By Monty Herron, PQ Monthly
One of the interesting things about the Pacific Northwest, in my opinion, is how informed the denizens are about current events. The number of informed citizens rises even higher if it is a sustainability issue. So with that having been said, I think you’d have to be living under a rock to not have heard of, know about, or have an opinion regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Dakota Access Pipeline (Dapl) is another pipeline designed to carry lower-grade oil from the Bakken shale area, and Three Forks. It follows a route eerily similar to the route Keystone XL was supposed to take to traverse the middle of our country. In the initial proposal, Dakota Access wanted to run their ‘green snake’ right through parts of Bismarck, N.D. Understandably, the citizens of Bismarck wanted nothing to do with a pipeline in their front yard. So Dakota Access reconfigured the pipeline to traverse vast tracts of prairie land, Native American lands, sacred burial sites, and other places of cultural importance. Let’s compare and contrast, shall we?
“The Dakota Access Pipeline Project is a new approximate 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline that will connect the rapidly expanding Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. The pipeline will enable domestically produced light sweet crude oil from North Dakota to reach major refining markets in a more direct, cost-effective, safer and environmentally responsible manner. The pipeline will also reduce the current use of rail and truck transportation to move Bakken crude oil to major U.S. markets to support domestic demand.
It will transport approximately 470,000 barrels per day with a capacity as high as 570,000 barrels per day or more – which could represent roughly half of Bakken current daily crude oil production. Shippers will be able to access multiple markets, including Midwest and East Coast markets as well as the Gulf Coast via the Nederland, Texas crude oil terminal facility of Sunoco Logistics Partners.
Depending upon regulatory approvals, the pipeline is projected to be in service by the fourth quarter of 2016”. (1)
“It’s Keystone XL all over again: The Dakota Access Pipeline would carry 450,000 barrels of dirty oil per day from North Dakota to Illinois and cut through fragile wildlife habitat, environmentally sensitive areas, and sovereign tribal property. Worse, the pipeline would cross under the Missouri River, threatening drinking water downstream if a catastrophic oil spill occurs”. (2)
The Missouri River provides drinking water for roughly 18 million people. When an oil spill happens, the local ecology NEVER fully recovers. I selected the words “When an oil spill happens” because it is never a question of “if” but “when” they will have a catastrophe. We do not have the resources or infrastructure in the United States to handle a sudden loss of drinking water for 18 million people. This is the primary reason why those who are working to stop the pipeline have called themselves “ Water Protectors not Protestors.” Another beautiful thing to know about #NoDapl is that the movement itself was started by tribal youth and tribal women. The pipeline would cut through lands that are sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux, out of Fort Yates, N.D. They are the core constituency of the Oceti Sakowin camp and the tribal nation that put the initial call out for help in their fight. Since then, representatives and tribal members from more than 300 Native American nations have come to show their support, deliver supplies, or assist with the daily work of supporting 5-7 camps, that house approximately 3-5,000 people at any given time.
Last month I was fortunate enough to make the long journey to Cannon Ball, N.D. with a truck full of supplies, and money to purchase more goods as needed. This trip was made possible by distinguished members of Oregon’s LGBTQIA community, and tribal members and elders of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. It was awe-inspiring to see so many Native people, from all the corners of the continent, pitching in, to show love and support for another tribal nation. I have wept several times when I try to describe the camp or have reflected on my time there. I don’t want to go into too much detail about the camps, what potential supporters and allies need to know is this: The #NoDapl Water Protectors are peaceful. They have daily prayer meetings, they make a prayer/meditation walk from the main camp up the highway to the Dakota Access-violated burial grounds and back to the main camp, every day at Noon. These folks are incredibly well organized. Supplies are redistributed so every camp has what they need. They are efficient and committed to seeing this through.
While I was in camp, I had the honor of meeting Myron Dewey, (Social Media Specialist) of DigitalSmokeSignals.com, at the media tent. Myron has an excellent Facebook page to follow, where he posts almost daily about the current situation on the site. Myron encourages everyone to get the word out about this pipeline. The mainstream media are ignoring what is happening there. The Oceti Sakowin people are in control of their own narrative, and they will not let anyone else determine it for them. To that end, the Standing Rock Sioux have compiled this list of demands:
Any impacted tribe must be consulted about the project, and give their consent before any workers cross their lands. They ask that the Army Corps of Engineers reject any permits for this ‘too risky’ pipeline. Conduct a full EIS as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. (Environmental Impact Statement) Last, they are asking President Obama to use the same climate litmus test he established when assessing the Keystone XL- to now evaluate the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The chairman of the Standing Rock tribe, Dave Archambault, gave testimony to the United Nations in Geneva last week. A resolution put to the vote easily passed with a vast majority of the Assembly, reaffirming the rights of Indigenous people to have control over their lands, culture, and determine their own futures. President Obama has asked Dakota Access to halt construction near the water sources, with a 20-mile buffer to each side; however, as recently as Monday, Oct. 10th, there was still Dakota Access workers and equipment 4 miles inside the boundaries. There are legally questionable tactics now being employed by the Morton County sheriff’s department. They have started showing up with armored vehicles, riot gear, and scores of men and guns; to disrupt the daily, peaceful prayer meetings.
There are no easy answers in this fight, there will not be a quick resolution, but the Oceti Sakowin are going to stay all winter if need be. For the first time in approximately 150 years, Natives are uniting for common cause and purpose. If you can help, here is a comprehensive list of places to send money, gift cards, and needed supplies to.
If you want to send supplies directly, you can mail them to:
Sacred Stone Camp
P.O. Box 1011
Fort Yates, ND 58538
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
PO Box D
North Standing Rock Avenue
Fort Yates, ND 58538
To send supplies to the kids at the Defenders of the Water School, please purchase items on the Amazon wish list…please DO NOT send more school supplies: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/ls/ref=?ie=UTF8&%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0&lid=2TWHPQPUIH1IV&ty=wishlist
You can donate directly to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at their PayPal: http://standingrock.org/news/standing-rock-sioux-tribe–dakota-access-pipeline-donation-fund/
Here is the Sacred Stone Camp Amazon Wish List: https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/ref=sr_1_1_acs_wl_1?cid=A2U35DV1L7IRMA&ie=UTF8&qid=1472511370&sr=8-1-acs
Sacred Stone Camp direct funding: https://www.gofundme.com/sacredstonecamp
OR BY PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org
OR you can contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp legal fund to get representation for those who have been arrested and/or physically attacked by Dakota Access: https://fundrazr.com/d19fAf?ref=sh_25rPQa
Red Warrior Camp direct funding: http://oweakuinternational.org/
OR you can donate directly to the Red Warrior legal fund to get representation for those who have been arrested and/or physically attacked by Dakota Access: https://www.generosity.com/fundraising/red-warrior-camp-legal-fund-nodapl
Oglala Camp direct funding: https://www.gofundme.com/2pvyezb8
To help winterize the large, Oceti Sakowin Camp and keep water protectors on site this winter: https://www.crowdrise.com/winterize-water-protectors-camp
To support a women’s healing, wellness, and birthing center at Camp:
Please send medical supplies directly to:
Wasté Win Young
950 Meadowlark Street
Fort Yates ND 58538
Please send herbs and traditional medicines directly to:
Linda Black Elk
P.O. Box 924
Mobridge, SD 57601