At the Cannonball River: Bold Move by Standing Rock “Water Protectors,” Vicious Pig Attack

November 2, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Today the world saw images of militarized police brutally attacking Native Americans and their supporters at the Cannonball River. The people at Standing Rock are determined to stop Energy Transfer Partners from building an oil pipeline that tramples on burial grounds held sacred by the Standing Rock Sioux, and threatens their water supply. correspondents are there—Travis Morales, and—from the Revolution Club, NYC—Riley Ruiz. They are standing with the struggle, learning from people, and engaging people with the new communism—including among delegations from Latin America.

Here is their report from today:

Last Thursday, people were forced back from an encampment near the site of pipeline construction. It was a vicious attack by the police, and people defended themselves. Over 140 people were arrested. Today, people made a move to seize back initiative. There have been ongoing protests aimed at disrupting the route from Bismark, ND (where the construction workers are housed) to the pipeline site and that was one focus of struggle.

And at the same time, in a bold move, people attempted to re-occupy Turtle Island in the Cannonball River. This site has numerous burial grounds that are being trampled by the pipeline construction. First, protesters built a bridge from Standing Rock encampment to Turtle Island. Game wardens tore that bridge down.

Then, as people gathered on the bank of the river, one heroic youth plunged into the icy waters, heading for Turtle Island. Several people followed her. Then more took up the challenge. About 50 people made it across the river.

Photo: Special to

When people reached the shore of Turtle Island, they were attacked by 100 or so riot police.

Photo: Special to

Some 150 people rallied on the riverbank supporting them. People brought canoes into the water with masks, first aid supplies, and materials to protect the people in the water.

Photo: Special to

In the face of rubber bullets and mace, in frigid water, protesters maintained a standoff on the shore for over an hour.

Photo: Special to



Interviews at the Cannonball River

A man from Oregon:

Revolution: So what were you doing here today?

I got here this morning and they said that we’re doing an action, that we’re coming over here to Turtle Island to pray. And so we came down and we were helping them finish the bridge. We saw the sheriffs and the police and the National Guard all lining up over here. Once they came and pulled the bridge down, we saw the first young woman who went in the water over there. And some others stood with her. So I kinda waded in the water. And finally she came back, she was so cold, we helped pull here back up on the bank. And I just felt like I needed to stand with the brothers that were standing there—there were already people there.

Revolution: What’s that on your face?

That’s from me getting doctored up. We got pepper-sprayed pretty heavy, like three different times over there. We were standing in the water, standing there just peaceful with our hands up showing them that we’re just standing there peaceful and in prayer, not letting their intimidation tactics work to push us away. For myself, I’m not really angry at the officers over there. There’s one, when we were coming back, this boat was coming over there, and they came in and rammed ‘em with, the National Guard guys on that boat came in and rammed them as they were coming in to get me and the girl I was standing next to—we were both burning pretty bad from the pepper spray, we were standing in the water about an hour.

They wouldn’t let us up on the Island. We stood in the water about two or three feet back from the bank, in about three feet of water, just standing there. Like myself, I told the officers, I’m sorry you have to be out here, I’m sorry you have to be on that side of things. I’m sure there are more than one, I could see it in their eyes, when they get home they have to think about this and they can’t feel good about this. Maybe some of them do. I know there’s assholes in every group. But the other side of it is they’re the police offices, they have a job to do, their bosses tell them to come out here and they have to come out here. They have families to support.

Revolution: What do you think about the chant that people were doing, “Who do you serve, who do you protect?”

Well, you know, that’s the point that makes me start crying. This isn’t protection, they’re being sent out here to guard the interests of energy transfers and the interests of Dakota Access LLC; they’re protecting a corporate interest, they’re not protecting the people. We’re here protecting the water, we’re here protecting the environment. We’re here saying enough raping of the land and damage to the environment in the name of greed. Land is for people. I have children, I have a grandchild and another one on the way. And if at some point, if we don’t take a stand like we are here and say enough is enough, then there won’t be water for my grandchildren and their children. This isn’t the whole war, this is just the first battle. This is the first great fight, it doesn’t stop here.

Revolution: What would you tell people who are reading or listening to this interview, about why they should come here?

Come here and take a stand. I think they should come here to continue to bring attention to this issue. I think they should come here to really get connected to the earth and really get connected to the water. I think they should come here and let their spirits heal and let their spirits wake up. If they’re non-Native, then they should come here and find out what being Native is about.

Revolution: What do you think it’s actually going to take to stop DAPL, to stop them from building this pipeline? What needs to happen?

In my opinion, I guess I would say that the people who are in power need to quit ignoring the majority of the people who say they are against this pipeline. When you have the whole world—80,000 marchers in Ireland and they’re fighting against privatized water, corporate-owned water, and they’re supporting Dakota Access. When you have Palestinians who are in a fight for their life, from genocide and they’re stopping and they’re saying we standing with Standing Rock, what that says is that it’s THE PEOPLE—the people of the world are saying enough fossil fuel extraction, enough pipelines, enough poisoning of the water. And so the governments and the people in places of power need to start listening to the people—they’re going to have to. At some point they’re going to have to.

A Native Woman

Revolution: Why you out here at the river today?

There are sacred burial grounds over this hill right here—there are 12 of them and they are disrupting our ancestors. And they’re trying to say that this is private land when it’s treaty land. That’s the most reason that we’re here, to pray for our ancestors whose land is being broken up.

We heard that everybody needed to be at the frontlines, so we went to the bridge first and on the radio. We heard someone got shot—oh, my god, he’s bleeding from his mouth. So we ran in, it took some courage to get in, I ain’t going to lie. But we got in there—we all just stood there. They were just like wanting to mace us—“let’s just mace them cuz it’s fun, let’s just play with our toys.”

Revolution: Did you see them shoot people with rubber bullets?

Woman: Yeah, right over here, when we came up here already, they had shot somebody. It looked like straight forward, right there and that guy had that shield. The fact that they shot at him and he had no weapons. They only shot at one person right here…. I couldn’t really see—I was all maced up, it was all white, but they really maced us.



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