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 These officers are geared for war, not disbanding a peaceful group of #NODAPL protesters.

Today, two very different things happened to two very different groups of protesters who have occupied government-claimed territories.

The government sent militarized police forces to break up the Dakota Access Pipeline protests while, in the same breath, acquitting The Bundy Gang, an armed militia who took over the federal lands of the Malheur Wildlife Preserve, essentially turning it into an armed fortress.

The resistance camp is positioned directly in the path of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). There to protect the water, this group of Native Americans from across the country is currently being threatened by over 100 officers in riot gear, lined up across Highway 1806. Supporting the officers are several mine-resistant, ambush-protected military vehicles (MRaPs), a sound canon, an armored truck and a bulldozer.

Related: Dakota Pipeline Activist: Police Attacks Have Become The Norm

According to Democracy Now! and Sacheen Seitcham of the West Coast Women Warrior Media Cooperative, police have used tasers against the water protectors. Seitcham herself was hit with a concussion grenade.

Protesters have watched as their land, which is home to sacred tribal burial sites, is destroyed by cranes and bulldozers constructing the pipeline. They legally stand upon the land that was given to them in an 1851 treaty, which they say makes the entire area unceded sovereign land under the control of the Sioux.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has created a no-fly zone above the land, save for police and military-related aircraft. Previously, Native American groups were using drones to document their protest and the continued violence against the rightful tenants of the land.

Last weekend, those drones were used to document the rubber bullets and tear gas used against the peaceful protesters. This FAA’s no-fly announcement came just before the federal raid on the protesters.

This same encampment is the heart of an attack against Native American protesters on September 3, which included pepper spray and attack dogs.

Why are Native Americans and others protesting the DAPL?

Well, the pipeline is set to move 570,000 barrels of crude oil from the Dakotas to Illinois. In the process, the pipeline would damage the environmental and cultural sites of the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribal nations, as well as add to the general process that contributes to other large-scale environmental issues.

Other tribal lands have suffered from water pollution as a result of pipelines siphoning oil from their rightful land and the Standing Rock Sioux do not want to see their home and their people affected the same way.

The violence against Native American protestors is happening at the same time as the acquittal of a group of white terrorists who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon with guns, turning the federal space into an armed fortress.

The Bundy Gang opposed the federal government’s right to claim the land. These constitutionalist cowboys received a trial in which their concerns were heard.

Sadly, it is unlikely that Native American protesters which are being arrested for the occupation of the #DAPL will see the same justice.


Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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