Indians and stuff.

They were already raping Indians. They were starving 'em.

They were, you know, k*lling their buffalo.

All that was already going on during all those times too, but they don't mention that. And I never would have thought that... that those are the people that I come from.

That all those people suffered so all of us can be here today.

But we made it though.

We... we're still existing when we're not supposed to be.

(Helicopter whirring)

It was at that time our nation was dissolved.

Our families were separated. So one brother's at Spirit Lake, one brother's at Fort Peck, one brother's in Canada.

And so to me, this is the centre of everything that's happening right now, to me, because that land claim, our home lands, are what they call "unresolved land claims".

Which Dakota Access is going right through, right now as we speak.

Nobody, not the United States or anybody has settled that land claim.

There was no battles; m*ssacre was intended to be that way.

So they could get rid of us.

Why would you want to get rid of somebody, something, or some people, a human being that always had its culture, always had its laws?

You know, this law, this English law, that's foreign to us as a Native peoples.

We have always had law.

We knew how to kin... governing and teach, and learn, bring new life into this world, you know.

And that's... that's very beautiful.


Remember that?


But you know, a lot of these here, it's their first... first rodeo for who they are and what they are, you know.

And even where they come from, 'cause you gotta realize that we went through, what, a hundred years of colonization?

You know, all the Christianity, all the boarding schools, Catholic schools, and that form of government that took that... tried to take that away from us as a people, you know.

When I went to school, I spoke my language, you had to eat soap.

Or you got a whipping with a big old razor strap, and that's the kind they use in them old barber shops.

They'd sharpen them old style razor blades.

Did it hurt? Yes, it did, but you know, after a while there I got used to it.

It wasn't a school, it was a concentration camp.

And I'm part of that.

And have I been traumatized?

Do I still feel it? Yeah, of course I do.

Otherwise I wouldn't be telling my story right now.


There's so much intergenerational trauma, so much generational trauma. Like, so many people are dealing with immense poverty and racism.


This personal hurt we feel, that's so hard to voice.

Like it's so much easier to say mni wiconi, water is life, than to say, "This is my life and this is what's happening to me."

And through that, through mni wiconi, we've actually been able to talk about missing and m*rder Indigenous women.

We've been able to talk about misogyny and colonial mentality.

You know, I never really thought that, like... an ecological issue would be something that ties everything together.

(Chainsaw buzzing)

I've seen an east LA gangbanger with skeleton tattoos up and down his arms and legs chop wood and feed elders.

I've seen people who are raise-hell, fist-fighting drunks back home, come up here and line out, sober up, dry out, and hold themselves to a higher degree of accountability here than they do back home.

Fact of the matter is that we're an oppressed people that have been colonized, and we're trying to decolonize.

But here, you know, here it is 2016, and my f*cking people are being att*cked by dogs.

You know, and they think because it's rural that's it gonna... you know, and there ain't no internet service, that people ain't gonna see it.

Well, guess what, buddy? There's Facebook.

It's time to rise and be who we're born to be...

(Background shouting)

... and define ourselves.

We're people of class and high standards and respect, regardless of what you may think.

We come from chiefs, dreamers, dancers, singers, hunters, people that existed on this earth and didn't have greed.

There was no disease here when the white man came.

Ponder on that.

Nick: In 1868, we signed the Fort Laramie Treaty, which was again another concession on behalf of the United States. It was a peace treaty.

We didn't go to them and say, "Hey, we should sign a peace treaty."

They came to us because, again, we were militarily more powerful and politically more powerful than they were.

And that particular treaty negotiation, that's where we negotiated and really set the terms that we do not want any settlers coming into the Black Hills. It's completely off limits.

They can travel on this road, they can travel on this road, but they are not allowed into the Black Hills.


Rancho, cooked beef and cheese.

How do you plan on doing that?

Um, that's what I'm trying to figure out, 'cause we have a whole box of 'em.

You need a microwave.


I actually just came up to visit and just be here, do what I could.

And I just came up and I was doing night security at first, and I was helping cooking and cutting in the kitchen, and then pretty soon I ended up just having it in my hands, and now I run the whole kitchens all through here.

