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Standing Rock

Here is information regarding the dynamics around the trip to Standing Rock.

Athena Lund’s testimony regarding the theft of her equipment

(police report has been ordered)

Reports to David Cobb about Standing Rock

 Campfire photos

Rebuttal statements

Peggy Robertson, writepeg@juno.com

Dear Members of National Committee of Green Party of the United States,

I am writing in response to a recent report delivered to the Green Party in regard to the Green representation, organized by Andrea Merida, at Standing Rock this past November. I was a part of the group that represented the Green Party at Standing Rock and I documented my experiences at my blog www.pegwithpen.com (see archive November 2016). I am very thankful to the Green Party as well as Andrea for allowing me to accompany and represent the Greens at Standing Rock.

I read the report by Charmaine and Dawn and have organized my thoughts below into the three sections they address in their report.

Section 1 in which Charmaine and Dawn state: Andrea assumed control of our group undemocratically and made unilateral, authoritarian decisions that were hostile to the Standing Rock people, culture and Elders. She was disdainful of our suggestions as Indigenous Greens for showing respect and building community with the Indigenous people.

My response: Andrea made it clear from day one that we each should contribute and learn from Standing Rock however we felt we might be of the most use to the community. My son, who also came to Standing Rock, and I, contributed by working at the school and supporting the front line by gathering supplies and setting up tents. Each of us contributed based on our individual strengths and also on our desire to learn from the Standing Rock community. Andrea maintained the camp and was continually getting food, firewood and other necessary items in order to keep our camp safe and with all necessary supplies. She was required to drive to Bismarck in order to purchase needed supplies. Andrea continually spoke with visitors to our camp who stopped after seeing our beautiful Green Party banner on our van. Our camp location and fire location were all agreed upon by the group and every aspect of camp was easily accessed from our campsite. My son and I attempted to spend time with Charmaine during our days at Standing Rock. Often she would state that she would meet us in a particular location and we would arrive and she would not be there. A large portion of her time was spent procuring items for her winter campsite; on one occasion my son carried a large brand new sleeping bag for her back to our campsite. That evening Charmaine lit a candle insider her tent and caught her sleeping bag on fire. She had to rush down to the river and drop it in, in order to put out the fire. The following day the sleeping bag remained in the river until my son dragged it out and disposed of it. There were no fire hazards whatsoever in regard to managing and handling our community fire at the camp. Our campfire was surrounded by rocks and centered in the middle of our camp as a gathering space. The day we delivered all of the donated supplies Charmaine was no where to be found; we delivered all supplies to the main Oceti Sakowin centers for food, medical supplies, clothes, and more. Charmaine seemed interested in only delivering supplies to the Red Warrior Camp which was one smaller area within the large Oceti Sakowin camp; she was unavailable the day we delivered supplies and we did our best to make sure that the supplies were available to whoever might need them. Andrea did an excellent job of organizing the trip, driving us safely to Standing Rock, continually keeping the campsite fully supplied, speaking to Oceti Sakowin community members, while also maintaining her duties in reporting back to the Green Party. She represented the Green Party incredibly well.

Section 2 in which Charmaine and Dawn state: Andrea was disrespectful towards us as Indigenous women. Her demeaning treatment of Shark, an Indigenous elder, was a violation of the most well-known tenet of Indigenous culture.

My response: I have never seen Andrea treat anyone with disrespect – ever. Andrea was never disrespectful to Charmaine. In regard to the van and bringing supplies in the van – the van was absolutely packed full. Our supplies and the supplies to be donated left no room for additional items such as a massage chair. There simply was no more room. It seemed that Charmaine felt that she should be able to take the van and use it as she deemed necessary while at the camp; this is problematic for multiple reasons. Many of our supplies were in the van, so it was necessary to organize trips carefully so that people were able to access their supplies when needed. In addition, Andrea was responsible for the van. I did not want to drive the van anywhere because it was not registered in my name. There were eight people at our campsite. We used the van continually as needed to head into Bismarck for supplies, drop off supplies, and on several evenings we went to the casino because we were able to access wifi and complete necessary reporting and writing. We were not gambling at the casino; we were sitting on the floor in the lobby charging our phones and writing using our laptops.

