Standing Rock Smoke Signals.

By Jerry Alatalo

Header8Alphabet Veterans for Peace has sent out the call to its membership across the United States to support the water protection efforts at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Thousands of men and women veterans from the United States Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy have already arrived or are on their way to the camp, where some 11-12,000 people of all races have gathered to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Arrival of the veterans has created in the minds of many images recalling the atrocities of Wounded Knee where hundreds of innocent Native Americans became victims of mass murder by U.S. government/military forces – leading to calls for restraint and caution to avoid any repeat of that or other historic tragedies. The most remarkable and disturbing aspect of the months-long events in Standing Rock has been the excessive use of violence against those opposing the pipeline’s construction, with opposition efforts carried out using Gandhian-style peaceful protest – prayers, unified purpose, wisdom, and non-violent civil disobedience.

The land on which the thousands protesting the pipeline have gathered was promised by treaties made with the U.S. government in the 1800’s to the Lakota Sioux/Standing Rock tribe. The specific language in those treaties said, “for as long as the sun shines…”. The U.S. Congress in 1954, depending on one’s interpretation, either took possession of the land beneath the camp by “eminent domain” or stole it, with the intended purpose of flooding it as part of a hydroelectric dam project. The dam project never materialized.

The standoff will have to become resolved in the courts, and the water protectors are working to avoid unnecessary violence if law enforcement personnel receive the orders on December 6 to clear the camp and its thousands of residents – now, including a large contingent of U.S. military veterans standing in solidarity for support of the environment, morality and legal justice.

While those who call for the pipeline’s construction have told the American people the project will benefit “all” as part of the nation’s drive toward “energy independence”, apparently the project, if completed, would result in 100% of the fossil fuels transported through those pipes being exported to foreign countries for profit. Millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent with law enforcement operations to clear the way for private investors to profit, jeopardizing the environment in the process – in particular the drinking water for millions of citizens whose sole source is the Missouri River and/or massive Oglala Aquifer.

U.S. Marine Corps-Korean War veteran and member of the Lakota Sioux tribe, 80-year old Buzz Nelson, has been closely associated with events at Standing Rock; his grandson is the chairman of the Standing Rock tribe, David Archambault. He recently sat down for an interview with fellow Marine Dan Shea, veteran of the Vietnam War, to share thoughts, concerns, and reasons for optimism surrounding the historic events in North Dakota.

For more thorough, in-depth information on the legal situation in North Dakota and effective ways to support the men and women of Standing Rock, please visit:

(Thank you to Jim Lockhart at YouTube)


8 thoughts on “Standing Rock Smoke Signals.

  1. Fact 1: The pipeline is being laid along an existing right of way that already has a pipeline and utility wires.

    Fact 2: The right of way does not pass over native land other then what has been contested and adjudicated in the past.

    Fact 3: The pipeline is buried meaning very little chance of damage from impact, explosion or otherwise.

    Fact 4: When compared to all other means of transport a pipeline is still the safest.

    Fact 5: Going under the river is a hell of a lot safer then going over it!!

    Fact 7: With current SCADA technology risk of environmental damage underground is negligible.

    Fact 8. Your video is incorrect. The protesters were mostly peaceful yet hundreds were violent and destroyed private property and assaulted innocent people.



    1. Aaron,
      You never mentioned that you invested in fossil fuels pipelines with Energy Transfer Partners. 🙂 Fact 9: NO pipeline is a hell of a lot safer. Were we to engage in a back and forth on the legal issues it wouldn’t make any difference; the matter(s) will wind up adjudicated in the appropriate courts. From info provided at, it doesn’t seem likely this pipeline will be going any further, at least until the legal issues are resolved. It’s unfortunate it took the literal presence of hundreds of U.S. war veterans to force the correct and moral decisions of leaders who should have done so months ago. We’ll give you credit for trying, though… Peace.


  2. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe taught the rest of the country how to fight with peace and integrity, how to stand up for our rights — while the whole world watched. Now, it will be inspiring to see our Vets speaking truth to power, around the nation. (Flint in the spring?)

    I am so proud of all of our heroes. I sense the cosmic “table” a-turning.


    1. JoAnn,
      It was interesting to see Hawaii’s Tulsi Gabbard at Standing Rock and then introducing the “Stop Arming Terrorists” legislation in Congress. Which elected representative will choose to oppose Ms. Gabbard’s proposal – by opposing, in essence telling their constituents and Americans that spending taxpayer money to arm ISIS and Al Qaeda is just fine? Congresswoman Gabbard likely sat in on meetings at Standing Rock, but qualitatively different from those held in Congress – there was no speaking with “forked tongue”.

      Liked by 1 person

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