Is any private business activity worth attacking opponents of one’s work with trucks, dogs, and mace? Dakota Access thinks its pipeline is worth doing physical harm to human beings:
Construction workers jumped into their trucks, and Frejo says they started to use the vehicles like weapons, going through the crowd erratically and coming very close to hitting some.
“Within minutes, a lot more trucks showed up,” Yellow Bird said. “And then the dogs came.”
Approximately eight dog handlers, hired by Dakota Access, led the barking and snarling dogs right up to the front line.
“The women joined arms, and we started saying ‘Water is life!’ A dog came up and bit my leg, and right after that a man came up to us and maced the whole front line,” Young Bear said.
Young Bear and at least five others suffered injuries from dog bites, and approximately 30 others suffered temporary blindness after receiving a chemical spray to the face and eyes. A horse owned by a Native American water defender also suffered bite wounds from the dogs.
“They let one dog off his leash and ran loose into the crowd,” Frejo said. “That’s when people started protecting themselves against the dog. The guy that let his dog go came into the crowd to retrieve him and started swinging on everybody. He hit some young boys, and they defended themselves” [Sarah Sunshine Manning, “‘And Then the Dogs Came’: Dakota Access Gets Violent, Destroys Graves, Sacred Sites,” Indian County Today, 2016.09.04].
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now gets the violence on video. The video includes blood and foul language:
Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier blames the protestors, saying the situation Saturday “was more like a riot than a protest.”
Yes, protestors crossed the fence. Call it trespassing. Is violence by a corporation a proportional and proper response? Is shipping oil worth drawing blood?
Update 09:51 CDT: Tim Mentz explains that Dakota Access carried out this violence against protestors on land owned by one David Meyer. Dakota Access holds an easement, but does not own the land itself. Mentz, a cultural resource expert, explains that the site Dakota Access bulldozed is a rare tribal archaeological treasure with stone rings, some now disrupted by Saturday’s dig.
Oglala Lakota College’s KOLC-TV channel offers interviews with many more Native people explaining why the Dakota Access pipeline poses such a threat to Native life and to the water we all need.