Protect Yourself, Your Comrades, and the Movement
*A joint statement from the Freshet Collective, Water Protector Legal Collective and Water Protector Anti-Repression Crew*. February 24th, 2017
With the closure and militarized eviction of the Oceti Oyate, Rosebud and Sacred Stone camps, it is with strong spirits that we remind our relatives and comrades that these are indeed sacred times. The defense of water and assertion of Indigenous sovereignty did not end yesterday as law enforcement violently evicted Water Protectors from the unceded land we have called home for months. The struggle against the black snake and its world continues.
We also remind our relatives that this violent eviction is only one part of a well-coordinated and multi-dimensional strategy of repression by local, state, and federal law enforcement that seeks to crush our resistance. Nearly 800 people face charges, and we are fighting back in the courtrooms. Grand juries are active and issuing indictments, and we are resisting. Federal agencies are knocking on the doors of our loved ones, and we are remaining silent.
Remember, the frontlines are everywhere, and movement defense is everyone’s responsibility. It is critical that we do everything in our power to protect ourselves, our comrades, and the struggle for liberation. Here are some practices we strongly encourage:
● Avoid the spreading of rumor and gossip, as that only serves the agenda of the State in its efforts to divide us. Triple-confirm information from primary sources.
● Use social media with great care and always assume that your account is under heavy surveillance. Social media content has been used repeatedly to bring both state and federal charges against Water Protectors.
● If you or your loved ones are approached by law enforcement of any kind, exercise your right to remain silent. Simply say: “I choose to remain silent. I want a lawyer.” Remaining silent means you do not speak at all except for those words. Anything you say can and will be used against you and your comrades.
● If you or your loved ones are approached by law enforcement or harassed in any way, contact the WPLC at (701) 595-0737.
● Continue to act in the spirit developed at the camps, one of graciousness and solidarity. Do not publicly condemn the tactics or choices of others. Keep our internal debates internal, and accept disagreement. When we air our criticisms publicly, we open up our movement to further state repression.
● Maintain security of your phones and computers as much as possible. Use Signal Private Messenger for encrypted texts and calls whenever possible. Switch to encrypted email services like Riseup.net or ProtonMail.com. But remember that no tech security is foolproof, so always be mindful of what you say and how it could harm yourself or others.
● Visit our websites (links below) for lots more legal information, resources, and support.
Relatives and comrades, be vigilant but unafraid. We have stood together in this movement through many battles. We will continue to hold one another through the trauma of forced removal from Oceti Oyate. Care for yourselves and one another. Make space to mourn but also to celebrate our victories. This is what solidarity truly looks like. We will face the next battle stronger than ever.