STANDING ROCK: A NEW STORY OF EFFECTIVE NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE
We (the Meta Peace Team International Exploratory Team), are privileged to be here as part of this marvelous campaign of nonviolent resistance at Standing Rock Oceti Sakowin Camp in North Dakota. The nonviolent campaign is resisting the final leg of construction of the Dakota Access pipeline near the Reservation that would threaten their water.
In a time of much darkness, with fossil fuel corporations ravishing the land in their greed to grow richer, and the Trump presidency about to begin, it is a story of effective resistance against a mountain of odds working against them. The astounding news came on December 4 that the Obama administration denied the permit necessary for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be completed.
We're talking about holding up billions of dollars of profit. The pipeline, costing $3.8 billion to build, would transport 470,000 barrels of oil a day across four states extending 1,172 miles.
Over the past months, local and state police have viciously attacked the nonviolent Water Protectors with water cannons in freezing weather, with attack dogs, clubs, rubber bullets, tear gas, mace, and threats. Temperatures in the camp have reached below zero at times. More than 500 were arrested over the past few months. A few hundred have been injured.
Then the Army Corps of Engineers gave a December 5 deadline for the Water Protectors to leave their camp site that is on Corp-managed land. North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple issued an emergency evacuation order following on the Army Corp of Engineers order. Even with this threat, they have not been able to make the Water Protector community back down or withdraw. December 5 was looking like a horrible assault about to happen.
Then came the stunning Army Corps of Engineers announcement on December 4 that the permit to drill and lay the pipe under the riverbed is denied. The pipeline construction was at a halt. Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners, the corporations behind the pipeline are expressing anger at this affront to their power.
How did the Standing Rock Sioux Nation do it? Not armed with guns, knives, violent weapons of any kind in the Oceti Sakowin Camp near the pipeline construction.
They built the resistance camp community with prayer, Sacred Fire ceremonies, and their spirit of reverence for all people and the earth. They displayed courage and nonviolent discipline in the face of great violent force. They welcomed all who come in support and oriented them to this spirit of respect and mutual taking care of one another.
The campaign used the media effectively. The many facets of media displayed pictures of the brutal attacks, and the courage of the people, and this inspired many across the country and beyond to respond.
They put out the call for support from Native people across the country, and they came. They called all people of good will to come join them. May of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation are U. S. military war veterans. They put out the call to veterans of America to come. And thousands came. To top it off, a contingent of 5,000 vets organized by Wesley Clark Jr. was on its way to be there December 4 -7, when the forced evacuation was to take place.
The local enforcement leaders acknowledged that they didn't have the resources to forcibly remove so many thousands from the camp.
This is a great victory, in the ongoing struggle. Energy Transfer Partners insists the pipeline will be completed. Maybe the route will be altered, far away from Reservation land. But if they pursue the present site, we know they have an ongoing battle with the great nonviolent force of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and thousands who stand with them. They have inspired people throughout the world today.
- Elliott Adams and Peter Dougherty