Omar Rodriguez Ortiz :
METRO | Fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline reaches Austin

Allies of the ‘water protectors’ collect provisions for the harsh winter.

Volunteers coordinate supplies to be delivered to Standing Rock Sioux and their allies. Photo by Omar Rodriguez Ortiz / The Rag Blog.

By Omar Rodriguez Ortiz | The Rag Blog | November 16, 2016

AUSTIN — People started arriving in the morning with non-perishable food, heavy winter clothing, boots, sleeping bags, tents, and medical supplies, as if preparing for war. An army of volunteers coordinated the arrival of cars, the delivery and sorting of provisions. As it started raining harder and harder, even more people turned up.

With only three days of planning, they met Saturday, November 5, at the Resistencia Bookstore in Austin to aid the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline that will enable the daily transportation of hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil from North Dakota to refineries in Illinois.

Members of the Sioux Nation, along with other “water protectors,” believe the pipeline, which is owned by a Texas-based energy company, could cause irreparable harm to the Missouri River. They have been camping out and protesting for months, and they have been subjected to tear gas, rubber bullets, dog attacks, and mass arrests. But now a new enemy is arriving.

Winter temperatures in North Dakota can go as low as minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit; severe blizzards can rapidly deteriorate living conditions and “unbearable” will fall short to describe the freezing nights in the Standing Rock Reservation. The Sioux and their supporters are in dire need of medical supplies and heavy winter clothing in order to continue protesting peacefully and interrupting the construction of the DAPL.

‘Not everybody can make it up to Standing Rock but they can stand up…’

“Not everybody can make it up to Standing Rock but they can stand up,” says Ohiyesa Locke, 40, who has come out to support the relief efforts in Austin. He was born and raised on the Sioux Reservation. He plays powwow music in his pickup truck, which has decals proudly saying “Standing Rock Sioux Rez.” His black T-shirt reads: “Straight Outta Standing Rock.”

All day at the bookstore, people kept arriving with more supplies. Volunteers quickly organized the last donations and calculated how much money they had received.

The lead organizer of the supply drive, Lisa Pavati, 46, sat on the grass with six volunteers who were planning to make the 20-hour journey to North Dakota to deliver the donations. There was discussion about the details — like how to avoid police road blocks and what to do in case of emergencies.

Pavati has a contact who would help them get medical supplies to the correct tent in North Dakota. Riders are reminded to respect the native culture and always ask: “How can I help?”

Gregory Day, 29, the lead driver, had already made friendships with many Native Americans during his college years. Some are at Standing Rock.

“They are my friends, my extended family. They are unarmed,” said Day, his eyes filling with tears.

Twenty hours later, Day and the group from Austin had arrived in North Dakota.

Twenty hours later, Day and the group from Austin had arrived in North Dakota. They delivered the supplies, including a generator that they bought with a portion of the money collected at the bookstore.

As the crew worked to prepare the camp for winter, Day noticed a considerable number of people visiting the sacred lands as if it were a festival. He calls them “hipster radicals.”

He and other volunteers from Austin want to make sure they are not behaving the same way — but that they are doing the right thing: “I don’t want to do anything without permission. I’m an ally,” said Pavati.

“It doesn’t matter if you are white, black, or Muslim. If you are coming to help, we appreciate it,” said Locke.

The activists still need more heavy winter equipment and the Water Protector Legal Collective is always in need of funds to bail out the arrested and bring them back to camp, according to Day.

The battle against the DAPL will not cease anytime soon. President-elect Donald Trump promised to “unleash America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves.”

Protests were seen across the United States on September 15, including in Austin, to demand the end of the DAPL.

[Bilingual Austin writer Omar Rodriguez Ortiz is a graduate student in the Professional Track Program at the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. He is in Prof. Bill Minutaglio’s writing and reporting class and is a teaching assistant for Prof. Robert Jensen. Two summers ago Omar and his wife moved from Puerto Rico to Austin.]

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12 Responses to Omar Rodriguez Ortiz :
METRO | Fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline reaches Austin

  1. Michelle Wilson says:

    Thank you for writing and standing for Standing Rock. I live in Killeen Texas I’m Oglala Lakota tribal elder asking to be informed about tribal involvement in Austin area please. Our water protector camp fills the heart. Wopila

  2. Extremist2thedhs says:

    Go for it! The pipeline will get built anyway and you will freeze your butts off for nothing. At least the “water protector’s” will have plenty of time to make up more fake holy ground to protect.

    • Hey, nice piece of attack. But, if you live in Texas you’ll get a chance to go to the sink, get out your glass, fill it with water and drink all kinds of petrochemicals.