Section 3 in which Charmaine and Dawn state: In her abrupt departure, Andrea demonstrated callous disregard for Shark’s safety and well being, and disrespect for the Standing Rock community.

My response: We did not depart abruptly. Charmaine knew we were leaving that day. Charmaine told us that she did not plan to come back with us. The day of departure we waited and searched for approximately two hours trying to find Charmaine. Charmaine was rarely at our camp and very difficult to find. As I stated earlier, she had agreed on multiple occasions to meet me and my son at various spots and she would never show up as planned. We left because she did not show up and she had already stated that she did not want to ride back with us. Charmaine states that she was on a special diet. She ate continually at the group kitchen and told me and my son daily how great the food was. It was very rare that she stayed to eat with us. I helped clean up the campsite when we left. A dear friend of Andrea’s was still at the campsite so we did not tear everything down. We left chairs and additional items for him as he planned to stay another day. It was understood that he would take care of the final items before departing. He also planned to donate my chairs to the camp. Charmaine stayed simply because she wanted to stay.

In closing, I feel incredibly grateful to have been able to travel to Standing Rock with Andrea and fellow Greens. I did my best to contribute while there via blogging, gathering supplies for the front line as well as working at the school (I am a former teacher). I learned so much from the members of our small campsite as well as from the community of Oceti Sakowin. I am humbled and thankful that I was allowed to visit and be a part of a historical, peaceful movement that welcomed everyone and pushed with grace and dignity to save humanity for all. I am disheartened to see such a great Green event and Green leader discussed in a manner that is filled with untruths and clearly meant to create harm to an individual for whom I have immense respect. Andrea’s contribution to the Green Party and her contribution to the Denver, Colorado community cannot be measured – she is thoughtful, brilliant, humble, and always helping me to learn and question in an effort to develop my skills as an activist and as a human being who strives to be a better person.

Kind regards,
Peggy Robertson


Erika Bañuelos, ebanuelos@getebc.com

My name is Erika Bañuelos and I am a new member of the Green Party. I became a member after my trip to Standing Rock with Andrea Merida this past fall 2016. I recently read a report by two indigenous women that were also at my camp, Charmaine Barros and Dawn Neptune Adams. I am replying because I am disturbed by their allegations, stories and accounts of their perception regarding their experience at the camp.

I. Andrea assumed control of our group undemocratically and made unilateral, authoritarian decisions that were hostile to the Standing Rock people, culture and Elders. She was disdainful of our suggestions as Indigenous Greens for showing respect and building community with the Indigenous people.

RESPONSE: Charmaine insisted that she was an “Elder” and therefore deserved to run our camp. As the eldest female of the group, being demanding of a role is unnecessary. Demanding respect is also unwarranted in a setting where we were all to contribute and pull our weight at the Camp. The camp also held very specific rules regarding visitors. We were all, collectively to default to the in-house, camp rules, not cause trouble amongst our camp and demand leadership roles. She caused unrest amongst the group, yet we still gathered our own wood, cooked for ourselves and came to camp with our own water and other supplies so that we wouldn’t deplete the camp’s precious resources.

Andrea over-rode our desire to be a part of Oceti Sakowin Camp life, insisting the Green camp be placed at the river where we would encounter few people. When members of the Standing Rock community did come visit us, Andrea treated Indigenous and other visitors with hostile indifference. When the founders of the national group “Natives Lives Matter” visited, she offered food to everyone but them. Eventually, Andrea clarified that she was willing to speak only with Greens registered to vote from North Dakota.


