Busy first day back at Standing Rock
|I took this picture at 6:30 p.m. By 8 p.m. the tepee construction was complete|
The ride down from Bismarck was easy. I decided to take the main road, Hwy. 1806, to Standing Rock rather than trying to evade the roadblock. It's now manned by National Guardsmen, mobilized by the state's right-wing governor, instead of by state cops, and I wanted to check it out.
The young trooper in well-pressed, camouflaged fatigues was very polite. I suppose he saw an old white guy, driving alone in a rented Ford SUV and figured I was headed over to the casino in Ft. Yates.
"There's a protest going on, about 20 miles down the road," he warns.
"No shit", I don't say.
"So, slow down when you get close. There may be people out on the road."
"I sure will."
He waves me through, smiles and says, "Good luck at the casino."
About 20 minutes later, I pass the now dormant front-line camp and then turn into the main camp. I have a friendly chat with the two guys manning security at the entrance, tell them who I am and why I'm back. They remind me -- no weapons, no drugs, no booze. I'm good with that, of course.
The encampment looks a little different than it did a few weeks ago when heavy rains had left us ankle-deep in mud, car wheels spinning and stuck vehicles needing a push up the hill. Now everything is dry. But temperatures have dropped and cold winds whip through the camp. You can feel winter coming on and the hard-core people are digging in and building traditional cold-weather housing. I'm going to look at some new, traditional home construction-in-progress Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Busy first day back at Standing Rock: