The violence committed against Native Americans at Standing Rock is part of a long history of genocide

BY KATRINA ROSE FULLER II ’17

The author, who identifies as Native, responds to a video that was broadcast live on Facebook by Thomas H. Joseph II on Sept. 28, 2016.

“We have no weapons! We are peaceful! Don’t shoot!”

The cries of my people shake every emotion in my body. The officer loads his shotgun before the dirt kicked up by his vehicle could settle. First, they attacked with brute force, guns and pepper spray. Next, they came with trained attack dogs and helicopters. Finally, marching through the prairie was an army with snipers, assault weapons and militarized vehicles.

My people are defending the 1,172 mile Dakota Access Pipeline, approved through a loophole coordinated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and will go under the Missouri River and through four states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. What threat must be pushing them to bring in such deadly force?

“Savages,” “Injuns,” “Redskins;” the U.S. government takes every chance to exterminate us. Because smallpox blankets could not completely kill us and slaughtering bison to near extinction could not fully starve us, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has come for our water.

It has been an uphill battle since the day our country was invaded, so why should now be any different? More than 4,000 unarmed Native Americans, from almost 200 tribes, gathered in North Dakota to protect the Missouri River from

impending contamination, and are being treated as terrorists for protecting the drinking water of over 2.5 million people.

As a student at MHC, far away from home, I thought diaspora would help me detach from the pain of a near extinct population, but it hasn’t. It was terrifying to watch this video from my perspective, knowing that if the natives there were killed, it would be an extreme loss to our population: cultural stories, traditions, beliefs and language destroyed, lost forever, another step toward assimilation.

So, when you are watching these videos about DAPL protesters, water protectors, whatever you want to call them, know that this is not another “bad thing” the government is doing to Native Americans, this is not another tally mark on the chalkboard of oppression and colonization. For us, this is another attempt at genocide. You are watching my people fight for life, as they have always done, not in a far away country, but in their own backyards.

“Savages,” “Injuns,” “Redskins;” the U.S. government takes every chance to exterminate us. Because smallpox blankets could not completely kill us and slaughtering bison to near extinction could not fully starve us, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has come for our water.

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