RESPONSE: The camp was wide and growing on a daily basis. Setting up a place to rest and a hub was on the fly. This was by no means a five star experience and whether a certain group allocated a “Better” spot, was indifferent. We were all dealing with a lack of water and portable toilets. Andrea made it clear before arriving, that she would investigate an area for those at the camp to have a place to vote. She was also to report to the Green party regarding the political climate at the camp. There was not time for hostile indifference as mentioned by the report. I too was at the camp, living and working and never experienced hostility from Andrea.
Andrea ignored Shark’s critical guidance about fire safety at the camp, insisting the fire be built directly outside her personal tent, rather than using an existing hole in the ground. Ignoring Shark’s instructions, she started an above-ground fire that put everyone at risk while we were attending a prayer meeting.

RESPONSE: Decisions need to be made in real time. Again with limited resources, our critical thinking skills were required; Andrea with her military background came in handy when setting up camp. She did so with our safety in mind at all times. Sharks personal responsibility regarding the fire pit, was to find a shovel. Which she never did, we improvised. We had to; we needed to stay warm on those frosty nights. To have such arrogance and blatant disregard for our safety is untrue. It was Charmaine who one night was so cold- lit a fire in her tent. Again, no hole in the ground, just lit a fire in her personal tent causing her sleeping bag to catch fire. Her selfish choices endangered our camp, not the other way around. She was so embarrassed that when we asked what happened, she blamed us for bringing up the conversation. It was clear that Charmaine was unprepared for the cold conditions at the camp. This was a woman, who had already been to the camp before and should’ve demonstrated some accountability not be a liability to the group.

Andrea rudely silenced Indigenous people who came down to the river to pray in the mornings, shouting out “Don’t you know people are sleeping?” In fact, formal activities began at Standing Rock an hour before sunrise.

RESPONSE: I don’t recall this happening. We were all always up before the sun rise. I am not sure where these allegations are coming from. Again, I was at the same camp and often got up before both Charmaine and Dawn to make coffee and breakfast for the group.
Andrea subverted the distribution of medical supplies, food and equipment by insisting on dropping the materials off in a haphazard, arbitrary manner that put supplies in places they could not be effectively used. This was an affront to Shark’s knowledge of the camp as an Elder who had helped build Standing Rock Resistance since its founding.

RESPONSE: The supplies that we delivered found their way to the appropriate tents on site. These donations were made by family and friends and at the time, the camp had a sense of urgency for them, specifically the medical supplies. Waiting for both Charmaine and Dawn to hand deliver them was not appropriate, the camp was in dire need and assuming ownership of who dropped them off seems incredibly immature to me.

Andrea refused to show respect by attending the Sacred Fire or Sunrise Ceremonies, insisting that people would have to come to our out-of- the-way Green campsite if they wanted to interact with us. She refused to attend a workshop on decolonization with her fellow Greens, saying she already knew enough about that.

RESPONSE: There were protocols and trainings at the camp on a daily basis. We attending those camps and at all times demonstrated respect for the cause. We invested our time appropriately for the Green Party. Never was the Green Party misrepresented by the camp. Wandering the camp and gossiping, is not an effective way to spend our time.

Andrea prevented us from connecting to Indigenous and other press to cover our visit and the growing Green-Indigenous relationship. By refusing to take us to an arranged interview in the van rented by the campaign for our collective use, Andrea scuttled our interview with a journalist from Indian Country Today Media Network. In the same way, Andrea gave Dawn no choice but to hitch-hike on the day before the election in order to get a time-critical video uploaded to the campaign staff.

RESPONSE: I don’t recall ICTMN coming to our camp. I personally know the Culture Editor- a friend from Denver and someone that I had contact with through out my time at Standing Rock. He was in fact not on site that week I was there. He was there the week before and the week after I was there. I know that an interview with the group would’ve been possible for the Green Party because of my close connection to him, so again, I am not sure where this allegation is coming from. At one point, I even asked Charmaine during the week, if she knew this Editor who was from our home town of Denver, she replied “No, I don’t know him.”

Regarding uploading videos and other internet related information, wi-fi was sketchy at best. It was difficult for EVERYONE to access emails, phone call/voice mails, etc. So uploading any video would’ve been impossible. It was no secret at the camp, that internet accessibility would be difficult and challenging at all times. So to blame Andrea for the inability to upload a video seems rather immature and childish considering the circumstances.

