In the fall of 2016, WeCopwatch traveled to North Dakota to support the indigenous-led resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline’s drilling along the Missouri River, right on the border of the Standing Rock Reservation. Water protectors had been experiencing violence and repression from local, and state authorities as well as DAPL employees.
The camps had already been documenting these incidents, so the idea of Copwatch resonated with many. With great honor, we were invited to return in the winter to help spread the message of Copwatch across the camps.
In the spirit of Copwatch College (which will be available this year), we interviewed a bunch of Water Protectors, dug into WITNESS and WeCopwatch’s resources and assembled and pretty incredible Copwatch / Video as Evidence Guide which we would use and distribute during training’s at Standing Rock.
We also did a successful fundraiser for video cameras and other equipment.
Copwatch Cameras for Standing Rock
The fund is still open. Feel free to contribute. The struggle is far from over.
We spent the great part of winter at Standing Rock splitting wood, supporting Water Protectors, and conducting varies trainings. What was evident then, and continues to be today, is that police are a real issue in Native Communities, and people want to do something about it.
In February of 2017, Local, State, and Federal authorities, assisted by officers from out of state, as well as the National Guard, raided multiple camps at Standing Rock displacing hundreds of people. Our Copwatch Community has been displaced along with others.
The camps may be gone, but the spirit of Standing Rock continues to grow as occupations sprout up across the country. WeCopwatch anticipates a busy spring and summer.
We recently decided to partner with one of our Water Protectors to obtain a food/copwatch truck that can travel from occupation to occupation feeding people and educating people about their rights when they are stopped by law enforcement, or while observing the police when they interact with members of the public.
We partnered with Richard Fisher, an elder, a warrior, a water protector, and a copwatcher. Richard took representatives of WeCopwatch into the SWO camp at Standing Rock in November of 2016.
He helped support the formation of a native led Copwatch group. Today we are trying to support him, and support this great project. The water protectors haven’t given up, so it’ up to us to make sure they have the support they need. This is a Standing Rock / WeCopwatch Collaboration, and we look forward to continuing to spread the gosepl of copwatch to Native People in resistance.