Report from Standing Rock
Day 1, November 15, 2016 – Our Arrival on the International Day of Solidarity
by Gina Petry
Patrick Burns and I arrived at Standing Rock this morning after flying in to North Dakota from Seattle. We were very moved by the vast panorama of teepees, tents, yurts, a large white geodesic dome and thousands of people. The energy was thrilling! It is clear that the water protectors are strong in their fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline and they aren’t going anywhere!
While many people at the camp were glad about the recent news of the U.S. Department of Army and Interior calling for a delay on further construction of the pipeline, they know that this may not even slow down the drillers and that the movement must keep up the pressure. Several people were justifiably skeptical after experiencing hundreds of years of broken promises and lies by government officials. The camp is in it for the long haul and is preparing for the bitter winter ahead.
Today, Patrick used his skills to assist in the assembly of over 25 wood stoves for the campers. I talked with many people who have flooded in from all over the country to provide solidarity. I also helped the support team and saw the leadership role many Native women are playing in getting donations sorted and distributed, orienting volunteers, preparing food, and providing security.
Standing Rock has broad support. You can see it in the hundreds of flags flying at camp from many tribes and countries, and in the banners and signs from feminist, environmental and labor organizations. People greatly appreciated the concrete help and beautiful banner we brought from Radical Women (RW) and the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP). Today’s massive international day of action raised spirits of those on the ground here, despite continued government repression, arrests and pepper-spray targeting the hundreds of people putting their bodies on the line for safe water and the rights of indigenous peoples.
We look forward to what else this week will bring!
Gina Petry, the Organizer of Seattle Radical Women, and Patrick Burns, a union carpenter and activist with the Seattle branch of the Freedom Socialist Party, responded to the urgent call for on-site support to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will jeopardize the country's water supply by running toxic oil conduits under the Missouri River. They will be in North Dakota through November 20.
To contribute to the delegation’s expenses, please donate by clicking here.
If donations exceed the $2,000 needed for the trip, additional funds will be sent to the Water Protector Legal Collective, which desperately needs money to cover bail and legal costs for arrestees.
Please contact Radical Women or FSP, RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com or 206-985-4621 (ask for Doug Barnes), if you would like to interview Gina or Patrick after their return or have them make a presentation to your union or community organization.