Janie Coverdell traveled from Eugene to Standing Rock in September to participate in the Sioux tribe's protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. She recently returned to Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and is sending Eugene Weekly updates from the frontlines.
Coverdell, who is posting video on YouTube of events as Tlingit Girl, was present Nov. 20 when police began to shoot water at protesters in the below-freezing temperatures, as well as rubber bullets and tear gas. One protester, 21-year-old Sophia Wilansky, was severly injured and might lose her arm.
The Associated Press reports that Wilansky's father, Wayne Wilansky says his daughter was inured by the police: "There's multiple witnesses and my daughter, who was completely conscious, said they threw a grenade right at her."
Coverdell was in the thick of the Sunday night protests. She tells EW, "Unarmed women fell to their knees telling police they loved them and were praying for their generations, too. A police officer walked up and used high-pressure pepper spray right in their faces while their hands were in the air."
Coverdell says, "I followed police and called them out every time they approached peaceful protectors and as I drew attention to them for harming unarmed people the police would actually back off."
Coverdell says she was tear-gassed and sprayed with something else as well, adding that her stomach and throat are still not better. You can find her GoFundMe raising money for the trip to the protest here. She will continue to send updates.
Illustration by Trask Bedortha