A few weeks ago, September 30th-October 2nd, NOC sent a delegation along with 150 activists from Minnesota up to the camps to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their defiant and powerful stance against the Dakota Access Pipeline, also known as DAPL: the Black Snake. This is a pipeline that is under construction and set to cross the Missouri River and the Ogallala Aquifer, which are major freshwater resources to the Standing Rock Sioux, and to the entire country. The pipelines are to carry fracked Bakken oil to refineries in Illinois, piping through South Dakota and Iowa. It just misses Minnesota but we have our own pipelines to deal with-- namely Enbridge’s Line 3. Pipelines are constructed underground and underwater so the threats to human and environmental health will be devastating.
Traveling up to Sacred Stone helped me to understand this so much more clearly, for I understand the threats to human and environmental health. I understand the consequences of climate change if we continue to burn fossil fuels and warm our atmosphere. But after going to Sacred Stone, what I understand so much more is that this land is sacred. It is spiritual for it has given and cared for and sustained the Standing Rock Sioux Nation for centuries before oil companies like Energy Transfer Partners L.P., Enbridge, and Marathon could even think about how they can use their money, their privilege and political connections to push out the Water Protectors who are braving this fight for all of us.
What will we do when the pipelines leak? Because it’s not a question of if, but when. We have to divest from fossil fuels. We have to divest from disrupting our Earth for the short term gains of oil resources. We have to divest from disregarding the sacredness that our Indigenous family hold dear and are fighting to protect.
This is an environmental justice crisis as it is blatant environmental racism. Because the original route was proposed to go north of North Dakota’s capital Bismarck, it was rerouted due to “crossing near a populated area.” So instead of the original route, they just assumed they could put it near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and called it fine. There was no environmental impact statement (EIS) or communication given to this tribe to consider what their feelings towards what has manifested from many legends - the Black Snake. And now, the Water Protectors face a coming cold winter matched with ongoing threats of violence. We cannot let this continue. This pipeline must be stopped. The most important way to do that is to hold ground there, and once you go there you will feel how significant this space is.
From the picturesque beauty of North Dakota, to the entrance of camps lined with all of the flags of First Nations of America’s Indigenous Tribes to nations from across the world. It really is breaktaking to feel all of the support from so many places, to see so many different people there caring for one another. It really makes you question why we need to live the way we do, when a true community is possible. The sounds of the drums, the smell of fire, the stories and love being shared, it’s really the most peaceful place I’ve ever been. And it must be protected.
To join the pipeline resistance fight from the Twin Cities, check out: http://www.mn350.org/pipeline-resistance-team/
For more info on the pipeline fight: http://sacredstonecamp.org/dakota-access-pipeline/