On his fifth day in office, President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. Army Core of engineers to restart digging the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on sacred Sioux land, in violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. The camp, known as Standing Rock, near Cannonball, N.D., was officially closed on Feb. 22 on order of North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum.
Rock had become the flashpoint for unprecedented mass mobilization of
Native Americans, thousands of solidarity activists and a worldwide
outcry against corporate greed, racism and the bitter U.S. legacy of
genocide. Many activists came from the struggle against the XL
Keystone Pipeline, stretching from Canada to the Gulf Coast, halted
in 2015 but set to restart under Trump.
last August, some 700 “Water Protectors” were arrested, shot with
beanbags, tear-gassed, clubbed, sprayed with ice-cold water in
freezing temperatures, and attacked by dogs unleashed by private
Iron Eyes, a Standing Rock Sioux, described the militarized police
and National Guard that descended on the camp in February as “a
violent enforcer of the will of capital. The corporate state is here:
an oil war in the heartland.”
army of occupation arrived in Humvees and armored personnel carriers,
pointing automatic rifles at peaceful water protectors, insuring
capitalist profits with the installation of the hazard-prone
another camp resident, “This is Treaty land. This is our life. This
is how we live as Native people and nothing has changed. It’s just
gotten worse. They have bigger weapons to kill us with. And here we
are, unarmed, facing an army in our own land.” Forty-one
percent of Native Americans live in poverty, and 24% are unemployed.
evacuation also targeted independent journalists like Jenni Monet,
who said on livestream that cops were literally “chasing down
journalists. I can’t believe this is happening!”
governor blamed oncoming spring floods for the evacuation. However,
Joye Braun of the Indigenous Environmental Network claims the flood
warnings were a “false flag” since flood predictions were
officially downgraded. Outraged, Braun insisted that the 1851 U.S.
Treaty guarantees “the free, prior, informed consent” is a
constitutional right—a right violated at Standing Rock.
who were expelled from the camp sought refuge in nearby Native
American camps. Teepees and structures at Standing Rock were set
ablaze by water protectors who refused to allow the desecration of
sacred objects, and to deprive the enemy of a perceived victory. Some
50 water protectors who remained were arrested.
March 7, Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the
District of Columbia denied legal challenges by Native American
tribes to halt construction of the final link in the 1170-mile-long
pipeline. DAPL funder Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) says oil will be
flowing at Standing Rock later in the month.
is invested in Energy Transfer Partners for up to $1 million,
although he’s claimed to have dis-invested. Trump received campaign
contributions from ETP head Kelsey Warren, including $100,000 to the
Trump victory fund. Amazingly, Trump denies receiving any messages
groundwork for DAPL and other pipelines was facilitated by the Obama
administration. When asked about Standing Rock in 2015, Obama said he
would let the situation “play out,” despite ongoing brutality.
Only after a mass mobilization of Native Americans and an early
December solidarity mobilization of 3000 U.S. veterans at Standing
Rock did Obama respond. Fearing an election year blowback if veterans
were seen being beaten by cops on TV, Obama issued a Dec. 4 executive
order to delay, not cancel, digging under the Missouri River’s Oahe
Lake, a source of water for the Sioux and some 18 million others.
struggles have erupted across the country, including in Texas,
Florida, and against the Spectra pipelines in the Northeast. A DAPL
divestment campaign is growing.
March 10, the Standing Rock and Native Nations will lead a march of
activists in Washington, D.C. The protest is organized by the Native
Nations Rise Planning Committee and will march from the Mall to the
White House beginning at 10 a.m.
>> The article above was written by Marty Goodman is reprinted from Socialist Action.