Sitting Bull is known by the whole world. What did Sitting Bull stand for? Resistance. Who did Sitting Bull stand for? His people. Why was this important? Because Sitting Bull understood who he was, who his people were, and where he belonged in this world. Just as Sitting Bull did, we continue to stand. #NoDAPL
We, the below stated, are a coalition of grassroots groups living and working in the Dakota Access resistance camps along the Cannon Ball River in Oceti Sakowin treaty lands.
Sacred Stone Camp | Indigenous Environmental Network International Indigenous Youth Council | Honor the Earth
The following is a coalition statement on the next steps for the #NoDAPL fight:
As we reflect on the decision by the US Army (NOT the US Army Corps) to suspend the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) river crossing easement and conduct a limited Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the resistance camps at Standing Rock are making plans for the next phase of this movement.
Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II has asked people to return home once the weather clears, and many will do so. Others will stay to hold the space, advance our reclamation of unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie, and continue to build community around the protection of our sacred waters. They will also keep a close eye on the company, which has drilled right up to the last inch it can, and remains poised and ready to finish the project.
We fully understand the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s desire to transition people out of the encampments and back to their homes. The influx of people to Standing Rock as winter arrives has been an enormous strain on local resources due to the inherent challenges and dangers of travel and camping in this climate and, in many cases, a lack of necessary knowledge, skills, and experience on the part of those who have traveled to join us. Also, the closure of Highway 1806 and the twisted media portrayals of the camp have essentially acted as economic sanctions against the tribe, denying revenue to an already impoverished nation with a long list of urgent social problems. And, as the violence from law enforcement has escalated and caused serious injuries, we are all concerned for the water protectors’ physical safety and want to avoid further casualties.
As such, we support the tribe’s request for a transition and are working with many different groups to design and implement that transition in a good way - one that honors our ceremonial responsibilities, the sacrifices we have made to be here, and the deep commitment we have each made to defend the land. We ask anyone that is considering traveling to join the encampments at Standing Rock to stay home for now and instead take bold action in your local communities to force investors to divest from the project.
We also support those who choose to stay, if they are able to live comfortably and self-sufficiently through a winter in the Great Plains. We support the Sacred Stone Camp, the original encampment established in opposition to the pipeline back on April 1st, 2016. This community space was opened on Ladonna Bravebull Allard’s private land and will continue through the winter. Rest assured, LaDonna is not going anywhere. “I have not changed my mind. We stand until the black snake is dead,” she said yesterday. But due to limited space and infrastructure, there is no longer an open call for people to come join Sacred Stone Camp unless personally invited.
We do not have sufficient words to express the gratitude and love we have for all the people who have come to Standing Rock to protect the water. We have traveled far, given up much, and taken extraordinary risks. We have endured serious hardships and physical violence, and shown courage, passion, and determination in the face of impossible odds. We have come together across the lines that divide us, and gathered in solidarity to demand an end to 500 years of oppression of Indigenous peoples - to demand respect for Mother Earth and clean water for all our relatives and future generations. We absolutely cannot let this transition break us apart. We must stay together, we must keep building momentum. As warriors, we must be flexible and agile. We must adapt to shifting circumstances without pause.
We ask you to join us in an unprecedented divestment campaign to kill the black snake financially. We will also ask you to engage in the development of the Environmental Impact Statement to the extent that the public is invited to participate, and guide you through that process. But let us use this time to cut off funding for the project.
December is an international month of action focused on the 17 banks that are profiting off investments in the Dakota Access pipeline. Shut these banks down with direct action. Close your accounts and tell the world you’re doing it. Pressure your local jurisdictions and philanthropists to divest. Every day is a day of action.
This fight is not over, not even close. In fact, this fight is escalating. The incoming Trump administration promises to be a friend to the oil industry and an enemy to Indigenous people. It is unclear what will happen with the river crossing. Now more than ever, we ask that you stand with us as we continue to demand justice.
Today at 4pm, the Obama Administration announced that the US Army Corps would not grant Dakota Access LLC the last remaining easement it needs to drill under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe and complete construction of the pipeline. The US Army Corps statement implies they will conduct a limited Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the river crossing and explore possibilities for alternative routes.
