Minneapolis, MN – Two days after Sunday’s high-profile #NoDAPL banner drop at US Bank Stadium during the Vikings game, we spoke with one of the participants regarding the #DefundDAPL campaign that led to the 10 foot by 40 foot banner reading “US Bank DIVEST #NoDAPL” being unfurled on Sunday. The campaign encourages financial backers to withdraw their investments from the Dakota Access Pipeline and states that over $43,882,456.55 has already been divested to date.
Sunday’s banner drop was witnessed by thousands and documented by Unicorn Riot, see the video below:
Three people were arrested on probable cause burglary charges in relation to the banner drop. After a judge reviewed their cases, all three have since been released with no charges, though the participants in Sunday’s action anticipate that further charges may still be filed against them.
Unicorn Riot spoke with Karl, one of the two climbers, on Tuesday, January 3rd outside of the US Bank Stadium immediately following their press conference, which Unicorn Riot livestreamed.
We spoke to Karl about what led to the banner drop, the #DefundDAPL Campaign, the experience of climbing the ladder and rappelling down from the catwalk, what the two climbers did while hanging from their anchor points, the response from the crowd and the authorities, the time that Karl spent in jail, and more.
The press conference that occurred prior to the above interview was held in below-zero temperatures on the corner of 5th Street and Portland Avenue Tuesday, January 3rd, in downtown Minneapolis. The massive new US Bank Stadium in which the direct action took place can be seen in the background.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) January 3, 2017
The two climbers started the conference with statements related to the divestment campaign and the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“This pipeline is not a unique circumstance. The native communities have been facing land theft, resource extraction and the destruction of their homelands for more than 500 years.
This is colonization.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is just one of many threats faced by native communities across the country. The people who have settled this land have long violated treaties and Indigenous rights. From listening to Indigenous communities we know the pipeline is not wanted by the Standing Rock Sioux just as we know the pipeline threatens drinking water and sacred sites.” – Sen
“The Standing Rock Tribe faces a huge threat to its land and its people. The US Army Corps of Engineers denied the permit to drill under the Missouri River. However, with the incoming presidential administration, the threat is not gone and our fight is hardly over.
US Bank has invested millions of dollars in this infrastructure project. In their stated code of ethics … US Bank has high ethical standards and they hold that above all else.
This pipeline is not ethical. It is far from ethical, it is the opposite of ethical. We must hold US Bank to their own standards and demand that they withdraw from the pipeline now.
Thousands of people have joined this campaign from the US and around the world. We invite everyone else to join this campaign as well.
Historically, this country has not listened to Indigenous people, and I am excited because it sounds like people are starting to realize that and they want that to change.
The Standing Rock Sioux have said no to this pipeline, let’s stand behind them.
If you’re interested in getting involved with thousands of people who’ve already joined this campaign, you can visit our website mplsnodapl.weebly.com or standingrock.org. There is a button to click if you want to donate funds. I’m open to questions.” – Karl
Once they had given their statements, they took questions about divestment and DAPL from mainstream press in attendance. The majority of press focused more on questions regarding details around how Sen and Karl were able to bring in the banner and equipment, which Sen and Karl did not answer (as instructed by their lawyer). Instead, they redirected their answers to the #DefundDAPL campaign itself that led to the action.
In our interview with Karl after the press conference, we asked him about the campaign that inspired this banner drop.
“Well, this action is just one of many that happened so far this month. There’s been a number of protests, sit-ins, lockdowns, singing choirs going around, flyering. This one happens to be very high profile. We just got together with a group of friends and neighbors and thought about what we wanted to do, looked at our skill set, and applied it. And anyone can do that.
