Arm of Jewish woman protester at Standing Rock nearly torn off
Menu JTA Search

Arm of Jewish woman protester at Standing Rock nearly torn off

(JTA) — The arm of a Jewish woman was mostly torn off while she was protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Sophia Wilansky, 21, of New York City, was taken on Monday to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, according to Reuters, where she is undergoing surgery to save her hand. She arrived in serious condition.

Protesters allege that Wilansky was injured by a police concussion grenade used for crowd control.  Law enforcement officials say that the protesters were making explosives out of propane bottles and that is what exploded and injured the woman. Over the weekend, law enforcement had used water cannons to disperse the protesters, despite sub-freezing temperatures.

The Native American-led protest is over an oil pipeline that would run near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation on the border of North Dakota and South Dakota. Thousands of pipeline resistance supporters have gathered at the reservation since mid-September.

Wilansky, a 2016 graduate of Williams College in Massachusetts, had been at the protest site for three weeks when she was injured. She had planned to remain there.

Her father told a Minneapolis television station that most of her radius bone is missing, her arteries are gone, and the main nerve and about 80 percent of the muscle on her forearm were blown away. He told reporters at the hospital that doctors said she will need as many as 20 surgeries in the coming months in an attempt to save her arm and her hand.

It is reported to be the most serious injury since the protests began.

Earlier this month another Jewish woman, Erin Schrode, 25, a self-described citizen activist and journalist, appeared to be shot by a rubber bullet while conducting an interview with a Native American man on the sideline of the protest