Moments, People, & Events of Standing Rock
BLOG POST IS GETTING RE-WRITEN. Im putting words and story to the photos below. Its not finished but sign up for me email and ill let you know when the my full experience is written out.
Where do I begin?
I always considered myself to be open minded and aware of others pain but I came to find out I was very uneducated. I grew up believing and perceiving the world through a lens that was sheltered from painful history, a larger world view, and from a lot of truth. No one taught us in school about the injustice and inhuman treatment given to the native Americans, and if we were it was sugar coated and glanced over. Same goes with slavery, black suffrage, and white privilege but thats for another day. Driving into Oceti Sakowin camp, on Thanksgiving day in November of 2016, I had no idea the world my eyes were going to be open to.
It feels like a dream in many ways or a movie that somehow is was sucked into. How else could I explain what I experienced and here in America of all places? The land of the free…Free if your a uperclass white male or a billion dollar oil company. But if you are a native American you aren’t free, you aren’t human…Thats how they were treated here North Dakota. Treated like animals.
About a month before jumping in a car and driving to North Dakota I began seeing a few friends post about Standing Rock. I watched a video of these dogs being released on protestors, water protectors they called themselves. I was confused why isn’t this being shown on the news? How and why is this kind of thing being allowed to happen. I kept seeing videos and posted from independent sources about attacks on the water protectors but still no news seemed to be covering it. Then I see a post here or there from the news but they were saying the protestors are being violent and harassing the private security. Everything is was reading and seeing wasn’t say that but the news was reporting that so who is right? This is before I really knew about “fake news”, ive come a long way. I come to find out this issue had been going on for months and months and only know in late October was I hearing about it. I was captivated by this and began to feel burdened for what was happening but what could I do? Out of no where, while driving to work, I felt a nudge from God, “go document, go tell their story.” This thought kept coming back to me over and over again. I had no idea how to get there or what Id do. i’d never done anything like this before. After random interactions with people telling me about Standing Rock, meeting others who had friends there, and people telling me out of the blue “ hey know where you should go?….Standing Rock” I couldn’t ignore it. I planned for a few weeks and then packed my car and I went. My life has never been the same since.
Only a few days before I left for Standing Rock a huge incident went down at the 1806 bridge. DAPL, police, and security illegally blocked a HYW with concrete blocks and barbwire. They were trying to prevent the water protectors from delaying the pipeline being laid. A direct action ( a protest of prayer, singing, chanting, and or silence at the front lines where the barriers are) was happening at the bridge. One water protector was shot with a rubber bullet or tear gassed for being to close to the wall and so people went to go pull them to safety and all hell broke loose. They water protectors were rained upon with rubber bullets, tear gar, pepper spray, concussion grenades, and high powered water canons (in sub-freezing temps) relentlessly for hours. The protestors tried to make fires to warm those getting hypothermia but the police would spray them with the water. People kneeling at the barrier with hands in the air were shot almost point blank with rubber bullets and one lady had a concussion grenade shot right into her arm and she had to be flown out to Minneapolis to save her.
I was driving into that with no idea what id do once I got there.
photographer, Mariah Wilder from Minniapolis , taking in and trying to process all that is happening at Standing rock.