How to Stand With Standing Rock to Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

Sections of this piece were originally published on The Nation

Late on the afternoon of November 14, 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers delivered a damaging, though non-lethal, blow to the beleaguered Dakota Access pipeline.  The agency announced that it would block continued pipeline construction on federal land near the Missouri River while it seeks additional input from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The decision amounts to a victory for the tribe, which has waged a months-long resistance campaign to prevent the fossil fuel project’s completion. But it is an incomplete victory: the Sioux seek to stop the pipeline outright; the Corp’s decision only delays it, and for how long nobody knows.

protectorsMore than six months after the establishment of Sacred Stone Camp at Standing Rock Reservation, protesters are continuing to resist the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The oil pipeline was originally routed through Bismarck, North Dakota—a city that is over 90 percent white—but was rerouted through sacred Sioux land when Bismarck residents complained that it might contaminate their drinking water.

As Jodi Gillette, former White House senior policy adviser for Native American Affairs, says:

“We didn’t matter.”

The title of this short video from Divided Films (at top of article), “Mni Waconi,” means “Water is life” in the Lakota language of the Natives. The phrase has become the profound reason and the slogan for the resistance, calling from the very depths of the soil itself. The film captures Native activists fighting the corporate power behind the pipeline. Interviews with water protectors from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe detail the increasingly militarized crackdown on activists. Footage from the front lines shows the land that has already been destroyed.

Here’s how you can help oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline:

1. Donate. There are numerous places to give, including the Sacred Stone and Red Warrior Legal Funds. You can also purchase and send one of the items on the Sacred Stone Amazon Wish List to help water protectors stay warm and dry as we enter the winter months.

2. Go to Standing Rock. Standing Rock protectors have put the call out for those who are able to come and join them. Keep in mind that extra bodies means extra strain on activists’ limited resources so if you go, prepare to be as self-sufficient as possible. You can find more information on what to expect if you go to the camps here.

3. Raise awareness via social media using the hashtag #NoDAPL.

4. Call or e-mail government representatives and Energy Transfer Partners executives and tell them you oppose the construction of the pipeline. Or call Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier and ask him why a private pipeline required a militarized police force from seven states to intervene.

Here are some phone numbers and e-mail addresses to get you started:

a. Jack Dalrymple, governor of North Dakota: (701) 328-2200, www.governor.nd.gov/contact-us

b. Army Corps of Engineers (demand that they reverse the permit allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline), Regulatory Complaint Line(202) 761-5903

c. Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army Corp of Engineers: joellen.darcy@us.army.mil, (703) 697-8986.

d. Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, (701) 667-3330, kyle.kirchmeier@mortonnd.org

Energy Transfer Partners
e. Lee Hanse, executive vice president: (210) 403-6455, Lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com

f. Glenn Emery, vice president: (210) 403-6762, Glenn.Emery@energytransfer.com

g. Michael Cliff Waters, lead analyst: (713) 989-2404

5. Sign the White House petition calling for construction to stop.

6. Support solidarity rallies. A great way to start is by plugging into your local progressive and organizing networks on social media and signing up for mailing lists. Groups such as Black Lives Matter and Our Revolution have already organized local rallies and, in some cases, even bused people to Standing Rock.

7. Learn more about this important struggle: there are great articles out there about what those on the ground are experiencing, what Native people have to say about the resistance, how Native Americans are resisting modern forms of colonization, and how DAPL was rerouted away from white North Dakotans. Here are some to get you started:

Militarized Police Are Cracking Down on Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters,” by Zoë Carpenter, The Nation
Amy Goodman: ‘The State Cannot Stop This Journalism,’” by Lizzy Ratner, The Nation
This Isn’t the First Time Cowboys Have Tried to Plunder 640 Million Acres of Public Land,” by Chip Ward, The Nation
How To Talk About #NoDAPL: A Native Perspective,” by Kelly Hayes, Transformative Spaces
Pipeline route plan first called for crossing north of Bismarck,” by Amy Dalrymple, The Bismarck Tribune