Environmentalist Erin Schrode isn't giving up the fight at Standing Rock — and she's encouraging other protestors to continue pushing forward as well.
Schrode has reason to shutter and leave the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, where Dakota Access LLP is attempting to build a 1,172-mile pipeline through sacred Native American territory. An officer shot the 25-year-old with a rubber bullet while she protested on Wednesday, November 2.
She recounted the incident in an alarming Facebook post soon afterward.
"I was just shot," Schrode wrote in the viral Facebook post. "Militarized police fired at me from point blank range with a rubber bullet on the front lines of Standing Rock." Schrode, who recently ran for Congress, told Revelist that the shooting happened while she interviewed a peaceful protestor.
"A group of water protectors were trying to cross a small river to get to the other side, which is Army Corp of Engineers land, and hold a prayer circle there," she said. "It's their sacred land."
"There were over 100 armed militarized police, local, state forces from all over, armed with assault rifles, with more cans of pepper spray and mace than I’ve ever seen in my life," she continued. "I can attest 100% peaceful protests on Wednesday when I was shot. There was no no provocation, no aggression."
Yet, the officers still shot her with the rubber bullet. Schrode later posted video of the shooting, which prompted further outrage.
Despite this traumatic event, Schrode is still raising additional awareness about what's happening at Standing Rock.
Schrode said she's concerned about the impact of fracking oil on the environment — and the DAPL pipeline perfectly proves why.
The DAPL would transport crude oil between North Dakota and Pakota, Illinois, according to DAPL Pipeline Facts. It would transfer about 470,000 barrels of oil every day, which its organizers argue would "translate into greater energy independence for the United States."
Schrode disagrees. She said the pipeline has a high risk of rupturing, which could have disastrous effects for those living along the Missouri River.
"[The DAPL] is deeply troublesome when you have such a high risk of rupture and leak, and crossing the Missouri River — that would contaminate the water supply for 17 million individuals downstream," she told Revelist. "That's not just here on the land of one Native American nation or in North Dakota. That's Kansas City. That's all the way to the gulf. And that's a national security issue as well as a public health crisis looming."
Schrode has reason to be concerned: There have been 3,300 oil pipeline eruptions since 2010, according to For Effective Government.
These ruptures have killed 80 people and injured 389 over the last five years.
For this reason, she called DAPL a human rights violation, especially since it will run among a sacred burial ground.
"This is the fight of our lives," she told Revelist. "This is the convergence of so many movements around peace and justice, around human rights, around a livable climate. This is about illegal land seizure. This is about crude oil transfer. This is about the history of a long oppressed people. This is about desecration of the sacred. This is a travesty on so many levels."
This became abundantly clear to Schrode when police officers arrested 142 protestors on October 28. She and Josh Fox, a filmmaker, interviewed many of these protestors. She said two of them made comparisons to Nazi Germany.
"I was brought to tears, so was Josh, hearing their firsthand accounts," Schrode said. "They likened their arrests to concentration camps in Nazi Germany on three separate occasions with the dogs being set on them, numbers being sprawled on their arms, and the conditions in which they were kept."
The treatment of protestors is what compelled Schrode to stand in solidarity at Standing Rock.
She said DAPL is racist — and it's important to make this issue central to tomorrow's presidential election.
"This is the fight for our lives. This is about so much more than one pipeline, one Native nation," she said. "I think about the trauma and the pain that all of us are feeling here in solidarity. That’s nothing compared to the compounded historic trauma. This is reminiscent of every massacre from the time of Christopher Columbus to today. This is reminiscent of the removal of the first boarding schools, of the killings, so we have historic trauma that’s being brought up that people didn’t even know was there. I understand that the election is important, but this is too. And this will not stop on November 9 or January 21. This is, honestly, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world."
She's encouraging those who aren't at Standing Rock to put pressure on their local officials to stop the construction of the pipeline.
"The Army Corp of Engineers can deny DAPL the permit to continue construction of this to the Missouri river. And that is what everyone here needs," she said. "Call president Obama, call the Army Corps of Engineers, call the governor of North Dakota, put pressure on your politicians to halt the construction of this."
Schrode also made it clear that she's disappointed in president Obama's response to the backlash over the pipeline.
Obama's administration and the Department of Justice stopped construction on part of the pipeline near Lake Oahu in September. In a joint statement, they also said they'd like to reconsider how tribal land is used.
"Furthermore, this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects," the statement read. "Therefore, this fall, we will invite tribes to formal, government-to-government consultations."
Obama also told NowThisNews that DAPL may be rerouted to protect the Standing Rock Sioux land.
"My view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans," he said on November 1. "And I think that right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline."
However, he also said that both police and protestors are responsible for keeping demonstrations peaceful, which drew the ire of some of those at Standing Rock.
"It’s a challenging situation. There is an obligation for protesters to be peaceful, and there is an obligation for authorities to show restraint," Obama said. "And I want to make sure that as everyone is exercising their constitutional rights to be heard that both sides are refraining from situations that might result in people being hurt."
That's where Schrode and Obama disagree.
"I'll tell you what's happening, Mr. President: There are human rights violations ongoing," she told Revelist. "There are people being injured. There are people being imprisoned. There are people suffering because of your inaction."
She also said Obama's decision to wait a few more weeks before making a decision on DAPL is "grossly irresponsible."
"Letting the situation play out for a few more weeks is grossly irresponsible," she said. "And re-routing the pipeline doesn't solve this massive environmental crisis or public health catastrophe that could happen should there be even a slight leak."
So, Schrode is committing to keeping the pressure on the government to do what she considers the right thing — and wants others to get involved as well. Most of all, she wants the media to "wake up to the oppression" happening at Standing Rock.
"It is not lost on me that I am a white woman who came to stand in solidarity with my Native brothers and sisters, and my story, of being shot with a rubber bullet is now making headlines when there are people suffering at the hands of police and at the hands of the government every day," she told Revelist. "So, wake up to that oppression."
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