With a Feb. 22 evacuation deadline quickly approaching, the women of the Standing Rock Sioux have a simple request. They need help, and they need it now.
“In the history of colonization, they’ve always given us two options: Give up our land or go to jail. Give up our rights or go to jail,” one woman says in the video. “And now, give up our water or go to jail. We are not criminals.”
Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota signed an emergency evacuation order on Feb. 15, reaffirming a Feb. 22 deadline for protestors to leave the Oceti Sakowin camp. The governor’s statement claims that safety concerns are behind the evacuation order.
“Warm temperatures have accelerated snowmelt in the area of the Oceti Sakowin protest camp, and the National Weather Service reports that the Cannonball River should be on the watch for rising water levels and an increased risk of ice jams later this week,” according to a statement from Burgum’s office. “Due to these conditions, the governor’s emergency order addresses safety concerns to human life as anyone in the floodplain is at risk for possible injury or death.”
They don’t understand people are willing to die here." Woman at the Oceti Sakowin camp
President Donald Trump also signed executive orders during his first week in office enabling resumed construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. But protestors have stood their ground.
“They don’t understand people are willing to die here,” a 90-year-old woman told The Intercept. “They don’t understand we will not back down. We have our ancestors with us and we are in prayer that Tunkashila (Great Spirit in Lakota) will guide us in our freedom.”
As one woman says in the video: “They’ve been trying to take us down for hundreds of years. They can keep trying, and we’re still going to be here, and we need help. There aren’t many of us left.”