Jul 28, 2016 - Army Corps Approves Dakota Access Pipeline: Land and Water Defenders Respond, Vow to Continue to Fight by Matt Remle
“The protection of water is a sacred obligation to Indigenous people. Without clean water, life will cease to exist. Our obligation to protect water is an overall respect for life itself.” –Chief Isadore Day (Serpent River First Nation
On July 26th, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s approved most of the final permits necessary to allow for the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.
The Dakota Access pipeline, backed by Texas based Energy Transfer Partners, is a 1,168-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline that would carry Bakken crude from western North Dakota to a distribution hub Illinois on route for refinement in the Gulf Coast.
Once built, the Dakota Access pipeline will transport as much as 450,000 barrels of oil per day with a future capacity of 570,000 barrels per day.
Proposed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline
A spokeswoman for the corps’ Omaha District stated that the agency approved 200 water crossings and three Section 408 easements. The pipeline will cross Lake Oahe, Lake Sakakawea and the Missouri River.
The construction of the pipeline has been strongly opposed by several tribes, land owners, ranchers and environmentalists. On April 1st, the Sacred Stone Camp was established along the Cannonball River to block the construction of the pipeline. Currently, youth from the Oceti Sakowin and allies are on a cross country run from North Dakota to Washington D.C. to demand that the pipeline not be built.
Land and water defenders respond
LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard (Standing Rock), who offered her land for the Sacred Stone Camp to be esthablished, expressed her feelings regarding the Army Corps decision, “I am heartbroken that Army Corp of Engineers has allowed the permit for Dakota Access to cross the Missouri River above the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe with no considered for burial, cultural sites and the water. We must stand against the injustice and corruption of Big Oil and do our best to protect our water. We must fight and continue to work toward stopping this pipeline. We are the protector of this land and water. Remember water is life mni wiconi.”
LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard
Waniya Locke (Ahtna Dene, Dakota, Lakota and Anishinaabe) spoke of a united front to stop the pipelines construction, “We as Lakota/Dakota people have always kept the integrity, and we have never started a battle. We are Sitting Bull’s, Gull’s, Mad Bear’s, Big Head’s, Running Antelope’s people. We will not stand down in defending our water rights. In the words of Ella Deloria, “I am not afraid, I have relatives.” We will drop our imaginary reservation boundaries and Unite again like we did against the 7th Calvary. We have the backing of our ancestors.”
Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle (Oglala) put the Army Corps decision in the broader context of environmental racism, “The reality of environmental genocide is that those in political power continue to make decisions based on profit to the detriment of those of us downstream, or living in danger zones, such as near landfills or proposed future radioactive waste dump sites, or near uranium mines never cleaned up, yet uranium mines approved on lands sacred to our people, near aquifers that provide water to our future generations.
The reality is that our Lakota oyate have suffered and continue to suffer the after effects of war. Yet there is still war being waged on our lands, water, and resources. These benzene frack water tar sands wars affect the health of our Nations. Just as we now are hearing that the generational effects of trauma may possibly change our DNA, it is very possible that the chemicals released into our waters and lands could change our DNA, our very fiber, and to our children’s detriment. Why would we not consider this?
The Army Corp of Engineers had a chance to show real leadership today, the kind of leadership we expect from the ND government, ND public health officials, and the ND public service commission. The Army Corp of Engineers failed the people today, and ND did before that. It is #UpToUs #NODakotaAccessPipeline”
Zaysha Grinnell (Three Affiliated Tribes) with the group Modern Day Warriors on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, the center of the Bakken oil shale boom, stated “For me, fighting these pipelines is our modern day war. Our Ancestors fought for us, they fought even if it meant them dying for us, the people. Now they’re blood runs through our veins, their strength and resistance.
I know I have their strength & resistance in me, I can feel it every day when it comes to helping the people, protecting the lives of our children, and future grandchildren. Today, the Youth are fighting for the lives our people. Every day I thank Creator for putting me on this path at the time I didn’t think I should be here. I believe the moment I was born he made doing these things, my destiny.
Now, the 7th Generation it’s our time to fight against the Black Snake. Anyone that knows me knows ill risk my life, at 15 years old, risk my life to save millions. I’m ready, my heart & resistance, the blood of my ancestors, my determination; for this war against the black snake.
If Army Corp or Paradigm thinks that they’re going to go ahead with these pipelines they are CRAZY. They’re messing with thousands Indigenous peoples & Youth whose Ancestors were unstoppable & strong, physically, and mentally. They just created one big storm for themselves full of Youth that won’t back down.”
Nicole Montclair-Donaghy (Lakota) an organizer with the Dakota Resource Council stated, “Our youth are on the frontlines of this fight to protect our water. We will always fight to ensure that they have a future. Historically the Army Corp has never been on the side of Native Nations. The flooding of thousands of acres of Tribal lands by the Pick-Sloan dams that forced many of our people to move to higher ground. We knew this was going to be a an uphill battle from day one. They can and must reroute this pipeline.”
Joseph White Eyes (Cheyenne River) and Bobbi Jean Three Legs (Standing Rock), the co-organizers of the ‘Run for Our Water’ run from North Dakota to Washington D.C. to oppose the pipeline, expressed their mixed emotions to pipelines approval, “We are currently in Illinois with 39 runners and although we prepared for the Army Corps to approve the permits we all have very mixed emotions from mad, sad, to disbelief.
Despite the decision, we talked about why we are here and it filled us with an even more sense of purpose. We are still going to continue our run to D.C. where we plan to present our message on August 5th in front of the Pentagon and rally in front of the White House. Obama is the Commander in Chief and he needs to revoke the Army Corps decision.
We feel that the Army Corps decision has made the possibility of the pipeline crossing our water a reality now for everyone. This is everyone’s reality now. When the pipeline breaks our water will never be the same. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has already filed and injunction and the Yankton Sioux tribe is discussing filing an injunction against the decision as well due to not be consulted on the pipeline.”
Youth asking Army Corp to reject permit application for the Dakota Access pipeline
Bobbi Jean further stated that, “I’m running against Dakota Access Pipeline because we need to protect Unci Maka for lives now and future generations ahead. I want to make sure that our people and our family generations ahead will be able to use the same water. The Missouri River is our livelihood and who’s to say that we or our generations ahead don’t deserve a future. I run for my brothers, my sisters, all nations, for life, for water“.
To support ‘Run for Our Water’ contact Joseph White Eyes @ 605 230-0309.
by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle- Lakota)