The Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s fight to protect our water has inspired the world as many are standing up to the multi-billion dollar corporations that seek to increase the extraction of fossil fuels in America. Over 220 pipeline spills have happened in 2016 alone and just recently, on December 5th, another pipeline burst spilling 176,00 gallons into a creek less than two hours from Camp of the Sacred Stones.
Over the months since its establishment on April 1, 2016 by LaDonna Brave Bull Allard and her grandchildren, an entire autonomous village has sprung up centered around protecting the water and the commitment to be engaged in prayer and ceremony. Leadership is solely from the Native American tribes and there is a set of non-negotiable rules that everyone emus abide by including no alcohol, no drugs, no weapons. Over 300 recognized tribes from the Americas have joined together at camp in solidarity with the understanding that Mni Wiconi – Water is Life!
Philip J. Deloria, a professor of American Culture and History at the University of Michigan, sees the fight as historic:
“The whole thing is kind of amazing, really. It’s a conjuncture of local organizing, social media activism, tribal-generated intertribal solidarity, semi-traditional ‘march on Washington’ strategies, and alliances with environmental and other political action groups… I think a lot of Indian people are seeing it as a moment of new possibility.”
For months the water protectors have been harassed by the local sheriff’s department (Morton County) on their own land. Earlier this past summer a private security group with attack dogs was hired to intimidate and attack those at Camp of the Sacred Stones and an investigation is in process. The Morton County Sheriff’s department has had the assistance of over 75 different law enforcement agencies often in para-military gear who have senselessly attacked people in the midst of ceremony and prayer with tear gas, LRAD cannons, rubber bullets and concussion grenades. Helicopters fly over the camp constantly despite the area being a no-fly zone. One woman had her arm nearly blown off the night the police used water cannons to soak people in below freezing temperatures. A highway with faster access to the hospital in town has been closed down with concrete barriers by the police which, along with all of the other aggressive tactics, is violating basic human rights. Where are our government leaders condemning this violence?
On December 4th when the Army Corps of Engineers denied DAPL the easement to continue working on the pipeline, Chase Iron Eyes, lawyer and activist from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe had this to say about the wider implications of the forces of colonization at play with DAPL,
“Look, it’s not just indian people who are colonized. Everybody on the planet was colonized. Everybody’s mind was separated from their spirit. Everybody’s labor was separated from meaning. Everybody had a connection to their food source, a sacred connection to the universe. But that changed somewhere 4-500, 600 years ago. But we still have that connection. And so what people need to realize, is when we talk about indigenous peoples, when we talk about world views and cosmologies connected to the universe, that’s not a mystical, magical or “other” thing. That’s something that all human beings can ascend to, can aspire to and that’s what we need to be doing right now.”
But, as the saying goes, the battle has been won, but the war continues as Energy Transfer Partners (ETP owner of DAPL) has chosen to keep working on the pipeline despite this official order. Their fine for this offense? $50,000 per day, which makes one wonder just how much money is invested and by whom? Right now there is over 10 billion dollars from 35 banks who are supporting building this pipeline. Not only do they have the backing of some of Wall Streets most powerful institutions but also the silent support from both sides of the political aisle. President-elect Trump is heavily invested in the pipeline and Rick Perry, his pick for Energy Secretary sits on the board of Energy Transfer Partners – the company who owns Dakota Access Pipeline.
Pipelines are a hazard all over the United States including those of us in the Hudson River Valley. Be aware of the AIM pipeline project that is set to go under the Hudson River in 60 year old pipe right next to indian point. Cuomo has banned tracking in New York State, but we are allowing these natural gas lines to criss cross our communities. Here is what Sane Energy Project (SAEP) has to say about it,
“The Spectra Algonquin Incremental Market project is one of the more insane proposed projects, as it traverses densely populated suburban areas, the Hudson River, a fault line, Metro North rail lines carrying propane trains, and would come dangerously close to the aged Indian Point nuclear plant and its overstuffed storage pools for spent fuel rods. A savvy opposition is headed by SAPE in alliance with anti-nuke groups such as Shut Down Indian Point Now. The groups demand that FERC rescind their approval of the project, and a lawsuit is under way.”
Food and Water Watch has written extensively about the forces surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline and has created an excellent map showing all of the banks investing in ETP. To go to their article please click HERE. It is short and well worth your time.
So what can we do???
DIVEST from all banks supporting the Dakota Access Pipeline. This includes stocks, mutual funds etc. Divest from all fossil fuels. Click HERE for an excellent article by YES! Magazine on this important action.
Camp of the Sacred Stones has info on how you can help. Click HERE.
Participate or plan a #NoDAPL ACTION. Click HERE for info.
And THIS ARTICLE on how to support Standing Rock is PERFECT. Check it out.
Let us hold our public officials accountable for a speedy transition to renewables. The United States can be a leader in renewable energy instead of digging up these contaminating old dinosaurs and lining the pockets of the 1%.
MNI WICHONI! Water IS Life!
by: Adriana Magaña