Canon Ball, ND – Resistance to the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline continues to grow. The Standing Rock Sioux, members of hundreds of tribes from around the country, as well as non-Natives have gathered to stop the pipeline.
The pipeline, which is scheduled to run under the Missouri River less than a mile north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, extends 1134 miles and connects the Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. It is projected to transport 450,000 barrels of crude oil per day along this route.
If completed, the pipeline would destroy more sacred burial sites. A leak in the pipeline will pollute the river and poison the people at Standing Rock as well as millions downstream. Furthermore, this represents a continued and expanded use of fossil fuels rather than a shift to environmentally friendly energy like wind or solar.
On Nov. 3, demonstrators put out a call to “make our way to the river” for a “river action.” Water protectors, as they call themselves, built a bridge across the Cantapeta Creek to be able to get to the sacred burial sites on the other side to pray. Despite a heroic and prolonged effort to save the bridge, it was destroyed by law enforcement in boats. Then at least 60 protectors swam across the creek. They stood in the cold water up against a line of 100 police in riot gear who peppered sprayed and tear gassed them.
Supporters on the other side chanted “the whole world is watching.” During the three-hour confrontation, 100 were injured. According to the camp medics 60 were treated for hypothermia, many for pepper spray and at least two for wounds from rubber bullets, including a journalist doing an interview.
The following day, Nov. 4, over 500 clergy from around the world, representing many faiths, came to the camp to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock tribe. Before walking to the police blockade closest to the pipeline building site to pray, sing and speak, they burned the Doctrine of Discovery, a religious document issued in the 1400s sanctioning the taking of lands from indigenous people.
That afternoon, 100 of the clergy and supporters traveled to Bismarck, where they went to the state house and the governor’s mansion. When the governor refused to meet with them and they refused to leave, 14 were arrested and held in jail overnight.
Supporters continue to answer the call to come stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe who are committed to stay as long as it takes to stop the pipeline.