As water protectors continue to stand their ground at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, they’ve been met with excessive, violent force from authorities and militarized police. #noDAPL protests have been ongoing since the summertime, and demonstrators are now facing near-freezing temperatures in addition to increasingly aggressive policing tactics. A class-action lawsuit was filed this week against Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier in response to a violent late-night attack on demonstrators that took place on 11/20, which left over 200 people injured. During that assault, a young activist named Sophia Wilansky was hit in the arm with a grenade and she now faces possible amputation. On top of that, the Army Corps Of Engineers declared that they will close access to the Oceti Sakowin Camp (one of the places protestors have been gathering) on 12/5, and anyone who does not vacate land north of the river by that date will be charged with trespassing and might face prosecution.
British singer-songwriter Kate Nash has been living in LA for the past two years, and she wrote an open letter to President Obama, the Army Corps Of Engineers, and the Department Of Justice regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline. It was signed by over 120 musicians, including Shamir, Sia, Tegan & Sara, Sky Ferreira, Vic Mensa, Kathleen Hanna, Liz Phair, Moby, Tove Lo, Duff Mckagan, Ben Gibbard, Best Coast, FIDLAR, Annie Lennox, Sleigh Bells, Haley Williams, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Ashton Irwin of 5 Seconds Of Summer, Wye Oak, MUNA, Laura Jane Grace, Ed O’Brien of Radiohead, and many, many more. Noisey published the letter and an interview with Nash. Read the message below.
Dear President Obama, Army Corps of Engineers, and Department of Justice,
We are writing to express our shock at the treatment of the people of Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota. We are deeply disturbed by the police actions that have been taking place, where non violent protests have been and continue to be met with extremely aggressive tactics including; being shot with water canons in below freezing temperatures, chemical weapons, rubber bullets, and attack dogs. These are the same inhumane methods used during WWII and the Civil Rights Movement.
We feel strongly in the current political climate that those in power must be held accountable for their actions. We stand behind and urge you to take action regarding the following requests made in the coalition statement released on November 27th, 2016:
“WE CALL ON THE WHITE HOUSE TO DENY THE EASEMENT NOW, REVOKE THE PERMITS, REMOVE THE DAPL CONSTRUCTION WORKERS, AND ORDER A FULL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT IN FORMAL CONSULTATION WITH IMPACTED TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS. PUT AN END TO THE VIOLENCE.”
We encourage you to remember that this planet provides for us, not the other way around. Water is life and this cannot be underestimated or taken for granted in 2016.
We are aware of the long and painful history between the US and its indigenous people. Know that the world’s eyes and the eyes of the music community are on you now as you continue to disregard the treaties you have with the Native American people and act barbarically towards them.
Standing Rock we stand with you.