The fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has raged on for nearly a year. It was approved last March, and water protectors set up on Standing Rock Sioux land to protest the pipeline a few weeks later. The current planned path traverses over sacred ground and under Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. If a leak occurs, which is far from an irrational fear, the drinking water for millions would be compromised. See also: poisoned.
The subsequent 11 months since the first 200 native tribesmen and women rode to the pipeline’s path on horseback as a show of opposition have been punctuated by numerous legal challenges, setbacks, temporary victories, egregious violence and over 600 arrests. On December 4th, the Obama administration denied Energy Transfer Partners (the company behind DAPL) the final permits needed to complete the project and ordered an environmental impact review and a discussion to potentially re-route the pipeline around the water sources.
This, as many feared (myself included,) was a shallow victory that held no real power after Obama left office. To the surprise of no one, President Trump, who has various connections and investments in the project, overturned the prior executive orders and green-lighted the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines in his first week in office.
But the fight isn’t over. The Standing Rock Sioux and their supporters in the U.S. and around the world need to come together now—this is the point when it really matters. Over at Lakota Law you can send a message to congress expressing you opposition to DAPL, and you can donate to their cause. The 2,000+ military veterans who traveled to Standing Rock to join to protests have a GoFundMe page up, which raises money for supplies and mobilization operations. You can also make donations and sign petitions at Stand With Standing Rock.
On a more basic level, you can just make sure this story doesn’t die. Social justice trends go viral and peter off shortly thereafter like overplayed pop songs. The only problem is, the issues don’t go away, just the attention surrounding them.
DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN.
If you care about this issue, let people know. Let’s not #MakeFacebookFunAgain, let’s #MakeFacebookMatter.
And most importantly, demonstrate. Find a local march, get out in the streets and make noise. And do your best to get to D.C. on March 10th for Standing Rock’s global call to action and march on Washington. If this is large enough, it can make an impact.
Our country was built upon the destruction of the native peoples who were here before us; we’ve broken so many promises. Not building a pipeline through their backyard is the least we can do.
by Jesse Mechanic
Jesse Mechanic is the editor in chief of The Overgrown.