We don’t have, we didn’t need anyone’s permission or anything to be like that, we just got together and said hey what do we want to do, let’s look at how we can do it, and we made it happen.” – Karl
To watch the press conference in its entirety, please see below:
The website DefundDAPL.org provides a running tabulation on the Dakota Access Pipeline divestment totals. Our report from September has detailed information about the funders of the Dakota Access Pipeline and financial reports. (As of November 21st, Sunoco Logistics has bought out Energy Transfer Partners.) Below is an image from Food & Water Watch detailing specific banks‘ involvement in the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Below is Unicorn Riot's coverage of the [#NoDAPL] anti-Dakota Access Pipeline struggle from early summer 2016 to present: March - May 2016
- March 29th, “Tribal Citizens Prepare to Blockade Bakken Oil Pipeline“.
- April 3rd, “Tribal Citizens Build Camp in Path of Oil Pipeline“.
- May 5th, “Sacred Stone Camp Resists Dakota Access Pipeline“.
- May 27th, “Dakota Access Pipeline Blockade Enters 2nd Month“.
- After covering the camp in the spring of 2016, Unicorn Riot returned to Standing Rock Reservation on Wednesday, August 10th, when Standing Rock tribal members and allies blocked the entrance to the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site.
- On Thursday, August 11th, a dozen or so people were arrested blocking the construction site entrances.
- Day 3, Friday, the fight to protect land & water intensified around the construction sites of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- On the 4th day, the pipeline resistance encampment swelled and prepared for more action.
- Monday, August 15th, land defenders stormed the construction site halting construction, and the next day construction was halted as well.
- August 17th saw State Police begin checkpoints, roadblocks, and psyops as protesters united to defend water.
- August 24th, camps prepared as Federal injunction hearing looms.
- Camps Organize to Stay as Injunction Postponed.
- On August 31st, Non-Violent Direct Action Stopped DAPL Construction for Over 6 Hours.
- September 6, indigenous water protectors swarmed Dakota Access Pipeline site, stopped work
- September 7, Uŋpa Nuŋpa was interviewed about ongoing #noDAPL actions
- North Dakota highway patrol refused to release email correspondence with Energy Transfer Partners
- September 8, ND National Guard took over Dakota Access Pipeline checkpoints
- Friday, September 9, US Govt. overruled federal judge and requested pipeline construction halted at Lake Oahe
- Meanwhile, cultural activities continued at #NoDAPL camps despite more arrests/warrants
- September 13, 20 were arrested during #NoDAPL lockdown, including 2 Unicorn Riot journalists
- September 14, direct actions continued against Dakota Access Pipeline while legal repression intensified
- On September 16 a federal judge dissolved the unconstitutional temporary restraining order Dakota Access, LLC had filed against Stranding Rock tribal members
- September 19, as solidarity protests spread nationwide, the federal appeals court ordered construction temporarily stop on Dakota Access segment as Solidarity Protests Spread Nationwide
- September 21, #NoDAPL noise demo demanded freedom for jailed water protector Olowan Martinez
- September 22, water protectors disrupted the annual meeting of the North Dakota Petroleum Council
- September 25, water protectors planted trees on DAPL construction site
- In Iowa on September 26, a non-violent direct action from the Mississippi Stand camp stopped DAPL construction for the day
- September 26, a caravan of water protectors stopped work at DAPL site
- September 27, militarized police arrested 23 water protectors in DAPL work stoppage
- September 29, a #NoDAPL solidarity action took place at MN Enbridge office
- October 3rd-4th saw the "Toxic Tour," Governor debate disruption, and water protectors attend their court arraignment
- October 4, we learned North Dakota Governor Dalrymple's email inbox was full of support for #NoDAPL
