- Tara Houskanational campaigns director for Honor the Earth. She is Ojibwe from Couchiching First Nation.
In an update on police treatment of activists at the Standing Rock standoff, Tara Houska, national campaigns director for Honor the Earth, describes how she was “arrested for criminal trespass as I was leaving a peaceful demonstration and getting into my car on a public road.” She says police handcuffed her with zip ties and held her in a dog kennel for six hours without charging her with a crime. “After that, I was strip-searched and then thrown into jail and, finally, late, late that evening, was charged with a crime.”
AMY GOODMAN: Tara, I just want to understand—Tara, I just want to understand what you just said. What happened to you on Friday? Where were you? And where were you put?
TARA HOUSKA: Yeah, I was arrested for criminal trespass as I was, you know, leaving a peaceful demonstration and getting into my car on a public road. They arrested us and zip-tied us on the side of the road for two hours. We were then thrown into jail—
AMY GOODMAN: In North Dakota.
TARA HOUSKA: —and put in a dog kennel with—
AMY GOODMAN: And what do you mean, a dog kennel?
TARA HOUSKA: Yeah, it was, you know, a large chainmail dog kennel, for over six hours, while they didn’t even actually charge us with crimes. After that, I was strip-searched and then thrown into jail and, finally, late, late that evening, was charged with a crime.
So, it’s, you know, a situation in which this is happening right now. Native people are being hurt right now. There were people being maced and tased again yesterday. These things are happening. And so, the administration needs to respond. And it needs to say, you know, either no pipeline, which would be ideal—that’s going to be a win for everybody, because clean drinking water is the future, and it’s something that we shouldn’t even be considering putting at risk for an unnecessary and unneeded project—but do an environmental impact statement. If this project is so safe, then do one. You know, the company doesn’t want to do this. It doesn’t want to go through that process, because it knows that this pipeline is unsafe. It knows that it would never meet those standards, and this would never be allowed to happen.
AMY GOODMAN: Tara—Tara Houska, you, you’re an attorney. You’re an indigenous leader. You’ve spent a lot of time at the Standing Rock Sioux resistance camp. You were the indigenous adviser for Bernie Sanders. We just played at the top of the show the speech he gave outside the White House demanding that President Obama deny the permit for the Dakota Access pipeline. Your thoughts on where this movement goes now?
TARA HOUSKA: Working for Bernie Sanders was a great honor and privilege to be in a role in his campaign and to contribute to that, but also to see grassroots mobilization and the power of the people. Millions and millions of people voted for Senator Sanders. And, you know, again, this is a—you know, the Dakota Access pipeline resistance is millions of people around the world coming together and trying to stop this single project, but also to make a stand about the relationship of people to fossil fuels, about indigenous rights, about all these issues. And so, you know, seeing that and these marches against Donald Trump and the power that’s within organizing and the power that’s within, you know, local elections, there were some successes that happened, aside from just Donald Trump’s election. There were several different women of color and people that have never been in represented office before. You know, we have the power to change the conversation, to change the narrative. You know, our social justice, environmental justice, all these different movements coming together and, you know, realizing that we need to stand together—
AMY GOODMAN: Tara—
TARA HOUSKA: —and change the conversation, change the narrative.
AMY GOODMAN: The head—the head of Energy Transfer Partners, Kelcy Warren, has said he’s 100 percent confident that Trump will support the completion of the Dakota Access pipeline. Warren donated more than $100,000 to Trump’s campaign, while Trump has between, oh, half-a-million and a million dollars invested in Energy Transfer Partners. This is Kelcy Warren speaking on CBS.
CBS REPORTER: Once he takes over, January 20th, what are the prospects?
KELCY WARREN: Oh, it’s 100 percent.
CBS REPORTER: A hundred percent that?
KELCY WARREN: That the easement gets granted and the pipeline gets built.
CBS REPORTER: Have you spoken to Donald Trump about the pipeline?
KELCY WARREN: I’ve never met the man.
CBS REPORTER: You’ve never met him?
KELCY WARREN: No.
CBS REPORTER: But he’s invested in you, and you’re invested in him.
KELCY WARREN: Well, I wish him well.
AMY GOODMAN: Your response, Tara Houska, to Kelcy Warren? Kelcy Warren, who runs the Cherokee Creek Music Festival in Texas, great fan of Jackson Browne, who apparently is singing a big event Thanksgiving Day weekend in support of the Standing Rock Sioux on the reservation in North Dakota. Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners.
TARA HOUSKA: I think this is a—you know, that’s a perfect example of the influx and relationship of Big Oil to our current congressional system, to the government, to our elected offices. I mean, these people have never even met, as he said, yet he knows, because of—you know, Kelcy Warren knows, because of Donald Trump’s attitudes and because of the administration that he plans to bring in—you know, his current energy adviser is someone also directly invested in Dakota Access pipeline—that it’s basically just a green light, that they’re just going to go slam these projects through, and it doesn’t matter if the people, the local people, resist, if the local people say no. In their minds, these projects matter more than the people, these profit margins matter more than human beings.
AMY GOODMAN: Tara—
TARA HOUSKA: And so, that’s where we have to come together.
AMY GOODMAN: Tara Houska, I want to bring in—I want to bring in our other guest today. Tara Houska is with Honor the Earth, has spent a long time now at the Standing Rock Reservation in support of the resistance.