A group of veterans plan to travel to Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota next week to serve as “human shields” for protesters who have been clashing with police. The group, Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, announced their plan to act as a human wall between police and the protestors they have been shooting with water cannons and other non-lethal deterrents shortly after governor issued an executive order demanding an mandatory evacuation.
The group plans to join the protesters at the Oceti Sakowin camp, where the majority of pipeline opponents have gathered despite these warnings from the government. The governor has declined requests to create a physical barrier to prevent the flow of supplies into the camp. He stated that they will begin imposing fines on any one caught bringing supplies into the protesters.
Veterans Stand for Standing Rock exceeded their original goal of gathering 500 veterans and raised over a half a million dollars to pay for supplies and transportation.
Loreal Black Shawl is one veteran that plans to join the protests. She served in the U.S. Army for eight years and is a member of the Native American of the Oglala Lakota and Northern Arapaho tribes. She told The Times:
“Okay, are you going to treat us veterans who have served our country in the same way as you have those water protectors? We’re not there to create chaos. We are there because we are tired of seeing the water protectors being treated as non-humans.”
Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple is asking all protesters to clear the area for their own safety. Harsh weather conditions have dumped 6 inches of snow on the area with more expected to come as the harshest winter months continue to approach.