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From Keystone XL Pipeline to #DAPL: Jasilyn Charger, Water Protector from Cheyenne River Reservation

Web ExclusiveJanuary 04, 2017
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As Native American elders fighting the Dakota Access pipeline extinguish the Seven Council Fires at Standing Rock, we speak with Jasilyn Charger, a water protector from Cheyenne River Reservation, who has camped at Sacred Stone Resistance Camp since it launched in April. Jasilyn founded the International Indigenous Youth Council at Standing Rock. She was also part of the resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline before that.

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DN! in the NewsDec 05, 2016PBS MetroFocus: Amy Goodman on Covering Months of Resistance to Dakota Access Pipeline
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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. At Standing Rock in North Dakota, Native American elders fighting the Dakota Access pipeline have extinguished the Seven Council Fires, which have been burning for months at the main resistance camp, and young Native water protectors have relit a new fire, the All Nations Fire, as part of the continued resistance to the $3.8 billion pipeline. Thousands of water protectors remain at the resistance camps at Standing Rock. Last month, the Department of the Army denied Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline, a permit necessary to drill underneath the Missouri River. But the company has vowed to build on.

Well, for more, we’re joined here in New York by Jasilyn Charger, a water protector from Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. She’s been camping at Sacred Stone Resistance Camp to fight the Dakota Access pipeline since April 3rd, two days after the camp was launched by LaDonna Brave Bull Allard. Jasilyn founded the International Indigenous Youth Council at Standing Rock. She was also part of the resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline before that.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Jasilyn.

JASILYN CHARGER: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: How old were you April 3rd?

JASILYN CHARGER: I was 19.

AMY GOODMAN: And what exactly did you do?

JASILYN CHARGER: Well, I was just part of a delegation of youth that really wanted to help Standing Rock in their fight against this, because we know how it feels. We know how it feels to have something be pressed upon you that you don’t really want, and have the youth voice being drowned out by policies, by political stuff, by money, by greed. And it’s—it was devastating to us. I mean, we went to stand with Standing Rock, not only with them, but with their youth, and really encourage them to be active and say this is your future. This is the future that they’re destroying. And we really need to stand up and fight for it.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you came up two hours from South Dakota, from Cheyenne River, and set up camp. With how many others?

JASILYN CHARGER: With five other people: Joye Braun, Joseph White Eyes, Kili Bald Eagle and Wiyaka Eagleman.

AMY GOODMAN: And what gave you the sense—I mean, you’re talking about an almost $4 billion pipeline being built—that you could stop it? Or did you not really think you could stop it?

JASILYN CHARGER: I knew we could stop it, I mean, because it doesn’t take an extraordinary person to do extraordinary things. It takes one person to have the courage to stand up and to really say no, to really stand firm and not take no for an answer, to really persevere. I mean, we forget, as the people, that we have the power, that we have the power to change the system if we don’t like it. And we forget about that. We just take—we take it. And we don’t have to take that anymore.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, you had been fighting the Keystone XL pipeline before. You’re a teenager. How were you doing that?

JASILYN CHARGER: Well, I wasn’t really involved on the front line. I was more involved of really bringing the awareness to our youth and getting them more involved, to really push it over the top, to bring more and more—more and more power to the subject and to really tell them that "This is happening. You can do something about it. Get your word out there. Move your voice, because you can move mountains." And we were really—really trying to really fight it in our community, because it was right in our backyard. It was going through right in our community, and it really devastated us, really hurt us.

AMY GOODMAN: But you won on the Keystone XL.

JASILYN CHARGER: Yeah. Yes, we did.

AMY GOODMAN: So you had that when you went up to Standing Rock.

JASILYN CHARGER: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about young women being at the heart of the movement, from LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, who on April 1st sort of stood up at the camp. It was on her property. Talk about the geography of that property and how important it is, when you guys came up.

