I (Sierra) am just back from two weeks at Standing Rock. Prior to my departure, Dave was up there for a week. It was just a matter of hours from his arrival home to my departure for Standing Rock.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone that takes the time to read our newsletter doesn’t know what is happening in Standing Rock, North Dakota – but, just in case:
A pipeline known as the Dakota Access Pipeline, built and held by Energy Transfer Partners is being pushed forcefully through our country. Nothing new here yet the communities in the pipeline’s path, especially the indigenous family, Native Americans, are fighting this pipeline. Thousands of people have converged at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, directly in the pipeline’s path, to stop this pipeline from being completed. There is a Lakota prophecy that says there will be a great black snake that will run through the land and bring destruction to the people and the earth. Thousands of native and non-native people from all across the United States and the world are gathering peacefully and in prayer to protect the earth and water and people from the Dakota Access Pipeline, understood as the black snake of the prophecy.
While there are many concerns about all pipelines being built, this one has some extra ones. With any pipeline, we must ask ourselves if our lifestyles are sustainable. I would say, clearly not. As evidence I ask you to look around at the mounting carbon in our atmosphere, the slow death of species, clean water, clean air and more. As well, with any pipeline we must understand the risks posed by rupture, spillage, and leaks- to our drinking water. There is also the very real risk of explosions and ultimately for what? Corporate profit and increased dependence upon fossil fuels at the expense of the people, especially those who live along the pipeline path. And in the case of this pipeline, it runs across land that does not belong to the U.S. This land is held by treaty by the Sioux and contains not only their drinking water but sacred burial grounds, cultural sites and homes.
The Dakota Access Pipeline or DAPL would pump about a half-million barrels of oil each day along 1,100 miles of pipeline through the Dakotas and Iowa to Southern Illinois. There, the oil would be sent to the East Coast refineries and other markets by train, or down another 750 miles to the Gulf Coast through a second pipeline that Energy Transfer Partners is converting to carry oil. Combined, the two pipelines- together called the Bakken Crude Pipeline follow a similar path to the Keystone XL pipeline that President Obama rejected. Overall, this pipeline will cost about $4.8 billion and Energy Transfer Partners is pushing this as the agenda to “capitalize on U.S. energy exports.” If this infrastructure is successfully put in place, Energy Transfer Partners will be ramping up, increasing fracking across the U.S. in the coming decades. And, consequently, communities will be left to deal with the spills, explosions, water pollution, air pollution, and climate impacts that ensue.
So what can you do? What can we do? We can all pick up the phone and make calls – you will find a list of calls to be made in our Action You Can Take Section. As well, the power of a well-written letter should never be underestimated – you’ll find resources for that as well.
Make the calls, write the letters and then sit. Listen to your heart and your mind. The water protectors need us. They need every single one of us that is able to make the journey up there- be it for a week or the winter or the duration. Not all of us are able to physically make this journey- there are still so many ways to support this resistance. Funds are desperately needed. There are many ways to allocate any financial resources you can give. I am listing only a few here:
The Oceti Sakowin Camp – this is the main receiving area or umbrella for all the other camps on site. The website is http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org If you go to the donations page, there is a list of actual physical needs and if you keep scrolling down, you’ll find the button to donate cash or mail a check.
The Water Protector Legal Collective (formerly Red Owl Legal Collective) is a nonprofit organization formed to support the legal defense of water protectors resisting the pipeline. Funds are needed for the many costs of civil and criminal litigation, from transporting arrestees to attorney travel expenses for jail and bail visits, to court filing fees, to export witnesses, and more. This group is doing incredible work and you can support them by visiting them online at https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/11B5z8
Red Fawn Fallis was one of more than 140 people arrested on October 27th. Red Fawn is an inspiring activist and leader and has been held ever since- due to charges out of line with the reality of what happened as well as a bail that has been not yet raised. To read more about Red Fawn, follow this link: http://nativenewsonline.net/currents/water-protector-charged-attempted-murder/ and to donate to her defense and bail, go here: https://www.generosity.com/fundraising/free-red-fawn
Check in with your community- here in Asheville there are local ways to support the effort- Laurel Nest Yurts has been building and donating yurts to the Standing Rock community. You can support those efforts by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/yurts-for-standingrock-2vy3j53h.
We here at Sundance Power have been building and donating solar and solar wind trailers to provide power to the people on the ground. If you would like to support this initiative, you can donate to Alliance for Energy Democracy – this donation is tax deductible. We’ve been able to provide 2 complete systems so far and are working on another 3 systems at this time. Other Asheville efforts include:
Our beloved Rosetta Baun of Rosetta’s kitchen has been working to support numerous camps and youth efforts at Standing Rock, as well as being physically in Standing Rock most of the time – you can donate to her efforts by PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastly, Erin Hardy and Sara Legatski have been supporting the Sicangu Ovate / Rosebud Lakota camp and have many needs for winterization plans. You can support their efforts with PayPal at email@example.com
If you don’t live in the Asheville community, look around where you do live. If there is not yet a community effort to support Standing Rock – maybe that’s where you come in?
The time is now. We are the ones. Water is Life. United we stand.