Standing Rock Sioux and the Dakota Access Pipeline – a pivotal moment for all of us

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SACRED STONE CAMP / Chante tin’sa kinanzi Po – a Spirit Camp founded on the proposed route of the Dakota Access bakken oil pipelinearnoff_dapl_breaking_850_568

Most Recent Stories:

Interview with LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, co-founder of the Sacred Stone CampDemocracy Now

At Standing Rock, a Sense of Purpose: “This Is How We Should Be Living” – Yes!

Obama Administration Steps In to Halt Dakota Access Pipeline- For Now – In These Times

Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance: Stay in the Game. We’re Winning – Indian Country Today Media Network

Continue Resistance to the Dakota PipelineShowing up for Racial Justice / solidarity toolkit

Native American protesters are confronted by a security team with dogs – Heavy

The genocide against Native Peoples of this land – the wanton destruction of the great civilizations of the Western Hemisphere that secured the land base of the United States of America and the raw capital on which our economy is built – is a cornerstone of white supremacy. Likewise, in the words and spirit of historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, the health, vitality, and leadership of Indigenous peoples “offer possibilities for life after empire” or – from the vantage point of our project, White Awake – an alternative to white supremacy culture and “business as usual”.

WA Newsletter NYT cover photo standing rockIt is in light of this imperative that White Awake steps beyond it’s usual bounds to offer this short update (including a compilation of current news, social media, and ways you can offer direct support to Native activists) on the developments taking place in North Dakota and the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation that have national and international relevance in scope.

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Photo: Tomas Alejo

As you may well be aware, at this moment the Standing Rock Sioux are standing strong against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It is an historic moment. An estimated 2000+ people have gathered at the Sacred Stones Camp, an ongoing encampment founded in prayer last April along the route of the proposed bakken oil pipeline. With representatives of over 200 different sovereign, tribal nations present, the Sioux bands themselves haven’t come together in this traditional way since the Battle of the Little Big Horn. According to co-founder LaDonna Brave Bull, the grandmothers who founded the camp are preparing to over-winter in the encampment.

Approved in July, the pipeline is slated to pass beneath the Missouri River just upstream from the Standing Rock Reservation. The pipeline puts the water supply of the entire tribe at risk, along with another 18 million people who depend upon the Missouri River for water.

Ground was broken along the river on Aug 10, but five days later Native activists had succeeded in temporarily shutting construction down while a battle in the US District court continues. A federal judge heard both sides of the case (Standing Rock Sioux vs Army Corp of Engineers) on August 24, and took a week to settle on his decision.

Over Labor Day weekend, days before the ruling would be made, the Dakota Access Company went out of their way to bulldoze sacred sites that had just been identified in court. Hundreds of protectors rushed to protect the site, and were met by a security team armed with mace and attack dogs. Many were wounded, and others arrested, but the destruction was brought to a hault.

bulldozer-sacred-stone-camp-fbOn Jan 9, the federal judge assigned to the case ruled against the tribe. Immediately following this ruling, the Obama administration intervened, effectively reversing the judge’s decision and squashing the project for the foreseeable future. A joint statement from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior call for further review of the pipeline’s route “bordering and under” Lake Oahu. Along other portions of the route, Dakota Access continues to build.

Meanwhile, the coalition of Native and non-Native supporters at Sacred Stone Encampment continues to grow. Representatives from as far away as Hawaii and the Amazon have come to the camp, and currently over 200 nations – from across the Western Hemisphere – are represented there. As the First People of this land mobilize against forces that endanger life, an opportunity arises to move away from white supremacy toward a just and sustainable future.

Many thanks to the Standing Rock Sioux, and everyone else who is standing strong at the Camp of the Sacred Stones.

We stand with you.

Sacred Stones Camp website / FB

Oceti Sakowin Youth & Allies website / FB


Standing Rock Youth Petition

Sacred Stone Camp fund

Legal Defense fund

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The Camp of the Sacred Stones near the Standing Rock Sioux Indian reservation grows in numbers daily with supporters on the camping grounds. Photo: Latoya Lonelodge

“For me, it feels good, it feels good in my heart to see everybody come together, going around and getting to know everybody and their first name, where they’re from, sharing stories and it’s stories that keep us together as Native people. Stories is what keeps us alive and stories will always go down in history, it’s good that we’re all here from different nations and we’re all telling each other stories and we’re relying on the message that everybody’s here for a reason and we’re here to protect the water that gives life to this whole continent and world. That’s what I’m here for,”
– Dean Dedman, with the Hunkpapa Tribe from the South Dakota side of Standing Rock

Yes! Magazine – Winona LaDuke on the Dakota Access Pipeline: What Would Sitting Bull Do?

sacred-stone-camp-frybreadVice VIDEO – The Standing Rock Reservation’s Fight Against Big Oil

Inside Climate News – Native American Pipeline Protest Halts Construction in N. Dakota

Indian Country Today / MSNBC Lawrence O’Donnell VIDEO – ‘This Nation Was Founded on Genocide’: MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on Dakota Access – Support and Unity at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s #NoDAPL camp

CNN/HCL Michaela Pereira VIDEO – Interview with “Divergent” actress Shailene Woodley and Lakota Youth Organizer Bobbie Jean Three Legs

Democracy Now VIDEO – Stopping the Snake: Indigenous Protesters Shut Down Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline

(also: Black Lives Matter Delegation Returns from Standing Rock Camp)

Historical Context, and day-to-day struggles – Red Cryonline documentary; Cante Tenzatraditional warrior society supporting Lakota elders on Pine Ridge; The Indigenous People’s History of the United StatesRoxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

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Tribal flags from various nations are united on the protesting grounds at the Camp of the Sacred Stones near the Standing Rock Sioux Indian reservation. Photo: Latoya Lonelodge


Native youth relay race participants – there were three total, the final was almost 2,000 miles long, from ND to DC

“We brought water, medical supplies, and tarps, just about anything that had to do with camping. Our reason for that is because of the water, the river. What I had felt several weeks ago when I saw what was happening here, it really moved me and I found that it was so important, especially when everybody began to gather and I realized we needed to be there. We needed to go and support the people,” – Renee Sans Souci, with the Omaha Nation in Nebraska


Wiyaka Eagleman has been at the encampment since April and is from one of the seven Sioux council fire tribes set up there. Photo: Desiree Kane


“I am not sure how badly North Dakota wants this pipeline. If there is to be a battle over the Dakota Access, I would not bet against a people with nothing else left but a land and a river.”
Winona LaDuke

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