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On the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, Wes Clark Jr., the son of the retired U.S. Army general and former supreme allied commander of NATO, Wesley Clark Sr., led military veterans in a ceremony Monday to ask forgiveness from Native Americans for the crimes of the U.S. military. Thousands of Native and non-Native veterans have descended on Standing Rock to support the water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion pipeline in recent days. This is Wes Clark Jr.
Wes Clark Jr.: “We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faces of our presidents onto your sacred mountain. And we took still more land. And then we took your children. And then we tried to take your language. We tried to eliminate your language, that God gave you and that the creator gave you. We didn’t respect you. We polluted your earth. We’ve hurt you in so many ways. And we’ve come to say that we are sorry, we are at your service, and we beg for your forgiveness.”
That was Army veteran Wes Clark Jr., son of U.S. retired Army General Wes Clark Sr., kneeling at the feet of Leonard Crow Dog, Lakota medicine man and spiritual leader of the American Indian Movement who was part of the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee. On Sunday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied the Dakota Access pipeline company a permit to drill underneath the Missouri River—halting construction for now. Water protectors have committed to remain at the resistance camps and stay vigilant, and the company has vowed to build on.