The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe youth run for their lives, their families, their future, and for their environment from North Dakota to Washington, DC. The youth ran 2,000 miles to run for water. Why? Because they oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline that will go through the Missouri and Cannonball River, which poses a serious threat for
water contamination should the pipe leak. It will run from North Dakota to Illinois, 1,178 mile pipeline that will cross about 209 rivers, streams and tributaries. This pipeline will transport approximately 450,000 barrels of crude oil a day, and if this pipeline leaks, it’ll take about 5 minutes for the oil to contaminate our water sources. Over 17 million will be affected by this, and those who oppose are private land owners, ranchers, residents along the river, SRST, Environmental and Indigenous groups. This pipeline threatens the rivers, which runs right through treaty lands if built under the Missouri River, such as Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. The use of eminent domain is being applied, where the state can take real estate and other assets for public purpose that Dakota Access has applied for, to build the pipeline. This pipeline will not only affect these nations, it will pose a threat to farmers, to people who swim and boat on these rivers, and harm the life in those rivers, that provide food for our people. I remember when I was little, and even when I go home to visit now, swimming in the Missouri. It’s where families go to escape the heat, fish, and have picnics. The river is a part of our life.
The youth of Standing Rock have started this movement to voice their concerns and stick up for their life, their rights, their family, and the water. Mni Wiconi, Water is Life! You can’t live without water. If the water is poisoned, it will have long-term effects for those who swim in it, drink, and use these rivers. What’s the one thing NASA and other agencies and scientists look for when exploring our universe? WATER. They look for any signs of water, because if there is water, there is life, even if it’s the smallest organism. So, the youth founded this movement that has shown maturity, positivity, and solidarity to urge the United States Army Corp of Engineers, to reject the Dakota Access Pipeline. However, USACE went ahead and approved the permit and now, everything is tied up in courts, with injunctions being filed, denial of injunctions, and appeals happening, so this may be a long process, just as we saw with the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The Keystone Pipeline was vetoed by our President after he stepped in. Now, the youth and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are pleading for the President to step in and look into these injustices that are happening on our water protectors. At a Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Town Hall in Laos, the President was asked a question in regards to the Dakota Access Pipeline and the movement. A question he semi-dodged, which left Indian Country a bit devastated. Some were wondering if he was waiting to make his move after the court ruling, some were thinking since it’s near the end of his Presidency, there’s not much he can do. Following Judge James Boasberg decision to deny the Tribe’s request for a preliminary injunction, the Administration; the Department of Justice, Department of Interior and the Department of Army stepped in. The Army will not authorize construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on US Army Corp land bordering or under Lake Oahe until they can determine whether or not to reconsider previous decisions, and more information.
What’s going happening on Capitol Hill? House Democrats call for a new DAPL permitting process and some have even mentioned they wanted a bi-partisan hearing, but noted that that is difficult to attain right now, as many Republicans show strong support for big oil. Many have voiced their beliefs and opposition against the Dakota Access Pipeline and many stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Celebrities like the actors from the new movie, “Justice League,” Rosaria Dawson, Susan Serandon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Yelawolf, Jason Momoa, Bernie Sanders, and especially our sister,
Shailene Woodley who has been in the fight since day 1. With her social platform, connections, and her October 10th arrest, she has helped elevate this issue to a national status. Just the extra push we needed. Indian Country can’t thank you enough, and seeing all the meme’s that were made, you’ve definitely been adopting into Indian Country! Hoka Hey!
Dakota Access and all who are in the pockets of this Texas based oil company, are doing whatever they can, in collaboration with the police to escalate this into something bigger. I believe they are trying to incite violence, trying to get us to break our peaceful ways, by pushing us to a breaking point where we will fight back. Many people have noticed that this is looking like the 1973 Wounded Knee Siege. We don’t want that. SRST and us, the supporters and protectors believe that we can win and stop this pipeline in a peaceful way. Morton County police are in riot gear, armored vehicles are being used, and rifles are aimed at peaceful protectors, on our women, children, and men.
People who don’t intend on being arrested, are being stopped by convoys, being arrested, 21 people on Indigenous People’s Day were arrested, they were the last 21 leaving the site. Their cars were impounded and charged with trespassing, having to pay a $250 bail, and $450 impound fee, so Morton County made roughly $800 per arrest. After that, the plan is to file a Federal Civil Rights action on Morton County, for these unlawful arrests. These snatch and grabs may be happening, to scare outsiders from coming to ND. Leaving the sites, when you’re told to, and the protectors comply, the thought of getting arrested should not even be there, but people are being arrested.
Out of state cops have come to help North Dakota and to help militarize the area (most have left by now). There are check-points, manned by the National Guard, however, civilians are not supposed to be policed by the Military, and a lawsuit will be filed eventually.
