Hundreds of veterans were stranded at Standing Rock and were housed at the Prairie Knights Casino Pavilion. Native News Online photo
Published December 18, 2016
by Darren Thompson
CANNONBALL, NORTH DAKOTA—During the first weekend of December, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe had an influx of thousands of veterans from all over the country in an effort to provide assistance and security to the thousands of people camped near the construction site of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Originally hoping for 300 veterans to come to Standing Rock, organizers were surprised that more than 4,000 veterans answered the call to action. Blizzard conditions halted the entire region throughout the planned dates of actions leaving organizers and the Standing Rock community overwhelmed with many people stranded as travel was halted and roads were closed.
The Tribe’s Prairie Knights Casino accommodated those that were stranded by opening it’s entertainment pavilion along with other community centers and gymnasiums throughout the reservation. After weather conditions cleared, many veterans were left stranded having no place to go and no resources to assist, giving the only option of staying at the encampments near the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Over 4,000 veterans showed up at Standing Rock during the first weekend in December.
In coordination with the call to action, organizers set up a GoFundMe campaign to assist with travel and miscellaneous costs for the weekend of actions and raised more than $1 million. With the amount of those stranded and lack of assistance, questions have been raised causing mistrust on the transparency of the use of funds.
Loreal Black Shawl, former national Spokesperson for Veterans for Standing Rock, addressed social media Sunday morning stating the funds are being used for veteran missions and objectives in other locations. “Funds are now being used for future missions outside of Standing Rock,” said Black Shawl. “I believe the funds raised on behalf of Veterans for Standing Rock should go to the veterans who are still at Standing Rock.”
North Dakota blizzard prevent travel home for veterans. Native News Online photo.
In an effort to update the public on organizational and funding strategies regarding veteran efforts in the encampments just off the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, Black Shawl announced she is no longer involved with Veterans for Standing Rock and is forming a new organization Oceti Oyate Akicita (One Nation Security) for veterans, allies and camp community that do not have gofundme or other funding and that are on the ground in the encampments. that are on the ground in the encampments.
“The previous GoFundMe campaign “Veterans for Standing Rock” is still active and receiving funds that do not benefit veterans in camp,” continued Black Shawl.
A new fundraising platform will be launched in the next several days, but those wishing to contribute directly to Oceti Oyate Akicita may do via PayPal. CLICK HERE to contribute.