Rather than build bridges to the Standing Rock community, Andrea spent the bulk of each day off site in Bismarck or at the casino.

RESPONSE: Getting supplies in Bismark proved to be a logistics nightmare. Our camp assumed responsibility to take care of ourselves. Depleting the resources at the camp was not an option for bad preparation. We made daily trips to stock up our supplies and getting in and out of camp was a daily challenge.

Andrea was disrespectful towards us as Indigenous women. Her demeaning treatment of Shark, an Indigenous elder, was a violation of the most well-known tenet of Indigenous culture.

RESPONSE: I too am an indigenous woman, Apache. I never felt disrespected by Andrea. I admire her example and it’s because of her actions that I was easily converted on becoming a Green. If I had relied on Charmaine’s “example” I would have never joined the Green Party. My experience with Charmaine was on her insisted that she
cleanse me with her sage, I at the time, did not want to spend my time or energy with her , so I declined a saging from her. If she’s insulted by that, I am unapologetic about it. I made a choice and refuse to give in if the time for saging seems inappropriate or unwarranted.

In a dictatorial manner, Andrea refused to allow Shark to bring critical supplies with her to Standing Rock, despite their driving in an 18-person van specifically for the purpose of bringing supplies to the camp. Andrea prevented Shark from bringing her small camping stove, food supplies, a cooler, and her medic supplies including a massage chair for the healing tent where Shark played a critical role as a Standing Rock medic. Andrea insisted Shark could only bring a small backpack in the van.

RESPONSE: Charmaine was well aware that we had a time line. She was 2.5 hours late, unprepared and hadn’t packed very well. Our 18 passenger van was at capacity at the time we arrived to pick up Charmaine. I attended Standing Rock as a healer; CPR trained, first aid experienced and yoga teacher. I did my research before hand and
asked around regarding the needs of the camp. Some of the bulky items that Charmaine wanted to bring, simply would NOT have fit in the van. Perhaps better communication and planning on her end would’ve allowed for all of her listed supplies to have fit in the van. Throwing a fit was uncalled for and immature.

On the day of our arrival in Bismark, Andrea refused to pick up Dawn from the airport. She also refused to answer Dawn’s phone calls and left Dawn not knowing what had happened, fending for herself in Bismark. As a result, Dawn incurred needless hotel and taxi expenses.

RESPONSE: I drove to Bismark with Andrea to pick up Dawn, and we did not leave her stranded, though she did have to make her way to the hotel where we picked her up. I am disturbed by these allegations since this could simply be an issue where communication was lacking and that gap may have been due to the internet/wi-fi and cell phone service.

Andrea refused to pay for these and other expenses, although she had been instructed by the campaign to do so, and had abundant resources for that purpose.

RESPONSE: See above. NEVER did I assume the Green Party was to handle my food, water, shelter, etc . during this trip. We were all there to help each other out NOT to be a financial or emotional burden on others.

Andrea displayed callous disregard for Shark’s safety. Shark, who has medically diagnosed night blindness, was completely dependent on a flashlight at night. When Shark’s flashlight ran out of batteries, Andrea refused to share from her supply. This essentially robbed Shark of her vision at night, a precarious position to be in, particularly in the wilderness. This forced Shark to run terrified across the encampment to the resource tent as the sun was setting, barely making it before darkness would have made it impossible for her to find her way.

RESPONSE: Charmaine drained our resources after she bragged that she knew everyone at camp and would procure additional resources for the camp; ie water, batteries, wood, etc. She came up empty handed every single time. Charmaine took resources that we brought as donations, batteries being one of them. I know first hand because it was my friends from Ogletree and Deakins that donated flashlights and batteries for the Oceti Camp, not for Charmaine. If Charmaine had been to the camp before, then why show up unprepared and become a burden to everyone else?