Last week, 10 protectors from MT, WA, MN, Northern ND, all along the Canadian border,
turned the valves off, stopping the flow of tar sands oil, of coming into the United States. Our brothers and sisters in New Brunswick, Canada are being arrested for protecting their land and water. Not to mention, journalists, such as Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! are being arrested for trespassing and riot charges, luckily, the judge rejected those charges. But, with the arrests of our journalists, who have shown support, by telling the truth and documenting the truth of what is happening in North Dakota, violation of their first amendment right by Morton County is just deplorable behavior. It’s unjustly. Some journalists are facing felony charges, up to 45 years in prison. The press is there, to serve as a check and balance on our system, to ensure that people are being held accountable. When authority is taking that right away from our journalists, which also serves to protect, our protectors, how can we feel safe?
Enough is enough. It is time for things to change. Our Indigenous people deserve better treatment. We as human beings deserve better treatment. We are rising up. We are standing tall. And we are not showing fear. We are showing love, passion, and anger, but in the most peaceful way, it is what’s motivating us. Over 250 nations have come together, and a few thousand have come to North Dakota to stand in solidarity with
Standing Rock. Rallies and protests are occurring all over the nation and the world. People are hearing us, and some even traveling across from all parts of the world, to Standing Rock. We are what our ancestors have prayed for. They saw this happening. They saw the “zuzecha sapa, the black snake,” that one day, would end life as we know it, and that it would take all our nations to come together, to put aside history, and stand as one. Bernie Sanders said when we are no longer fighting in wars against each other, that we would eventually be all fighting over water. This is happening… right now.
Despite the terrifying idea of this pipeline going through, even though large portions are already built, what’s beautiful about all of this is how the people have come together, to support Standing Rock, to support everyone at camp, to support our youth, and have made such a wonderful community at Sacred Stone. People believe that water is life, that oil is not the answer. Roughly 120 brave warriors have put their life on the line to be on the front lines, which have led to their arrests. That number does not reflect the amount of people, daily, who are going to those active sites, and facing the police and construction workers. Despite the media, which was not portraying the truth, where we have many videos, and pictures, as well as Facebook Live Feeds showing, that our protectors have been nothing but peaceful.
We must remain peaceful. We must remain resilient. We must continue to be a voice and presence. I encourage you, if you want to join us in this movement, fully believe and support it, then TAKE ACTION. Contact your local community groups. Contact me if you need to, and if you’re not from the DC/DMV area, I can definitely help direct you to the right people. This generation, is what we needed, this generation, represents our future leaders. We must stand behind them, and fight for our lives, our families, our children’s, and our unborn.
Timeline of Events (missed some, but hopefully got the most important):
- July 15th, the Standing Rock youth began the run to DC to deliver signatures to President Obama and to be a voice in the Nation’s capital opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- August 5th, Run for Water rally and protest that my sister and I put together for them.
- August 6th, rally and protest in front of the White House to tell the President, even though he wasn’t there, to oppose DAPL.
- September 3rd, attack dogs and mace are used on water protectors, including a child and a pregnant woman. Attack dogs and mace being used on people hasn’t happened like this, to this magnitude, since 1963, during the civil rights movement, fight for equality.
- September 6th, emergency hearing scheduled by the court, after the attack dogs and mace incident. Temporary halt on construction granted.
- September 8th, arrest warrant for Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! issued.
- September 8th, Governor James Dalrymple of ND, calls upon the National Guard for assistance.
- September 9th, US District Court denies injunction.
- September 9th, Joint Statement from Department of Justice, Department of the Army and the Department of Interior, step in.
- September 22nd, Congressmen Grijalva and Ruiz, Natural Resources Committee, hold forum on “Taking a Stand: Protecting Water and Native American Sacred Sites Cultural Resources at Standing Rock” with panel witnesses that included SRST Chairman, Dave Archambault II. Both Congressmen have come to SRST, have seen the camp, the pipeline, and stand with them on this issue.
- September 23rd, the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland called upon the U.S. to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline because of the threat it poses to the aboriginal community.
- September 26th, White House Tribal Nations Conference is held, DAPL is lightly discussed and mentioned as footnote by the President. He states when talking about the movement that has come from Standing Rock, and all who are supporting them and opposing DAPL/pipelines, “You’re making your voices heard.”
- September 29th, armored MRAPs, rifles, shotguns, snipers, and tear gas are used on the protectors, on peaceful, UNARMED protectors. 21 arrests that day, after they were told by the police to leave. An elder, an unci, and older woman, stated that she had never seen a gun before and had one pointed at her face.
- September 30, Tribe denied request for state emergency aid.
- October 9th, just before the Presidential Debate, the U.S. Appeals Court releases decision to lift injunction, denying Tribe’s request to stop the 1,178 mile pipeline.
