Native American Protesters Hit by Sonic Weapons in DC

The first U.S. president to officially commemorate Indigenous Peoples’ Day is facing backlash for supporting the Line 3 tar sands pipeline and other fossil-fuel expansion projects.

Message to President Joe Biden painted on the pedestal of a statue of Andrew Jackson, the U.S. president known to Cherokees as “Indian Killer,” ahead on the Oct. 11 Indigenous People’s Day fossil fuel protests. (Jennifer K. Falcon, Twitter)

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

More than 130 Native American Earth protectors were arrested in Washington, D.C. on Monday, while others were blasted with sonic weaponry as tribal leaders and members from across the continent they call Turtle Island gathered on Indigenous Peoples’ Day to protest Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline and other oil and gas ventures. The projects are backed by President Joe Biden and the protestors called on his administration to halt all fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency.

Thousands of Indigenous-led demonstrators rallied and marched, with hundreds engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience outside the White House as a week of #PeopleVsFossilFuels climate action kicked off.

Ahead of Monday’s march, protesters painted “Expect Us” on the pedestal of a statue in Lafayette Park opposite the White House of Andrew Jackson, the genocidal seventh U.S. president known to Cherokees as “Indian Killer” — and a favorite of former President Donald Trump.

Indigenous Environmental Network tweeted video footage of police using a Long-Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD) against demonstrators sitting defiantly but peacefully outside the White House fence. Some observers contrasted the deployment of so-called “sound cannons” against nonviolent Indigenous protesters both on Monday and during past #StopLine3 protests with the absence of such heavy-handed tactics during the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mostly white mob.

Some critics decried Biden — the first president to officially commemorate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and the first to appoint a Native American to his Cabinet — for allowing the arrest of Indigenous protesters at Monday’s demonstration. Others took aim at the chasm between the president’s climate promises and his administration’s fossil fuel-friendly actions.

“Biden claimed to be a climate leader during his campaign, and he made promises to steer our nation into a just and renewable transition,” said Tasina Sapa Win, a member of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation and co-founder of the Cheyenne River Grassroots Collective. 

Sapa Win had a message for Biden: “If you’re claiming to be a leader for our climate crisis, to come up with solutions to our issues here, then you need to start living up to your word.”

Siqiñiq Maupin, executive director of Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic, told The Washington Post at Monday’s protest that thousands of her people have become some of the first U.S. climate refugees, as a dozen villages must relocate to drier ground. She also said that people around her village are developing rare cancers and asthma, and need medication to help them breathe.

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“People are dying right now from the pollutants, the toxins, the climate catastrophes that are happening, and we have to stop the harm,” Maupin said, adding that Biden’s election was “riding on climate change, his entire election on people of color, Indigenous people. But when it really comes to when it matters, our lives are still being sacrificed for oil and gas.”

The president and his administration have faced backlash from Indigenous and environmental activists for backing the Line 3 tar sands pipeline, a Trump-era Alaska drilling project, and other fossil fuel industry expansion, with critics calling Biden’s actions a “horrible and unconscionable betrayal” of his campaign promises.

Winona LaDuke, founder of the Indigenous-led advocacy group Honor the Earth, told Democracy Now! that “it’s so tragic that, on the one hand, the Biden administration is like, ‘We’re going to have Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but we’re still going to smash you in northern Minnesota and smash the rest of the country.'”

Joye Braun, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux and anti-pipeline organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, said that “Biden has turned a fork-tongue, and he needs to be held accountable to the promises he made to Indigenous nations when we helped elect him.”

Speaking outside the White House, Braun said, “Joe Biden you have been making false promises. You stopped Keystone XL — what about [Dakota Access Pipeline], Line 5, [Mountain Valley Pipeline]? This is Indigenous land. Indigenous peoples will be here for thousands of years. Biden, can you hear us now?”

This article is from  Common Dreams.

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8 comments for “Native American Protesters Hit by Sonic Weapons in DC

  1. Anonymotron
    October 13, 2021 at 23:26

    Lets see if I got this straight… Our government gifts Native Americans w/
    their own day… when DC’s guests dont behave as their host wants… Attack!

    Naughty children indeed!

  2. robert e williamson jr
    October 13, 2021 at 15:11

    Folks you might want to stop watching that swinging watch. Seems all either party desires is distractions from the mess they have created by being equally inept attempts at faking being leaders of the masses.

    They fail because they too have been fooled by the Deep State and all that money they rake in.

    Biden should shut down the oil sands fiasco before it ruins what left of fresh water in this country.

    Joe put down the damned fiddle and do something.

  3. Steve
    October 13, 2021 at 11:58

    Someone should go to National Airport and drag down the statue of Ronald Reagan.

    • John
      October 14, 2021 at 10:36

      Stupendous idea.

  4. October 12, 2021 at 18:26

    The politically deluded on which the Deep State relies for power can be divided into two groups: those shackled to the Democratic Party, like the African American block, those that idolize identity politics including the LGBT block, radical feminists, etc., but there is another well-meaning segment who believe in the rights of organized labor, in immigrant rights, in the right to healthcare and education for all, in the right to work at a decent job, and, of course, people honestly concerned with the environment. The first group loves to grandstand and belittle those with whom they don’t agree, and their heroes tend to be the millionaire Hollywood crowd where hypocrisy is an art form. The second group is bewildered and bereft of heroes and heroines, for the most part, although the few they have tend to be legitimate. Biden is just fine for the first group but, were they honest with themselves, the second group would be deeply depressed by their electoral error, … errors really. They could long ago have formed a political party with candidates in whom they could believe and who would be faithful to those that voted for them rather than to those who with money and media, got them elected. Perhaps their candidates would win only infrequently, … at first. But they could look at themselves in their mirrors without seeing the face of political cowards who deserved the betrayals they are regularly served. Like the one reflected in this article.

  5. Tomonthebeach
    October 12, 2021 at 18:15

    It is very hard to watch videos of this “demonstration” and not see a lot of overacting and phony pearl clutching apparently attempting to amplify the theatrics. These folks knowingly violated park regs to stand where they were not supposed to, vandalized a statue that should have been removed decades ago – still it is lawless behavior – and then the police tried to break it up with minimum violence. No sane person would attribute “I don’t want to die!” as an expression of fear for life and limb at this event.

    You have to wonder what these people think they are accomplishing by tossing mud a the president who gave them a special day. They likely amped up justification among the racist GOP to crack down – not liberalize.

    • James Simpson
      October 13, 2021 at 02:47

      A “special day” means nothing at all when the US government is continuing to dismiss the legitimate and important demands from Indigenous peoples to stop new fossil fuel extraction projects. As for lawless behaviour, you’re surely amplifying one – minor vandalism of a racist monument – and ignoring the US government’s long record of criminal activities which continue to this day.

  6. Dfnslblty
    October 12, 2021 at 13:18

    Say and act “No” to such violence!
    Protest Loudly such culturally-selective use of weapons!
    Indict the officials who commanded such usage!
    potus46 must be held responsible — as c.i.c.
    Criminal and unjustifiable!

Comments are closed.