photo by David Guthrie (The Leprechaun)
Standing Rock, North Dakota- Water protectors from all tribes are protecting the water from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Ahjani Yepa-Sprague from Jamez Pueblo/Annishnabe told Native News Online what she witnessed on the front line,
“I was there and I witnessed. The past few days we’ve been spotting the truck lights on top of the hill, we call ‘Turtle Island’ .
They’ve been watching us from on top of that hill. It’s just maybe a couple hundred yards away. They’ve been coming on and off the island. There was a decision made last night I don’t know by who, but there was a decision made last night to build the bridge to bring prayer full and spiritual people onto Turtle Island. There are ten Chiefs buried on that land. It’s a very sacred ground and they’re just driving around up there with their trucks and you know, they’ve already been known to remove bones and things like that. So we built a bridge. It got finished at about three thirty this morning and then they were working all morning long, to make the bridge stronger and steadier to support more people across it.
At about nine thirty this morning about thirty officers came marching around Turtle Island on the shore from the north. And they were armed with riot gear, masks and they had their weapons and they started with hooks to tear down the bridge. They were working to tear down the bridge which our protectors were working on. So some of our protectors fell into the water and the officers continued to take the bridge down for about an hour and a half. The officers brought one boat with a motor on it and then the second boat with the fan came through.. So they have two boats on their side in the water and we had two canoes on our side. The officers and the security were still there taking down the bridge. A lot of protectors and people had come to support, and so there were a lot of people on the shore. In the river on the side of Turtle Island, the police, were telling them they can’t come ashore, because they would be arrested. So we sent protectors to swim out there and stand with them on that side of the river. So there’s a line in the water halfway in halfway out of protectors, standing there. They stood maybe about five feet off the bank of the river in the water. The officers were not letting them come ashore. So when they get too cold we pulled them out and took them to our side. The police had already deployed mace and bean bullets on some of our protectors.
I was out there, taking dry clothes for people they were bringing out of the water and tarps and blankets and with my prayers. I was there praying and I was there you know running back and forth collecting supplies, taking them to and for the people that are coming out of the water.”