The latest challenge for Dakota Access pipeline protesters: A punishing blizzard

More than 1,000 people protesting the Dakota Access pipeline have taken refuge in community centers and a casino on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation since a powerful blizzard blew through their main camp.

High winds knocked down a large military-style tent in the Seven Council Fires encampment late Monday. The tent caught fire, which spread to two other tents.

Click here to read the full article. 

Efrem John, a Dine Navajo from Shiprock, N.M., clears snow from his camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. (Scott Olson / Getty Images via LA Times)

Efrem John, a Dine Navajo from Shiprock, N.M., clears snow from his camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. (Scott Olson / Getty Images via LA Times)

Veterans came to North Dakota to protest a pipeline. But they also found healing and forgiveness

They had come to join Native American tribes and environmentalists protesting an oil pipeline, fully expecting to endure tear gas and rubber bullets. But in the end, veterans who traveled to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation found something far more profound.

Tribal members conduct a cleansing ceremony for the veterans who traveled to North Dakota to oppose the Dakota Access oil pipeline. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Tribal members conduct a cleansing ceremony for the veterans who traveled to North Dakota to oppose the Dakota Access oil pipeline. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Inside the auditorium at a reservation casino, Wes Clark Jr. and about a dozen veterans in formation behind him faced a small group of Sioux spiritual leaders. Encircling them, hundreds of other veterans looked on.  

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Thousands of veterans converge on North Dakota to aid pipeline protest

An estimated 2,100 U.S. military veterans were bound for the frigid Northern Plains on Saturday in a mass show of support for Native Americans and their allies battling the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Military veterans are briefed on camps rules and their mission at Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Saturday outside Cannon Ball, N.D. (Scott Olson / Getty Images via LA Times)

Military veterans are briefed on camps rules and their mission at Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Saturday outside Cannon Ball, N.D. (Scott Olson / Getty Images via LA Times)

The vets, organized under the banner “Veterans Stand for Standing Rock,” include 219 vets from California, many of whom departed in seven charter buses on Friday. 

Click here to read the full article. 

Army halts Dakota Access pipeline: 'Today, the voices of indigenous people were heard'

By William Yardley and Sandy Tolan

The Army Corps of Engineers on Sunday denied permission for the Dakota Access pipeline to cross under a section of the Missouri River, handing at least a temporary victory to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters. 

Photo via the LA Times

Photo via the LA Times

The decision came after months of protests by thousands of self-proclaimed “water protectors” — bolstered by the arrival of more than 2,000 U.S. military veterans — who have opposed the pipeline out of concern that it could rupture and contaminate the river, which they say provides drinking water to the tribe and 17 million other Americans.

Click here to read the full article. 

Dakota Access pipeline protesters vow to continue, despite threat of more dousing with hoses (LA Times)

 

by Sandy Tolan | Nov. 23, 2016 | Reporting along the Cannon Ball River, N.D.

Opponents of the Dakota Access oil pipeline vowed Wednesday to keep protesting despite a clash this week in which law enforcement officers fired rubber bullets and pepper spray at demonstrators and doused them with water hoses in subfreezing temperatures.

Protesters against the Dakota Access oil pipeline stand on a burned-out truck near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Nov. 21. (James MacPherson / Associated Press) via LA Times

Protesters against the Dakota Access oil pipeline stand on a burned-out truck near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Nov. 21. (James MacPherson / Associated Press) via LA Times

Interviews on a chilly Wednesday morning at the main protest camp evoked a chaotic, frightening scene as dozens of demonstrators were rushed into wood-fired camp kitchens for “aggressive rewarming” and “vigorous painful stimulation” after being soaked by the officers.   

Noah Morris of the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council said more than 300 people were treated for hypothermia and other ailments during the confrontations that erupted Sunday night and continued into Monday.

Click here to read the full story.

Thanksgiving at Dakota Access pipeline protest: 'It's a beautiful day to protect the water' (LA Times)

by SANDY TOLAN

Reporting from along the Cannon Ball River, N.D. — 

Demonstrators against the Dakota Access oil pipeline hold a ceremony at the main protest camp Nov. 15 near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. (James MacPherson / Associated Press)

Demonstrators against the Dakota Access oil pipeline hold a ceremony at the main protest camp Nov. 15 near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. (James MacPherson / Associated Press)

It was still dark on Thanksgiving morning as the pickup truck with mounted speakers rode slowly through the dirt lanes of the Oceti Sakowin camp.  

