#NoDAPL Live Blog: Standing Rock Solidarity—in Snow and in D.C.
Posted on Dec 12, 2016
Military veterans march through a North Dakota blizzard in a show of support for Standing Rock demonstrators. (Screen shot via Unicorn Riot)
Editor’s note: This live blog begins Dec. 1, 2016. For earlier updates, visit our first #NoDAPL live blog, which includes original multimedia from demonstrations at Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.
12:45 p.m. PST Monday, Dec. 12:
On Saturday, thousands of #NoDAPL supporters from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C., to express solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in a rally that began at the Capitol and ended at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency. Truthdig editorial assistant Clara Romeo captured the following images from the rally:
Square, Site wide
The Mohawk Warrior Society flag waves in front of the U.S. Capitol. (Clara Romeo / Truthdig)
One poster, many sentiments. (Clara Romeo / Truthdig)
Letting her backpack do the talking. (Clara Romeo / Truthdig)
A Native American dancer prepares to perform. (Clara Romeo / Truthdig)
Banners await their roles at the rally. (Clara Romeo / Truthdig)
A sign that sums things up. (Clara Romeo / Truthdig)
Jordan Marie Daniel, a Native American activist, speaks out against Trump’s stance on the DAPL. (Clara Romeo / Truthdig)
Three Native American girls take a break from the protest to look over the reflecting pool. (Clara Romeo / Truthdig)
2:09 p.m. PST Friday, Dec. 9: The website Indigenous Rising published a statement from “a coalition of grassroots groups living and working in the Dakota Access resistance camps along the Cannon Ball River in Oceti Sakowin treaty lands.” The coalition states:
We fully understand the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s desire to transition people out of the encampments and back to their homes. The influx of people to Standing Rock as winter arrives has been an enormous strain on local resources due to the inherent challenges and dangers of travel and camping in this climate and, in many cases, a lack of necessary knowledge, skills, and experience on the part of those who have traveled to join us. Also, the closure of Highway 1806 and the twisted media portrayals of the camp have essentially acted as economic sanctions against the tribe, denying revenue to an already impoverished nation with a long list of urgent social problems. And, as the violence from law enforcement has escalated and caused serious injuries, we are all concerned for the water protectors’ physical safety and want to avoid further injuries.
As such, we support the tribe’s request for a transition and are working with many different groups to design and implement that transition in a good way – one that honors our ceremonial responsibilities, the sacrifices we have made to be here, and the deep commitment we have each made to defend the land. We ask anyone that is considering traveling to join the encampments at Standing Rock to stay home for now and instead take bold action in your local communities to force investors to divest from the project.
We also support those who choose to stay, if they are able to live comfortably and self-sufficiently through a winter in the Great Plains. We support the Sacred Stone Camp, the original encampment established in opposition to the pipeline back on April 1st, 2016. This community space was opened on Ladonna Bravebull Allard’s private land and will continue through the winter. Rest assured, LaDonna is not going anywhere. “I have not changed my mind. We stand until the black snake is dead,” she said yesterday. But due to limited space and infrastructure, there is no longer an open call for people to come join Sacred Stone Camp unless personally invited.
2:02 p.m. PST Friday, Dec. 9: A group of veterans apologized to Native American elders for the decades of abuse perpetrated by American armed forces against indigenous people. “We polluted your earth, we hurt you in so many ways,” one veteran said, “But we’ve come to say that we are sorry, we are at your service, and we beg for your forgiveness.” Watch the video below:
1:55 p.m. PST Friday, Dec. 9: A group of musicians in Portland, Ore., released a statement expressing solidarity for Standing Rock demonstrators. The musicians, linked via a community-based organization called Cypher Cure, are “organizing 2 benefit concerts and creating a compilation CD to honor the water protectors and offer their gift of music.”
The statement continued:
The goal is to raise funds and gather supplies and deliver to the water protectors who are currently camped in the Standing Rock reservation, North Dakota. A few days after the show, 3 of the main-organizers, Talilo Marfil, Freddy Flowpez and Quincy Davis, will head out to Standing rock to deliver the supplies and the compilation CD, as part of the Standing Rock International Caravan led by Chief Buzz Nelson of the Lakota Pine Ridge and Northern Cheyenne.
