TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Tribal Leaders Deserve Our State’s And Leaders’ Respect

After following news coverage of the developing story at Standing Rock, I am saddened by North Dakota’s official response to the legitimate issues raised by the Native protestors north of the reservation.

What North Dakota’s governor, lieutenant governor and Public Service Commission don’t seem to understand is that the Native Americans who are protesting are, in fact, American patriots. Their leaders are entitled to the same respect as our state officials.

These reservation leaders can be equated to either a president or a governor. In any event, they are not to be treated as some minor local political subdivision that state government can kick around.

Though I have never been on the reservation, I’ve read every word written about the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. Between three hours on KFGO Radio last Thursday and virtually nonstop Facebook posts, including articles from a wide range of professional news organizations, I’ve maintained a close watch, even if from a distance.

The Forum and its writer I don’t supPort would be well-advised to read the Bismarck Tribune and some of the excellent national Native news media. They might even want to listen to Lawrence O’Donnell’s “The Last Word — Campaign 2016,” on MSNBC, where O’Donnell recently painted an accurate picture of the situation at Standing Rock.

North Dakota is now dealing with many tribes from across this nation that support of the Standing Rock patriots. These Native nations are not about to forget how non-natives view treaties of the 18th and 19th centuries — or, more precisely, how non-natives ignore them.

Notwithstanding much of the mass media’s grandstanding in support of Big Oil, when one considers the numbers involved in protecting the waters of the Missouri River — I admire the mostly peaceful families and individuals involved. Almost all have been respectful. They are self-policing the clods who came to make trouble.

I maintain the roadblocks, the positioning of SWAT trucks by federal buildings in Bismarck and the reported police escort for students are gross overreactions.

Depriving the encamped protectors of water reminds me of Wolrd War II Gestapo tactics. It’s impossible for me to fathom it in these United States of America.

Another point to consider is the overblown notion that the Indian nations are supposedly occupying private lands. This is Corps of Engineer land they occupy … not, as suggested by the crap that oil industry supporters are putting out, individually owned private farms and ranchland. Asking rhetorical questions about “what would you do if they were occupying your property” is just throwing up propaganda based on false assumptions.

The courts are now involved. Amnesty International has sent representatives to monitor the situation. The ACLU is providing counsel for some of those arrested, and the protest’s leaders are represented by former U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon, who is well-versed in the law and Native issues.

It’s time to calm down out there. Work with legislators (if you can find one to work with). Let the courts do their thing. And hope this all ends peacefully, as I know it can. Enough of the military show of force! Enough with the withdrawal of essential services like water. A first step might be to instruct Homeland Security to remove its head from its posterior and return the water and other necessities it removed.

If you are reading this in North Dakota, there’s another positive step you can take. If this matter drags on through the November election, elect Marvin Nelson governor. No one owns him. He’s the only candidate with legislative experience. He knows and understands our farm economy better than all the others combined … and he will represent, not the 1 percent and the and oil interests, but you and me. We the people — Amen.

3 thoughts on “TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Tribal Leaders Deserve Our State’s And Leaders’ Respect”

  • Larry Gauper August 31, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Judge Tom…another excellent column! And you did a fine job with the KFGO hosting last week. If somebody like these Native Americans and people like you had stood up and made themselves both knowledgeable and heard in Flint, Michigan, they wouldn’t have had to go through the hell they went through and are still suffering from. Accidents happen. I can understand the concerns of those who are peacefully protesting. Although I hear you on Marvin Hanson and respect your opinion, I still like Doug Burgum for Governor. I don’t believe anybody owns him either and his love of North Dakota and what he’s done for the state economically, thus far, is unmatched. He sure put a monkey wrench in the Republican machine!

  • Judge Thomas A. Davies (retired) August 31, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Thanks Larry. We both goofed, it’s Marvin Nelson and I said Hanson===my blush.

  • Daniel Sauvageau September 1, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    I would also agree with the Davies column on standing rock, Dalrymple is looking to make his own massacre.


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