“Wake up, water protectors!” boomed an amplified voice as the truck moved past tents, teepees, and the occasional flickering campfire. “It’s a beautiful day to protect the water.”   

Hundreds of opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline were just finishing the morning prayer at the Sacred Fire in the center of the camp. Now they trudged through snow flurries toward the staging area for another day of confronting North Dakota officials over the $3.8-billion pipeline.

“Today we all made sacrifices to be here,” organizer Vic Camp called out through a bullhorn as the group of Native Americans and their supporters began gathering at the southern edge of the camp for a ride north toward Bismarck. 

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American-Indian wars, 21st century style (KCRW)

The Thanksgiving holiday celebrates the supposedly peaceful partnership between early European settlers and the natives who lived in America first. But while much of the country sits down to dinner, a very different historical pattern is playing out again near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. A Native American protest against an oil pipeline has been met with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. It's aroused attention all over the world.

As Jane Fonda plans to serve the protesters thanksgiving dinner, can President Obama make a lasting difference? We get an update.

Click here to listen now. 

Guests:
Sandy Tolan, University of Southern California / Los Angeles Times (@sandy_tolan
Charon Asetoyer, Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center(@charonasetoyer
Tom Seng, University of Tulsa (@utulsa
Tom Disselhorst, attorney
Mark Trahant, University of North Dakota (@TrahantReports)

 

After violent clashes, Native American protesters vow to continue their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Sandy Tolan for the LA Times

Hundreds of Native Americans staged a peaceful march up a North Dakota highway Saturday, renewing their vow to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline in the wake of violent clashes this week.

Pipeline protesters hold signs for passing motorists during a rally on the south side of the state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D., on Saturday. (Will Kincaid / The Bismarck Tribune) via LA Times

Pipeline protesters hold signs for passing motorists during a rally on the south side of the state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D., on Saturday. (Will Kincaid / The Bismarck Tribune) via LA Times

On Thursday, state police, county sheriff’s deputies from four other states and the North Dakota National Guard members made more than 140 arrests, using pepper spray, rubber bullets and Tasers to clear protesters from a camp they set up on the path of the oil pipeline, which is under construction. More than 50 people were treated for injuries.

Work on the $3.8-billion project resumed the same day.

The demonstration Saturday was centered just south of a bridge that authorities closed this week after pipeline opponents apparently torched a car — one of the several vehicles burned in the clashes — and deposited it there.

Click here to read the full article. 

North Dakota pipeline activists say arrested protesters were kept in dog kennels. Sandy Tolan reports for the LA Times

After a night of chaotic clashes with police on the front lines in a months-long protest, Native American activists complained about the force wielded to drive protesters from the path of a pipeline they contend will desecrate tribal lands and put their lone source of drinking water at risk.

A handout photo from the Morton County Sheriff's Department shows protesters and law enforcement personnel during a demonstration against the North Dakota oil pipeline project Thursday. (Morton County Sheriff's Department / EPA) via LA Times

A handout photo from the Morton County Sheriff's Department shows protesters and law enforcement personnel during a demonstration against the North Dakota oil pipeline project Thursday. (Morton County Sheriff's Department / EPA) via LA Times

Protesters said that those arrested in the confrontation had numbers written on their arms and were housed in what appeared to be dog kennels, without bedding or furniture. Others said advancing officers sprayed mace and pelted them with rubber bullets.

Click here to read the full article. 

Dakota Access oil pipeline protesters cleared from camp, sheriff says; more than 140 arrested - Sandy Tolan reports for the LA Times

 

As helicopters circled overhead, police in riot gear arrested activists Thursday in an effort to break up an encampment of protesters blocking the path of the planned Dakota Access oil pipeline, near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. By the end of the day, authorities said they had ousted the protesters from their camp.

Protesters confront soldiers and law enforcement officers assembled Thursday to force Dakota Access pipeline opponents off private land. (Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune)

Protesters confront soldiers and law enforcement officers assembled Thursday to force Dakota Access pipeline opponents off private land. (Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune)

Police arrested at least 141 people on charges including criminal trespassing, engaging in a riot and conspiracy to endanger by fire, according to the Morton County Sheriff's Department. 

Click here to read the full article. 

