Recent events in Cannon Ball North Dakota have brought a spot light on the on-going fight to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Army Corps of Engineers recently approved the final permits for Energy Transfer to build its multi-state pipeline from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois. Shortly after, the company gave the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe a 48 hour notice that it would begin digging beneath the Missouri river setting in motion a historic response from the Oceti Sakowin.
Tribes, farmers, ranchers, environmentalist, and others have fought the proposed Dakota Access pipeline since first learning of its application to build. Most notably, early on, Iowa caucus attendees pressed their opposition to the pipeline gaining the full support of then presidential nominee Bernie Sanders.
As state applications were approved final approval of the pipeline rested with the Army Corps of Engineers, given that the pipeline will cross numerous bodies of water. Actions too escalated including the establishment of the Camp of Sacred Stones in Standing Rock, actions in Iowa, several youth runs for sacred water, including a 2,000 mile trek from North Dakota to Washington DC, petitions and testifying at hearings with the Army Corps.
Despite objections to the pipeline, the Army Corps approved the permits and the protests increased significantly in Cannon Ball where numbers swelled to thousands with supporters arriving in solidarity against the pipeline.
Native news sites like Last Real Indians, who’ve covered the pipeline for nearly a year, and others helped bring global attention to the protests and to spread the word on how to best help the efforts.
Ways you can support
While many would love to travel to North Dakota to participate in the efforts, the reality is that most people cannot, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot support the efforts to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. Here are just some of the ways you can support.
Educate and communicate
One of the simplest, yet highly effective, ways to support is to simply educate yourself about pipeline and then spread the word about the pipeline, its impacts, and the efforts of those fighting against it through social media, emailing or calling your elected officials. Contact the Army Corps of Engineers, Energy Transfer, the President and tell them you oppose the pipeline.
Support the Camp of the Sacred Stones
The camp has set up accounts to help both with legal fees and general support for camp needs. Don’t have much to give, that’s ok pitching in $5, $10, $15 helps! Senator Sanders massive fundraising records were earned by contributions that averaged only $29.
While there are many reasons to not give your money to “to big to fail” banks, one is to not allow your money to fund the construction of the pipeline. Close your personal checking accounts and open with a local credit union. Have your tribe change whom they bank with. Getting just a few major gaming tribes to drop their accounts will certainly gave banksters concern.
Pass resolutions send letters of support
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe issued a call for other tribes to pass resolutions supporting the efforts to stop the pipeline. Numerous tribes have already done so and more are expected. These resolutions help show the wide spread opposition to the pipeline.
Hold solidarity actions
Hold a demonstration, an action, sit-in, rally, a round dance, or some kind of gathering where ever you live. You don’t need to be in North Dakota to show your opposition. The escalation of climate change impacts us all. We all need water to live. We all eat foods grown from the Plains. A spill or break will have far reaching negative impacts. Nearly some 10-million people rely on the Missouri river shed, that’s a lot of people!
Build broad coalitions
Multinational corporations are designed to make profit, period. Regardless of their product, they are designed to maximize profit. That said, oil companies are aggressive in trying to bring their product to market, shut down one pipeline route, they’ll look for another. Post stopping the Keystone XL pipeline, oil companies turned their eyes west and began shipping crude via rail to refineries on the west coast and have plans to expand operations along the west coast and in Washington State in particular. We must aggressively be proactive in supporting all impacted communities and all potential impacted communities.
We must move away from this petro-based, over consumption, materialism way of living. Mass extinction is happening all around us and we are the ones responsible for it. Pressure your city council, school board, local, state, and tribal governments to invest in renewable energy.
Relearn to live as part of all creation
What is happening in North Dakota and the efforts of the Oceti Sakowin and others is about many things; stopping the desecration of sacred, cultural and burial sites, honoring treaty rights, defending Ina Maka (mother earth) and protecting water. It is also about a clash of value systems, one that values material profit and greed and one that values its connection in understanding that we are but a part of creation instructed with certain responsibilities towards the health and welfare of all life and future generations.
In Lakota, we call water mni wiconi, the literal translation being “it gives me life.” Remember that water, mni, is every beings first medicine. Know water, know life. No water, no life. Together we can stop the Dakota Access pipeline, together we can help heal our Nations.
by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle- Lakota)