Dana Lone Hill: A big 'wopila' to all the #NoDAPL water protectors

Law enforcement responded with another show of force in North Dakota on November 24, 2016. Photo by Rob Wilson [GoFundMe]

The continued fight against DAPL
By Dana Lone Hill
Lakota Country Times Columnist

Another Veteran’s Day has come and gone and we were all subjected to commercials, tv shows, news stories, listening to the honor ceremonies at football stadiums, all the tearful and sad stories of our young women and men who are overseas “fighting for our freedom.”

Don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing them. Many of my ancestors have gone to war for this government and they all came back different, wounded, and PTSD. Many died before their time due to these circumstances and issues that happened because of them.

I know the government recruits in poverty stricken areas, I have seen them come to our reservation offering opportunities of a lifetime to our youth when I was in high school and everyone was scared of Saddam Hussein. Many of my classmates signed up, served and came home. Some took advantage of the college opportunity but most came back to the same impoverished reservation to live as they had before, poor.

I believe they went over with a warrior mentality. I believe in our Lakota ways and this warrior mentality is in our DNA. They deserve thanks and gratitude for serving and being warriors when they had to even though they came home to the same situation and the healthcare with the VA is no better than our IHS healthcare.

The government screwed them over, but I still believe in our warriors.

Even though the “fight for freedom” was really a fight for our oil companies and the whole war started an ongoing war with countries that never had weapons of mass destruction and terror cells and new terrorist groups formed from this. My children, the oldest age 23m have never known a time of peace.

But there is a new war on the horizon, funded only by grass roots. It is getting so huge it is now a global movement. It started growing in April of 2016 as a gathering but the NoDAPL disagreement between the tribe and Energy Transfer Partners out of Dallas Texas has been ongoing for two years over the 3.8 billion dollar pipeline.

It also brought together not only the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation) for the first time in a gathering since Custer went down, but tribes from close to 500 nations and Indigenous people from as far as New Zealand, Hawaii, and all over the world. Not to mention many different nationalities, and people from all different sides of like, cops, veterans, artists, musicians, politicians, teachers, medics, cooks, etc.

The water protectors went to help their brothers and sisters at Standing Rock to fight for water and the sacred land that is being desecrated by big oil companies. The same big oil companies the U.S. Government protects by recruiting youth in impoverished areas of the country with promise of opportunities of a better life and to join the “fight for freedom.”

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The same government who is funding the law enforcement of North Dakota to use military tactics on the peaceful water protectors who are using non violent direct action to protect the water and land. While the people at the Standing Rock NoDAPL gathering are being funded by crowdfunding that is sometimes a dollar at a time and donations of food and water and supplies.

So while everyone remembers those who “fought for freedom” everywhere and thanked them for protecting us way overseas, I would like to thank the water protectors who left their homes and are there everyday, because the fight for water is something that will help us live for many generations and the fight for oil is something that will only help the rich get richer.


(Dana Lone Hill is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and is the author of a book about life on the reservation called Pointing with Lips.)

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