JASILYN CHARGER: Well, we had a meeting on February 26th about what we should really do, how could we help them. And at that meeting, we got to meet with a delegation from Standing Rock that really wanted us to help and really asked us what can we do. And we shared information. We shared resources. And in that meeting, LaDonna, she stepped forth, and she said, "I offer my land. I offer any support. You can do whatever you want with it. And I need help, because my land is right next to the river. My son is buried there. My sage grows there, my medicine. It has been passed down through my family." And she was addressing it to all of us, but we felt like that message was for us, for the youth, to really help this woman, to really stand with her and really show her that the youth are there, that she doesn’t have to do this alone. It was—it was very powerful for us to really make that connection, especially when it comes to women as being life givers of this Earth, and really have that connection of really creating life and having that connection with the Earth.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, you all, as youth, with Standing Rock, some of the members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, really brought over many others, sort of won them over, in the battle against the pipeline. Can you talk about that, your elders supporting you or not supporting you?

JASILYN CHARGER: Well, in the beginning, like nobody really supported us. People really told us that we couldn’t change it, that it was going to go through, that it was pointless camping. And we didn’t believe that, because we already faced that with the Key XL. They had already faced that, and they won. And they won their respect. They won the points of view of their elders, of the adults, to really make them see where we stand, and really step back and see it through our youth eyes and really know where we come from and why this is so important to us and why it’s important to keep us involved in this process, because this is our future that’s going to be devastated. And they continue to say that this is for us, and it’s up to us to really tell them what we want.

AMY GOODMAN: So, now describe the runs in the summer. What happened? What did you decide to do?

JASILYN CHARGER: Well, Bobbi Jean Three Legs, a very strong advocate for the youth in Wakulla, North Dakota, she really stepped up, because of her daughter, because she was a mother. And her story is really unique. And she took that power, and she gave that power to the youth. And she said that we really need to do something, we should do a water run. And she really invoked all of us to really stand up and stand with her and really get active. And she gave us something—like something to join and to involve us in it. And it was very powerful. The first run we did was hard. We only had 10 people. We ran for two weeks straight in nothing but rain.

AMY GOODMAN: Wait. Now, what do you mean you ran? Where did you run from?

JASILYN CHARGER: We ran from Cannon Ball, North Dakota, to Omaha, Nebraska.

AMY GOODMAN: How many miles was that?

JASILYN CHARGER: That was 500 miles.

AMY GOODMAN: And what do you mean? How much did you run every day?

JASILYN CHARGER: We ran from 9:00 to sundown.

AMY GOODMAN: Wow!

JASILYN CHARGER: And it varied from the average of miles of—that we ran. And there were only five of—there were only 10 of us. There were more when we started, but there were only 10 people that actually went on the run all the way. And each tribe was represented. And—

AMY GOODMAN: What were some of the tribes?

JASILYN CHARGER: Yankton, Standing Rock and Cheyenne River and Rosebud. And it was—it was something that was united. All the tribes that were really going to be directly affected were represented in their youth, which is amazing. Like we all came together. The youth came together. And we set the example for the leaders. We said, "Hey, if we can do it, you can, too. We can come together, and we can work together." If the youth can stand there and really work with other youth from different places and not know them personally and do this run and, at the end of the run, become friends, become brothers and sisters and stand together in this fight, the elders, the adults, can do that, too. And they saw that. They said, "Wow! These youth are really taking initiative. And where—where are the adults? Where are the spiritual leaders? Where are the headmen at?" And some men really kind of felt a dent in their ego of "Why are you doing this? Why are the women and children going to Washington, D.C.? Why are they talking to a two-star general? Why are they doing this? The men should be doing this." And it kind of hurt us spiritually that they didn’t stand behind us, that they didn’t support us. But we just went around and were like, "Well, if you’re going to judge us, why don’t you run for us? Why aren’t you protecting us? Why don’t you take that initiative of your responsibility of being a man and protect your women and children?" And we told them, "We aren’t going to wait for you to protect us. We aren’t going to wait for that. We have no time." The elderly—an older woman, Lyota [phon.]—Lyota, she really represented the past in that run. She represented—

AMY GOODMAN: How old was she?

JASILYN CHARGER: She was 62.

AMY GOODMAN: And she was one of the runners.

JASILYN CHARGER: Yes, she was.

AMY GOODMAN: From where to where?

JASILYN CHARGER: From Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

AMY GOODMAN: To?

JASILYN CHARGER: To Omaha, Nebraska.

AMY GOODMAN: Omaha. And then, you ran again.

JASILYN CHARGER: Oh, wait. She actually ran from Cannon Ball, North Dakota, to Washington, D.C., with us in that whole month.

