By now, you have probably heard about the protests and fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline lead by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota. The pipeline is proposed to run near the tribe’s land, through a sacred burial ground, and through the Mississippi River. Many have cited not only environmental concerns (particularly over potential leaks to surrounding rivers and water supplies) but also concerns over treaties with and the right to self-determination of the indigenous peoples and tribes here in the US.
At one point, sacred sites were identified near the pipeline’s proposed construction but just hours after lawyers filed evidence of them in a federal court, the company behind the pipeline began work on it. Bulldozers cleared the earth and destroyed the sacred land. Protesters broke through the barriers when this started, only to be met by pepper spray and attack dogs.
Thousands have gathered to support the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe over the past few weeks – Jill Stein, Susan Sarandon, Shailene Woodley, and others have joined in the protests in North Dakota and Washington DC. Camps have been set up, the largest being the Sacred Stone Camp, and campaigns online have arisen to support those on the ground. Vivian Underhill wrote in part about the community that’s grown in the camps for Bitch Media, saying that:
Some people come for weekends or take temporary leave from work; others have quit their jobs and live at the protest site, Sacred Stone Camp, long-term. Delegations from over 100 other tribal nations have arrived in the camp in person, and almost 200 have passed resolutions of support. Local farmers and ranchers, not affiliated with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe but who also rely on the Missouri for their livelihoods, have also shown their support, as well as a delegation from Black Lives Matter. The movement has also galvanized efforts by environmental organizations, climate activists, and allies across the country.
I support the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline in part because climate change is drastically changing our land and water. I’ve seen the land and weather change throughout my lifetime and it’s past time to fight for the earth. Water is life and we need to protect it. But my support for this fight is more than just environmental – I support the tribes who have been repeatedly screwed over by the United States government and their fight for sovereignty and land and for their treaties to be respected.
To learn more and support the fight:
- Stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline which endangers the water supply to Native American reservations. – White House Petition
- Rezpect Our Water
- Sacred Stone Camp – their Facebook page
- #NoDAPL Solidarity
- ‘I want to win someday’: Tribes make stand against pipeline by Jack Healy
- Taking a Stand at Standing Rock by David Archambault II
- The DoJ is asking that the pipeline construction be temporarily stopped! (September 9th statement)
- But unfortunately Standing Rock Sioux’s temporary injunction was denied by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington.