[I started this post yesterday but got caught up in other stuff that left me no time to finish it... such is life.]
About 35 Institute of American Indian Arts students have left Santa Fe for the long drive to North Dakota and the Red Warrior Camp where they intend to participate and give strength to the ongoing Water Protector actions against the unnecessary and deeply destructive and dangerous Dakota Access Pipeline.
These IAIA supporters of the action in North Dakota intend to provide arts and cultural activities and enrichment to the children and young people in the camps. I'm sure that some of the IAIA people will also participate in direct action against the pipeline construction which could subject them to felony arrest, as the state of North Dakota and the counties adjacent to the pipeline construction insist on protecting the pipeline at all costs and appear to have no interest in protecting the people, particularly not the people involved in resistance against this private sector pipeline.
Dozens and dozens have been arrested so far, some on felony "interference" (or whatever they are calling it) charges. Police forces have massed in riot gear armed with assault weapons to control the unruly -- and by the way, unarmed -- Natives and their allies. They have made a point of targeting the media and what they regard as leaders of the movement. So far, they have not invaded the camps where up to 6,000 or more Water Protectors and their allies have been praying and socializing for months now, but they are keeping those camps under close surveillance and the National Guard is manning roadway checkpoints, not unlike a certain foreign country under occupation.
It has been claimed that this is the largest gathering of Indian Nations in modern history and that more than 300 tribes and bands are represented. Many of the long time divisions between tribes are being healed through prayer and ceremony and through the need for common action against this more and more lunatic pipeline project and its apparently brain damaged protectors.
Don't know how this will ultimately play out, but the Indians who are in charge of it say that no matter if this pipeline is eventually completed and put into operation the principles and ideals and unity of the protest/protection will continue.
I can only cheer them on from afar.