At a time when tribal leaders have called for water protectors to close their camps and leave, Marcus Mitchell is making the case for why the movement at Standing Rock should continue.
Mitchell, 21, had a blackened left eye stitched-up from injuries that he sustained on the bridge that night. He was the water protector that Morton County officials withheld his identity from its press statements after he was transported by ambulance to Sanford Medical Center in Bismarck and hospitalized for days. “I was shot for what?,” the young Diné man rhetorically asked Pavel Sulyandziga, a member of the UN Working Group on the issue of Human Rights, Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises. The UN body monitors alleged abuses by companies like Energy Transfer Partners who reportedly hired private security firm TigerSwan to orchestrate militarized policing of the Dakota Access pipeline and other surveillance operations. “I was expressing my freedom of speech. Me as an American citizen,” said Mitchell. “It is our birthright to express ourselves freely.” Mitchell’s shared testimony given on Monday, Jan. 23, followed a wave of weekend demonstrations over Trump’s inauguration. And in response to the President’s first week of executive actions — the pipeline memos, the Wall, the so-called Muslim ban — it sparked what many are calling a resurgence of America’s protest movement, a turning point perhaps inspired by the gathering at Standing Rock where at the end of 2016, it became a reminder of the influence that people-power can have when faced against inequality, historic abuses, and injustice.
My latest for @indiancountry | At Standing Rock, a Fight for Basic Survival Sets-In: As protest camps dismantle, focus shifts to new political battles 📷: Hal Myers ⬆ LINK IN BIO #StandingRock #DakotaAccess #NoDAPL #MniWiconi #Indigenous