AMY GOODMAN: Wow. So, explain. You went from Cannon Ball to Omaha.

JASILYN CHARGER: We went Cannon Ball—the Omaha, Nebraska, run was our first run that we did. Only 10 people went there, and it was all youth. The second run we did was from Cannon Ball, North Dakota, to Washington, D.C., which was a 1,200-mile run, and it took us a month to complete. And it was—it was stressful. It was long. And we took youth that had never been off the reservation before, that never really got to see any of this, that never really got to go to Washington or go to New York or even see skyscrapers or see this much traffic. You know, it was a culture shock for them. And it was—it was a good experience for them, and I’m glad they got to experience that, but it was also very devastating for them, because they got to see all this oppression. And along the way on the run to Washington, we really—we ran into DAPL workers. We ran into DAPL construction people, pipeline workers. And—

AMY GOODMAN: So, DAPL, of course, the Dakota Access pipeline. What did they say to you?

JASILYN CHARGER: Well, they really stopped us. They stopped us at this gas station. We were getting something to eat, getting some water—I forgot. And he just strolled up in his diesel truck, and he stepped out of his truck, and he walked up to us. He said, "What are you guys doing? Why are you doing this? Like, what are you guys doing? Why—what is this all about?" We explained it to him. And then he’s like, "Why? We’ve been using oil for more than like a hundred years. Why does this matter now? Why are you fighting? You guys shouldn’t be running. It’s a waste of time. You guys should go back to wherever you came from." And, for us, we were like, "What? Is this really happening? Are you going to speak this way to young women and children and elderly?" And just we were all just taken aback by it. By the men who did come with us, they felt really disrespected. We felt really disrespected. We felt really angry. And what ended up happening is, the youth, they really neutralized that situation. A little girl—her name is Wiconi—she really reminded us of why we were there. And her baby sister Leelee [phon.] and her older sister Love, they were all like, mind you, four to three weeks old. And it was like, to have that young of youth really represented there was very powerful.

AMY GOODMAN: And what did you respond back to him why you were there?

JASILYN CHARGER: Well, Wiconi—we were all really angry. We were all going to set in our anger. But Wiconi—mind you, she’s two years old—she just went up to them. She said, "Mni wiconi." In our language, that means "Water is life." And she’s—mind you, she’s two years old. The two-year-old baby could understand the meaning of water and the meaning of why she was running. I don’t understand why that DAPL worker couldn’t. And I couldn’t understand why DAPL couldn’t understand the meaning of water.

AMY GOODMAN: What happened when you got to Washington? Who did you meet with?

JASILYN CHARGER: We met with the Army Corps of Engineers, the two-star general and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and just a delegation that really wanted to hear us. And in that meeting, it was only youth could go in that meeting and meet with them. All our adults had to stay outside. Our youngest was four years old, and her name was Love, Love Hopkins. And she really—she was afraid. But she voiced—she told them why she was running. She told them that she didn’t—she wanted water, that she didn’t want her children to suffer. A four-year-old was speaking about her children, thinking about her children, at four years old, and telling him that. It was—it was amazing. That little girl was fighting for her younger sister. And her baby sister, mind you, when we started this run, was only three weeks old at the time. And her mother ran and brought her on that run. And it really shows the dedication and the love and the perseverance and why this is so important to us.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, you clearly had an effect, because, ultimately, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Army, denied the permit under the Missouri River. Where were you December 4th, when this was announced?

JASILYN CHARGER: December 4th, I was in my—I was at Oceti Sakowin and IIYC, and I was just—

AMY GOODMAN: You were at the main resistance camp.

JASILYN CHARGER: Yes. Yes, I was.

AMY GOODMAN: Snow on the ground.

JASILYN CHARGER: Yes. And I was—the snow came fast. But we did have time to prepare for it. And it was just—it really affected us, and we didn’t know how to really go about it. And we were like taken aback about it. Well, what, as we youth, what can we do? How can we organize ourselves? We really wanted the youth to be more involved, to be more at the forefront and to really set the tone, set the—really, the emotional state of the camp. We wanted to stay in prayer. We wanted to support it and really be involved as much as we can. And we just continue to still do that. We’re still there. We’re continuing to represent. And it has taken a toll on our young people. It has taken a toll on them spiritually, physically and mentally.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the militarization of the Sheriff’s Department, of the police, of the National Guard, times when you were on the front line and what you were up against?