There's six other kitchens and this one.

As far as oil, that's gonna destroy our water, so that's why I was like I... no hesitation.

I quit my job and here I am.


My mother was in the Wounded Knee Occupation of '73.

I used to listen to her growing up, and listen to other things, and... it was interesting. It's kind of just how we grew.

(f*re crackling)

I think they're doing it the right way this time.

Just trying to be peaceful.

I don't think we ever got what we wanted there.

The elders wanted people to go in there because of the administration, the tribal chairman, and he had his whole goon squad.

He was... wasn't doing right to his people, as chairman.

And the elders didn't like it, so they invited... the American Indian Movement in.

Reporter: From the frustrations of Indian life was eventually born a movement dedicated to ending them: the American Indian Movement.

It first claimed public attention by occupying the Island of Alcatraz, and over 100 Indians landed on the island to claim it as their traditional tribal land.

Well, we want our university here.

We want an ecology centre.

We want an Indian museum.

We want a Native American Studies department.

We want to do something here for our own people.

The white man's tried to educate us for the last 400 years, and it's been a dismal failure.

Alcatraz is probably when I got my first taste of it all.

Security and resistance, always gonna be fighting against.

And I probably didn't run into this guy until later on, but we was all at Wounded Knee together.

I come from the old... I always call it the old guard of the American Indian Movement, the Rosewood Chapter.

And we did a lot of security work where we were called in ahead of time for different rallies, or confrontations or whatever.

The thing I remembered about that time was that, you know, we always had to be armed.

We always had to carry pieces with us because we never knew what was gonna happen.

You had the opposition to what we were doing always around, and you never knew, at some point, if you're gonna get in a f*re fight, you know, out on the road, away from Wounded Knee.

Reporter: The siege of Wounded Knee is the most serious confrontation yet between the Indians and the authorities.

A group of militant demonstrators from the American Indian Movement raided this store, stole r*fles and amm*nit*on, and proceeded to take over the village.

They dug bunkers and trenches around the town, and sealed off roads with wrecked cars.

About 200 Indians carried out the takeover.

The dissidents set up their headquarters in the local church.

What the American Indian Movement most wanted was a full-scale Senate inquiry, led by Senator Edward Kennedy, into government treatment of Indians in general, and the South Dakota Sioux in particular.

The movement's leader at Wounded Knee, Russell Means, also called for another investigation by Senator William Fulbright into nearly 400 treaties allegedly signed by the Indians and broken by the US government.

We felt and we knew that a put-off, a stalling tactic would happen, once there was no thr*at to any other lives other than Indian lives.

When the whites have no more thr*at to their lives, you are gonna walk away from here, and say after a while doksha-lo, you know?

And we're not going for doksha anymore.

People can say what they want about AIM, whether they're misogynistic, whatever.

There was in-fighting, sure, every movement has that.

There's a lot of things that are said about AIM, but you can't take away the fact that with what they did, if they didn't stand up for our rights, if they didn't stand up for... the simple fact that we need to be proud to be who we are, this wouldn't have happened.

Because we have the same future concerns, and that's our water.

Now, in the southwest, the northwest, the... especially the Plains area, and also the upper midwest, the multi-national in collusion with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in other words, the Federal government - are after our water. That's the primary resource right now, in the name of energy and resource development.

All water flows to the Missouri River.

The Missouri River is the longest waterway in the US.

We often think of the Missouri River as kind of like a small part of this larger water system, and it's not.

It's the main part of the water for, you know, what now is like tens of millions of people and countless non-human relatives.

And so, to have control over that life source is incredibly important.

The Winters Doctrine was a Supreme Court decision, and what the Supreme Court ruled was that tribes maintain jurisdiction and control of waterways, even within a diminished land base, as long as those waterways are traveling through original treaty territory.

That's important because that never came up during the 1944 Pick Sloan Act, which authorized the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation to build a series of five earth enrolled dams on the main stem of the Missouri River, primarily on Oceti Sakowin reservation land.

It wasn't that... you know, that we were so far removed from the river; we were living, like, literally on the water.

If you can imagine when I was a child, we were almost to the point of being self-sufficient.

