On Thursday, December 1, 2016, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard from the 2nd District of Hawaii delivered a speech on the House floor (video on right) to express her solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and water protectors in North Dakota, urging President Barack Obama to intervene and order the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline be halted immediately.
In her speech, she announced her plans to join with thousands of fellow veterans who have “self-deployed” to Standing Rock this weekend, some even walking hundreds of miles in the cold to make it there, in an effort organized by Wes Clark Jr. and Michael Wood, to support the demonstrators and act as “human shields” to protect them from any further excessive militarized police brutality, if necessary.
“We want to offer them a moment of peace and, if we can, take a little bit of pressure off.People are being brutalized; concussion grenades are being thrown into crowds. They’re spraying people, even old women, and other elders of the tribe with tear gas and pepper spray and all of this is just unconstitutional. I can’t believe the media hasn’t taken more of an interest in this.”
This movement came about shortly after both the Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple issued evacuation orders to the thousands of tribal representatives and non-Native supporters determined to stand their ground at the various camps that have been erected around the pipeline construction site since April, Oceti Sakowin being the largest camp. Organizers have been working tirelessly over the past several months in preparation to ensure everyone at the camps will have the necessary shelter, supplies, and resources to stay warm and self-sufficient through North Dakota’s legendary harsh sub-zero freezing winter.