      Thou shalt not poison thy neighbors well is a law translated into all cultures. There’s a Fracking land and water grab occurring right now centered at Big Spring.

      They get to poison water as far north as colorado and kansas and as far west as the Rio Grande from northern New Mexico all the way to Brownsville. And the Red River which dumps into the Sabine and there’s the headwaters of the Trinity which goes all the way to the Houston Ship channel and goes through Ft Worth, Dallas, Arlington and of course Houston itself. And the Rio goes to El Paso of course so you have 5 of the 6 largest municipalities of Texas and if you count the counties in which they’re located you’re talking maybe 1/3 to 1/2 the population of the state getting a fresh blast of toxic water.

      Oh, and a lot of the colorado kansas new mexico and oklahoma people affected live on Tribal Lands.
      The water grab isn’t local.

      I know you’re usually an advocate for the lily-white rich-bitch trust-fund-babies like Trump and the Bushes and Cheneys, who never got their delicate manicured soft hands dirty with actual Work.

      Mayhaps you could spot a little bit of love for the working class?

    • and the National Guard and Various Sheriff’s association and ND State Troopers and Other Hired Thugs are going to be in a similar predicament. The Rez guys are old hands at living in that area in the white blanket (winter) time. and there’s a civil rights homily about a white man in the same ditch to hold you down.
      Maybe you heard of it.

  3. I published this on, and an adaptation on

    Trump and Standing Rock

    It’s a classic maneuver to make We The Peasants pay for the luxury of the Rich. All money is a reflection of available resources, whether in “our” jurisdiction or foreign. To take the resources in other jurisdictions usually requires war either threatened or actual.
    The Indian Nations in the US have within their territorial boundaries what has been described as The Most Resources (water, timber, minerals— fuels, metals, alkaloids needed for making concrete, brick, glass, –precious stones, etc. and grazing land to supply “our” addiction to way too much animal protein and fats. Thank you McDonalds and the rest of the Fat Food Economic Sector.
    How important is that? Whenever you have a protest demonstration or march the hecklers say “Get a job! McDonalds is hiring! (or MallWart)

    But when the rich folk describe these resources as “our” national heritage and “our” resources they’re ignoring (because we ain’t allowing them to forget) that the only way “We” use the editorial pronouns “we, us, our”, the only way it could be accurate is if “we” happen to be Tribal. The times America as in the US and their direct colonial European forebears actually paid Natives for land, it’s small increments like a local treaty, Manhattan Island and the Dutch for instance.

    The bigger payments for large tracts of land went to Other European Colonial Entities like France and Russia. Even those were negotiated at gunpoint. Jefferson was every bit as guilty as the King of Spain selling large tracts of land (like Texas,Louisiana,just anyplace west of the Missouri-Mississippi river system) then bought it back from: The King of France. Neither king actually ever set foot in America. They sold the people already on the land too. This is the exact “national heritage” the US claims as it’s justification for actually existing. The English Crown sold what is now the entire state of Maine to 6 aristocrats and their descendants in perpetuity. What kind of shit is that?

    The kind that set up the standoff at Standing Rock. Now is the time for the Tribes to make a stand, this time with full communication with the other Tribes. People of other “races” but with a common conscience, sure will be welcomed. Those who live downstream (meaning “everybody”) of the watersheds on Native Lands, it’s their-our conscientious duty to stand with with the Lakota. And other Indian Nations. The lives and freedom of your grandchildren depend on these actions.


    Trump has vowed “energy independence” and an end to “foreign oil” and using all american resources including Fracking.

    Maybe he’ll be shocked to realize that the American Indian Nations are, to his perspective and congress’ perception, just as “foreign” as Iran or Nigeria or China. It’s not theirs to govern.

    There’s allegedly a shale oil deposit in Texas NEAR THE OKLAHOMA BORDER which the MotherFrackers want to develop with the full blessing of Trump. That’s watersheds which go to the aquifer which supplies the western two thirds of Texas, most of New Mexico, part of Colorado, most of Oklahoma and part of Kansas with water. When I was in middle school my geology teachers told us that the huge deposit of water was so pure because the water filtered through a couple of miles of limestone and took ten thousand years from time of rain to time of arrival in the aquifer.