We owned our own cattle, our own horses, our own homes.

We lived in the river bottoms where we can plant, gather medicines, and we hauled our water from the river.

That's the water we drank.

We had a train depot, a train, a grain store, a bakery, a restaurant.

We had a community.

And then all of a sudden, it was gone.

So the United States decided to build a dam above us, build a dam below us.

And the tribes were selected as the reservoirs... we were selected as being expendable.

You have calls by the Army Corps of Engineers, by these various states commissions to develop and dam the Missouri River to create this large irrigation infrastructure, to facilitate an industrialization of farming techniques, and pumping out and turning the lifeblood of our river into electricity for faraway places like Minneapolis.

The water started coming in, and lives changed.

And I remember my dad and them telling me, you know, they had to move out of their homes and they moved into tents.

They did not know at that time, just like Dakota Access, that the Army Corps did not have full authority to do that, to evict people, but they evicted people before they got the approval from Congress.

They moved the community on top of the hill in a gumbo-based gravel soil that... we could no longer garden.

People lost their homes and had to move into government housing, which they could never own.

Our economics changed, where the Army Corps have bought out all the businesses, and the businesses never developed again.

I remember as a child not having food to eat, which was the first time 'cause we always planted.

I remember the water coming in and watching the trees die.

But what better way to get Indians off their land?

Like, policy doesn't work unless there's force behind it, right?

And we think of often the state as an acting force through the police, and through the m*llitary, right?

We don't think of the state as an acting force through a large-scale infrastructure project for irrigation, but it did.

Water is our most precious asset, and its potential uses are so many and so vital.

And this Missouri River basin power system, bring to our attention the remarkable progress, which we've made in one generation in this country.

What happens in this basin helps all the people of all the country.

I don't think people really understand or really appreciate the calculation that was involved.

You have three federal agencies working in tandem to eliminate Native people, right?

They weren't going out there like they had in the 19th century and mowing people down with Gatling g*n, but they were mowing people down with paper bills and laws and dams, right?

It was a different kind of elimination.

I've seen grown men to this day break down, who have recounted their experiences of just watching the water creep, like slowly creep and just overtake everything that they once knew.

You know, it happened at a time when we had sent so many of our people to fight for this country in World w*r II, and then they come home to find their lands being destroyed.

They're being forced off the land.

And it was incredibly devastating.

Here you have people who fought and d*ed in numbers that far exceeded any other demographic in the United States, and their reward is... is basically death.

Then all of a sudden, the Army Corps said, "This portion is our land now."

They basically stripped us of all jurisdiction of the river, in a single act, violating this Winters Doctrine.

We are people of the river. We embody the river.

Anything you do to that river, you do to us, like our bodies.

And people want to know why Native people are unhealthy.

That's part of the reason, you know.

They polluted and destroyed our... our life source.

They polluted and destroyed our veins, you know, our blood, and...

I don't think people really understand that, and it's hard to describe to non-Native people.

And so for us, that is our second unresolved land claim.

And so here we are now with Dakota Access.

What have we done?

I ask you, what have we done?

We have not done anything to anybody.

We have not hurt anybody.

My family...

My family fought every service, armed service.

My grandfather, the Lakota code talker, he won that w*r in World w*r I.

My uncle was World w*r II. My dad was Korean.

My brothers, Vietnam.

My cousins have been in every w*r, fighting with the United States.

What have we ever done?

This is injustice.

Dakota Access does not know what they're doing.

They woke up a giant, because now we want our land claims dealt with.

All the Indigenous power, red power, like you see it.

Here, you come in and you feel tradition and feel prayer.

You feel the ancestors.

You feel connected to the culture.

Like all of this is really pushing to be traditional, to be de-colonizing, and that's what I feel like a lot of our people really yearn for.

And so, when they come in here, not only are they getting that, and they're getting the unity, and they're getting power, and they're also fighting for something.

'Cause that mobilizes us and gets us engaged.

And when we're engaged, we're excited.

And when we win something, we realize we can win it all.

And that's what everybody feels like when they're here, is if we win this, we could win everything.

And I think...

