Native American Commission Hopes Peaceful DAPL Protest Continues from Both Sides

Native American and other city leaders are finding ways to help bring peace to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Urgent and appalling.

This is what city commissioner John Strand calls actions taken by Morton County law enforcement Sunday night.

After the riot, authorities say they found improvised weapons and makeshift explosives at the site.

But commission members say they only want to see peaceful protests resume, bringing unity and understanding to both sides.

“Regardless of the outcome of what’s going on in Standing Rock right now, I think there’s some deeper issues that have kind of come to the surface,” said Clinton Alexander, Chair of the Native American Commission.

He’s talking about things like the Halloween costumes mocking protesters near the pipeline.

They want to help give peaceful protesters resources they need as well as educate others on why Native Americans are there.

Barry Nelson of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition says to do this, they must communicate with the right people at the protest site.

“There’s a certain lack of quality that happens when you have a group of well meaning disconnected white people getting together to talk about issues,” said Nelson.

All members of the commission unanimously agreed to create an ad hoc collaborative group including themselves, city commissioners and activists.

“I think that responsibility for us is to pull our community and figure out productive ways to move forward and – to be productive in these conversations rather than be divisive,” said Alexander.

Native Commissioner Sharon White Bear says a heavy feeling was felt after pipeline construction proceeded.

“What I started to think about as the days went on was how my grandparents must have felt when they built the Garrison Dam and when they told them, you’re moving no matter what,” said Commisoner White Bear. “Those are my forefathers and my grandparents and they’re digging them up, they don’t care what’s there. That means nothing to them.”

The ad hoc committee begins planning their next course of action in early December.

Clinton Alexander says they are the first Native American Commission in the country after starting eight years ago.

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