- October 5, Buffer Zone Holds as Caravans Continue to Disrupt DAPL – New Felony Charges
- October 7, 6 Arrested in Iowa #NoDAPL Action, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 8, Iowa Water Protectors Blockade DAPL Drill Site Twice in 24 Hours
- October 9, Federal Appeals Court Rules to Allow DAPL Construction
- October 10, 27 Arrests After Water Protectors Pray at DAPL Site on Indigenous People's Day
- October 12, Lockdown Stops DAPL Construction in Iowa, 3 Arrested, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 14, Emails Show North Dakota Budget Bureaucracy Behind #NoDAPL Policing
- October 16, Direct Actions Continue to Stop DAPL Construction in Iowa and North Dakota
- October 17, Four Unicorn Riot Journalists Face Charges For Covering #NoDAPL
- October 17, Water Protectors Blockade Highway in Bismarck, Some Charges Dropped
- October 20, As DAPL Construction Advances, Water Protectors Continue Direct Action
- October 22, Water Protectors’ Prayer Walk Ends up with 127 Arrests, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 23, Law Enforcement Attack Private Drone as Water Protectors Erect Blockade & New Winter Camp
- October 24, Mississippi Stand Blockades Iowa DAPL Drill Waste Site, Drilling Stops
- October 25, Records Release: Morton County’s Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Assistance Agreement
- Hundreds Flood Minneapolis City Hall to Demand Local Sheriff Withdraw from North Dakota
- October 26, Tensions Rise as Pipeline Construction Nears #NoDAPL Blockade
- October 27, Police and Military Attack Oceti Sakowin Treaty Camp
- November 1, #NoDAPL Solidarity Rally & Sit-In in Minneapolis Prods Sheriff into Removing Deputies
- November 1, DAPL Resistance Continues Despite Advancing Construction
- November 2, Police Attack Water Protectors Defending Sacred Sites
- November 5, DAPL Construction Nears US Army Corps Land While Still Lacking Permits
- November 6, Water Protectors Attempt to Reclaim Sacred Burial Site, Demonstrate in Cemetery
- November 8, Dakota Access Announces Plan to Drill Under Missouri River Within Weeks
- November 11, Dakota Access Pipeline Work Stopped As Water Protectors Storm Site; 30+ Arrested
- November 14, #NoDAPL Water Protectors March on ND State Capitol after Caravan Disrupts Construction
- November 14, Mississippi Stand Goes Inside Pipeline and Shuts Down DAPL Construction
- November 14, Army Corps Delays DAPL Easement
- November 15, "No More Stolen Sisters" Demonstration Blockades DAPL Man Camp; 25+ Arrests
- November 16, Despite Army Corps Statement, DAPL Moves Horizontal Drill to Missouri River Crossing
- November 17, Demonstration in Bismarck-Mandan, Cass County Deputies Beat Man Bloody
- November 20, Police Attack Unarmed Water Protectors w/ Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas, and Water Cannons; 300+ injured
- November 21, Land Defense & Water Protection Actions Ripple Across Turtle Island
- November 22, Hundreds Target U.S. Army Corps Building in St. Paul w #NoDAPL Message
- November 22, Anonymous DDOS Munitions Vendor After Sheriffs Attack #NoDAPL
- November 22, #NoDAPL Water Protector Faces Possible Loss Of Her Arm After Police Attack
- November 24, Water Protectors Bridge onto Turtle Island; Mandan Thanksgiving Street Feast
- November 25, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Announces Intent to Close Oceti Sakowin #NoDAPL Camp
- November 29, Excessive Force Lawsuit Filed Against Morton County Sheriff for November 20 Bridge Assault
- December 1, Direct Action Continues To Disrupt Dakota Access Pipeline Construction in Iowa
- December 3, Divest from DAPL; Three Wells Fargo Locations Targeted in Minneapolis, Eight People Locked Down and Two Arrested
- December 4, Army Corps Denies Dakota Access Pipeline Easement
- December 8, Veterans Apologize for Genocide & March to Backwater Bridge in Blizzard
- December 8, Nebraska Supplied State Troopers, Surveillance Aircraft to North Dakota Under EMAC
- December 12, #DivestFromDAPL Action Disrupts Wells Fargo Branch Grand Opening, Doors Secured with Bike Locks
- December 19, First Water Protector Trials Set for January as Another ND Pipeline Leaks