In 2016, the world gathered to watch as Standing Rock Sioux Nation took a stance against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Little did they know, they would be the center of attention in the struggle against giant fossil fuel companies and received support from many, many people and organizations.
Although the DAPL construction was allowed to be completed, there are still ongoing efforts to monitor the pipeline, expose the spills and defend those Water Protectors who are still incarcerated, going to trial and being sentenced.
Over 500 clergy stood in the camps blocking DAPL, over 50 of them were from Unitarian Universalist congregations and organizations and reported in the UU World magazine. There were many UU ministers and congregational members from the Pacific Northwest, having just gone through similar situations with the Pacific Northwest Tribes and oil, coal and gas projects in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.
Rev. Karen VanFossan of the Bismark-Mandan UU Congregation is very much involved with two activities related to DAPL and Standing Rock. For more check out their website.
- One effort is working with those Water Protectors that are still incarcerated, going to trial or awaiting sentencing. A recent September webinar was sponsored by the UUMFE.
- Another is her representing UUs and co-coordinating efforts through the InterNational Initiative for Informative Collaboration (INITC). They have held several retreats in October 2917, December 2017, March 2018 and another in August 2018 with lots of teleconferences in between. Here the invite for the March Retreat: MAR 2018 INITC Flyer so you can get a feel for the work they are doing. The invitation for the the August retreat is here.
At the UUA General Assembly in June 2018, the Assembly conducted an Action for Immediate Witness entitled “We are all Related: Solidarity Now With Indigenous Water Protectors” which speaks to our acknowledgement and gratitude for Standing Rock and our commitment to support other “Indigenous movements that seek to protect the environment and restore traditional Indigenous ways of life.”
Currrent news and activities are being shared on the UU Presence at Oceti Sakowin & Sacred Stone Camps Facebook page.
During the Occupation
Here were some ways to Contribute to Standing Rock Sioux Nation or the Sacred Stone Camp. Colder weather was setting and the camp was in need of winter supplies.
- Standing Rock Sioux Tribe – Dakota Access Pipeline Donation Fund
- Defense Fund for Sacred Stone Spirit Camp
- General Fund for Sacred Stone Spirit Camp
- Funds for the Red Warrior Camp
- Mn Wichoni Nakixiin Owayawn (Defenders of the Water School)
To keep abreast on the how the Nation and Camp are faring, check these sites:
- Standing Rock Sioux Nation website
- Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Facebook Page
- Sacred Stone Camp website
- Sacred Stone Camp Facebook
Support UU Actions:
- UU Presence at Sacred Stone Camp Facebook page
- UU Minister’s Letter to Standing Rock Sioux Nation: Encourage your minister to contact Deb Cruz (firstname.lastname@example.org) and sign the letter.
- Congregational Expressions of Support: Encourage your congregation, as a body, to send statements of support to Standing Rock Sioux Nation.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has withdrawn as a cooperating agency from the U.S Federal government’s ongoing environmental assessment of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) operations. Standing Rock attributed their decision to the lack of transparency by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who are conducting the court-ordered Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the pipeline in the area, as well as Energy Transfer’s, the pipeline operator, refusal to engage with tribe. According to tribal leaders, Standing Rock’s Tribal Emergency Response Commission (TERC) has yet to see the entire copy of the pipeline’s emergency plan in case a crude oil spill occurs. Read more here.
The fight to stop the Dakota Access pipeline isn’t over, and you can help right now! This month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will take public comment on DAPL’s fatally flawed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Sign up to be first in line to tell the Corps to conduct a proper environmental review — without interference from the fossil fuel industry. Sign up here to receive notification when public comments open.
FOLLOWING PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S executive order to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, activists and organizers are escalating calls for similar actions to shutter other major pipelines. They are addressing projects like Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline, which run through and devastate Indigenous lands and lives, threatening water sources and our collective futures. Just this month, celebrities joined Indigenous leaders and environmentalists in urging the president to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline. While Biden’s action on Keystone XL and court rulings over Dakota Access constitute victories for the Indigenous-led climate movement, water protectors who stood on the front lines of these battles continue to face grave repression and punitive consequences from the government. Read more here.
Five Democratic lawmakers on Friday encouraged President Joe Biden to order an immediate shutdown of the Dakota Access pipeline after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last week delivered a victory to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe by ruling that DAPL is operating illegally. The three-judge panel upheld a lower court's ruling that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it granted an easement for DAPL to cross a federal reservoir along the Missouri River, less than a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The court ordered a full environmental impact statement examining the threats posed by the oil pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as the Democrats' letter to Biden notes, "rightfully fears an oil spill could disproportionately affect their drinking water, as well as hunting and fishing rights." Read more here.
A federal appeals court has struck another blow against the contested Dakota Access Pipeline.
A federal judge has ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline to shut down and remove all oil within 30 days, a huge win for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and the other plaintiffs. In a 24-page order, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg wrote that he was "mindful of the disruption" that shutting down the pipeline would cause, but that it must be done within 30 days. The order comes after Boasberg said in April that a more extensive review was necessary than what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had already conducted and that he would consider whether the pipeline would have to be shuttered during the new assessment. Read more here.
Washington, D.C. — A federal court today granted a request by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to strike down federal permits for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. The Court found the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it affirmed federal permits for the pipeline originally issued in 2016. Specifically, the Court found significant unresolved concerns about the potential impacts of oil spills and the likelihood that one could take place. Read more here.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting the water flowing through its unceded ancestral lands from the irreversible consequences of a crude oil spill. In 2016, the Tribe adopted a resolution supporting individual or collective activities that respect and defend the rights of Mother Earth. Read more info here.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is asking a judge to throw out a federal permit for the Dakota Access oil pipeline, arguing that the government shut the tribe out of a court-ordered second environmental review and ignored its concerns. The challenge comes as Energy Transfer, the company behind the pipeline, is now seeking to double how much oil the pipeline can carry. The Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) passes under the Missouri River, the tribe's water supply, just upstream from the Standing Rock Reservation. Read more here.
En Route to Standing Rock, Greta Thunberg Holds Up 'Struggles of All Indigenous Peoples in Protecting Their Land, Water, and Traditions'
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg expressed solidarity Monday with "the struggles of all Indigenous peoples in protecting their land, water, and traditions" as she continued her climate-focused trip to the Americas with stops in the Dakotas. Thunberg's tweet included images of an event she attended on Sunday, the Youth Climate Activism Panel at Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The discussion—which also featured 16-year-old Dakota Access Pipeline opponent Tokata Iron Eyes—was hosted by the Lakota People's Law Project and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. "We are at the edge of a cliff in regards to our timeline to save this planet, and the Indigenous peoples will be the ones to lead the movement off of the edge," Iron Eyes said during the talk. Read more here.