Which way I flie is Hell; my self am Hell;
And in the lowest deep a lower deep
Still threatning to devour me opens wide,
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heav’n.
John Milton — Paradise Lost, Book 3.
Approaching the Bear
In the first week of his presidency, Donald J. Trump released a memorandum to expedite the permitting process of Dakota Access. Standing Rock has become a uniquely potent leverage point against the policies of the Trump Administration. Offshoots are popping up around the world. Public opinion is largely in favor of rerouting Dakota Access. In light of Trump’s memorandum on Dakota Access, the Honorable Judge James E. Boasberg will hold a review of the easement denial and instatement of the EIS on January 30th.
In camp, the spirits were like embers beneath the dry twigs of this news. The flags lifted in a faint breeze coming out of the north. My friend Little Crow and I wander the blue icy streets looking for stories to tell the world. Continue reading
“Let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution…”
All photos accredited to Elizabeth George.
It was after dark on the evening of November 20th when someone cried out, “All Water Protectors to the barricade!” I turned to the camp cook and said, “I’ll clean my bowl when I get back.” This was the best food in camp. The chef was a former computer programmer who had gone luddite. He wore a scuffed red cowboy shirt with pearl snaps. He didn’t use Federal Reserve currency and he wore blue blockers to stop the floodlights in the north, set up over the Dakota Access Pipeline, from affecting his pineal gland and serotonin levels. But the soup – amazing. It could have anything in it. Venison, bison, elk, and every vegetable if it made sense. He only used good, pink salt, and too much coriander. But the spice was perfect.
I jumped in a random car and headed to the barricade.
The road veered left towards the bridge passing over the Cannon Ball River. Cars were haphazardly parked along the shoulders. People were walking to the front. I rounded the bend and saw the soft blue floodlights shining down onto a mob of water protectors standing on the bridge. The barricade was two army troop carriers left in place on the far side of the bridge. I pulled out my camera and started capturing.
Part 1: Action
We met at the south gate at 8am to organize for the action. Most of us didn’t know where we were heading, but we were told to bring masks, goggles, and earplugs. Legal came around to the respective groups with clipboards ensuring we had filled out paperwork should we be arrested. Under our sleeves was the phone number for Standing Rock Legal. We needed $20 for a calling card and our photo ID only.
I hopped into a pickup truck with a group of unassuming Water Protectors: a young quiet girl, an old woman, two young men, and myself. As the truck pulled out of the dirt lot another woman jumped backwards into the truck and we began the caravan towards our destination.