JASILYN CHARGER: Well, really, the strategy of Morton County, they’re using, really, fear tactics. They’re using strategies that have been used against us for generations, that the government, the police use to keep us on our reservations. And it’s really—it’s really crazy to really think about it. Back then, we would have got shot, being off our reservation. We would have got murdered. We would have got rounded up and really sent back to our reservation. And this is like the first time a whole community, nations coming off the reservations that they were put on, and to live in our past, to live in our own love, to live in prayer, to live back in our heritage and really regain where we came from and really remember that and really take back our power. And they are still trying to make us go back to our reservations. For us, we feel the reservation is a prisoner-of-war camp. It’s where they put us when they didn’t want us to be in a certain area. They moved us from our homes. And just to see the same tactics now, in a different era, is just—it doesn’t surprise us, nor does it really faze us.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the weapons that were used against you?

JASILYN CHARGER: Yeah. They used rubber bullets. They used bean bag guns, flashbangs. They maced us. It was—it was like being at war. It was like we were—we did feel like war—like we were in battle. There were planes flying over us. There were helicopters. There were people in helicopters that had guns on the side of them. There were—it was so life-changing. It was—it was traumatic. It really felt like we were—like we were at Iraq. And it felt—it really—it really hurt us that the people that were sworn to protect us and protect our people—we were being hurt. They didn’t protect us. They didn’t do what they were sworn to do. They were upholding their version of the law, of what they thought that was right. We were trying—we were—we felt like we were the police upholding the law, that we were holding them accountable of what the wrongdoings they were doing, the shortcuts. They were breaking laws. And it really is—we were really trying to connect with the police, like, "You vowed to protect us." And we put—and there was a lot of women on the front lines. There was a lot of young youth on the front lines. And we told them, "I’m about the same age as probably one of your young daughters. We have women that are probably at the same age as your wives. And you’re pepper-spraying us. You’re beating us. You’re doing all these things to us, and you don’t really see us as people. You don’t see us as yourselves, which we are. And you need to really learn and remember that we are human. We are all human, no matter what the color of our skin, no matter if we’re Native or indigenous or where we come from."

AMY GOODMAN: Now, you have won, for the moment. They have not granted the permit. But President-elect Trump says that a decision will be made very quickly after he comes into office in, what, a month, after he comes into office in January. So what are your plans?

JASILYN CHARGER: Oh, you know, we have felt that—we have seen this coming, and we have been prepared. And that’s why we are encouraging people to stay at Standing Rock, and the women especially. Just because a chairman, a male figure, told us all to leave doesn’t mean we’re going to leave. Us, as women, we feel that it is our duty to our children and to our children’s children to really fight for them. And we want to tell them, as women, we stand up there, even if the men back down. We are going to keep standing up there. It’s because we have no fear. When it comes between a mother and her child, nothing can stand in her way. And really, LaDonna, Chase Iron Eyes, the youth, International Indigenous Youth Council, we all feel the same way. We feel that this fight isn’t over; it has just begun. The hard part is coming, when Donald—President-elect Donald Trump becomes President Donald Trump.

AMY GOODMAN: And that’s January 20th.

JASILYN CHARGER: Yes, and it’s coming soon. It is not that far away. And, for us, we’re not going to stop fighting. It doesn’t—this is just another transition in this fight, another—another chapter in our story. And we really want to really stand behind it and say we aren’t going to give up. We have so many people depending on us. We have so many nations looking to us as an example. They say, "If they can do it, we can do it in our own home." And we can’t give up, because we give hope to other nations. We give hope to Hawaii, that’s—standing in solidarity with Mauna Kea. We give hope to Panama in their fight for their water and their forest. We give hope to China in their help in their—I mean, we give hope to so many people, and we need to remember that. Just because they can’t be there physically with us doesn’t mean that they don’t support us.

AMY GOODMAN: At this point, the elders at the camp have extinguished the Seven Council Fires. Then young people lit a new fire, the All Nations Fire. Talk about the significance of this.

