Stab Magazine | Kamalei Alexander And More Head To Standing Rock To Protest The Dakota Access Pipeline
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Kamalei Alexander And More Head To Standing Rock To Protest The Dakota Access Pipeline

No one wants another Flint fiasco. 

news // Nov 5, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s been 48 hours since Kamalei Alexander and a cadre of surfers from Kauai and Malibu deployed to North Dakota to join the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in their protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. 

“Do something about it, don’t just sit there,” commanded Kamalei in an Instagram video on Tuesday. 

“Tomorrow at this time I’m going to be spending time with my brothers and sisters up in North Dakota,” he somberly said. “I’m taking a couple of friends with me and we’re going to support them in as many ways as possible.”

Since April, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and a growing number of thousands of supports have refused to move from their position on sacred lands near the Missouri River in northern North Dakota. Protesting the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline project, a 1,172-mile pipeline that will pump oil close to the tribe’s water supply, the situation there is escalating quickly. In recent weeks the actions of state and local authorities have become increasingly violent and inhumane to the point where the United Nations has opened an investigation into human rights abuses. 

 

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The irony of peaceful protest is they usually end in violence. Photo: Reuters

 

If you don’t think the U.S. has transformed into a radical, militarised police state look no further than the viral videos currently circulating on Facebook. From horses taking live fire to praying women taking kegs of mace to the face, the protests—widely downplayed by mainstream media—have become about considerably more than the path of one pipeline.  

“It is about standing up for the equal treatment of the peaceful protestors, who have been illegally and unfairly treated,” reads the GoFundMe page organised by Keegan Gibbs, one of Kamalei’s cohorts. “There are reports of peaceful protesters being maced, shot with rubber bullets at point blank, tased, and then arrested and even strip searched, held in dog kennels, and identified with numbers drawn on their arms all for small misdemeanours.”

To date hundreds of protesters have been arrested, landing them in cage-like holding cells with ID numbers written on their arms and no access to legal council. An untold number have been injured in peaceful protests by law enforcement’s tactics. The situation on the ground is dire and appears to be rapidly intensifying. 

Kamalei, Keegan, as well as Leo Harrington, John Hildebrand, Teva Dexter and Theo Friesen set their GoFundMe goal at $5,000. In less than two days have raised nearly $8,000. Their project is currently trending on the site. Support the cause if it’s in your interest. 

 

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Oil vs Water… Money vs Health… Photo: Reuters

 

“The funds raised here will pay for much-needed supplies for the camp such as firewood, sub-zero sleeping bags, tents and tarps,” continues the description on their page. “Mainstream media has been mostly silent, so this trip is about creating content to help bring awareness to the protests, and most importantly, awareness to the mistreatment of the peaceful water protectors. Their First Amendment Rights must be protected and respected.”

Kamalei grew up on Kauai alongside Bruce and Andy Irons, Dustin Barca, Reef McIntosh and older brother Kala Alexander. Andy’s nickname for him was “Head,” partly because he’s endowed with a superior cranium, but also because he was probably more hardheaded than Andy, which says a lot about his grit and integrity. The universe works in funny ways, and as we recognised the six-year anniversary of Andy’s passing this week, Kamalei picked up the torch, evoked the warrior spirit, and steadied himself for the fight of a lifetime. We are fortunate to have people like Kamalei, and his friend Barca, who speak their mind and fight for a cause. Andy would be damn proud. 

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