News of the military-style response to water protectors resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline has reverberated across the nation, with marches of solidarity being held in every major city.
Even way across the country, 1,500 miles away in the southeastern U.S., people support the NoDAPL movement, and they are also calling for more media coverage. On November 12, dozens of people gathered outside the Atlanta headquarters of CNN in an attempt to draw more attention to the issue from the network. Paul Wilson (Blackfeet) and Amanda Starr led the demonstration and shared informational handouts, spoke with local media and addressed what they saw as a lack of in-depth media coverage. In general, they wanted to "educate the people in this area about what's going on,” Paul Wilson told ICTMN.
“At the time we arranged this, there was no mainstream media coverage,” Wilson said. “We have since seen a little more, but still not enough.”
The event was attended by many people of different races and groups, including the Georgia faction of the hactivist group Anonymous.
"We stand for unity, peace, love and protection of the environment,” a masked spokesperson for the Georgia Anonymous group told ICTMN. “We feel we are all in this together to fight against oppression and support the same ideas as those opposing big oil."
Photo: Amy Morris
Members of the hactivist group Anonymous were also on hand to show support for NoDAPL in Atlanta recently.
For those who cannot travel to the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation to join the water protectors on the front lines, social media has been an instrumental tool in organizing demonstrations, coordinating coast-to-coast supply runs, and channeling firsthand accounts and information about what is happening.
Most attendees who gathered in Atlanta had found the event by using the hash tag #NoDAPL on Facebook. Amid ongoing discussions between the Army Corps and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, efforts to organize and find areas to demonstrate may well gain even more momentum. The use of #NoDAPL on social media accounts nationwide may already be helping create a sizable push against Dakota Access and its parent company, Energy Transfer Partners.
Demonstrators in front of CNN waved signs at passing motorists imploring President Barack Obama to "Act Now" and for President-elect Trump to "Please Stop DAPL!" Many of those passing by seemed shocked they had not heard about the conflict, or they simply had no idea of the gravity of the situation.
Photo: Amy Morris
Drummers were also on hand at the rally.
The conditions have only gotten graver, and the targeting of water protectors with high-powered hoses in subfreezing temperatures on November 20 has the world aghast anew.
And here, too, the media’s absence was noted, even as Facebook became the method of informing the world about the attacks against water protectors.
As of November 14, construction is officially halted while the Obama administration holds off on issuing the final easements for drilling under the Lake Oahe portion of the Missouri River. Some see it as a chance for Obama to honor his commitment to indigenous rights.
"At this point, it is now up to the federal government to fulfill its obligations to Indigenous Peoples as defined within the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," said International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) consultant Roberto Borrero (Taino), who was part of a recent United Nations delegation that traveled to Standing Rock. "This is a historic opportunity for the Obama administration to provide a clear process example for the incoming administration with regard to the rights of Indigenous Peoples particularly within the context of obtaining Free, Prior, and Informed consent."
Follow Amy Morris on Twitter @CiraPhoto.