    After just over a century of oil exploitation, deep water walls and less than a century of antibiotics, the aquifer has dwindled to about a third of it’s original size, and has traces of petrochemicals AND antibiotics from cattle and chicken and hog manure. Leaving alone that cattle, chickens and hogs were very recent additions to the American scene, the antibiotics weren’t used for them before the 1940s. That’s the smoking gun as to which subsets of the U.S. exploitation of the lands and waters caused this catastrophe. The cattle and oil industries strangely believe that the resources will last forever. Wall Street is celebrating this new victory over the Peasants who will literally be eating and drinking their shit. It’s a classic maneuver to make We The Peasants pay for the luxury of the Rich.

    With the blessings of Trump. Hillary too. She’s less outspoken about it.
    Literally the only difference between a Con-man and a politician.
    She’s a lawyer too, and would never testify against herself.
    Trump brags about his crimes because he’s got all kinds of lawyers and judges working for him.
    Like his sister the Judge and on-and-off prosecutor Rudi Giuliani.

  4. And now Mr Trump has nominated as AG a dud errr i mean Dude oh hell Dud will do, who is as close an out-of-the-closet Klansman as you can get. David Duke congratulates Trump on the choice of Jeff Session.

    For anybody, perhaps foreign visitors, who doesn’t know this, the Klan hates Natives just as much as they do Jews, Blacks, GBLT, Catholics etc… the Klan has a few strongholds in Colorado, like Logan County and Fremont Co.

    The Fremont Co Klan are the first Klan founded outside the confines of the Confederacy. They call Natives “Prairie Niggers”. Really nice guys. They were confronted by the Lumbee tribe in 1958 which was the best documented attacks of the KKK against natives. The Klan lost and they’re very well aware of it. The North Carolina Klan are proposing a victory march in NC celebrating the “victory” of Trump. Who didn’t get even a plurality of the popular vote. Last count I saw two days ago had her up by a million and a half. That’s not a good endorsement for either, but the Klan are backing Trump.
    And he and Clinton have some really strong ties to the Oil Companies. Getting oil exploration land in the first place has a requirement for accomplished Land Thieves. Like our fiendly neighborhood Real Estate fraudsters TrumpHillary.

    I conjoined their names to remind that they’re politically and ideologically conjoined twins.

    The good part is we have a good focal point for confronting the bastards in the middle of their game.

  5. I should have edited that. The change from the Kolorado Klan calling us Prairie Niggers and the bit about the Lumbee should have had a gap in between two paragraphs.

    They still aren’t very nice.

  6. Extremist2thedhs says:

    With all due respect to your heritage and passion and unique insights Brother Jonah, you should seriously consider getting on some meds.

    • Oh sure, can I have some of yours?

      There’s a little matter of DAPL losing their permit.
      Passion is for life. Not the history, but how Then shapes Now. I know you wish this had turned into the next Wounded Knee Massacre, maybe it will eventually.

      Who knows? It’s one of the things Mr Donald has backed down from pursuing. Maybe he figured out that 53% DISapproval count gets us an edge that can keep him from doing all that stupid shit he promised his fellow Klansmen. Who by the way, last saturday, they came, they saw the large number of opposition people already there in Pelham NC, they surrendered.

      You remember that Doors song, the one that goes “they got the guns but we have the numbers”?

      Oh, and the shit about pulling everybody’s amnesty visa? Yeah, he’s not bluffing. Anymore. He shut his stupid mouth for the first time since he learned to talk.

      Take a good look. This is going to last for the entirety of his projected ONLY term. heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh

      The struggle continues. The Donald just got a whole slew of people all riled up. Energized, you might say. The same if Hillary gets selected.

      They’re two pimples on the same ass-cheek. If she gets in, then it’s only a 52% disapproval rating.

      This election, and the defeat of DAPL, is bad for the corporate sucks but really good for american non-conformists. Nothing like having a bunch of crybaby white supremacists talking about “taking america back to the 50s” (1850s) and Making America White Again and other manifestations of their fear.

      I shouldn’t mock them like that, but, hey, they have it coming.
      I’ll tell everybody at our super-secret Liberal Conspiracy meeting that you said “High!”

      And stop bogarting the meds, dude.

  7. for somebody who has “extremist” as his screen name, you sure don’t have much passion for whatever cause you espouse.
    There are lots of Dragonslayer type issues. Pick one, pick hundreds, just, you know, choose. Try to make the world better by at least advocacy. Sniping doesn’t work.

  8. Extremist2TheDHS says:

    headline, “Trump Revives Dakota Pipeline”
    See .. toldya that it was going to be built despite all the whining and bitching about America daring to transport oil.

    To .. all those idiots freezing in Dakota right now. You have a great story to tell your kids. But you were completely ineffective. Who cares about one more, out of tens of thousands of pipelines.


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