North Dakota pipeline protests reach boiling point - Sandy Tolan reports on KCRW's "To the Point"

Dakota Access Pipeline protesters square off against police near the Standing Rock Reservation and the pipeline route outside the little town of Saint Anthony, North Dakota. Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters

Dakota Access Pipeline protesters square off against police near the Standing Rock Reservation and the pipeline route outside the little town of Saint Anthony, North Dakota. Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters

Native Americans and supporters from around the world are digging in against an oil pipeline near the Missouri River — despite being struck with batons, sprayed with Mace and charged with crimes. After the protesters lost a battle in court, the Obama Administration asked Energy Transfer, a Fortune 500 Company, to defer construction. But the bulldozers are coming. Protesters aren't the only ones being arrested, so are journalists perceived to be on their side. 

Guests:
Sandy Tolan, University of Southern California / Los Angeles Times (@sandy_tolan
Deia Schlosberg, documentary filmmaker and producer (@deiaschlosberg)

Click here to listen now. 

Living on Earth: Standing With the Standing Rock Sioux

A rally led on horseback by the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and their allies. (Photo: Robert Wilson)

A rally led on horseback by the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and their allies. (Photo: Robert Wilson)

A rash of arrests at the Standing Rock demonstrations points to rising tensions between North Dakota state officials and the thousands that have allied themselves with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through ancestral lands and sources of water. Reporter Sandy Tolan visited the encampment that serves as a home base for the protestors, and explains to Living on Earth Host Steve Curwood that claims of protester “riots” are unfounded, based on what he observed.

Click here to listen now. 

Dakota pipeline protesters confront the “black snake”: “We’re living by the fire”

 

"We're gaining strength": On the Standing Rock reservation, winter is coming — but protesters won't give up 

SANDY TOLAN

Near Cannon Ball, N.D. — From the edge of the road, near the banks of the Cannon Ball River, you could hear a prayer rise from the darkened bowl of land below. It was 7:30 on a Monday morning on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. A faint glow appeared in the east, widening slowly to reveal a large circle of perhaps 100 people, most standing, a few kneeling in the center, facing the light, singing their prayer then lighting long pipes and passing them around. Behind them, dozens of white tipis stretched across the flood plain, their tops catching the early sunlight.

A few months ago, this treeless clearing in the Missouri River flood plain was empty. Now, 1,200 people are camping here, a fraction of the 5,000 who gathered in the summer. They have come from Indian lands across the Dakotas; from 300 North American tribal nations; from Jamaica, Central America, Norway, the United Kingdom, France and Japan. Their common pledge: to kill the long black snake — also known as the 1,172-mile, 450,000-barrel-a-day, $3.78 billion Dakota Access pipeline — before it poisons the drinking water that millions of people in the Great Plains depend on.

Click here to read the full article. 

Dakota Pipeline fight heats up as the weather turns cold

The battle over the future of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, which pits indigenous peoples and environmental activists against the forces aligned with the $3.78 billion pipeline, may reach a head this week.  Dakota and Lakota indigenous leaders have erected tipis in the path of the pipeline, and state police and local sheriff's deputies have made dozens of arrests in recent days.  Reports indicate regular targeting of reporters covering the pipeline battle.  Sandy is traveling back to Standing Rock this week. Please check sandytolan.com and follow Sandy on Twitter for more on the story this week.

Sandy Tolan on the Death of the Two State Solution for TomDispatch

The military alliance between the United States and Israel has long been at odds with the stated intentions of successive administrations in Washington to foster peace in the Holy Land. One White House after another has preferred the “solution” of having it both ways: supporting a two-state solution while richly rewarding, with lethal weaponry, an incorrigible client state that was working as fast as it could to undermine just such a solution..With its latest promise of military aid, the United States has essentially sanctioned Israel’s impunity, its endless colonization of Palestinian land, its military occupation of the West Bank, and its periodic attacks by F-16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters using Hellfire missiles on the civilians of Gaza. 

Click here to read the full article. 

U.S. Children of the Stone /Ramzi Aburedwan/Dal'ouna Musical/Literary Tour September 15-25, 2016

Hard to believe it was nearly 20 years ago that I was captured by a pair of images on a poster in the West Bank town of Ramallah that embodied so much of the hope and heartbreak of the Palestinian quest for freedom.  One showed an 8-year-old boy from a refugee camp hurling a stone at an unseen Israeli soldier.  The other showed the same child, 10 years later, pulling a bow across the strings of his viola.  

