Editors note: Minnesota Environmental Partnership’s Northeast Minnesota Program Coordinator Abbie Plouff and Great Lakes Program Coordinator Irene Folstrom headed out this week to assist the Standing Rock Camp’s protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Dakota Access Pipeline would bring fracked oil from the Bakken oil fields down to its destination in southern Illinois. The 1,172-mile pipeline would run within a half-mile of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation could adversely impact drinking water and would disturb sacred burial sites. This is a major environmental justice issue, and the fight against it pipeline has brought together over 300 native nations in unity. Read more background about the Dakota Access pipeline and its threat here. This post is a report back from Abbie Plouff on what she and Irene heard and saw while there.
I’m sitting at the Prairie Knights casino, staring at a blank document trying sort through my thoughts. Earlier this week, Irene Folstrom and I left for the Standing Rock Camp to stand in solidarity with the water protectors. Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) member organizations and other partners have been here on the ground, and we know that it’s important to show up in person. We also know that the MEP is in a unique position to send support, being a coalition of over 70 environmental nonprofits, but we wouldn’t know how to send support until we’d gone ourselves.
This week has been difficult. The camp is preparing for winter at the same time that the police are forcing the front lines back. Numbers at the camp continue to decline, as the chill winds of winter settle in to the bones. The flags of over 300 native nations line the roads of the camp, and the camp is a sea of tipis broken up by other tents and temporary structures that house kitchens, meeting spaces, and other encampments. The people are building more sturdy structures in an attempt to outlast the winter.
While we were at Standing Rock, violence broke out on the front lines. Militarized police brought tanks, guns with rubber bullets, and tear gas to try to break through the line. Other than physically holding off the construction, the only other option now to stop the pipeline is for the President to step in and pull all of Dakota Access’ permits along the route.
We will have more information, and be better able to plug folks in to the action when we get back.
Get informed. Read the Standing Rock Syllabus, learn more about the history of indigenous resistance.
Show up and volunteer. As the camp is preparing for winter, there is a huge need for people to come and help. If you want to coordinate a carpool from Minneapolis, check out this facebook group.
Some groups, organizations, & media outlets you can follow to keep up with what is happening:
Camp of the Sacred Stone ~ Rezpect our Water ~ Indian Country Today Media Network ~ Idle No More – Twin Cities ~ Indigenous Environmental Network ~ Honor the Earth ~ Last Real Indians ~ Censored News ~ Lakota Country Times ~ OYATE Media Network ~ KILI Radio 90.1 ~ Unicorn Riot ~ Democracy Now! ~ Counter Currents News ~ The Bismarck Tribune