Statement released and posted by Zooniya Ogitchida in his Facebook account, a U.S. Veteran at Standing Rock. Ogitchida reflects his moment at the front line just across the Backwater Bridge near the Oceti Sakowin Camp. More than two thousand Veterans will be at Standing Rock these week to engage in a peaceful protest, prayer ceremony and to protect water protectors from abusive violence by law enforcement officers including the Morton County Sheriff’s Office.
The following is Ogitchida’s statement, “I walked up to the frontline, wearing my ACU top (uniform), with my Sergeant rank, my name tape, U.S. Army and flag. behind me there was hundreds and hundreds of water protectors. I wanted to walk up alone, so I did. As I walked up they begun to take their positions. Some sheriff captain and a few other officers came to greet me. I stood there on top of a barrier concrete divider, looked at all them Police/sheriffs. in front of me Concertina razor wire, around me… burnt ashes and wet abandoned clothes. I said to them,
“I am a 10 year, 2x war veteran. I am not a protestor, I am an Ogitchida, I am here to protect these people from you. I am a defender of the Constitution. I came to see this for myself. I seen the rubber bullets, I seen the gas, I seen the attack dogs, I seen the water at freezing temperature. I seen the riot gear and the violence inflicted on so many U.S. Citizens. I seen how you’ve been mistreating my people. I am the first of many warriors to come.”
“Then what looked like to me a thousand water protectors came walking up behind me to the front line.
“As I stood there on top of the concrete divider with the razor wire, I said, “If you’re going to shoot rubber bullets, shoot them at me, at this uniform.”
“The captain and the other officers said to me they appreciated my service. I said, “I wish I could say the same.”
Posted on December 4, 2016 courtesy of Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA)