The alleged threats by opponents of the DAPL pipeline against the registered owners of other craft "being flown supporting law enforcement" are unproven, but there is a clue in Facebook posts from September 5 which have camp residents expressing alarm about another Bell Ranger 206 that was flying with proper the registration. N38HH is registered to Double M Helicopters in Mandan, ND.
According to the company website, "The owner/operator of Double M Helicopters is Monte R. Myers. He is a 30 Year veteran of the US Army with overseas deployments to Central America and Afghanistan." Double M offers power line and pipeline patrols, high definition photography, animal herding, and aerial surveys, among others services. There is a photo of Mr. Myers taken in Kandahar Afghanistan in 2004 prominently displayed on the webpage. Camp residents searched the N number, which led them to Double M Helicopters.
Psyops and Generational Trauma
It is critical that all of this information be placed in context of the current protests as well as the historical "Militarization of Indian Country," a phrase taken from a book written by Ojibwe activist Winona LaDuke.
LaDukes's work examines in dreadful detail how the military has poisoned and exterminated indigenous populations. For those interested in more background, the book is carefully organized into sections examining the deep ties between the military and indigenous people, how the economy drives the military and vice-versa, and the military's appropriation of Indian lands.
Combine this historical reality with the generational trauma experienced by the Native American community, and it is obvious that the constant presence of aircraft over the camps filled with woman and children would naturally raise anxiety levels. Whether activists actually threatened owners of helicopters working for law enforcement is unknown.
Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun
Consider also, that there have been to date 95 arrested for protest activities since the start of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The most recent was on September 28 when law enforcement officers assigned to the DAPL protest arrested 21 protesters at two construction sites along the pipeline route south and west of St. Anthony, ND.
Every picture tells a story. The Morton County Sheriff, Kyle L. Kirchmeier, issued a press release on the office's Facebook page.
"Officers arrested the protesters for various crimes including resisting arrest, criminal trespass on private property and possession of stolen property. Tow trucks were called to transport 5 impounded vehicles. When officers responded they witnessed numerous people and horses on private property. A protester on horseback charged at an officer in what was viewed as an act of aggression," according to the Sheriff.
Responding to An Act of Aggression By a Horse
In response to the "act of aggression" by a horse, law enforcement responded with specialized equipment and weapons that include armored vehicles and less lethal ammunition using bean-bag rounds. The Valley News reported that an officer raised his gun at the horse and rider. Morton County Sheriff, Kyle Kirchmeier, claimed that he was protecting the safety of his citizens.
What is appropriate use of force, and who are the citizens of Morton County that need protection? Census data for 2015 indicates there are 30,310 people living there. 92.4 percent are white and 4.1 percent Native American. Should the minority be provided less protection?