The Veterans Who Stood With Standing Rock Set Their Sights On The Flint Water Crisis

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After the Obama administration halted construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near Standing Rock, celebrations did not melt the resolve of water protectors. The Sioux are staying put after the pipeline’s owners vowed to continue drilling. The Guardian reports that some protesters also felt “tricked” by the good news, and some worry that Trump will undo their victory.

However, tribe chairman Dave Archambault III has told NPR that he’s encouraged all non-Sioux protesters “to go.” And the legions of military veterans who flooded into the site on Sunday — who may have been a determinative factor in the Army Corps announcement’s timing — suddenly are at a loss of what to do. Most had planned to stay for a week or however long they were needed, but ex-Marine Daniel Calderon admitted, “I think a lot of guys are walking around with a question mark over their head.”

So, many of the veterans plan to refocus their energies on an area where the water was poisoned before citizens had a chance to protest the matter. In Flint, MI, officials rerouted the water supply from a corrosive source, which caused lead poisoning to an entire community. The group led by Wes Clark Jr. (who was one of the driving forces behind the flood of veterans) says the vets will soon make their presence known in the beleaguered city:

The North Dakota pipeline battle may be over but veterans and community activists supporting the opposition of the project say their fight isn’t finished and the Flint water crisis is next on their list.

“We don’t know when we are going to be there but we will be heading to Flint,” said US Army veteran Wes Clark Jr. who helped organize veterans who joined the fight. “This problem is all over the county. It’s got to be more than veterans. People have been treated wrong in this county for a long time.”

Many people in Flint still cannot bathe or drink their own tap water. If these veterans march into town, perhaps that will be the push that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s administration needs to truly fix the situation. By the way, Wes Clark Jr. was the joyous fellow in this celebratory video from Standing Rock. Let’s watch it again.

(Via The Guardian, MLive & NPR)