Standing Rock

Indigenous scholar and activist Nick Estes’ book, Our History is the Future, provides a vivid account of the movement to halt Dakota Access Pipeline, writes Simon Butler.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe recently won a major legal victory in federal court which may have the power to force the shutdown of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline.

“Water is life!” was the cry heard throughout Washington, DC on March 10 as thousands of people  for Indigenous rights and the sovereignty of native nations, that day.

First Nations-led water protectors have called for mass protests after the US Army Corps of Engineers granted the final approval on February 7 for Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) to resume building the widely opposed Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL).

The approval came after President Donald Trump overturned an Obama administration order to halt construction under Lake Oahe, a large reservoir connected to the Missouri River that provides water to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota.

Police in North Dakota arrested 76 people at the Standing Rock protest camp on February 1 as the Army Corp of Engineers cleared the way to continue construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) through Native American land.

The US$3.78 billion DAPL project involves building a 1886-kilometre long pipeline to shift almost half-a-million barrels of oil a day. Its route passes through Native American land on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, threatening water supplies and sacred sites.

Donald Trump’s move to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines sparked a number of emergency protests on January 24 in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia and other cities, Democracy Now! reported the next day.

On January 24, Trump issued executive orders that revived the two mega-pipeline projects, which the Obama administration had blocked in the face of huge protests.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and supporters have said they will resist US President Donald Trump's to allow construction of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) that threatens to destroy water supply of the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, as well as Native American sacred sites.

On December 4, celebrations erupted at Standing Rock after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it had denied the Dakota Access Pipeline Company a permit to build the final segment of the $3.8 billion project and would study a possible reroute of the pipeline. The announcement from the U.S.

A water protector at Standing Rock defies the militarised police.

Update: The US Army Corps of Engineers denied the Dakota Access pipeline company a permit to drill underneath the Missouri River on December 4 .

The US$3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), if completed, would carry up to 570,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the North Dakota to refineries in Illinois.

If built, it will cross the Missouri River, the main source of drinking water and irrigation for 8200 residents of the Standing Rock reservation.

Those facts have turned DAPL into a flashpoint in dual struggles for climate justice and Native rights.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association Maina Kiai issued a blistering condemnation on November 15 of the militarised response to the Standing Rock water protectors’ peaceful protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“We know that elections and individuals alone don’t create change — movements do.”

This is the maxim that guided the huge United States-wide action that took place on November 15. There were nearly 200 protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, the largest since the US government requested the project be temporarily halted in September.

The 71-year-old Canadian rock legend Neil Young’s latest song, “Indian Givers”, seeks to raise awareness about the Native American water protectors in North Dakota protesting the destructive four-state Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

In unity with all at Standing Rock today we do stand
To the many First Nations elders, brothers and sisters protecting their water and lands
Protectors not protestors defending Mother Earth
For they know life with no water has no worth.
It's common sense you know, there is no tricks
Basic science teaches us that oil and water don't mix.
Since this pipeline began nothing has gone right
Explosions, spillages and loss of life
The worst spillage 840,000 gallons North Dakota 2013
Over 18 million people living downstream.

In defiance of both the Obama administration and ongoing indigenous protests on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline announced on November 8 it would soon begin drilling under the Missouri River.

A rally was held outside the US Consulate in Sydney on November 10 in solidarity with the Standing Rock protest camp against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Dakota Access oil pipeline is threatening to pollute water and land of the Sioux and other Native American groups. If completed it will move almost half a million barrels of oil a day, worsening climate change and threatening the entire planet's survival.

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