Pictured Above: Mni Wiconi banner on display at the Sacred Stone Camp near Cannonball, ND in 2016
July 15th marked the 5th anniversary of a prayer run that brought the #NoDAPL movement into the public consciousness. On that date in 2016, Indigenous youth living in the Sacred Stone Camp at Standing Rock began a 2,000+ mile run from North Dakota to Washington D.C. to demand a stop to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) by oil/gas company Energy Transfer Partners. The pipeline, which began operating in 2017, is opposed by Native water protectors and allies of the #NoDAPL movement for various reasons, including its high risk of polluting water sources for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the communities in its path, its disturbance of sacred burial sites during construction, and its role in the larger climate crisis facing the world today.
United by the belief that Water is Life (Mni Wiconi in Lakota), the #NoDAPL movement began to grow throughout 2016 as water protectors came together at the Sacred Stone Camp on the Standing Rock Reservation. The camp, located near the site of DAPL construction, would eventually become the largest gathering of Indigenous nations in modern American history. Following months of demonstrations at the camp and across the nation, construction of the pipeline was briefly halted by the federal government in December 2016. However, an executive order by then-President Trump rebooted the DAPL project and led to its completion in mid-2017.
There were at least five leaks from the DAPL during its first six months of operation, and though the pipeline is currently under environmental review by the Army Corps of Engineers, oil continues to flow through it today. As a result, Lakota youth leaders recently announced plans for another youth run to demand a full shutdown of the DAPL by President Biden.
Pictured Above: Oceti Sakowin Youth completing their 3-week journey while running to the headquarters of the Army Corps of Engineers in Washington D.C. in August 2016. Photo by Juliana Britto Schwartz
Bobbi Jean Three Legs, who helped organize the 2016 run to DC, joined the Tipi Raisers and Colorado Young Leaders for the Inspiring Action Speaker series earlier this year to share her experiences living at the Sacred Stone Camp and organizing the run. Three Legs, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (Hunkpapa Oyate), was inspired to become a water protector after imagining what it would be like if there was no clean water to give to her young daughter. She continues to organize youth in her community around efforts to protect their land and water (Inspiring Action Speaker Series with Bobbi Jean Three Legs).
As we continue to commemorate five years since the height of the #NoDAPL movement throughout the fall and winter, stay tuned for future Reconciliation through Education newsletters on this topic.
More resources on Standing Rock listed below.
A comprehensive history of the events at Standing Rock from the Reclaiming Native Truth project:
A reflection by Sacred Stone Camp founder LaDonna Brave Bull Allard on the past and present desecration of Indigenous land, water, and life at the hands of government officials and extractive industries:
On Indigenous resistance at Standing Rock and the environmental and cultural concerns surrounding pipelines:
“Tribes Across North America Converge at Standing Rock, Hoping to be Heard” A report from PBS NewsHour
“The Standing Rock resistance and our fight for Indigenous rights” A TED Talk from Tribal Attorney Tara Houska, Couchiching First Nation https://youtu.be/wD3-6JIUF7M
On the Indigenous youth activism that inspired the movement and continues to create change today:
“The Youth Group that Launched a Movement at Standing Rock” from the New York Times
“Native Youth Deliver Petition Against Pipeline to White House” from Colorlines
“Standing Rock Lakota youth announce 93-mile relay run calling for Biden to shut down Dakota Access Pipeline” from Indian Country Today https://indiancountrytoday.com/the-press-pool/standing-rock-lakota-youth-announce-93-mile-relay-run-calling-for-biden-to-shut-down-dakota-access-pipeline
Pictured above: The Dakota Access Pipeline as seen from New Salem, ND
Sources for this blog post include: Colorlines, NBC, The New York Times, the Reclaiming Native Truth project, The Intercept, and Indian Country Today
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
Copyright © 2018 The Tipi Raisers