Temryss Lane, Lummi, reacts to cruel comments posted under the hashtag YesDAPL.

Video: Everyday Native Americans Respond to #YesDAPL


“You all are embarrassing yourselves.”

“People like this should be shot on sight.”

Such devastating comments take on a special air of cruelty when read aloud by the very people they are directed at: American Indians.

“Be blessed by all of your handouts,” reads one Native woman in a new video produced by JaNae Collins, Brian Vallie, Jim Ruel, and Pamela J. Peters. The quizzical look on her face progresses into an eyerolled grimace. “ ‘We’ll all be sure to keep working hard for you to all keep getting free shit.’ Wow…”

She continues, as the video reveals her identity.

“As somebody who’s not getting free shit—I’m a doctor, a Native doctor at that—people don’t understand the implications of their words,” Andrea N. Garcia, MD, Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara, tells the camera, “and again, the history that our people have gone through.” The comments written on social media by Dakota Access Pipeline supporters and directed at the NoDAPL movement cast light on the need for education and understanding on all fronts as mainstream media continues to give short shrift in its coverage of the water protectors near Standing Rock.

The video progression tells it all. By the end of the three-minute clip, most of the people reading comments are wiping their eyes—and not in outraged mirth. The depth of ignorance in this, the 21st century, about the daily lives of Indigenous Peoples and what they stand for unmasks the outdated, misplaced, colonial-style assumptions that continue to undermine perceptions today.

Unlike their tormenters, the people in this video are not afraid to show their vulnerability. The world could take a lesson from that.

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David Odell's picture
David Odell
Submitted by David Odell on
I try to explore the reasons people use "screennames" instead of their regular names. The biggest reason has to be fear. There are people who wish to spout hate and then hide in the shadows. In journalism, the writer stands behind their words by signing the writing. I find fake screen names to be somewhat dishonest and less than forthcoming. Cowardice prevents the writers from signing these comments, for example.