Members of the Standing Rock Sioux have been joined by multiple tribes, environmentalists, military veterans, and others from across the country who are fighting the project on the grounds that the route jeopardizes Native American drinking water source Lake Oahe, and would also destroy sacred lands.
In December, the Army Corps of Engineers denied Energy Transfer Partners the grant of an easement needed to complete the pipeline project, and yesterday CBC News reported that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe council members voted unanimously to order the dismantling of several protester camps. A statement on the tribe's Facebook page read, "Moving forward, our ultimate objective is best served by our elected officials navigating strategically through the administrative and legal processes."
With the tables turned by today's presidential approval in moving forward with both this and the Keystone Pipeline project, it is not clear yet whether protestors will stay on. Although Winona LaDuke, an Indigenous Environmentalist, is quoted as saying (in reference to the smaller Sacred Stone Camp where the protest began), "No one leaves."
Several clashes between demonstrators and police, security, and the National Guard have occurred over the past months at Backwater Bridge. NPR reported on one confrontation that cost a woman her arm.
The lack of mainstream media coverage of this protest has been conspicuous. It is photographers like Ian Frank who keep us informed and document the event. Even through blizzard conditions, supporters have stayed, and alongside the Sioux are still standing at Standing Rock. ~