When a group of U.S. army veterans truly respect treaties, the environment and themselves
WESLEY CLARK JR., FORMER LIEUTENANT IN THE U.S. ARMY, contributed to put together the group called Veterans standing for Standing Rock. Thousands of U.S. army veterans joined this group to help defend water protectors at and around the Sacred Stone Camp in North Dakota on December 4, 2016 . They came to voice their opposition to the proposed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota and within the 1851 Sioux treaty territory. They felt that the treatment of water protectors by local police forces and the desecration of water and treaty lands by the pipeline were unacceptable.
On December 4, thanks mostly to all water protectors and in no small part to Veterans standing for Standing Rock, the department of the U.S. army denied an easement that would allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe. The U.S. army said that they would explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing through an environmental impact statement.
On December 5, Wesley Clark Jr. and other veterans kneeled in front of Sioux medicine man Leonard Crow Dog during a forgiveness ceremony at the Four Prairie Knights Casino & Resort on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
Wesley Clark Jr. said:
Many of us, me particularly, are from the units that have hurt you over the many years. We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faces of our presidents onto your sacred mountain. When we took still more land and then we took your children and then we tried to make your language and we tried to eliminate your language that God gave you, and the Creator gave you. We didn’t respect you, we polluted your Earth, we’ve hurt you in so many ways but we’ve come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness.
Wesley Clark Jr. and the veterans who kneeled before Leonard Crow Dog are the kind of persons who can make a huge difference in treaty areas, not because they are veterans, but because they are courageous sensible people. If tens of thousands of Non-Indians of their kind would come to live in treaty areas, they could change everything. Together with American Indians, they could make American Indian sovereignty a reality in these lands. They could protect the water, the air, the land, make life good for everyone. If American Indians living in treaty areas want to reduce the percentage of intolerant Non-Indians who try to block American Indian sovereignty in these areas, they could invite thousands of Non-Indians like Wesley Clark Jr. and others to live in these treaty areas. This is very serious stuff.
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