... you come here, and you feel whole.

Something felt different, that this wasn't about activism, that this wasn't the next protest, the next demonstration, the next rally.

It felt like... we're going to die unless we win.

If the pipeline breaks and they always break that leakage is gonna get into our drinking water, and my family drinks that water.

This pipeline increases birth defects, lowers fertility, and drops birth rates.

And the only thing that's keeping us together, like cohesively, is new life coming into this world, new babies being born.

And that's why it doesn't feel like a moment of activism.

It feels like a moment of self-preservation.

Being able to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, so far the couple of times that we have, it's really been women that have run out and broken down fences, and gone out and jumped in front of bulldozers.

In the times that it was called for that were completely unplanned, but it's almost like the urgency that we as women feel.

It's no coincidence that when we're pregnant, we carry our babies in water, which is why we say, "Water is the first life."

Ladonna: We have women coming from all over, bringing water, to pray at the water.

Every day we have women doing ceremonies, praying.

So many warrior women.

It is the women who are standing up.

It is the grandmas out there at that big camp who are planning to stay.


Because as we protect the water, we protect every living being.

As we protect the water, we protect the children that come into this world.

It's innate, it's in our spirit, it's in our DNA, and there's nothing that can stop us from defending the natural world.

Settlers have a completely different relationship to land itself.

So this idea that nature is something to be dominated, it's something that you take control over and that you use to your betterment, to the betterment of human civilization, that kind of dichotomy between human and nature didn't exist in Indigenous communities or Indigenous nations when settlers arrived here, right?

And so part of what they did then was position Indigenous peoples as wasting the land, as savage, as less civilized because they hadn't figured out how to use the land to work in the service of human civilization.

And part of the way that they were able to justify the dispossession of Indigenous homelands was by attacking and breaking Indigenous communities by going after women.

She is but a squaw.

Among the Indians, she is less than nothing!

At the most, ah... property.

That connection between the v*olence against women and the v*olence against our earth is very real.

When the oil industry came, we saw the r*pe of the earth by the digging, and taking out those things that flow through the earth.

But what that also did was it brought thousands and thousands of men.

All these man camps sprang up all over the place.

And unfortunately, when you have thousands of men in a camp with not a lot to do, we saw the v*olence against our women and children on Fort Berthel increase by 168%, as far as r*pes.

We had a four-year-old girl... a four-year-old girl that was seen running away from a man camp that had been... sexually as*ault.

And you know, that stuff is real, that stuff happens.

That v*olence comes with the raping of the earth.

And I think it's so important for people to understand that those two things are connected, and we allow it when we allow the fossil fuel industry.

We allow that thing to happen.

As we separate and destroy our relationship with our Mother Earth, we also do the same thing to people, and that's what's happening in North Dakota.

They've dehumanized us.


When a woman could stand up and face off with a male-led system of oppression...


Like, this is powerful, when women are able to find their voice in this society, and not to have no fear, and being able to speak their voice and their mind and their spirit and their soul.

We're suing them for 500 million for pre-construction violation.


The linear age of man is over.

And that it's incumbent upon the female to... respond to the warnings that are occurring in climate change.

I was on relocation because of the flooding that had occurred.

There was a program called the Rehabilitation Program that gave you money to go out in the city to find a job and pay your first month's rent.

We were many Indians in the city.

So we all came together in Cleveland, Ohio, and we opened up an Indian centre in an old church.

All of these people who were on relocation found themselves in places like San Francisco and Minneapolis, and they didn't stop being Indians, you know.

(Laughing) They just like waved a wand and they're like, "Oh, no, no longer Indian."


They found each other, you know, they organized, and that's where the American Indian Movement came in.

We became an agency for the Indian people who lived in the area.

We just set up what we thought was necessary for all of us to exist and coexist in the city.

Housing referrals, employment, education...

Being the subject of removal, that stayed with me.

That collective memory of my youth, and so to recognize that, to acknowledge that did something.

It piqued our psyche, our identity.

It piqued our consciousness.

It lit a f*re for us, and it gave us that survival instinct that has surpassed generations.

They wanted to revitalize and reclaim being Indian in the United States, and they did so in a way that took the entire Native movement by storm.