2:34 p.m. PST Thursday, Dec. 8: Although North Dakota’s weather has worsened significantly over the past few days, water protectors and Standing Rock allies aren’t backing down.
“We’re not moving,” LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, a leader in the #NoDAPL movement, told Jezebel. “We stand. We stay. The black snake is not dead.”
New photo and video footage shows the harrowing conditions at the Standing Rock encampments. According to The Weather Channel, the “brutal cold will continue as sub-zero low temperatures are forecast in portions of the Dakotas Thursday and Friday mornings.”
“Some protestors fighting the Dakota Access pipeline have taken refuge in a nearby casino and area shelters overnight,” The Weather Channel report continued. “However, many remained at a camp in southern North Dakota.”
According to media website Unicorn Riot, the blizzard has not hampered the actions of thousands of veterans who recently arrived at Standing Rock to support the #NoDAPL demonstrations. A planned ceremonial march in which veterans “apologize[d] for genocide” continued despite the intense weather:
11:08 a.m. PST Wednesday, Dec. 7: Two emails shed light on the inner workings of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline. Journalist Shaun King shared the emails he’d received from separate sources, both regarding future developments of the pipeline.
The first email, King says, came “from someone I verified works inside of the energy industry.” King emailed it to those participating in his Injustice Boycott, writing that “[t]his [email] is why leaders in Standing Rock asked us to keep Standing Rock as a part of the Injustice Boycott.” According to King, the text of the email included the following:
Now is not the time to lay down and take the Army Corps of Engineers decision yesterday as a full victory. I’d like to go further and plead that you use your incredible reach through your articles, social media activism and the Boycott to ask people to push even harder than they have before.
The CEO of Energy Transfer (the company leading the pipeline’s construction) is known even among [... the] industry of generally unlikeable [sic] people to be a blood-sucking asshole. His company routinely finds any loophole it can and minimizes the social engagement necessary to get pipelines approved. (People in southwest Texas around Marfa-Big Bend have been speaking out against another pipeline, the Trans-Pecos Pipeline, and Energy Transfer’s handling of it).
Equity analysts who cover Energy Transfer and other companies like them — who are therefore viewing Standing Rock not as a human rights issue, but as an opportunity to make/lose money — uniformly came out today saying that the DAPL delay is basically a show that will end with Trump taking office and the pipeline could well go forward as initially planned. The decision gets things to stand down ahead of what was likely to be an historic and contentious Dec. 5, a day when media coverage was finally on this story nationwide (although still pretty bad/misinformed).
Energy Transfer and partner Sunoco Logistics said in a press release following the decision that they are “fully committed to ensuring this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline WITHOUT ANY ADDITIONAL REROUTING in and around Lake Oahu. Northing [sic] this Administration has done today changes that in any way.”
The industry is tone deaf, to put it mildly, but [...] my view is that this is not a bluff. They will NOT back down on this unless they are unequivocally forced to. They will fight with every tool they have and have a willing supporter in Trump.
So not only is the fight for the pipeline not over, it likely just got HARDER, because attention and funds could fade. Everyone needs to be on their guard until literally every nut and bolt are removed from the site. Be wary!
Energy Transfer is a debt-riddled company with a lot riding on this easement.
For one (and these details came from their public, third quarter earnings call), the pipeline had secured $2.5 billion in financing. $1.1 billion has been drawn, but the condition for receiving the remaining $1.4 billion was approval of the easement.
For another, Energy Transfer and Sunoco Logistics agreed to sell a minority stake in the pipeline to two other pipeline companies — Unbridle and Marathon Petroleum — in August for $2 billion cash. The easement’s approval was a condition for that deal going through.
In late November, Sunoco Logistics and Energy Transfer Partners agreed a merger. I don’t know whether that deal is also contingent upon the pipeline going through as-is. That transaction was valued at roughly $20 billion.
Another email sent by King to his Injustice Boycott mailing group allegedly comes from someone who works at the law firm that “is representing Energy Transfer Partners in the litigation that the Sioux Tribe has pursued.”
