A Caddo Nation tribal leader has just been freed after spending two days behind bars in North Dakota. Family members say she was simply an innocent bystander in a clash between police and protesters, and was not guilty of anything the police claimed.
Jessi Mitchell, of localNews 9reports that “family members of Caddo Nation chairwoman Tamara Francis-Fourkiller said an anonymous donor paid $2.5 million late Saturday afternoon to release everyone arrested on Thursday atthe DakotaAccess Pipeline site.”
They added, however, that Francis-Fourkiller was never supposed to have been arrested in the first place.
“An expert on sacred burial grounds, Francis-Fourkiller was one of the tribal leaders visiting the Sioux of Standing Rock to advise them during negotiations withthe DakotaAccess Pipeline construction team,” Mitchell continues.
“Remains were being desecrated in this pipeline, so they had asked a bunch of people to come up there, so there’s a big conference,” Francis-Fourkiller’s sister Loretta Francis explained.
On the visit, Francis said her sister and other leaders decided to tour the protest camps. They never thought they would wind up in jail.
Francis said her sister had no access to her medication while in custody in Cass County, North Dakota, and now faces charges of conspiracy and rioting.
“Part of my family was removed on the Trail of Tears and they came here to Oklahoma and they suffered,” said Francis. “I always feel like each generation – our parents, our grandparents – try to make it better for the next generation and they certainly didn’t want this for my sister.”
Dozens of Native Americans from Oklahomatribeshad gathered Saturday afternoon at the state Capitol, according to Mitchell, with the purpose of voicing their “anger at the treatment of the protesters in North Dakota, pointing out this week’s acquittal of armed protesters at an Oregonwildliferefuge earlier this year.”
“We’re not holding guns. We’re not armed, and when we see the military right here in the US use that on us, it’s shameful,” ComancheNation tribal council memberSonyaNevaquaya explained.
One ofthe fundamentalsof allNative American tribesis the protection of the land.
Chanting “Water is life!” Saturday, the Oklahoma demonstrators hope to rally people from around the country to stand with those in North Dakota and stop construction on the pipeline project.
“Thesepipelines, you hear of a lot of bursts andleaksand it contaminating the waters. Whathappenswhen all of our waters and resources are gone?” Nevaquaya explained.
Francis-Fourkiller says she will be traveling back to her home in Norman as soon as possible.
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