The Fight for Mother Earth and Father Sky
By now you may have heard about the struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the ongoing resistance against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. For the most part mainstream media has been all but silent with the independent media taking the initiative to report and document the issue and what is really going on in North Dakota. With so much disinformation let’s first go over why this is going on in the first place.
The tribe insists this construction is being built illegally on treaty land and disrupting scared burial grounds of their ancestors. Initial plans for the pipeline were designed to go nowhere near the contested land in an area North of Bismark. This plan was scrapped for fear of backlash from Bismark’s primarily white community, yet the disdain from Indigenous peoples is proving not to be of much concern to this large corporate conglomerate. Time and time again the original people of this land have endured the theft of land, abuse and outright genocide all in the name of imperialism and the “progress” of industry. So when is enough, enough? While we could argue semantics until we all turn blue what we cannot argue is the ecological terror and destruction projects like these have caused throughout history. Since 2010, over 3,300 incidents of crude oil and liquefied natural gas leaks or ruptures have occurred on U.S. pipelines. These incidents have killed 80 people, injured 389 more, and cost $2.8 billion in damages. They also released toxic, polluting chemicals in local soil, waterways, and air.
Native Americans and indigenous tribes across the world have been on the front lines of the battle for our earth since the first colonizer stepped foot on their land and here we are again in a pivotal moment in history. This time, the whole world is watching and over 300 tribes from across the globe have come to take a stand for mother earth, father sky and the water that flows through her veins. The voice against the pipeline and for indigenous self determination is getting louder by the day as support flows from every corner of the human experience and refuses to be silenced. Actress and activist Shailene Woodley has helped bring massive attention to the cause since her arrest pushing her Hollywood peers to do their part.
Peaceful protectors engaging in prayer and ceremony have repeatedly been met with violence and aggression at the hands of a militarized police force resembling something out of Iraq or Afghanistan. The cost of which has now reportedly reached 10 million dollars. The extent of abuse has caused Amnesty International and the United Nations to deploy human rights observers and the U.N. special envoy for aboriginal rights has called for a halt to the oil pipeline. This despite lack of mainstream media coverage and independent outlets being arrested for documenting the reality of law enforcement’s continued use of force against peaceful protestors. There are now reports of law enforcement refusing to return to Standing Rock and engage in activity that is not only illegal but morally unjust and we can only hope the continued disapproval among these officers continues to grow as they begin to realize the error in their ways. Each day we rise may we pray and send out our love so collectively our energy may be felt by those taking a stand at Standing Rock.
What is at Stake?
“Mni Wiconi” (water is life) is the battle cry of the thousands of protectors camped along the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers in North Dakota. The Lakota/Sioux people are united in the same belief about the life giving force of water (Mni). A belief now shared and shouted by millions who have endured corporate poisoning of water due to fracking and oil projects. And the people of earth who are seeing their water stolen and sold back to them by the biggest con in history, water in a plastic bottle. We are all made up of water and require it for survival, there is no doubt water, is indeed life. The Dakota Access Pipeline is currently designed to cross the Missouri River/Cannonball River confluence where the Standing Rock protests are positioned, as well as 8 other tributaries to the Missouri and downstream, there is a proposed crossing on the Mississippi River. This means that the pipeline not only threatens the Missouri River water resources in one crossing, but in 9 crossings – each tributary carries water (and whatever is in the water) to the Missouri River. The devastation that could occur when (not if) the pipeline leaks or breaks is like nothing we’ve ever seen.
What can you do to help?
There are more than 30 bank institutions funding this 3.8 billion dollar project and without a doubt there is something you can do about it. If you bank with any of these companies, divest! Take your business elsewhere and let them know why. When money talks people listen so make your voice heard loud and clear and if you think it won’t make a difference just today (Nov. 7th) Norwegian bank DNB released a statement saying it is considering pulling out from its financing of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Join the Camp
Bodies are needed more than ever to show solidarity, document, volunteer, risk arrest and help winterize the camp for the upcoming season. Even if you can only go for a few days your help is appreciated. Remember to be prepared for cold, bring your own shelter and enough food and water for your stay. There are thousands of people there be self reliant and come prepared. Here are some resources to help you get there.
Make a Donation
Supplies are needed and always welcome, however needs do change on a regular basis. So check before sending supplies. Police are arresting hundreds of protestors and they need your help as well, Consider donating to the legal defense fund. Follow these links for more.
Sign a Petition
Keep sharing news, stories and updates on social media. Keep hashtagging #NoDAPL, #RezpectOurWater, #StandWithStandingRock and keep talking about it!