Welcome to Veterans Standing for Standing Rock
Thank you all of you for deciding to take time out of your lives to help support this worthy cause. Remember, as per the OPORD, we are going there to provide a respite for those who have been there fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline for months now. This deployment is to allow these water protectors time to take a breather before they jump back in. To that end we will be trying to take up as much slack as possible to allow for as many people as possible to have some downtime.
Also, since this is a Native led movement we will be taking our guidance from tribal elders and leaders. This is their land and they have been the leads in this struggle so they are clearly the local subject matter experts. They may have different approaches to things that need to be respected and adapted to. They see this as a sacred movement and are approaching this protest with peace, prayer, and ceremony.
Once this deployment is over please take the lessons learned back home and share. Help spread the word, not just about water rights but about the rights of all people. Work to have the government support the treaties that were signed. Work to defend local resources and build relationships within your
Things to remember while preparing for this deployment:
The weather is very cold and windy. That means frost bite and hypothermia are a possibility unless you are properly prepared. Medics on site will try to help but you are your own best defense for this. While our billeting is being taken care of it is good to be prepared with a sleeping rated for subzero temperatures. If you bring a tent or other shelter, be aware of these conditions.
While the local tribe will be feeding us, if you have the means please bring food stuffs to share. We are a large deployment and expecting them to bear the full weight of our presence is not helpful. Bring what you can or donate funds to the camps. If you have appropriate cooking gear, that might also be a good help.
Medics are already on site and our deployment will be bringing more. They have supplies, but as commented above, bringing additional items to help stretch their supplies will be in everyone’s best interests. Make sure that you have all the personal medications you need as it is a journey to the nearest VA hospital.
If you are a driver, vans and campers will be very useful as they can provide hard shelter against the elements as well as heaters. That can save camp resources and make our deployment easier on everyone.
Arrest is a possibility and we will be keeping track of these things. While this is a non-violent protest the OPFOR does not seem constrained by this. Their tactics are often are to abuse and humiliate those detained, through things as strip searches and confinement in kennels. We are stronger than their intimidation attempts.
Bail is apparently currently at $1600. If arrested, expect to spend a night in detainment. We will try to find lawyers who can come to your aid but this situation is rather fluid and remember to ask for a public defender if necessary.
The tribal custom is to view this as Ceremony and Prayer. As such we need to be very respectful. Take hats off, accept their beliefs with reverence as at heart all faiths try to make the world and each other better.
Campfires are places of prayer. Respect that but please do join in. They are not places to talk about the negative but rather the positive.
We are not riding in to save the day but rather to move in to support our Native brothers and sisters in arms. We are not here to show them a better way but to use our skills to support their fight. We are here to learn and assist not dominate. Think of it as a foreign deployment where the locals are our respected allies.
If you see a ceremony being conducted, DO NOT join in unless invited. Ceremonies are very important and sometimes geared for a specific purpose or group of people. If you don’t barge into prayer and worship groups back home don’t do it here.
Photography in camps is regulated through the media tent. If you have done so and want to take photos, make sure to get permission before taking the picture. This is simply a courtesy.
For a clearer picture of the values that are driving this movement please go to the following url and read their listed values. We want to follow and respect these in order to get along well with the Native water defenders.
Elements of non-violent direct action:
- Remain calm. No matter what they say or do remain calm.
- Do not physically engage them. Do not push back, grab, or anything like that. It can be used as justification for arrest.
- Support your teammates.
- Do not yield or back down to shows of force.
- Remain calm. This is no joke.
- Link arms if you are worried about taking a swing.
- Remember who you have at your back.
- Do not call them names, belittle them, etc… The OPFOR is just doing its job despite it being wrong. They are working stiffs like the rest of us.
- If they try to arrest you passively resist. Become a dead weight.