Cannonball, SD – On April 1st, 2016, under the name “Chante tin’sa kinanzi Po”, tribal citizens of the Standing Rock Lakota Nation and ally Lakota, Nakota, & Dakota citizens will set up a Spirit Camp along the proposed route of the Bakken Oil Pipeline, “Dakota Access Pipeline [DAPL]”. The camp will be called “Iŋyaŋ Wakȟáŋaǧapi Othí”, translated as Sacred Rock Camp, the original name of the area around Cannonball, North Dakota. This Spirit Camp is dedicated to stopping the construction of the DAPL, while raising awareness of the negative impacts associated with pipeline spills and the necessity to protect the water resources of the Missouri River.
The group’s name in Lakota, “Chante tin’sa kinanzi Po”, translates as People, Stand with a Strong Heart!
“They claim this mother of ours, the Earth, for their own use, and fence their neighbors away from her, and deface her with their buildings and their refuse.” – Chief Sitting Bull
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), owned by Energy Transfer Partners, L.P., is proposed to transport 450,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude oil from the lands of North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. The pipelines construction comes despite the recent downturn of oil prices which caused North Dakota’s oil boom to bust plunging the state into a billion dollar deficit. The downturn in oil prices has caused oil companies focused on Fracking in North Dakota to file for bankruptcy and calls to question the viability of fracked Bakken Oil in the future.
Despite these downturns in the oil industry the pipeline construction is set to move forward. The threats this pipeline poses to the environment, human health and human rights are strikingly similar to those posed by the Keystone XL. The DAPL will cross over the Ogallala Aquifer (one of the largest aquifers in the world) and under the Missouri River twice (the longest river in the United States). The possible contamination of these water sources makes the DAPL a latent environmental hazard even before the oil is burned as fuel.
“The DAPL poses a threat to our people, cultural and historically significant areas. We will stand with our Hunkpapa relatives in defending against any major environmental, public health and safety hazards within our treaty territory.” – Paula Antonie, Chair of Shielding the People, Rosebud Sioux tribal citizen
The construction of the DAPL will threaten everything from farming and drinking water, to entire ecosystems, wildlife and food sources surrounding the Missouri. The nesting of bald eagles and piping plovers as well as the quality of wild rice, and medicinal plants, like sweet grass, are just a few of the species at stake here.
Dallas Goldtooth, Keep It in the Ground Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network states:
“This bakken pipeline is no different than the Keystone XL pipeline. It threatens the sacred waters of the Missouri, it threatens the very sensitive waters of the Oglalla aquifer, it is using eminent domain to diminish the rights of farmers and ranchers, and it is attempting to lock our country into more fossil fuel dependency when we are seeing a just transition towards renewable energy. We must keep this oil in the ground for the benefit of all future generations.”
Tribal citizens are inviting everyone to stand with them against the threat to their health, culture, and sovereignty. They ask that everyone who lives on or near the Missouri River and its tributaries, everyone who farms or ranches in the local area, and everyone who cares about clean air and clean drinking water stand with them against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Virgil Taken Alive, Standing Rock Member states:
“Of the many atrocities we as Native Americans have faced and overcame, this is one which will affect not only us but all of mankind. Earth is our mother. We have to protect her.”
Waniya Locke (Ahtna Dene, Dakota, Lakota, Anishinaabe) Standing Rock Descendent states:
“We do not need oil to live, but we do need water, and water is a human right and not a privilege.”
Joye Braun, community organizer on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation states:
“The dangers imposed by the greed of big oil on the people who live along the Missouri river is astounding. When this proposed pipeline breaks, as the vast majority of pipelines do, over half of the drinking water in South Dakota will be affected. How can rubber-stamping this project be good for the people, agriculture, and livestock? It must be stopped. The people of the four bands of Cheyenne River stand with our sister nation in this fight as we are calling on all the Oceti Sakowin or Seven Council Fires to do so with our allies, both native and non native in opposing this pipeline.”
This article was adapted largely from this press release.
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