I am writing to you tonight from inside my tent at Oceti Sakowin resistance camp. A week ago, I traveled here with a delegation of Iraq Veterans Against the War members to support the Standing Rock Sioux’s fight for Indigenous sovereignty against extractive industry and in the face of militarized police.
After we arrived, we heard about the group of veterans who put out a call for a mobilization on December 4th, and several of us decided that we would stay. While we are hearing different reports on numbers, but it’s likely that over 1,000 veterans are traveling to peacefully protest the pipeline. This is a historic moment in a historic fight and we need to be here.
I arrived thinking I would stay for the week. I did not expect that I would find a deep need to stay longer. I had no idea that thousands of other veterans would be coming. We have a critical role to play in this mobilization. Many of these veterans have not participated in peaceful, non-violent actions like IVAW has for the last decade. These veterans need to be trained and oriented. IVAW, with Veterans For Peace and the Indigenous People’s Power Project (IP3), is on the ground to facilitate these trainings and connections.
You can be part of this historic fight. We count on supporters like you to ensure that our veterans have enough food, fuel, and shelter to contribute to stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline. I have to be honest with you: tensions are rising. The Army Corps of Engineers has asked the Oceti Sakowin camp to voluntarily leave and the Governor of North Dakota has issued an emergency order to evacuate. The Seven Council Fires leadership is organizing to stay and we, as veterans, can help de-escalate situations and help people remain peaceful and prayerful in actions. Native veterans have taken heroic leadership to confront the United States and demand that it honor the treaties.
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