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Dakota Resource Council Visits Dakota Access Pipeline Protest

On August 17th, seven Dakota Resource Council (DRC) staff members visited a Dakota Access Pipeline 

standing-rock-2(DAPL) construction site where activists are fighting to stop the pipeline from being built under the Missouri River. Since April, the movement has expanded and now includes natives and non-natives from across the U.S. and the world who are banding together to protect the river and surrounding lands from the hazards of the DAPL.

DRC staff decided to visit the active protest site to show our solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all the citizens of North Dakota who would be impacted by the proposed pipeline route.  We had the honor of witnessing a powerful and peaceful demonstration, filled with the smiling faces of everyone from grandmothers to babies, as they welcomed relatives and newcomers alike. We heard voices raised in traditional songs and prayer. Our safety was never in question.

However, this was also the day that barricades were placed on Highway 1806 and law enforcement began to reroute traffic. Yet the activists shouting “water is life!” were not deterred and stood strong.


Dakota Resource Council stands “with Standing Rock for multiple reasons – to protect water, to protect landowners’ rights, to protect human rights, and to protect life. Impacts to communities downstream would be devastating to all of us who depend on clean water and clean soil, but we acknowledge that destructive projects like Dakota Access are often routed near reservations or communities that lack the resources and political power to fight them off” (Jennifer Weisgerber, Dakota Resource Council Communications Coordinator).

There was a peace run and rally organized by several community members on September 9th on the front lawn of the ND State Capitol. Again, this was a peaceful gathering of people from all over the U.S. who wanted to show their support of the anti-DAPL movement. As they said on their event page, “By September 9th, we expect to hear an answer on the injunction that we requested for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. To keep up pressure on those who can stop this pipeline and to fight the misrepresentation of our movement as violent, we are holding a peace run” (Peace Rally Against the Pipeline Facebook event page).  

peace-rally-ndOver the last 3 months, over 100 activists and journalists have been arrested during demonstrations on charges including criminal trespass. Those involved call themselves “water protectors” and insist that they are unarmed and non-violent. Meanwhile, they are facing an increasingly militarized group of law enforcement, who are often seen dressed in riot gear and carrying weapons.

On Sunday, October 9th, a 3-judge panel of the U.S. District Court denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for an injunction “that would have stopped the pipeline’s progress through treaty-protected, sacred burial grounds” (Indian Country Today). On Monday, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior today issued a statement stating that “The Army continues to review issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Tribal nations and their members and hopes to conclude its ongoing review soon.  In the interim, the Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe.  We repeat our request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe” (U.S. Dept. of Justice).

In the meantime, the water protectors are continuing their fight against the pipeline and preparing for winter. They are working to bring renewable energy technology to the camps to decrease their carbon emissions, proving that it is possible to live without complete reliance on fossil fuels.

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