Local Veterans head to Standing Rock

By Rich Winter

With a convoy of Veterans from across the United States headed north to join forces at the DAPL Pipeline Protest, local veterans gathered Saturday at the Veterans Building in Rosebud. 

While Rosebud’s Veteran Affairs Program Director, Orlando Morrison couldn’t make the trip, he and the, about-15 local Veterans, had a pep in their step as they loaded the vans full of food, blankets, and warm clothes for what they assumed would be a long trip to North Dakota, and a trip fraught with nervousness and in some cases apprehension. 

Iraqi War Veteran and Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Information Technology Director, Dion Reynolds, who spent time at the Keystone XL Pipeline protest, was excited to get the trip started. 

“It’s kinda the old military deal, a band of brothers. We all have experiences that are similar,” Reynolds said. “Whenever we get up there it’s going to be exciting. We get to bond with other Warriors that have done things from Vietnam to Korea, all the way to what I’ve been through in Iraq.”

Reynolds, and his local band of brothers headed to North Dakota, unsure of how the pipeline proceedings would pan out. 

“I guess it’s really an open book. From all the things I’ve seen on TV, all the accounts of violence and what not up there I think that there is a lot of exposure up there, it’s going to be more of a media thing,” Reynolds said. “Having all of those veterans up there is going to show that it’s not just the natives vs. Morton County, It’s more than that. To me Morton County is just the pawns in the game. They’re just going to keep coming those billionaire oil companies are the ones that we’re really against. It’s really becoming an us vs. them (Morton County) thing and that’s not really what it’s about. We’re trying to save the environment.”

Reynolds comments came Saturday morning, and by Sunday afternoon, news surfaced that the Army Corps. of Engineers had blocked the easement for the pipeline to go under Lake Oahe. 

With news that local Veterans were traveling to North Dakota, local volunteers, led by the Sicangu Youth Council, and others, stepped forward to donate, food, gas money, clothing, blankets and other warm-weather gear. 

On receiving those donations, Reynolds said, “I really think this is something  the community, the Rosebud and all other Native American communities are proud of.” 

Reynolds and the other Veterans returned home Monday afternoon.

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