The Obama Administration’s decision comes as thousands of veterans are arriving from across the country to stand with the water protectors and join the frontlines of resistance in the face of extreme and escalating violence at the hands of law enforcement.
While this is clearly a victory, the battle is not “over”. A response statement from Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics said the corporations remain “fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe. Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way.”
The Trump administration could easily approve the project early next year. The Obama Administration has never guaranteed the water protectors or the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that they would use force to stop Dakota Access from drilling under the river without a permit, if necessary. The Army Corps has not yet agreed to pursue a full EIS for the entire length of the pipeline.
Organizers continue to call for every day of December to be “a day of #NoDAPL action” against the investors of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Over 100 solidarity actions worldwide have already been registered for the coming weeks as the encampment continues to stand their ground.
Tara Houska, National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth says, “The original peoples of these lands fought with all of our hearts against injustice and won. We have been maced, tased, demeaned, hit with water cannons in below freezing temperatures, we stand with the strength of our ancestors before us. The inaction from the administration and media was answered by our refusal to back down. Let this send a message around the world: we are still here. We are empowered. We are not sacrifice zones. Mni wiconi, water is life.”
Eryn Wise of the International Indigenous Youth Council says, “We've been fighting this fight our whole lives and now there is no doubt in our minds that our generation can change the future. We know that the next presidency stands to jeopardize our work but we are by no means backing down. We will continue protecting everywhere we go and we will continue to stand for all our relations. We say Lila wopila to everyone who has supported the resurgence of indigenous nations. This is just the beginning.”
Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network says, “Today, the Obama Administration has told us they are not granting the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. This is not just an amazing victory for Standing Rock and the Oceti Sakowin -- but also for the many other Tribal Nations, grassroots Indigenous communities and millions of Americans around the country who have stood in solidarity with us here in person, at rallies around the country, and through phone calls and letters. This is a victory for organizing, and it doesn't stop now. We are asking our supporters to keep up the pressure, because while President Obama has granted us a victory today, that victory isn't guaranteed in the next administration. More threats are likely in the year to come, and we cannot stop until this pipeline is completely and utterly defeated, and our water and climate are safe.”
LaDonna Allard, Director of the Sacred Stone Camp, says, “I was asked, “When do you consider this pipeline issue to be over?” I said, when every pipe is out of the ground and the earth is repaired across the United States. I am not negotiating, I am got backing down. I must stand for our grandchildren and for the water.”
Here are the 10 questions we need to be asking in the days and weeks ahead:
1. Will the Army Corps actually conduct an Environmental Impact Statement? If so, on what portion of the project - just the river crossing, or the whole pipeline?
2. What issues will the EIS take into account? (for example, will it include an analysis of spill risk? how about sacred sites? will it reassess the economic need for the pipeline now that the bakken is busting?)
3. Which alternative routes will be considered? Will a "no-build" option also be considered?
4. How long will the EIS take?
5. What input will the tribe have? What will the public participation process look like?
6. In what way(s) was the original Environmental Assessment prepared by the Army Corps deemed inadequate?
7. What was the result of the tribal consultation process exploring possible changes to the regulatory process for pipelines in general? have any changes been proposed?
8. How easily will these decisions be reversed by a Trump administration?
9. How will these decisions be affected by the outcomes of DAPL's lawsuit against the Army Corps, scheduled to be heard on Friday?
10. Is the US government prepared to use force to stop the company from drilling under the river without a permit, if necessary?
On Friday, November 25, after the turkey was pardoned, the Obama Administration issued an eviction notice to the Oceti Sakowin encampments at Standing Rock. We are a coalition of grassroots groups living and working at the encampments, and we will not be moved. We stand united in defiance of the black snake and are committed to defense of water, our Mother Earth, and our rights as Indigenous people. We call on all people of conscience, from all Nations, to join the encampments and stand with us as we put our bodies on the line.
The eviction notice came in a letter from the US Army Corps of Engineers to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, informing the tribe that on Dec. 5th, it will “close” all lands north of the Cannonball River, where the Oceti Sakowin encampment is located. It is no coincidence that the Army Corps of Engineers has chosen Dec 5th, General George Armstrong Custer's birthday, as the date it plans to evict people from the Oceti Sakowin Camp. Custer broke the treaty to dig for gold, the Army Corps is breaking the treaty over oil.
