At Standing Rock, indigenous activists say the mass arrests and police violence have led many of them to develop PTSD, suffering symptoms that many veterans understand well.
“This historical trauma of indigenous communities in this country is very real. It’s tragic,” said Crane. “The military has a lot of the same problems.”
Aubree Peckham, a member of the Mescalero Apache tribe who has been at Standing Rock for months, was in tears on Friday as she described the way indigenous water protectors have bonded with vets.
“We don’t know how to protect ourselves against the tactical weapons they are using,” she said. “They are getting us better prepared.”
Peckham said the affection was mutual: “We are able to talk about PTSD. And they finally feel like they are understood.”
Hope can come from unexpected places. I’m in awe of these people who have used their pain to form a strong, boundary-crossing framework of love.