Yes, I believe in certain crimes. The diary of a front-line activist

in WEEKEND EXPERIENCES2 months ago (edited)

My husband was really shocked when we first started dating, and I informed him that I had been to jail multiple times. That the worst time, was when I was threatened with a terrorism charge.

I was a diehard general activist before I became a mother. I deeply believe in direct action as the only significant means of change. During that time, I never rallied behind a political party. I just fought fascism; I believe that comes from all political angles.

In 2016 I lived in a protest camp. One day, I witnessed brutality that I could not rub from my eyes. I stood transfixed, day after day, watching the national guard hose people down with water cannons in subzero temperatures on live feeds. I saw rubber bullets deployed at under 10 feet, which can be deadly. They aimed for eyes, for phones, for women. It was a war, and the US government was waging it against the Sioux. It was wrong, and it burned in my soul.

So I quit my job, and I went across the county to stand with them.


This is a famous photo that was shared all over social media in 2016, as far as I can tell it originated on this page, but was captured by Myron Dewey who ran the independent indigenous media company Digital Smoke Signals, before he passed away (RIP Myron). It has been expressed that the images captured by Myron and No Spiritual Surrender are free to share with sourcing.

This is what we were up against, they came after us relentlessly. The court proceedings are still underway, so the American people won't know for years what really happened. According to the media, we were violent insurgents that were trying to blow up a pipeline. I've never blown anything up by chaining myself to it, but I guess I'm hot enough according to the feds.

I committed a slew of "crimes". I'd do it again. To answer the question posed in this week's weekend engagement directly- I feel that it is not only okay to break the law when it stands in the way of justice, but it is our duty. Silence looks identical to acceptance to those who are targeted by malevolent forces.

This photo is mine, the tipi I lived in is to the left 😊

If I could see through anyone's eyes for the weekend, I would pick a leader of the opposition.

Officers were sent from ten different states to protect the financial interests of an oil company over people. To support a land grab from the Indigenous peoples of this land, who we've NEVER honored an agreement with. Let me be clear, THAT is why I went.

I want to know what the thought process is, that leads someone to accept the use of the equipment that was deployed against us. Have you ever heard of a Sting Ray device?

Also known as an IMSI catcher, a stingray is a fake cell phone tower. As you can imagine, the laws around using these are very strict, but it doesn't much matter when the entities meant to hold you in check are on your team. They illegally used them throughout the process, but that isn't the crazy part!

Guess who they put largely in charge of this? A company called TigerSwan which was co-founded by Erik Prince, One of the founders of Blackwater. For those who aren't familiar, the company was a big government contractor, until the Nisur Square massacre. It is up to perspective how wrong they were given the situation, only four of the members involved were charged.

If you ask me, no one involved in handling that operation should've been put in charge of another one. Ever. It was only made worse by the irrelevance of their experience in this setting. These men were contractors that had experience fighting terrorists, and that's what they labeled us as. It is at this point that I wish I could see first-hand, did we really look like that to them?

There is an extensive investigation into the illegal acts committed by TigerSwan at Standing Rock, they are currently relevant in dozens of ongoing lawsuits. Some of the strongest charges against them are things like sexual coercion, planting weapons, and instigating violence.

Sacred Stone Sign.jpg
A photo I took of the entrance to the camp I lived in.

What would I learn if I spent a weekend recalling these events through a different set of eyes, a set that fiercely opposes us?

I'm going to be frank, a whole lot of intel.

That's not all I'd want though, I'd want to understand that person's heart. Find the doors they shut against empathy in their attack on us. Mind you, the only law we broke was not dispersing. Stopping illegal work (THEY had no permit at the time) with non-violent direct action. I want to understand where this division lives between us, that we can fight each other over a company.

The simple desire for more oil isn't enough to inspire incredible violence alone, is it? I imagine I'd have a new set of thoughts on that come Monday, however I do not doubt for one minute that my convictions would not change.

The USA is rapidly becoming a police state, we've already turned prisons into a business. We have the world's highest incarcerated population. We are spied on and manipulated, and it can be weaponized. Standing Rock tells a story of what life could be like here for everyone, if fascism is left unchecked. I will always feel that fighting that is right, even if it's illegal.