The email states:
I stumbled across some of the emails through our firm’s file-sharing system and to sum up what I saw, ETP is counting on the future president’s administration to have this pipeline happen. The words “come Inauguration Day” were definitely used. They also claimed that the water protectors were using this pipeline for political gain and called them “horrible people”. I nearly gagged in my office. To say the least, my desire to leave this firm has increased exponentially.
I know that it’s your job as a journalist to verify the facts, but I just need you to take my word on this. I’m not asking you to write about this, but to let any contacts you know who are at Standing Rock that the fight isn’t over and that they really need to gear up once Trump is officially the president. I don’t have any contacts over there and don’t know anyone who does. If you don’t believe me, I understand. You don’t know me and have no reason to trust me. Just please, reaffirm anyone you know at Standing Rock that they need to be prepared to keep fighting.
10:37 a.m. PST Wednesday, Dec. 7: Despite Standing Rock Sioux tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II telling them to “go home,” many water protectors have vowed to remain at Standing Rock. They fear that Energy Transfer Partners will continue construction despite the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to halt the project.
[I]nstead of waiting until the president-elect takes office next month, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners is pressing ahead with a request to a federal judge to allow the company to immediately cross beneath a Missouri River reservoir, the final 1,100-foot link to be built in the pipeline.
Analysts say Energy Transfer Partners has two potential reasons to seek a faster resolution: It is losing millions of dollars due to delays, and a longer wait could scuttle a $2 billion deal to sell a stake in the pipeline.
Lawyers for Energy Transfer Partners asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg for an expedited ruling late Monday that would allow the company to complete the project. The delays have already cost the company $450 million, the company said in court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday morning in Washington, D.C.
As such news continues to spread, many water protectors are determined to spend the winter at camps around Standing Rock. And, as many of them note, the future of the pipeline under the Trump administration is unclear .
“We have to keep going,” one water protector told NPR. “We have to persevere. Trump’s right next in line.”
12:38 p.m. PST Tuesday, Dec. 6: Standing Rock Sioux tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II has released a video statement telling water protectors to “go home.”
“There’s no need for the water protectors or for anyone to be putting ourselves in unsafe environments,” he says. A blizzard hit the area around Oceti Sakowin Camp Monday, and temperatures fell as low as -9 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, many water protectors disagree with Archambault II’s statement, according to The Guardian:
“The chairman does not tell us what to do. The chairman is not in charge of the camp,” said Ladonna Bravebull Allard. “We stand. We don’t move. We don’t go nowhere.”
Allard, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, founded the first of several “spiritual camps,” known as Sacred Stone, in April.
“We came to fight a black snake,” she said, referring to the pipeline. “Until it’s dead, we stand. That doesn’t mean put it five miles up the river. That means kill it dead.”
Many at the camps were suspicious that the permit denial was a “trick” intended to convince activists to leave so that the pipeline construction could continue unchallenged. Others feared that the Trump administration would reverse the Army Corps’ decision, or that the company would sue.
Perhaps adding to their concern was news that a crude oil pipeline in Western North Dakota was shut down Tuesday after a leak spilled crude oil into a nearby creek. Reuters reports:
The leak that prompted the shutdown was discovered in a six-inch pipeline operated by Belle Fourche Pipeline Company, the North Dakota Department of Health said. An undetermined amount of crude oil was spilled, the state said.
“A series of booms have been placed across the creek to prevent downstream migration and a siphon dam has been constructed four miles downstream of the release point,” Bill Suess, spill investigation program manager for the North Dakota Department of health, said.
The spill leaked oil into the Ash Coulee Creek in Billings County.
12:14 p.m. PST Tuesday, Dec. 6: Independent musician Taboo has teamed up with the nonprofit organization Hip Hop Caucus to produce an original song and video supporting Standing Rock:
Taboo, who is also a member of the Black Eyed Peas, is joined in “Stand Up/Stand N Rock” by celebrity Shailene Woodley, who has been active during the #NoDAPL demonstrations.
10:40 a.m. PST Sunday, Dec. 4: Photojournalist Michael Nigro was at Oceti Sakowin Camp in Standing Rock, North Dakota, for Truthdig on Sunday and captured images, including the following, of the water protectors’ reactions to news that the Dakota Access pipeline will not pass through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.