Based on Shark’s effort to borrow two batteries, Andrea later accused Shark of stealing from her. This appears to be a pre-emptive effort to discredit Shark before she revealed what actually occurred at Standing Rock.
III. In her abrupt departure, Andrea demonstrated callous disregard for Shark’s safety and well being, and disrespect for the Standing Rock community.

RESPONSE: Charmaine caused a fire at the camp, catching her tent and her sleeping bag on fire. This was a blatant disregard for the camp’s safety.
Andrea abruptly departed while we were attending a Water Ceremony, leaving Shark stranded at Standing Rock without resources. Though Andrea was responsible for covering all of our expenses, she left without making other arrangements for Shark’s return home.

RESPONSE: Charmaine never made herself available to the group. She wondered the camp daily and often we did not know of her whereabouts. Charmaine was also very clear on the departure date and time. This shows Charmaine’s lack of responsibility to herself and also to the group.
In her departure, Andrea threw away the ice, a precious commodity at Standing Rock that we relied on for food preservation. She also tossed Shark’s food – despite knowing Shark followed a special diet and couldn’t eat at the group kitchen. Shark had been forced to rely on Andrea’s cooler in the first place because Andrea had prevented Shark from bringing her own equipment to Standing Rock.

RESPONSE: Charmaine wasn’t around the camp enough to have communicated her needs. Again, as an adult who is aware of her dietary restrictions, she should not be blaming one person from our camp for her inability to nourish
herself. The moment we arrived to the camp, Charmaine knew there were resources on site to help with a cooler or ice. She also had several opportunities to go to Bismark and pick up a cooler if she needed one. I never heard her voice this urgent medical matter.

Andrea – and the family and friends that came with her – also disrespected Oceti Sakowin Camp guidelines by leaving their trash for us to haul away for them. In Standing Rock everyone was expected to dispose of their own trash.

RESPONSE: We cleaned, swept, picked up our camp and did dishes daily. Charmaine was not around the camp to know this since she spent her time wandering the premises. I completely disagree with her statement here.

Erika Bañuelos


Jonte Richardson, navajoblack@gmail.com

To whom it may concern,
My name is Jonte Richardson and I was part of the camp for the final week of the Green Party reps stay at Standing Rock.
I am no way affiliated with the Green Party and was at Standing Rock as an independent Observer and in my capacity as a producer and director.
I am honored to consider Andrea, Dawn and Shark as friends. And as such have no interest in taking sides, but perhaps I can shed some light on at least some of the incidents sited in the report that has been forwarded to me.
Firstly I am extremely saddened to hear of the discord that has arisen between these three powerful and important women of color.
As I have already stated I was only there for the final week and for several days after Andrea and her group left. In fact I drive Dawn to the airport.
I will say that I do think there were some cultural misunderstandings between members of the group. Those who are not used to Rez life can sometimes find themselves causing offense when non is meant. I myself, who have many native friends and have spent a great deal of time on different reservations, fell foul of Lakota tradition, when Dawn and myself walked into the vicinity of the sacred fire with my dog.
I was not present for many of the alleged incidents, but I can say that Andrea did search for Dawn and Shark before she and her group left- I know because I searched with her and as far as the incident with the ice, I can wholeheartedly tell you that it was done without any malice. Also regarding the non attendance of sacred fire and sunrise ceremonies, again there are several different schools of thought. Ceremonies are indeed sacred and there had been a lot of disrespectful behavior by white people in the general camp, which had caused a great deal of distress to the native community, so many of us non natives felt uncomfortable attending.  And finally it is not my view that Andrea spent the majority of the time off site at the casino,  at least whilst I was there.
So again I can only speak to what I witnessed, but it was obvious that there was tension within the group and I don’t want to negate or undermine anyone’s  grievances, but Standing Rock was a very difficult situation for everyone involved.
As an African American myself,  It is always upsetting when division is allowed to derail our collective struggle. So I hope that all parties involved can find a way to resolve this without further unhelpful disruption.
These are three incredibly accomplished women, essential to the Green Party and as already said, I am incredibly honored to call each of them friend.
#Blacklivesmatter #Nativelivesmatter
Sent from my JPhone