Governor Kristi Noem is far more interested in protecting pipelines than protecting women against violence. Chris Duesing and Brett Curry of the Veteran Service Corps are willing to fill the gap left by our Governor’s misprioritization of profits over people, by teaching Lakota women to defend themselves:
On Sunday evening, February 23, a large group gathered at the Veterans Center in Eagle Butte for the first in a series of self-defense trainings led by members of Veteran Service Corps. People came from Bridger, Eagle Butte, Timber Lake, Sans Arc Valley, Takini and Cherry Creek.
Over the last few years, Veteran Service Corps has been asked by women on the reservation to create such a training. It’s the first step in bringing together a coalition to address human trafficking on CRST and to equip residents, both women and men, with the tools to defend themselves.
The urgency of the problem is clear.
“We don’t have time. These men are not going to wait. We’ll probably be lucky if the man camps aren’t up and running by first thaw. They’re not going to wait to hunt. So we can’t wait to start this,” said Brett Curry, a VSC volunteer and one of the instructors, speaking of the threat the Keystone XL pipeline poses to the people of Cheyenne River and neighboring reservations.
“We need to learn self-defense now. The human traffickers are more organized than we think. These people don’t care about you. All they see in you are dollar signs. You are not human to them,” Curry said [Alaina Beautiful Bald Eagle, “Using Mind, Body, and Weapons to Defend Life: Citizens Learn Self-Defense and Weapons Safety,” West River Eagle, 2020.02.26].
Curry is training Lakota women to use any means necessary to stop Keystone XL goons from treating them the way they’ll treat the land:
Curry showed the girls where to hit in the neck, nose and groin and how to be aggressive. He told them, “Sure you’re going to be afraid. Do your best to keep yourself out of a vehicle. Don’t give up! Use your fingernails and bring home an eyeball!” [Beautiful Bald Eagle, 2020.02.26].
Duesing and Curry are also training Lakota women to carry and use handguns:
…Duesing wants the women of CRST to be armed with the knowledge to make the decision for themselves if they want to carry a hand gun.
…“I know how to shoot a rifle, I’ve gone hunting. But I’ve never shot a hand gun before. I wouldn’t even know how to unlock or load it,” [Lavae Red Horse] said.
Duesing brought an assortment of hand guns for participants to get comfortable with.
“Some were kind of heavy. I was wondering which one I would be able to hold up. I found one that was light and easy for me to handle. It didn’t take long to learn how to lock, aim and shoot,” said Red Horse.
…“These kinds of trainings need to be made accessible to outlying communities which are going to be heavily affected by the pipeline. When we arm our women and our community, it gives us more strength. We start to ask what other proactive things can we do to protect our community. When we see who’s at these trainings, we see who we can go to for help. It’s a platform to be unified on,” [Jasilyn Charger] said.
…Even with the best of training, Curry stresses, “Do carry a firearm. It’s the single most effective thing you can do. It’s the ultimate defense in these situations when you are going to be abducted” [Beautiful Bald Eagle, 2020.02.26].
Hmm… will Governor Noem try to convict veterans Duesing and Curry of “riot-boosting” for urging and directing Lakota women to use force and violence against the Keystone XL pipeline builders when they come to exploit our women as well as our water and land?
When government not only does not protect people but invites conditions that put people in greater danger, the people’s only recourse is the brutal anarchy of arming themselves for constant vigilance and warfare.