How the State Trooper Explains Standing Rock to His Child


“Welcome home from school, honey. How was your day, little girl? Did you learn a lot in Fourth Grade?”

“Yes, Daddy. I did.”


“Our teacher talked about the savages who were living here way back when before normal Americans discovered America. The Indians. They rode horses and walked everywhere. They had different tribes. One of them is like a girl’s name. The Susans. Pretty funny.”

“Yes. The Sioux. Tribe of Sitting Bull.”

“They had cute names like that. Crazy Horse! And they ate buffaloes.”

“Buffalo meat ain’t half bad, you know. You had it once. Remember? At the Hansen’s barbecue? It’s just like beef when you grill it right. . . So, yeah, good. Good day at school for my little princess.”

“Yep. We learned there are a lot of Indians in our state. How was your day, Daddy?”

“Oh, you know, Daddy is protecting people and keeping sweet little girls like you safe from bad guys.”

“Like bank robbers!”

“Yeah. Like that.”

“You got a bank robber today? Oh, my God! I have to tell Ashley.”

“No, we didn’t have no robberies today, sweetheart. Nothing like that. I was out in the field, far away from the bank.”

“In a field?”

“Yeah, like a meadow. Out in the countryside, near the river. Very pretty, actually. No bank robbers there as far as I could tell.”

“But you were still protecting people and keeping them safe, right Daddy?”

“Oh, yes. Yes. Protecting and serving. Keeping it safe for everyone, including you, honey girl. There are people that do something called vandalism. You know what standing-rock-river-670x389that is? When you write on a wall? Or spray paint something? So, where your daddy’s working lately, there are a lot of people like that. Vandals. My job is to stop them.”

“The water protec–”

“Vandals. The vandals who want to destroy public property that’s allowed to be where it is. I make sure everyone follows the rules. Now, see, I don’t make the rules. I just make sure the rules are respected. And if they don’t respect the law. . .”

“You shoot them!”

“No, no, no, silly. Daddy doesn’t have to use his gun except for bank robbers. I stop them other ways.”

“All my friends know my dad is so brave! Thank you, Daddy, for being a hero.”

“You’re welcome, princess.”

“Thank you for protecting us.”

“That’s what I do.”



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