- October 10th, Shailene Woodley was targeted by the Police, she was live streaming the event for just over 2 hours, and when they were all told to leave, she came back to her RV, with her mom, to find that it was surrounded by police in riot gear, guns drawn, and armored vehicle. She was arrested and was one of 27 that day. Ironically, arrested, and mistreated on a day that celebrates the man who discovered America and committed an act of genocide on the Native Americans already living there.
- October 10th, protectors and protestors in Reno, NV, were having a rally to stand with Standing Rock but also to protest Columbus Day, which many feel it should be abolished, and changed to Indigenous Peoples Day, some noticed someone in a white truck lingering around, and then when they started to walk in the streets to raise awareness, and this white truck came, and ended up plowing through the crowd. 5 were injured. The driver was never arrested and no charges as of yet. An elderly woman was hit and taken to the hospital.
- October 11th, Ken Ward and four others shut off the valves to the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain Pipeline in Anacortes, WA, to avert climate catastrophe and to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. As well as 5 others in MT, MN and ND, along Canadian borders.
- October 12th, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Tribal Chairman, Dave Archambault says, “Mr President, Please stand with us,” in a
- October 12th, DC Standing Rock Coalition hold rally in front of AFL-CIO Headquarters where President Trumka has voiced support for DAPL and discounted Native American claims.
- October 17th, first baby born on the banks of the Cannonball River! Hoka Hey!
- October 17th, District Court Judge Grinsteiner REJECTS the “riot” charges on Democracy Now! Amy Goodman.
- October 17th, brothers and sisters in New Brunswick Canada are arrested for protecting their land and water…. You see and hear, of their arrests, especially when they were told to leave, and back up, they did, then you see the phone put in the clothing, and only hear audio.
- October 22nd, brothers and sisters on the frontlines are arrested, some youth, a girl got her wrist broken protecting a little boy that was separated from his grandma from a baton. Roughly 141 arrests. Legal observers and journalists targeted first. Four protectors locked themselves to disabled car, halting DAPL construction for several hours.
- October 22nd, Stand Rock Sioux Tribe has cited 1851 Treaty, establishing new frontline camp, and roadblocks, on the proposed pipeline path. Oceti Sakowin has enacted eminent domain ion DAPL lands by claiming 1851 Treaty Rights, on unceded lands.
- October 24th, my sisters and I host rally in front of White House, urging the President to step in: no easement, conduct a full environmental impact study, and for DOJ AG Loretta Lynch to inquire about the unlawful, illegal, arrests on protectors. CNN commentator, Van Jones, supported us, and spoke as a concerned citizen and as a father, DC United #18, Chris Rolfe attended and showed his support.
- October 26th, Mark Ruffalo and Reverend Jesse Jackson come to Standing Rock, showing their support. Mark, a climate advocate, and against fracking, brought solar panels to power the camp.
- October 27th, 3 bus loads of law enforcement officers show up to new blockade, over 300, in riot gear, arresting women who are praying, apprehending our protectors praying in sweatlodge, youth getting maced multiple times, the girl who broke her wrist was targeted and re-broke it, 140+ arrests, including elders and youth, all spread throughout ND in jails, many
grandmas (Uncis) sitting in their maced clothes, and feeling the burn from it. The screams of our protectors are haunting in all the live feeds you see. Authorities have successfully taken over the new Treaty 1851 camp and blockades. Our protectors are there resisting.
- October 27th, DAPL contractor drove onto tribal land, with loaded rifle, was run off road, and protectors surrounded him… who knows what he was paid to do.
- Standing Rock Medics shot at with rubber bullets, man was shot in the face with rubber bullet, another man tasered in the face.
- Horse Nation was hit by authorities, on horse was badly injured they had to put it down.
- Woman on frontline, holding a prayer staff, overthrown by 4 cops and arrested.
- October 27th, Standing Rock youth, occupy Hillary Clinton’s campaign Headquarters, to deliver letter, and demand she take a stance.
- October 28th, day 2, protectors still on frontlines. Tensions are high, as most were occupying the bridge throughout the night…To be continued… (5:08pm 10/28/16)
For more information, please visit www.rezpectourwater.com, to sign the campaign, please visit https://www.change.org/p/jo-ellen-darcy-stop-the-dakota-access-pipeline and to donate to the Sacred Stone Encampment, who are the human shields in blocking the construction of this pipeline, please visit, https://www.gofundme.com/sacredstonecamp.
To all my followers on the Native in DC Facebook page and my friends and family on my personal Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, thank you all so much for your support, the likes, the shares, and the messages. All of you are too kind, but I, and we, appreciate your support!
Mitakuye Oyasin! Love you all!
Some Photos from: Rob Wilson Photography (FB)
#MniWiconi #WaterIsLife #PeopleOverPipelines #RezpectOurWater #PipelineFighters #YouthEmpowerment #Resiliency #NoDAPL #NoDakotaAccessPipeline #HonorTheEarth