These were the images that would lead me to write the remarkable story of Ramzi Aburedwan in my award-winning book, Children of the Stone, which tells the story of Ramzi's dream to build a music school for children living under military occupation. 

This connection now brings Ramzi and his fantastic Dal Ouna Arab/French fusion ensemble to the U.S. for a national the Children of the Stone /Dal'ouna musical/literary tour. We hope you'll join us for one of our concerts. 

The U.S. National CHILDREN OF THE STONE/DAL’OUNA concert and book tour, September 15 - 25, 2016, celebrates Palestinian musician and educator Ramzi Aburedwan and his belief in the power of music and culture to transform lives and resist oppression.

Back by popular demand, the 2016-2017 tour corresponds with the paperback release of Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land (Bloomsbury, April 2015/paperback 2016) by Sandy Tolan, author of the international bestseller, The Lemon Tree.

TOUR DATES and LOCATIONS (list subject to change):

*denotes concert only

September 15 Le Poisson Rouge, New York City

September 16 @ 3:30pm William Patterson University, New Jersey (afternoon concert + discussion)

September 16 @ 8pm Clifton High School Auditorium, 333 Colfax Ave, Clifton, NJ*

September 17 @ 7pm Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton, New York*

September 18 @ 11am Brunch mini-concert*, East Hampton; evening, Worcester, Massachusetts*

September 19  @ 730pm Follen Church, 755 Massachusetts Ave, Lexington, Massachusetts*

September 20  @ 1230pm Tilton Hall, Clark University (950 Main Street Worcester, MA 01610)*

September 20  @ 7pm Alden Hall, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 100 Institute Rd, Worcester, Massachusetts*

September 21 @ 8pm Mahaney Arts Center, Middlebury College, 72 Porter Field Rd, Middlebury, Vermont

September 23  @ 8pm Ramallah American Club, 3130 Parental Home Rd, Jacksonville, Florida*

September 24 @ 8pm Dwight Hall Chapel, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut FREE

September 25  @ 4:30pm St. Peter's Lutheran Church, 310 Route 137, Harwich, Massachusetts* Get tickets here

September 26 @ 7pm University of Connecticut, 2110 Hillside Rd, Storrs, Connecticut* FREE 

*Ramzi & his ensemble will continue touring Sept. 27 - Oct. 2

Additional concert dates and venues will be announced soon. Please click here to donate now. Contributions are tax-deductible, through the non-profit Homelands Research Group, a production company I co-founded with public radio journalists in 1991. Thank you for your generosity.

Travel and the power to astound: On the road in Russia and Estonia

by Sandy Tolan

What beckons us to the road, far from home, removed from our culture and comfort zone? For me it is story, newness, connection, surprise: The beautiful, the stunning, the devastating, the far-flung narrative and its power to astound, even to transform. It’s the daylong rise out of the dripping 100-degree Amazon, into a snowstorm along the spine of its Andes. It’s the impoverished rickshaw driver in New Delhi, Raja Ram, the Lord King, with his haunting soliloquy on the meaning of life and death. Or the young taxi driver, late at night on a darkened South American road, making eye contact in the mirror, asking plaintively, Why don’t you have children?

It’s the sound of a violin in a Palestinian refugee camp. Mysterious lights flickering across a plain in West Texas. Beethoven’s Third Symphony, played at full volume as your car ascends the Wyoming Rockies, hitting its crescendo just as you top a mountain pass.

Such random surprise can happen every time, if you allow it. 

Click here to read more. 

How to tell your six-year-old about war

How to tell your six-year-old about war

It was one of those magical LA Sundays with our six-year-old son, Wyatt. At the edge of the Pacific, in Santa Monica, we practiced on his bike with the training wheels. On the beach, we dug “Orcaville” and “Barracuda Falls,” Wyatt’s plastic whales and fishes plunging into the holes as the waves crashed beside us.

Brexit’s ‘Meaning’? Globalization Sucks.

Brexit’s ‘Meaning’? Globalization Sucks.

For the past 35 years I’ve traveled as a journalist through the broken, impoverished back roads of globalization, from Mexico to Egypt, from Ecuador to Central America to Bulgaria to American Indian country, where the free trade wisdom of the political and investment class has brought precious little wealth, or even “stability,” whatever that means, to ordinary people on the ground.