National Nurses United

National Nurse magazine October-November-December 2016

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Page 9 of 23

Our last issue went to print just as National Nurses United's Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN) returned from a deployment to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota, where nurses helped provide first aid in a his- toric moment to activists blocking construction of the Dako- ta Access Pipeline. This month, check out a collection of stories on what RNs learned, what projects are on the hori- zon, and how nurses and union workers are still standing in solidarity with Standing Rock. RNs and Veterans Join #NoDAPL Resistance Through RNRN work, nurses discover nursing values align with movement to protect planet B efore dotty nygard, rn, packed a suitcase with wool socks, ski goggles and thermal boots, and boarded a plane to North Dakota, she sat with a stack of articles and read as much as she could about the values of the Lakota Sioux. Generosity, humility, fortitude, caring and compassion, praying and respect, honesty and truth, wisdom. Days later, at the Prairie Knights Casino and Resort on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, Nygard had an epiphany while talking with Native American civil rights leader Clyde Bellecourt. While only the Sioux can truly embody the tenets of their culture, Nygard realized there was something familiar about living under a series of guiding principles that valued people and the planet. "It was an inspiring time to be able to listen to an elder talk so passionately about how not only mother earth has been wounded, but how people have been wounded—how we're not really valuing what we really should be: mother earth, our health, our community," said Nygard. "It was an 'Aha!' moment for me when I realized that what I read connected so much with my own values as a nurse: nursing values." Nygard had traveled to Standing Rock in December as a volun- teer with National Nurses United's Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN). She and fellow RNs Amy Bowen, Rachel Gitas, and Ann McKenzie had come to help provide first aid for the "water protectors" (a reclamation of "protestors") camped out for months, blocking construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The final section of the $3.78 billion pipeline—set to carry oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota, through four states, and on to refineries—would run under the Missouri River near the Stand- ing Rock Sioux reservation, imperiling the tribe's sacred land and water supply, and threatening to pollute the drinking water of up to 17 million people. As the movement to resist the pipeline grew, the response from militarized authorities toward unarmed water pro- tectors became increasingly violent. "[The authorities] did a lot of physical harm to a lot of people in camp," said Lakota water protector Cindy Ross, whose Native name is Kamimila Winyan, referring to much-publicized (via social media) instances of water pro- tectors being attacked by guard dogs, shot with rubber bullets and tear gas can- isters, sprayed with water cannons in subzero temperatures, and other injuries. "[The injured] took that for us because they believed so much that this is not only going to affect them, but their children, other people." said Ross. "Even people on the other side, the DAPL work- ers, it's going to affect their children, their grandchildren, too. And all we ever did was continue to pray for the workers, too. It's hard, you know? But they know not what they do." In light of the highly publicized injuries to water protectors, and also to address the everyday healthcare needs of campers and local residents, RNRN deployed nurse volunteers to Standing Rock in October and November. They deployed again in December, a trip that was unique in that it aligned with a thousands-strong mission 10 N A T I O N A L N U R S E W W W . N A T I O N A L N U R S E S U N I T E D . O R G O C T O B E R | N O V E M B E R | D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 The Art of Protecting For nurses, oil pipelines are out, a just transition to green energy is in. Find out how RNs joined in the #NoDAPL movement to win environmental and health justice. BY K A R I J O N E S RNRN volunteer Dotty Nygard, RN helps staff a first aid station for water protectors and veterans in a casino near the #NoDAPL camps.

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