Elders kept in cages. Demonstrators shot with rubber bullets. What’s happening at Standing Rock isn’t just a protest, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox writes. It’s a character test—one America is failing.
As North Dakota police lock up and abuse peaceful “water protectors,” members of a growing resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline slated to transport oil under the Missouri River, it becomes clear that the fight over the tribal land of Standing Rock is not only the primary battleground for indigenous sovereignty; it is the center of the fight for clean water, to fight climate change, and to ban hydraulic fracturing. At its base, this is a struggle between the people and a government corrupted by corporate power.
Wes “Mekasi” Horinek, an activist with the water rights group Bold Alliance was arrested during a camp raid by local police. He described the atrocities he’s witnessed: “peaceful protesters were hooded, put in stress positions, strip-searched. We were placed in dog kennels with numbers written on our arms for hours. Elders were kept in cages in the basement of the police station for days.”
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