A federal judge on Sept. 9 ruled against blocking work on a section of a four-state oil pipeline project that has sparked Native American protests in North Dakota that have generated national attention and drawn support from Episcopal leaders, among others.
But within hours, three federal agencies said they would stop construction and asked the pipeline builder, Energy Transfer Partners, to “voluntary pause” work on government land, land that tribal officials say contain sacred burial sites and artifacts....
This history in the making, not just a little protest. The Standing Rock people and all the other Natives are standing in the way of progress - manifest destiny. They are getting pushed away by big oil, Corp of Engineers, crooked legislators, just like the old days. if the Corp had held their pipeline hearings at Ft. yates instead of in Bismarck this trouble would have been avoided. All these crooked wasicunpi knew that the people would be against the pipeline. I am voting for Chance ironeyes, not some crooked politician. As the Dakota hymn goes Miniwiconi ota, ota, ota. Water of life-much, much, much.
I´ve got this letter from a friend. It´s a report from the Sacred Stone Camp in North Dakota:
Recently, we returned from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and the protest there against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The pipeline is being constructed to carry oil from North Dakota southward to Illinois. It would run the oil underneath the Missouri and Cannonball Rivers, the main water source for the tribe and millions of people south of this point. The protesters want to stop the pipeline for fear of future spillage destroying both the land and water.
We want to share a few thoughts as we consider this a substantial movement, which is being underrepresented by the media. Most people are only learning about it on social media. Reporting found there is spotty in accuracy. It seems there is more reporting on the topic by mainstream media overseas than in our own country. One must wonder at times why that is so.
The four of us, one professor and three students from Marlboro College made the thirty-two hour drive out to North Dakota for a week. The decision to go was rather spur of the moment. Within thirty-six hours of deciding we were able to gather the support of area community members. To everyone who helped we offer our sincere gratitude. We delivered sixteen sleeping bags, wool blankets, five tents, two camping stoves, camping gear, winter clothes, boots and over $2,300. We were careful in selecting how we divided up the donations attempting to be as effective as possible.
The protector's encampment is filled with thousands of people from around the world. We were told there have been times where there were as many as seven thousand supporters camped there. They prefer to call it an action by protectors of the water (mni wiconi, water is life), rather than a protest. We personally met people from Italy, France, Canada, Japan, Ecuador, Norway, Mexico, Chile, among many other countries. There are representatives from over 240 indigenous tribes. People come daily as others leave returning to their homes and jobs. Many people are determined to stay there continuing their struggle until the end. Plans are being made to create a winter camp. The North Dakota winters can be as difficult as you can imagine with cold temperatures amplified by very strong winds.
It is impressive to say the least, that people there deal with all the inconveniences of camping out to show their values of protecting the earth and respecting treaty rights.
The community is organized. First and foremost they regularly talk in defense of the movement staying peaceful. There are guidelines including no weapons, drugs, or alcohol, are permitted into the community. Kitchens are working around the clock to serve meals to everyone, even vegan meals (a first we have seen with Native Communities). There is a school set up and they are working with the state of North Dakota to approve accreditation. There are medical centers, herbalists, legal aid, and so much more.
The funds some of you donated were given to the:
medical facility school encampment financial officers spending funds as most needed families in need purchase of tents and tarps herbalist medical support food for the kitchens helping to make a documentary film
These contributions were greatly appreciated and truly needed. The need is great. If people would like to support the efforts, funds are greatly needed to purchase winter supplies.
While driving back we heard the news how the police arrested 21 people after the sheriff said some police saw protestors with guns. We were there at a protest the day before this and watched the “protesters” thank the police with handshakes and greetings in traditional Lakota fashion. They thanked each officer for the work they do, risking their lives to protect our communities. We cannot say for certain that no protestors have guns. However, the leaders are so clearly and frequently speaking against weapons, violence, and even negative speech that we find it very hard to believe the sheriff’s words. The water defenders want to prioritize protecting the protection of their reservation and the Earth over the monetary interests of the corporation.
Three days before we left, we went to photograph the pipeline across the landscape from a main road. We turned down a public dirt road and were immediately pulled over by a policeman. When we asked if we were doing anything wrong, he responded by saying “not yet” and they just wanted to “check us out.” The police car was not alone. We were, boxed in by eight cars including local police, sheriff, police from the next county, state troopers, Bureau of Indian Affairs Police and FBI. After 10 minutes of being checked out, we were told to leave, even though it was clearly public property and we were not doing anything illegal. We tell you this only to share the level of intimidation, which is going on.
We all had an amazing eye opening experience and everyone's donations are truly appreciated. We do not know the likelihood protestors can stop DAPL from completing the pipeline, although we hope they do. Either way, we believe this is larger than the pipeline, and it draws attention to Native American rights as well as, those of indigenous people’s throughout the world, environmentalism, and injustice similarly to the Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street and anti Citizens United movements. With luck, these movements will find better ways to work together. This ever-shrinking planet deserves it to be so and the time is now for justice for all to triumph over profit for the few.
The movement at Standing Rock continues while the DAPL keeps making progress with the pipeline construction. Still, the protectors of the water, as they like to be called, are determined to peacefully fight on, through protesting, prayer, the legal system and every peaceful way they can. Each day more people from around the world appear in support or send word they want to help. The Oceti Sakowin (7 Council Fires) Camp is setting up a tax number, bank accounts and ways people can donate with all funds being accounted for.
In the meantime, there is either very little media or what media is shown often portrays misrepresentations. The camp has set up a committee to help create media telling its own story through writing, photography, video, etc. You can help in two ways. Please keep an eye out for negative media stories. They need to know of them so they can challenge them if they feel they are not true. Any examples you see in newspapers, television, on the Internet, etc. can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please specify media in the subject line. The movement would also be helped substantially by receiving letters of support from organizations, schools, municipal governments, non-profits, etc. Such letters can be addressed to Oceti Sakowin Camp and state support for the water, treaty rights, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their fight to have a say in how the land around their reservation is treated. They are asking for a federal environmental impact study to happen before the pipeline is completed and connected. They do so in support of all popular movements for justice and care within the world looking forward to future generations over the immediate profit for a few. Of course letters of support from individuals are also helpful.
If you are part of a group, churches, interfaith groups, select board or any other who may have mixed feelings about the protest please suggest people talk openly about the various views. The people here believe in peaceful communication and common prayerful action. They hope others will spread the effort far and wide. If you are able to come to North Dakota your presence would be welcomed. If you know anyone who prefers to donate funds the PayPal will be set up once there is a bank account. Until then people can provide donations through snail mail to:
Updates on Facebook from the camp can be seen at the page Standing Rock Rising.
Daily we are reminded in meetings that even though this is presented as a Native American Movement with more tribes working together than for many decades if not ever, we need to remember we are all one race, the human race. Although we have challenges learning how to relate respectfully to each other`s cultures we are still all one race and bleed the same color blood.
Thank you in advance for any effort you can provide in spreading the word. John
The Oceti Sakowin Camp now has a PayPal account for direct donations. If you can spread the word to anyone who may like to donate. Donations should go to the PayPal account: