In this powerful video from Salon, veterans at the Oceti Sakowin protest camp join tribal elders in a ceremony celebrating the government’s refusal to grant an easement to the Energy Transfer Partners corporations, which ostensibly will put a stop to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Wesley Clark Jr, son of famed NATO Supreme Commander Wesley Clark Sr., and a group of veterans stood in formation and knelt before the native elders to ask their forgiveness for the countless crimes that the American government and military have committed against the native peoples of America.
“Many of us, me particularly, are from the units that have hurt you over the many years. We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faced of our presidents onto your sacred mountain. When we took still more land and then we took your children and then we tried to make your language and we tried to eliminate your language that God gave you, and the Creator gave you. We didn’t respect you, we polluted your Earth, we’ve hurt you in so many ways but we’ve come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness.”
The genocide of this land’s Native American population was an abhorrent crime against humanity that still never gets the recognition it deserves. Because history is written by the winners, it is also one of the most heavily whitewashed. Forced relocation, mass murder, the purposeful infection of local populations with deadly disease, and cultural colonization were the tools used by the government and the military to exterminate Native Americans and take their lands for their own use.
The construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline represents the disregard and the arrogance that the government and the corporate powers still show to the interests of the Native Americans, which makes it especially powerful to see military men show such respect and try to atone for the crimes of our forefathers.
Watch it here:
— Salon (@Salon) December 5, 2016