It is up to us as the people to take control.

It us up to us.

We are going to have to make a decision, and that decision is do we want to live, continue, to pass on to the coming generations values of hypocrisy, values of greed?

And we became very active.

And that really started a campaign that lasted a lifetime.

We're still trying to take on those guys in Washington, DC.

United States government, Congress, Executive Branch and Judicial Branch combined are owned lock, stock and barrel by the corporate state and the ruling elite that control that corporate state.


For AIM, it wasn't just a domestic organization or a national organization.

They were sending people to Cuba.

They were sending people to occupied North Ireland.

They were sending people to the Middle East.

They believed if we are truly sovereign nations, then we have to act like sovereign nations.

And what do sovereign nations do?

They make relationships with other nations.

It was then the American Indian Movement came to the realization... that there was only one colour of mankind that is not allowed to participate in the international community.

Only one colour!

And that's the red people of the western hemisphere.

The black man, the yellow man, the white man, the brown man are all represented in the family of nations.

But one entire race of people, half the world, the red people of the western hemisphere are not allowed to participate in the international community, in the family of nations.

Every decent thinking human being in the world should be indignant and incensed!

Well, we hope to have the United Nations intervene on behalf of the Native American people so that the United States federal government will declare a moratorium on all g*n fighting at Wounded Knee, and that they withdrew... withdraw the federal troops and give the people there some breathing room.

There were two objectives, very simple.

One was to create awareness for the atrocities that were occurring in Indian country, and what resulted in Wounded Knee.

The second objective was to petition the Congress of the United States.

So from 1977 onward, America and the entire international community has to acknowledge that we are indeed a race of people, a race of human beings, that we are the red race, and that needs to be a recognized international principle.

And so I think it's important to remember that, because today we just kind of like assume that Native people, Indigenous peoples just kind of showed up at the United Nations, put some feathers in their hair and they were like, "Yay," you know, "culture, come in, we love you."

And then that was the end of the story. No, they, like...

Wounded Knee was part of a larger movement.

It was part of a larger struggle, and it was the foundations for what we have today.

Man: Mni wiconi!

Crowd: Water is life!

Man: Mni wiconi!

Crowd: Water is life!

Man: Mni wiconi!

Crowd: Water is life!


Get away from the squad cars, please!



We had the right to pray in 1978.

The American Indian Religious Freedom Act.

Until then, it was illegal to hold sun dances.

It was illegal to be... to hold any kind of ceremony, if it wasn't Christian, or Catholic-based, or Mormon.

Till 1978! Wounded Knee happened in '73!

So they fought for our right to pray.

And those are powerful stories that need to be remembered, because we're not just people who... you know, who stayed at home, right?

We're not just people who navel-gazed and just thought about how the world... you know, if we just connect with nature, then the world is gonna be better. It's like no, we struggled, we struggled to be here.


You know, 30 years ago, 40 years ago when the American Indian Movement was having their standoffs at Wounded Knee and Frank's Landing and Alcatraz, there were no video cameras that could be pulled out of your pocket.

We fight with keystrokes, you know.

And... you know, our words are arrows now, our laptops are our shield.

Hold your f*cking dog back!


All my people on Standing Rock, I need you to wake up and open your eyes and ears.

I need you to get out there and stand with the people.

Stand up for your land, stand up for your families, your daughters, your sons.

What happened yesterday was very emotional.

I can't... I don't wanna say too much.

I'll just tell you my experience.

I first learned of Standing Rock on Facebook, I think like... a lot of Indian country.

You know, that's where... (Chuckling)

That's where I learn a lot of things, is on Facebook or on Indigenous Twitter, or whatever you wanna call it, 'cause I don't know where you would find this, otherwise.


Can you give a statement real quick?

I'm not live streaming, so...

Yeah, sure, what do you want...

Just tell us what's going on.

Like what's your feeling right now?

The police are protecting and serving a pipeline and protecting prof... fossil fuel profits over human beings!

They're macing people! They're f*cking tasing them in the face!

Well, first, first, first and foremost, there are no w*apon on our side.

