Nurses know the results of violence because we have, with our own hands, helped to mend wounds, to save lives, to weave back together what has been broken. Where there is pain, you will always find healers. It is our calling. So it was with great horror this week that nurses watched the land and water protectors at Standing Rock — those who have peacefully resisted the Dakota Access pipeline project — be attacked by a militarized force of police and armed guards.
The protectors are healers in their own right, shielding their sacred lands and the water supply of up to 10 million people from contamination. As if it were not enough to hear reports of peaceful protectors being shot with rubber bullets, tased and tear gassed, however — nurses were appalled to learn that one group specifically targeted for attack and arrest was the medics. Volunteer nurses with National Nurses United’s Registered Nurse Response Network have been on site at Standing Rock, assisting with medical aid. Our next rotation begins in November, and in the meantime, we are in touch with our fellow healers on site, who have shared reports of medics being specifically targeted.