In my last post, I wrote about how my friends and I were arrested at a peaceful and prayerful action, separated, and taken to different jails. My next post will be about my experiences in jail, as people have requested. Today, though, I’m writing about the importance of the struggle for justice and healing that is taking place there.
The courage of the water protectors in the face of historic and current oppression is inspiring people around the world, and people are joining in to support their struggle in many ways. The struggle continues to intensify as the water protectors refuse to back down, even as they prepare for snow and frigid temperatures. Day by day, more allies are coming to join in the work.
Last Monday, the Army Corps of Engineers clearly stated that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) cannot legally proceed without further study and consultation with the tribe and with government agencies. This is an apparent victory. But Energy Transfer Partners continues to work night and day. As of last Tuesday, the company had moved horizontal drilling equipment on to their fenced off drilling pad near Lake Oahu. Law enforcement continues to harass water protectors and protect DAPL work. Meanwhile, the pipeline project is in financial jeopardy, with contracts for oil delivery set to expire in January if the pipeline doesn’t go through.
Will Energy Transfer Partners stop construction or will they go forward illegally, hoping to simply be fined? Will the Obama administration step in and enforce its temporary prohibition on routing the pipeline under the Missouri River? That would be unusual, since the federal government has not historically protected Indigenous rights.
What about a Trump Administration? Trump is invested in DAPL. The CEO of Energy Partner Transfers, Kelcy Warren, contributed to Trump’s presidential campaign, and claims that once Trump is in office, the pipeline will be a sure thing.
The only hope I see in in the “power of the people” standing together in resistance to the institutional Powers that seek to ignore the sacred value of the water, air, land, and life itself, all for the sake of profit. The institutions and systems based on the primacy of the market (that is, money), have left the waters, land, and atmosphere polluted, and have left people unable to sustain themselves and without hope.
Many people have been seeing this and have been working hard, trying to turn it around. With climate change alone, we are reaching the end of the road. With the election of Trump, many more people are recognizing the bankruptcy of the current system, which only exists by the consent of the people. When we go along and enjoy the benefits of the current system, consider it normal, and close our eyes to historical and current injustices, we contribute to the problem. When enough of us withdraw our consent, the system cannot stand.
Not all of us can go to Standing Rock, nor do we need to. But each of us can do something. Those of us who are committed to justice already know that we need to stand in solidarity with the many groups of people who are being targeted by hate groups emboldened by Trump’s election. Indigenous people may help to lead us out of the present darkness, and to discover what it means to live in peaceful and prayerful resistance to oppressive Powers. After all, they have been resisting for over five hundred years.
By joining as allies with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, not only at Standing Rock but also in our own regions, we can gain insight into who we are and what changes we need to make. By listening and learning we can begin to understand how “settler-colonial” attitudes and behaviors have shaped us and what we can do to turn that around. By taking a stand as allies in Indigenous struggles to protect the air, land, and water, we may learn what it means to live as human beings in harmony with the earth, from people who did so for millennia on this continent.
Official website and place to donate to the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock.
Suddenly Time—and the Oil Market—are on the Side of the Standing Rock Sioux: http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/suddenly-time-is-on-the-side-of-the-standing-rock-sioux-20161117
Obama Administration Halts Work on Dakota Access Pipeline: http://247wallst.com/energy-business/2016/09/10/obama-administration-halts-work-on-dakota-access-pipeline/
Dakota Access is in Financial Jeopardy: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1595421937418090/1623319824628301/?notif_t=group_activity¬if_id=1479573200580003
CEO confident Dakota Access Pipeline will be completed under Trump presidency: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dakota-access-pipeline-energy-transfer-partners-ceo-kelcy-warren-breaks-silence/