MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A woman from New York is in a Minneapolis hospital Tuesday. She is going through surgeries after claims of being hit with a grenade at Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.
Sophia Wilansky was flown to Hennepin County Medical Center after her arm was severely injured.
She is one of thousands standing with indigenous people who are protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Many are gathered at the hospital for a prayer vigil for Wilansky.
Video and still photos show the clash between police and protestors on Sunday.
“There’s over 500 tribes … from across America showed up,” said Clyde Bellecourt, founder and national director of the American Indian Movement. “It’s the largest gathering of Indian people in the modern history.”
Bellecourt says police are using violence against peaceful protestors.
“This is un-American what they’re doing to the Native people,” said Wayne Wilansky, Sophia Wilansky’s father. “My daughter, who was completely conscious, say that they threw a grenade right at her.”
Wilansky says the bone was blown out of his daughter’s arm, and all the muscles and veins are gone.
He says a weapon of war was used on his daughter, but police tell a different story.
A spokesperson for the Morton County Sheriff told the Los Angeles Times, “It wasn’t from our law enforcement, because we didn’t deploy anything that should have caused that type of damage to her arm. We’re not sure how her injury was sustained.”
“I spoke to the surgeon myself directly. They took shrapnel out of her arm, so it’s pretty clear that it’s a grenade,” Wilansky said.
In addition to Wilansky, Bellecourt says hundreds of others have been injured. Their prayer Tuesday is for peace, and for others to join in the protest.
“Genocide and violence against native peoples and all people of color continues. People standing up to fight this genocide continue to be violently beaten down,” Bellecourt said.
He says it is not about indigenous people and sacred land — it is about protecting the water for generations to come.
The pipeline would be used to carry oil from North Dakota under the Missouri River to Illinois.
The Army Corps of Engineers delayed construction work last week to hold further discussions with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
But the companies behind the pipeline have asked a federal court to allow them to complete the work.
A GoFundMe medical fund has been set up for Wilansky with already $241,000 raised of the $300,000 goal as of early Tuesday evening.
According to the fund, Wilansky was handing out water to protectors “holding down the space” when she was hit by the grenade.