The threat of the Dakota Access Pipeline contaminating the clean water supply for thousands of people has continued to make news. This Halloween weekend, the site saw a fair share of horror.
Standing Rock was subjected to a dreadful raid and stand-off between the militarized police and the unarmed peaceful protectors. The event was depicted through a series of Facebook Live videos. Much of this footage was broadcasted on the Indigenous Life Movement Facebook page. Video after video depicts the Morton County Police in over-the-top riot gear, slamming victims to the ground and arresting men and women of all ages.
Without the publicity from Standing Rock through social media, the violence this weekend might not have ever reached the forefront. Social media may be the platform for sharing Buzzfeed quizzes and cat pictures, but it’s also an important tool for bringing awareness to injustice.
According to coverage from National Public Radio, the one-sided violence first broke out on Thursday when police swarmed the grounds of the camp the protectors set up. The camp resides in the direct path of the proposed pipeline in order to halt construction.
Snipers were reportedly aimed at protectors not far from the camp as the police continued to make about 140 arrests. They stormed into tents and tipis. Some people were even dragged out from the middle of sweat lodge ceremony and then arrested. Automatic weapons were aimed at the people, and nonlethal weapons such as bean bag guns, rubber bullets and tasers were used on the people.
The latter is only the minimum of details of all that happened this weekend. Several people were injured due to the nonlethal guns. A man was shot in the face with a rubber bullet. Another was tased in the face. A horse was also shot with a nonlethal weapon and, much to the grief of his owner, later succumbed to his injuries.
More than 200 people were arrested over just a few short days. It has been a horrific weekend for those who were at Standing Rock, one that the those at the camp are still recovering from. The protectors remain strong and unified more than ever and continue to stand in prayer.
One of the most haunting things from this weekend was the fact that many of the people’s comments agreed that if it weren’t for social media, they wouldn’t have a clue about the injustices and civil rights violations. That is truly as dangerous as it sounds. Standing Rock is having to rely solely on social media to get the word out that the state deployed militarized police forces.
Most of the videos ended with, “We need people to come out here, and we need you to share this video — share what’s happening.” What this highlighted for so many people was the revelation that everyone has a major role in this event. Everybody is responsible for acting as the media when mass media is not present in situations like those at Standing Rock.