This photo was taken after I was maced directly in the face. I shook it off in the snow, the cool plastic of my cot mattress froze to my cheek, but it felt good. Once I could see better, I went into my tipi and stripped my clothes off— and re-maced myself 🤦‍♀. Perhaps I should've picked spending the weekend learning first aid...

I've been saying that I would write about my time living in a tipi in the middle of a North Dakota winter for weeks now. This week's engagement in Weekend Experiences seemed like it asked too many questions that applied not to answer it here. There is so much more to the story, but I find writing about it truly wears me out emotionally, the rest will come when it's ready 💕



Geez, Sis, this is wow.. You are just great and I am super happy I met with you Grin... This is lovely and if I had met you sooner, I would have joined in this...

You are such a beautiful soul Balikis 💕 I am so glad to have met you too! Thank you for being awesome 🤗


Once I could see better, I went into my tipi and stripped my clothes off— and re-maced myself

I was ehmmm why!

I didn’t know at that time that mace is active until… gosh I don’t know when it ends 🤣 pulled an old bandana out from that time and got myself again months later even after I knew better 🤦🏻‍♀️ thought I threw the danger rags away !LOLZ

Thanks for the giggle 🤗

Perhaps living in SA and through the struggle, I asked the same question and realised that the clothing would be contaminated. Very tricky and very unpleasant.

Yes, absolutely. I learned that day that mace is nasty business.

I can only imagine that you must've seen many horrible things during that time! Just thinking about it makes me want to prepare you a cup of tea! Have you ever written about it, Fiona?

I have, at different times and in different ways. Sometimes not directly.

Your many heavy life experiences that I've been reading about in your blog here has made you the person you are today. I believe writing about these things provides interesting reading for others who can definitely learn something from you. Thanks for being here, for sharing so many deep personal experiences with us. I've grown by reading and thoughtfully considering your words.

This is such a wonderful comment Kenny ❤️! I'm so grateful to have a place to share my words with amazing people like yourself 😁

I came here to write fantasy and make friends, and I did that... but gosh, there is something about these community prompts that just brings my memories to the surface! I find myself writing many things that I've been stuck on for years and years, and it just comes out now. Maybe because I know I have friends to receive them now? All I know is Hive is a vibe!

Thank you for making me feel welcome here, and for the smile! 😊

What you are saying comes as no surprise to me, so I have a hard time thinking up a relevant comment. We all know this is how things work, we all know it's wrong. What to say? Except: Thanks for being one of the fighters.

I really appreciate you taking the time to comment! 🤗

We all have many faces. Most days I whish I had the courage you have.

You do! I tell you all the time that you are braver than you know 😉

Thank you for your comment 😊

Thank you for your kindness

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Thank you for making a stand, this is so important. The amount of injustice in the world is full on. I have witnessed police brutality when I was taking part in a protest against uranium dumping in the Northern Territory on land that was sacred to the Aboriginal people, although all land is sacred.
This is a wonderful response xxx

Thank you to you as well! Humans have to stand TOGETHER! I admire your heart ❤️ indeed, all land is sacred. I wish everyone felt that way... I greatly appreciate your kind words on my piece, they mean a lot coming from a kindred spirit 🤗

Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

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The really interesting thing is, that pipeline, across water rights, was coming from Canada, thru the US, and going straight to port. NONE of that oil was ever intended to be for US consumption.

Yep, absolutely infuriating! But of course, the narrative was that we hated America and wanted sky high gas prices lol

Thank you for commenting, Blue 😁

I live in a area where the Pilgrims first landed, and where the Native AMERICANS actually helped the foreigners when the pilgrims first came to North America. It's also a tourist place in summers. And so funny hearing people form all over the country, telling the native Payomet, of the Nauset tribe, to go home

I shake my head at the uneducated, uninformed, ignorant people of our country.

Great Scott! And your character development just keeps getting more and more interesting...

That is some crazy experience! I... I ... I don't even know where to begin!

You know what's crazy, is that I actually so a photo like that back in 16(2016) with the caption #NoDAPL. Back then, stupid me didn't really give it that much thought but reading it now.... Damn!!!

You and the rest of the protesters were very brave and heroic.