Thousands of individuals, Native and non-Native, have joined together with over 200 American Indian tribes in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which is owned by a Texas oil company named Energy Transfer Partners with significant ties to Enbridge.
The 1,200-mile pipeline is planned to pass through four states and would cross the Missouri River and several smaller tributaries as well as disturb sacred sites and burial grounds along the way.
At one point, it comes within a half mile of the Standing Rock Tribe’s reservation boundary.
David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Tribe, has great concern not only for his tribe, but for Mother Earth and all beings who are dependent on her for our survival.
In an opinion in The New York Times, Aug. 24, 2016, he stated, “We are also a resilient people who have survived unspeakable hardships in the past, so we know what is at stake now. As our songs and prayers echo across the prairie, we need the public to see that in standing up for our rights, we do so on behalf of the millions of Americans who will be affected by this pipeline.”
My friend Linda Black Elk (Catawba), an ethnobotanist and restoration ecologist, works as an instructor at Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, North Dakota.
She has been on site at the Sacred Stone Camp helping protect Mother Earth from the DAPL. She has also been on social media alerting us to the challenges that she and other protectors are facing every day.
She reminds us about all of the edible and medicinal plants that grow in the pipeline’s path. These are the foods and medicines that our ancestors fought to protect for us, it is guaranteed by treaty that we will be able to access them.
She has reported that the governor of North Dakota has threatened to send in National Guard troops as a show of force. This follows what transpired last week when private security companies working for DAPL used tear gas and dogs to intimidate the people on the front line.
Black Elk asks for prayers and support. She said they are in need of supplies to help the protectors prepare for the coming winter months. They don’t plan on leaving the camp, but it is going to get really difficult to maintain a strong presence without the broader public’s support.
They will need more durable shelters, heat, food, etc. in order to get through the bitter cold winter months. They have set up a GoFundMe account titled “Sacred Stone Camp.”
Supplies, cash or check donations can be sent to: Sacred Stone Camp, P.O. Box 1011, Fort Yates, ND 58538
Larger items requiring delivery to a physical address may be sent to: Sacred Stone Camp, 7908 Highway 1806,Cannon Ball, ND 58528
They also have a camp school called Defenders of the Water School, where children are able to continue their education while being close to their families who are dedicated to protecting the Mother Earth. They have a wish list that they have published online and are asking for the public’s help in accessing some resources to build their curriculum resources base.
The link is as follows: http://amzn.to/2clXPlw
On Sept. 9, 2016, a U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of DAPL, denying the request from the Standing Rock Tribe for an injunction to stop construction of the pipeline.
Immediately following the ruling, three federal agencies brought a temporary halt to the DAPL, saying they would not allow the pipeline project to move forward without further evaluation. The announcement by the Justice Department, the Department of the Army and the Interior Department is temporary, but it was welcome news to the protectors who celebrated the small victory at the camp.
With its significant ties to Enbridge, we are all too familiar with the blatant disregard these energy companies have for our local environments. Enbridge is the same energy company that owns Line 5, which runs under the Straits of Mackinac. Line 5, which was scheduled to be shut down over 10 years ago, has been allowed to remain in operation largely due to manipulation of the system by Gov. Snyder and his cronies, many of whom have ties to extractive industries like oil and mining.
This poses a huge threat to the Great Lakes Region, similar to that of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Enbridge is based in Calgary, Canada, and has a horrendous history of oil spills worldwide.
In fact, Enbridge’s Line 6B, which runs through the Southwest part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, ruptured in July 2010, spilling over 1.1 million gallons of Canadian oil into the Kalamazoo River.
Anishinaabe Ojibway environmental activist Winona LaDuke suggests that the fossil fuel industry is currently in its death throes and it is fighting for its life.
Everyone knows that it is time to say good bye and move on to more responsible living, but the oil tycoons are going to try and squeeze every last dime out of the oil they can before letting it go.
They have seen the writing on the wall, and they know we really don’t need their dirty oil at all!