The Corps says its decision to clear the area is necessary to protect people from violent confrontations with law enforcement and to uphold the Corps’s land leases to private individuals for grazing and haying uses. It has designated a ‘free speech zone’ south of the Cannonball River, and anyone outside that area will be considered trespassing and subject to forcible removal and prosecution. Anyone that chooses to remain at the encampment “does so at their own risk, and assumes any and all corresponding liabilities for their unlawful presence.”
The Army Corps has no authority to evict us from these lands. The Oceti Sakowin encampment is located on the ancestral homeland of the Lakota, Mandan, Arikara, and Northern Cheyenne - on territory never ceded to the U.S. government, and affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie as sovereign land belonging to the Great Sioux Nation. The encampment is, in many respects, a reclamation of this stolen territory and the right to self-determination guaranteed in the treaties. Our water protectors are not trespassers and can never be trespassers. The Army Corps also has no authority to diminish our right to free speech - where in the Constitution does it establish zones for the right to free speech? Do corporations now decide whether the Constitution applies? We are not moving, and we will not be silenced.
As the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe noted in its response to the Army Corps, this decision “continues the cycle of racism and oppression imposed on our people and our lands throughout history.” This is not the first time these lands have been destroyed at the behest of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The best of these lands were flooded by the Army Corps in the 1950s and 1960s - countless sacred sites were desecrated, the vast majority of the timber resources and wildlife destroyed, and thousands of people displaced. We will not stand by while the federal government continues this destructive narrative.
The Army Corps’s eviction notice is an aggressive threat to Indigenous peoples. It further empowers and emboldens a militarized police force that has already injured hundreds of unarmed, peaceful water protectors, and continues to escalate its tactics of brutality against us. It adds fuel to the fire of an ongoing human rights crisis.
The extreme escalation of violence by law enforcement in recent weeks demands immediate action from the Obama administration to de-escalate and demilitarize the law enforcement response, not to further criminalize us. As the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe pointed out in its response to the Army Corps, the only way to protect people is to deny the last outstanding easement required for the pipeline to cross the Missouri River.
We call on the White House to deny the easement now, revoke the permits, remove the DAPL construction workers, and order a full Environmental Impact Statement in formal consultation with impacted tribal governments. Put an end to the violence.
In the meantime, we will stand our ground for the water and the unborn generations. Our fight is not just about a pipeline project. It is about 500 years of colonization and oppression. This is our moment, a chance to demand a future for our people and all people. We ask you to join us.
Hundreds of water protectors were injured at the Standing Rock encampments when law enforcement blasted them with water cannons in freezing temperatures Sunday evening. The attacks came as water protectors used a semi-truck to remove burnt military vehicles that police had chained to concrete barriers weeks ago, blocking traffic on Highway 1806. Water protectors’ efforts to clear the road and improve access to the camp for emergency services were met with tear gas, an LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device), stinger grenades, rubber bullets, and indiscriminate use of a water cannon with an air temperature of 26 degrees Fahrenheit.
On Wednesday, November 16, 2016, just hours after the arrival of the drill at Standing Rock, Dakota Access LLC filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for delaying its decision on the last required easement. This desperation comes from the company’s January 1, 2017 deadline for completing the project. Dakota Access has previously told the District Court that if they are not delivering oil by January 1, their shipper contracts will expire and the project will be in jeopardy. A new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, and issued just as the company’s lawsuit was being filed on Wednesday, confirmed these weaknesses in the financing of the project and questioned its entire economic rationale.
On Thursday, November 17, the largest bank in Norway, DNB Bank, announced that it would sell its assets in the project, in response to a groundswell of popular pressure asking them to divest. They have yet to withdraw their loans from the project, which make up a substantial portion of the overall project financing, but have said they are considering doing so.
The project is clearly in financial jeopardy! #NoDAPL
Today the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a statement offering to consult with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe about ways to proceed with the Lake Oahe crossing. While this is a step in the right direction, this ignores the demands made by the tribes, the grassroots encampment, countless allied environmental organizations, and millions of people standing in solidarity across the globe.