A day before they are to be evacuated from Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock, a group of indigenous women have a released video, tweeted by journalist Shaun King, pleading with the media and the public to help them protect their land, their rights, and their water.
“In the history of colonization,” a woman says in the video, “they’ve always given us two options: Give up our land or go to jail. Give up our rights or go to jail. Now, give up our water or go to jail. We are not criminals.”
Since construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) was greenlighted last year, water protectors have been protesting how it will rip through sacred indigenous land and burial sites, disrupting access to clean water. In December, the announcement that the Army’s civil works department would not approve the easement required for construction of DAPL seemed like a glimmer of good news to protectors. Less than a week into office, however, President Trump ordered construction to start back up, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers and governor of North Dakota issued an order for those in the Oceti Sakowin Camp to evacuate by Wednesday, Feb. 22.
In the video, women say they are at risk of facing arrests, police brutality, federal charges, and prison time. King’s tweet also says they are currently surrounded by militarized police. Since Feb. 15, according to the Oceti Sakowin website, there has also been a “soft-blockade” in place that only allows emergency vehicles through the camp.
For those wanting to know how to get involved, the Oceti Sakowin has listed a number of actions on its site, from calling senators and oil company executives to donating supplies.