None of our people have w*apon or had w*apon.

The only w*apon that you saw today were being held by North Dakota state law enforcement, or other law enforcement who were... who were there.

That's the only w*apon that were on site.

The only things that we had was our bodies and prayer.

Hello, everybody, we're sending prayers home.

Know that we stand with you.

We send you strength.

Stand strong.

Hey, I just wanna send prayers out to the frontline.

Right now is the time.

It's a critical time right now for everyone to...

It really made people, like, hop on board with us, and you know, they actually got to see us live and what we were doing, and... you know, how we were feeling and the emotions, and just like everything that was going on around us and...

It was really cool.

You can't drink oil!

Crowd: Leave it in the soil!

Every day there is a new group that sends their solidarity with us.

In Pennsylvania, the people are standing up.

In New York, they're standing up to protect the water.

In Virginia, they're standing up.

In Washington state, saying, "No more."

We're standing up to protect the water and the land.

I see this as something way bigger than anything we ever imagined because it's spreading.


I think the internet happened, Facebook.

That raised a lot of awareness.

Media happened, media, and being able to tell stories on camera.

That changed a lot of people.

This is an act of w*r.

This is a... Yeah, exactly what they said.

This is an illegal embargo on the Standing Rock Reservation.

It violates our constitutional rights, and it violates our human rights.

It gives us voice where we were voiceless before.

Access is very easy, it's democratized.

At least access is, you know.

That's very powerful for a marginalized people that struggle to find that normally. And even in the face of... you know, the mainstream media ignoring these things, you're still able to communicate to the people that will lead, and that is maybe even more compelling than a New York Times article.

That stuff will all come 'cause I think, you know, my understanding of media is they'll eventually show up when it's... they can't ignore it.

So it's a unique opportunity for Native people to join in on an issue that they all believe in without the fear of... hopefully without the fear of getting sh*t in the face by the police.


(Water hissing)


(Water hissing)

(Helicopter whirring)

I got, um... a patient with a rubber b*llet sh*t to the head.

Um, she's cognizant, so we took her in.

Came back out, there's been two cardiac arrests, a bean bag sh*t to the hand, holding up a poster.

Broke all the fingers, it looked like.

And then a lot of rubber b*ll*ts.

We got rubber b*ll*ts, dislocated patellas... to the knees, to the elbows, things like that.

Shoulder, ribs.

It's been pretty rough.


Armoured vehicles, g*n, b*ll*ts, batons, police dogs.

Nick: Armoured personal carriers, as*ault r*fles, armed drones and helicopters, and police barricades, mace, tear gas.

Arrest, confinement, detainment.

Barbed wire, I even saw at one... at one site.

All of these sort of tactics and instruments being deployed against people who are some of the poorest people in the western hemisphere... kind of like just demonstrates the priority.

They're out there doing their job that they're supposed to do, and that's to ensure that the Dakota Access Pipeline is built.

I got no fear of them.

It's literally like Obi-Wan Kenobi.

What are you gonna do, k*ll me?

Strike me down and I'll be more powerful than you ever imagined.

You just turned me into a Lakota martyr.

What are you gonna, North Dakota?

What are you gonna do, America?

How many g*n you gonna stick at our heads?




You gonna k*ll us?

You know, what's it worth?

This isn't nothing new for Native people.

This is nothing new for Dakota and Lakota people.

On this very land we face off with the same aggression.

So this is triggering a lot of historical trauma in every one of us.


This is something that has existed since the founding, the bloody violent founding of both of these countries.

These are acts of suppression, suppression against perceived thr*at of a destabilization of state power.

This kind of reaction from the state when they feel that... that tipping point, is getting closer.

The point at which they're gonna be able... they're gonna lose control of the state's ability to be able to carry out the project that they want to be able to carry out.


But I do think it's the result of a justice system and a policing system built on colonial ideals and beliefs that is ultimately meant to serve and protect one segment of society and not another.

Move back!


Historically, the police have been one of the primary vehicles that the state has used to ensure Indigenous dispossession of land.

And so you think about the creation of the Northwest Mounted Police in Canada, their premise was to ensure that western expansion was happening without the interference of Indigenous peoples that were living on those lands.

