September 1, 2016 – This morning, water protectors halted construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline by locking their bodies to trenching equipment on a worksite south of Mandan, North Dakota. An estimated ninety people gathered to drum, sing, pray, and call for an immediate stop to construction. A total of eight people were arrested. The action resulted in financial losses for the company.
One ally was arrested while providing water to a locked down protector. She was forcibly pulled to the ground by two male law enforcement officers, despite repeated requests for a female officer. Her ankle was injured in the fall and she was transported to a hospital.
Jeremiah Iron Road of Standing Rock was locked beneath a bulldozer and was removed without incident.
Iyuskin American Horse of the Sicangu Lakota (Rosebud Sioux Tribe) stood with his arms locked to the equipment for six hours while officers attempted to remove him. American Horse was placed in a makeshift harness and hooked to two cranes as officers and workers failed to complete the extraction. During their attempt, crane cables caught on the bucket of the cherry picker, compromising the equipment and the safety of Iyuskin American Horse.
Law enforcement blocked all traffic on Highway 6 north and south from the action point. This effectively cut off all access to the Sacred Stone Camp and Standing Rock Reservation, as Highway 6 was the police-mandated detour route around the existing checkpoint on Highway 1806, which continues to restrict traffic to and from Bismarck. Both Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union have called for the roadblocks to be removed on grounds that they unjustifiably restrict freedom of movement and suppress free speech.
Iyuskin American Horse, Sacred Stone Camp said, “I am here to protect the water for the children and all of the unborn, and to protect our ways of life. I came here to let them know that what they’re doing is wrong. This is nonviolent civil disobedience- and this is what it comes down to, and I’m here. Aho Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ.”
Cody Hall, Red Warrior Camp said, “Today’s action was done by NVDA protectors who were tired of the daily progress conducted by the oil construction company. They seized the momentum and made the energy and oil companies lose what would have been profit for the day.”