On November 4 supporters of the North Dakota Sioux from across Ohio gathered at the Statehouse to call on Governor Kasich to recall state troopers from Standing Rock. The demonstrators chanted, “Mni Wiconi!” (Lakota for “water is life”).
The Ohio State Highway Patrol sent 37 troopers to Standing Rock on October 29, ostensibly to “help law enforcement there protect property and to protect everybody’s rights.”
Opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline understand that law enforcement has been called in to protect property rights. But they don’t believe that everyone’s rights are being protected. Police violence against protesters blocking the path of pipeline construction has been escalating, including the use of pepper spray, tear gas, stun guns, and rubber bullets.
“I don’t want our government to provide protection for corporate profits in another state,” said Kim McCarthy of Dayton. “The pipeline must be stopped. They’re turning their back on treaties they made with the Native Americans. It’s enough. The time has come for the people to demand that our government represent us instead of corporations.”
“I came to the rally both to publicly support indigenous people and other water protectors in their struggle against DAPL in North Dakota, as well as to voice my opposition to Ohio sending taxpayer-funded state troopers to defend for-profit dirty energy corporate interests by suppressing free speech and assembly,” said Bob Hart, who ran for Ohio District 12 in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014.
“We’re not allowed to protest in China, so I think it’s a remarkable privilege that I’m allowed to show my dissent and support of a cause,” said Diane He, who came to the protest from Beavercreek. “Historically, Native Americans have suffered enough.”