JASILYN CHARGER: Well, what we feel is that if they want to extinguish the fire in their own hearts and really step back from this fight and really don’t want to do that anymore, that’s fine. That’s OK. But we, as youth, that fire still burns inside of us. That is a representation of our perseverance, of our strength, of our prayer. And that cannot be extinguished, even if you’re older than us, even if you tell us to stop, that we aren’t going to stop. It’s because we feel the power of our ancestors. We feel the power of not giving up. They didn’t give up at the Battle of Wounded Knee. They didn’t give up when they felt all this oppression of being colonized. They didn’t give up. They laid down their very lives so I can be here today. Little children, women, young men, elderly—they all died for me, to make sure that I can have a place in this world whenever they were gone. And we feel, as the youth, we need to make that same type of commitment for our youth. Seven generations ago, our forefathers dreamt about us. They made sure that we had a future here, that we would be here, that we would be able to live peacefully and live on and remember who we are. And that’s what they thought about. That’s what they strove for. And it’s only right of us to think about our seventh generation and really fight for them.

AMY GOODMAN: Jasilyn, what was it like to grow up on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota?

JASILYN CHARGER: It wasn’t easy, especially for youth. It’s more about survival. And yeah, we go through all this poverty. We have suicides. We have infestation of meth, of alcoholism. But, for us, we are what grows after that. We are the life that grows after that nuke bomb exploded in the heart of our nation. We’re—we carry that within us, but it doesn’t define who we are. We really fight. We really say, yeah, all this bad stuff’s going on around us, but we don’t want that. We don’t want to hurt anymore. We don’t want to kill ourselves. We don’t want to make ourselves sick anymore. What we want is a better future for ourselves. The pain that we go through on the reservation, we don’t want our children to go through that pain, because that pain is hereditary. It passes—we pass it down to our children and so on and so forth.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you feel now, after these many months at Standing Rock, a kind of PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, after you stand on the front lines? You’re taking on the local police, sheriffs, rubber bullets, tear gas, month after month.

JASILYN CHARGER: Yes. I mean, we are experiencing right now—the youth, we feel broken, like from being beaten, from being maced, from—it hurts. It is. I mean, if you go there with no weapons, within prayer, and you stand there, you take that. You take all that hate that is being pushed against you, take that violence, especially as being women and really not doing anything and really putting yourself in that situation of being abused, of really taking that in and being humble and not reacting to it. It is very hard. It is very hard for us to have people hurt us, and really be humble and not do anything back. And, yes, we do have PTSD. But we were born with it, from everything that has happened before us, that we have inherited that from our ancestors, from what happened to us. And that only increased it. That only activated it, like, wow, this is still happening to my people. We are still being beaten down, we are still being oppressed, and we are still being hurt. And it’s hard for us, but us, as youth, we are healing. We are—we are moving past it. We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Yeah, we go through all this pain, but, after this, we come out as a better and stronger person and a better leader for our future.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re wearing a cap that says "Native pride."

JASILYN CHARGER: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: What does that mean to you?

JASILYN CHARGER: Native pride is really not having the fear that has been put into us by boarding schools. It’s really having pride in where you come from, and remember that where we come from is we come from a very proud nation of where we don’t do dishonor. We don’t disrespect our elders. We believe all life is sacred. We don’t get to choose what life is sacred. Morton County, your life is sacred. The DAPL workers, your life is sacred. Our fight isn’t with you personally. Our fight is with this black snake, and we recognize that. Just because you’re beating us, you’re doing all these different things to us, our women, our children, we still uphold that as—

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, "black snake"?

JASILYN CHARGER: Black snake, this pipeline. That’s what we have referred to it. That’s how we see it traditionally. It’s a black snake. It’s a snake that injects poison into our world, that injects venom into our water. We see that as poison, as a snake really moving through this nation. There are thousands of them everywhere. And, for us, it’s really—we remember our pride, remember our honor, our respect, and remember ourselves as warriors. We didn’t take lives, we didn’t go to war, because we wanted to. We went to war because the warriors sacrificed their heart, their conscience of taking a life. They had to bear that. And we remember that pride of where we come from, not violence, not hate, of pride, of self-respect, of honor. And we remember that. And us, as youth, that’s what we want to take into the future, not PTSD, not genocide, not any of that. We want to take the core of our culture, and we want to pass it down to our children.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re also wearing a red ribbon on your arm. What does that mean?

