“They seemed pretty caught off guard”
By C.S. Hagen
MANDAN – Sheriff’s deputies in riot gear welcomed gifts donated by Oceti Sakowin and International Indigenous Youth Council Friday when the No DAPL activists delivered boxes filled from the department’s winter donation list.
Transparent tote boxes filled with batteries, granola bars, thick socks, trail mix, and hand warmers, were brought to Morton County Sheriff’s Department by Native Americans, including three veterans involved in Iraq Veterans Against the War. Before bringing the gifts inside the department, activists, known as water protectors, spoke and prayed on the public sidewalk.
Leonard Crow Dog led the activists in prayers, which were also on the sheriff department’s wish list – at the top.
“What we’re doing here is offering them this water of life, to show the Morton County Sheriff’s Office, to show the people who believe that we’re here to hurt them that we’re actually here fighting for your rights to clean water, for your rights to clean air,” member of the International Indigenous Youth Council Thomas Lopez said.
“Thank you to the members of the International Indigenous Youth Council who stopped by with gifts and supplies and snacks for our employees,” Morton County Sheriff’s Department said on its Facebook page, which is now running again. “Your kindness and support is very much appreciated.”
Activists who brought the supplies hoped for a reciprocation of compassion and respect, LZ Amsterdam said.
“They seemed pretty caught off guard,” Amsterdam said. “They wouldn’t let us inside, even though they have asked the public to bring supplies to them. We showed compassion and humanity today and they had the opportunity to do the same, which they did not.”
The gifts were brought two days before the expected arrival of more than 2,500 veterans coming from around the United States and with Veterans for Standing Rock. The veterans en route have promised to show solidarity with Standing Rock, and to surround them in a human shield during any actions that may take place.
“We hold no hatred in our hearts,” Lopez said. “We don’t want to see you hurt. You are our brothers and sisters and we will treat you as such.”