And so they were given authority by Ottawa to be able to... to use whatever kind of v*olence they needed to use in order to be able to suppress political resistance.

So what you see happening at Standing Rock, it is actually the heart of the invention of this institution and relationship to Indigenous peoples.

And it's up to us as Indigenous people to expose how the US government continues to commit genocide on Indigenous peoples, and this is very real.

The fact is that this is 2016.

This is not 1880.

This is not the time when you can run us over.

This is the time when we are gonna stand up and we have some rights.

You guys call this America?

What are you? You gave...

You gave a pledge to protect and serve who?

Your own kind?

Who is... Who is the real human and who is the savages?

With no mercy at all, and I mean no mercy.

Who takes a g*n and sh**t a woman and causes her to lose her arm damn near point blank?

Columbus' great, great grandchildren are acting like that.

Right on, Christopher. See what you caused?


What is happening out here is wrong, and it has... it has been wrong for a long time, but nobody noticed until now.

You will pay for your sins!


f*ck you all!

What are we supposed to do?

Are we supposed to be pissed off every single moment of the day?

Am I supposed to go through life...

Is that what I teach my children?


So, let it start a f*re that keeps you burning for the long run; doesn't burst you into flame.


Reporter: As the weather closes in, resolve here hardens.

The camp's preparing for the arrival of thousands of m*llitary veterans, who've pledged, if necessary, to act as human shields.

Reporter 2: For months now, protesters have withstood violent clashes, rubber b*ll*ts, tear gas.

What if this happens to your 2,000 veterans?

I swore an oath to protect this country and the people within the country, foreign and domestic.

I feel there's been times where m*llitary personnel have to set their morals aside and just do their duty without question.

And the really confusing part is that it's at home.

And it's something I...I just can't stand for.


We are making peace with the United States m*llitary.


We will forgive... the assassination of Sitting Bull and the assassination of Crazy Horse, but we will never forget.

And we will ensure that our grandchildren know that they lived and d*ed for Oceti Sakowin.


Moments ago, the White House made an announcement... that they are going to deny the permit to bore underneath.

The Army Corps of Engineers will deny the permit to bore underneath the Missouri River.


And I just wanted to give everybody that... I'm happy!


Oh my god, you guys, we freaking won, no DAPL.

It is not going through our water.

I just want to say Lila Wopila t*nk to all the water warriors out there that's been staying out there.

Look at what our prayers did, look what we did with the world.

Everybody's listening and everybody's watching.

We're changing.

We're changing it slowly.




We have over 10,000 people coming together, creating a community that self-polices, that self-organizes. that the Great Sioux Nation is now looking at.

How do we conduct ourselves?

How do we structure ourselves and our traditional government?

Not the government that was forced on us.

Not the IRA doing it.


Who gets to determine the future?

Who gets to determine the future?

Does, you know, Enbridge?

Do some oil companies get to determine what the future is?

I have a vision of seeing my people being able to live on our territory, untouched and uncontrolled by any other type of entity.

That my children could go to a creek and drink clean water.

That we can sing, and dance, and be uninterrupted.

That we could hunt and pick berries where we want to.

And this is what I see.

And that one day we'll be able to live this existence again.

My hope is that us taking a stand here today will mean that 50 years down the road, 20 years down the road, we can stand proud then, and my daughter can stand proud and say, "My mom was part of that fight, and I was there with her, and we stopped it."

I wanna win this fight, and then I want to go to someone else's home and help them fight their fight.

I never imagined any of this.

Can you feel it?

Can you feel the healing that's coming right out of the earth?

I don't think we can really say at this moment in time what it's gonna look like in the future, but you can't undo these kinds of things, right?

And you know, they may be able to take away our land, but they can't take away this experience.

I think that's gonna reverberate well into the coming generations, that a new world is possible.


Reporter: Activists are celebrating the Army Corps of Engineers' decision.

The big question tonight is how is the incoming Donald Tr*mp administration going to handle this project?

It's no secret president-elect Tr*mp and his cabinet are pro-oil and pro-pipeline.

(Fireworks exploding)