Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, an award-winning daily news program that airs on more than 1,400 public and community radio and television stations worldwide. She has co-authored six New York Times bestsellers--most recently Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America.
On September 8, Goodman was named in an arrest warrant for criminal trespass in Morton County, North Dakota, while covering the protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Goodman is no stranger to conflict. In 2008, she was arrested by police in St. Paul, Minnesota, while covering the Republican National Convention. In November 1991, she and fellow journalist Allan Nairn were beaten by Indonesian troops while covering a massacre in progress in Dili, East Timor.
I have known and worked in the world of community radio with Goodman for more than two decades. Recently, we sat down to talk about the growing movements for justice and Democracy Nowl's twenty-year history of giving voice to them.
Q: You were at Standing Rock in September covering the protests. What, as you see it, is going on there?
Goodman: This is fundamentally a story about the state of the planet, about climate change, about indigenous rights, about corporate and state power. It is about Native Americans in North Dakota who have taken a stand against a $3.5 billion pipeline that would go from North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, just six miles shorter than the Keystone XL.
Beginning on April 1, the first resistance camp was set up, the Sacred Stone Camp. Now there are four camps, perhaps more. Thousands of Native Americans from Canada, the United States, and even Latin America have gathered
Norman Stockwell is publisher of The Progressive. to fight to really preserve the planet. To challenge the fossil fuel economy and the destruction of their sacred sites and burial grounds. This is a story that we have seen played out in different places, and right now it is happening in North Dakota. And Native Americans are in the leadership.
Q: When you were at the Standing Rock Reservation in early September, you viewed the repression that was being used against these peaceful protesters. Can you describe that for us?
Goodman: Well, it was Labor Day weekend, September 3, and Native Americans had come up to one of the sites where the pipeline company was excavating for the pipeline. They didn't expect the company to be working on the Labor Day weekend. They came to plant their tribal flags, but when they got there the bulldozers were in full gear. Word went out and more Native Americans and their allies came. They were demanding that the bulldozers stop destroying their sacred sites, their burial grounds.
As they moved up to the bulldozers, the bulldozers started to move back. But not before security guards on the site attacked Native Americans, tackled them, punched them, and unleashed dogs as well as pepper spray. Dogs, a reminder of Alabama in 1963. They unleashed dogs that bit the Native Americans, that bit their horses. It was terrifying.
As Democracy Now! was filming, we saw one of...