The US Army Corps of Engineers have announced today they will no longer allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under lake Oshe near the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, marking a huge victory for Native Americans and protesters who had long opposed the construction.
They say they are going to reroute it. The pipeline was intended to pass through North Dakota's Lake Oahe, which is a burial site sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux. The tribe voiced concerns the pipeline would threaten the community’s drinking water and would also damage sites of sacred significance and threaten water sources and cultural sites.
Military veterans joined activists, who call themselves water protectors, at Standing Rock this week, with more than 3,500 pledging to join the demonstration.In a statement, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said the tribe welcomed the decision, but he also sounded a note of caution saying he hoped the incoming Donald Trump administration would "respect this decision and understand the complex process that led us to this point." Archambault II went on :"When it comes to infrastructure development in Indian Country and with respect to treaty lands, we must strive to work together to reach decisions that reflect the multifaceted considerations of tribes. Treaties are paramount law and must be respected, and we welcome dialogue on how to continue to honor that moving forward. We are not opposed to energy independence, economic development, or national security concerns but we must ensure that these decisions are made with the considerations of our Indigenous peoples."
I am glad that the water protectors were able to divert the path of the pipeline. I feel saddened though that it took so long after months of violence and brutality by the state to get a basic easement off land that the oil companies had no legal right to be on in the first place. Some 26 activists were injured in a November 20 confrontation when police fired water cannon in below-freezing temperatures. Rubber bullets and tear gas were also reportedly used against the water protectors on site.Around 564 people were arrested during the protests, according to the Morton County Sheriff's Department for simply trying to peacefully defend this sacred land from pillage.
I hope they stay true to their word.The people I fear will have to remain ever vigilant until all traces of the pipeline are removed. The World is still watching.Some good news for the time being, a huge victory for the thousands of demonstrators across the country who flocked to North Dakota in protest, standing firm against corporations willful destruction of our planet, and for the many concerned individuals across the world who have been in solidarity trying to raise awareness about this ongoing fight. People before profit.