JASILYN CHARGER: It stands in solidarity with the woman that is really being oppressed right now, that is a prisoner of politics: Red Fawn, who is being discriminated, who is being used as an example to our people to say, "If you step over the line, if you don’t listen to us, if you don’t listen to what we’re doing, this is going to happen to you. You’re going to end up like Red Fawn."

AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain her case?

JASILYN CHARGER: Right now, her case is—

AMY GOODMAN: She’s in jail?

JASILYN CHARGER: Yes, she’s in jail. She’s been in jail for a while now. And she is facing a charge that she didn’t commit. And her people know she didn’t commit it. It’s because the people we know, we don’t use weapons. We came there in prayer. Prayer is stronger than weapons. And women, we made a pact as a nation to leave our weapons at home, away from this fight. And we stand with our—we stand with her. We believe her. And she’s being charged with manslaughter. She’s trying—

AMY GOODMAN: With manslaughter.

JASILYN CHARGER: She’s trying—she’s trying to—they’re trying to charge her with something that she didn’t really do. And that reminds me of someone. It reminds me of Leonard Peltier. It reminds me of what happened to him, of how they convicted him with a charge that he didn’t commit. And he’s still being imprisoned for that. He’s still in jail. And recently, his son died. And his son didn’t get to have that relationship with his father. And that is not right, keeping families away from each other, making example. And he’s not the only one. There are political prisoners that are still in prison that didn’t do their crimes. And later on, later on in life, they prove that in court, and then they get let out. And we see this happening to so many people.

AMY GOODMAN: Red Fawn was charged with attempted murder—

JASILYN CHARGER: Yeah, attempted murder.

AMY GOODMAN: —as she was on the front lines of one of the protests.

JASILYN CHARGER: Yes. There’s actually a video of her. And if you watch that video and actually look at it—well, Facebook takes it down. And people are still trying to tell people and show the evidence and tell them what’s going on. But Facebook and social media are preventing that. And what we really are telling people, look at that video. See for yourself and make up your own mind. Don’t listen to—

AMY GOODMAN: The authorities—

JASILYN CHARGER: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: —said she shot into the air. And for that, they’re charging her with attempted murder?

JASILYN CHARGER: Yes. And she didn’t shot in the air. If you look on the video, she’s on the ground with 10 men on her, this tiny, skinny woman. And that’s how much they were afraid of her. They tased her on the ground. She was being tased on the ground, and they were pushing her, they were laying on her, like she was a man, like she was a terrorist. I mean, we come there in prayer, and that’s how much they’re being afraid of us. And if you really look on the video, you will see evidence of that. You will know. And I really encourage you to find that video and really see for yourself and make up your own mind. Don’t listen to what the police are saying, because we know from experience from all across this country that police don’t always tell the truth, that they don’t always do what they’re intended. And we really need to hold them accountable for that, for the sake of the people being misjudged, of really being prosecuted these things. That’s not fair to them. It’s not. And we really need to stand in solidarity with them. And I stand in solidarity with Red Fawn and Leonard Peltier. And we are youth of the International Indigenous Youth Council. We are asking for clemency for both of them, because we believe in our hearts, as youth, that these people are innocent.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much, Jasilyn, for coming here today. You’re in New York, headed back to North Dakota. What are your plans?

JASILYN CHARGER: I’m going to go back, and I’m going to go back with my family, and I’m going to spend the time that I have with my mom—my mom, my family. I started this by myself, and my family, they came to support me. My mom’s over there sitting in the cold in her truck, waiting for me to come home. My twin sister is waiting in her yurt for me to hang out with her. I have my family there. I have my Youth Council there. And I’m going to continue this fight. I’m going to continue to inspire youth to come, and inspire women to come and stand with us. Don’t listen to the men. Don’t listen to people telling you to go away. Make that mind up for yourself.

AMY GOODMAN: Jasilyn Charger is a water protector from Cheyenne River, the reservation in South Dakota. She’s been camping at Sacred Stone resistance camp to fight the construction of the nearly $4 billion Dakota Access pipeline since April 3rd, two days after the camp was launched by another woman, her elder, Standing Rock Sioux’s LaDonna Brave Bull Allard. Jasilyn founded the International Indigenous Youth Council at Standing Rock, also part of the resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

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