As the Standing Rock protest goes into its seventh month, demonstrators are speaking out about the alleged influx of touristy-type “white people” who are coming to at the protest camp to soak up the “cultural experience.”
According to Dominique Sisley of the culture blog Dazed, activists are complaining that some visitors are treating the protest site more like a trip to Burning Man than an opportunity to show solidarity by getting in the trenches with the water protectors.
“White people are [colonizing] the camps. I mean that seriously. They are coming in, taking food, clothing… and occupying space without any desire to participate in camp maintenance and without respect of tribal protocols,” protestor Alicia Smith said in a Facebook post. “I even witnessed several wandering in and out of camps comparing it to festivals. Waiting with big smiles expectantly for us to give them a necklace or an ‘indian’ name while our camp leader was speaking.”
Smith added that the visitors are “literally subsisting entirely off of the generosity of the native people.”
“Some literally will not even prepare food but will take food that is prepared, again, having not done anything else all day.”
The situation has reportedly got so bad that an open letter detailing the camp’s ground rules has started trending on Twitter. Responding to the new influx of support, it reminds demonstrators that the camp is “not a vacation.” It also says that protestors should avoid drugs and alcohol, engage with the elders, and refrain from playing “guitar or drums” around the fires.
You can read the entire open letter below:
The construction of the 1,170-mile long Dakota Access pipeline has sparked protests for its potential danger to the Missouri River, which is relied upon by the area’s Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
[We removed a tweet from an earlier version of this article because the alleged activist could not be verified] Featured image: Rob Wilson Photography (Facebook)