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This Activist & Former HC Speaker Was Shot With a Rubber Bullet at Standing Rock

As the Dakota Access Pipeline construction becomes more and more of a legitimate possibility, the protests at Standing Rock are becoming more and more volatile. Erin Schrode, activist, social entrepreneur and former speaker at Her Conference and Her Conference High School, was protesting the pipeline last Wednesday when she was shot with a rubber bullet by militarized police at Standing Rock while peacefully and nonviolently taking part in the demonstrations.

In addition to reporting on and gathering first person accounts of the protests and the pipeline, Schrode herself was there to protest the construction. “The solidarity of the people who are showing up from all over this country, the number of nations that are represented here, the number of people standing in solidarity―Native and non-Native―it was inspiring,” Schrode told Elle magazine. Her experience was tainted, however, by the undue violence she was subjected to.

In the interview with Elle, Schrode gave her first-hand account of her experience of coming under attack by the law enforcement at Standing Rock while interviewing a Native American man. “All of a sudden, I felt like someone [had] swung a mallet with all the force they could muster against my lower back,” says Schrode. I whipped around, confused about what had happened, and I saw an officer pointing his gun at me.”

Warning: The video below contains upsetting content.

This was clearly a horrifying mistake on the part of the police at Standing Rock. One of the foundations of American liberty is in our ability to speak out against that which we feel is unjust about our country, and Schrode was exercising that liberty. “The protest camps have repeatedly emphasized that they intend to remain unarmed and peaceful,” according to The Guardian. The lines between citizen action and the duty of law enforcement become very blurry in situations like these.

The protests at Standing Rock demonstrate the unending importance of reporting and the media. “They’re targeting indiscriminately, they’re targeting to intimidate,” says Schrode. “I feel betrayed by the government. I feel disgusted by the lack of action.” How we choose to report on and archive the events that occur in our society is crucial, as Schrode’s account demonstrates. The experience of the protesters is just as valid as official reports by the U.S. government and law enforcement.

Margeaux Biché

Columbia Barnard

Margeaux Biché is a current senior at Barnard College living in New York City. During her freshman year, she studied at the George Washington University in D.C., where she wrote for The GW Hatchet. She is a Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies major and is passionate about social justice. While she does not know exactly where she'll take her degree, she hopes she can contribute to the advancement of marginalized peoples through legal and/or activist work. Chocolate covered pretzels are her favorite food, Rihanna is her favorite musician and her go-to talent is her ability to wiggle her ears. Margeaux loves dogs, hiking and her hometown basketball team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, all of which are oft-featured on her Instagram account. Twitter | LinkedIn
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