Natives, Environmentalists Stand with Sioux, Opposing Dakota Pipeline
Photograph courtesy of UnicornRiot.Ninja.
(APN) ATLANTA — Native Americans, environmental activists, and landowners have formed a coalition to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in opposing to the Dakota Access Pipeline (“Bakken pipeline”), the latest iteration of what would have been the Keystone XL Pipeline.
After seven years of protests, sit-ins, lobbying, letter writing, and a review by President Barack Obama, it seemed like the Keystone XL pipeline was shut down. Native American voices were at the center of the Keystone opposition as well.
“This is the replacement for the Keystone XL pipeline, so it’s the same game with a different name,” former State Rep. Ed Fallon (D-IA), who served in the Iowa General Assembly for fourteen years, told Atlanta Progressive News.
That is why the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) and all the land and water defenders at the Camp of the Sacred Stones in North Dakota are pledged to stay as long as it takes to stop the pipeline.
On August 22, 2016 they sent out a call for support to other Native Nations.
Some 87 Tribal Nations answered the call to support Standing Rock and stop the pipeline.
Sixty tribes are represented at the Spirit Camp with over 2,500 Native Americans, environmentalists, and landowners who continue to resist the Bakken pipeline.
Thus far, 28 peaceful defenders of the land and water have been arrested in organized, nonviolent civil disobedience actions. They want the world to know that they are not protesters but defenders of life.
However the powers that be “are trying to suppress dissent by closing the road and denying the public access to the road under the guise that things are dangerous. Nothing is dangerous, they start off each day with prayer, ” Fallon tells APN.
If the Dakota Access pipeline is completed it will run across four states like a black snake. A Lakota prophecy predicts that when the Black Snake runs across their land, their world will end. Many consider the pipeline carrying black oil to be symbolic of the Black Snake.
The proposed pipeline would run from the Bakken oil fields in northwestern North Dakota, through South Dakota and Iowa, to Patoka, Illinois. From there it would connect with another pipeline to the Gulf Coast for storage and export .
The pipeline will cross the Cannonball, The Big Sioux, and go under the Missouri River twice before it flows into the Mississippi River.
“Eighteen million citizens get their water from the Missouri River and we are standing up for the 18 million Americans who have a right to have clean water,” Mekasi Horinek, with the Ponca Nation and State Director of Bold Oklahoma, told APN.
“The reservations, farms, ranches, townships, and cities all get their water from the Missouri River. It’s not a native issue, it’s a human rights issue,” Horinek tells APN.
The 3.8 billion dollar pipeline would carry about half a billion barrels of crude oil a day.
A spill would threaten the Tribe’s main water source, sacred sites and burial sites.
Pipeline stills are a common occurrence in the U.S.
“We all know that if something is manmade, it does not last forever, and it will eventually fail. The only thing that lasts forever is Mother Earth, the sky, and the sun,” Horinek said.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the international Indian Treaty Council (IITC) have sent a letter to the United Nations and also the U.S. State Department, Department of Interior, and the White House regarding human rights violations by the pipeline.
They also call for the United States to stop all arrests and intimidation, drop pending lawsuits and all legal charges against Treaty Rights Defenders, and stop the criminalization of indigenous human rights defenders around the world.
The tribe filed an injunction in federal court to stop the Bakken pipeline. The court is expected to rule on the injunction on September 09, 2016.
“We are pleased we had our day in court… I believe we have established an important precedent, and that in the future, Indian voices will be heard before the federal government acts,” Dave Archambault, II, Chairman, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, said in a news release.