Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Dakota Access Pipeline Gets a Reprieve, and the Standing Rock Sioux a victory for once

Stars, they're all stars

Anyone who has been following the long and agonizing struggle to prevent the Dakota Access Pipeline from crossing Indian sovereign territory, including their freshwater source and their sacred grounds, is rejoicing today at the announcement from Washington.

Months of peaceful protest on the part of the Water Protectors, acting on behalf of all of us, really, in the insistence on protecting our natural water resources, were met by violence from local and state police forces, using water cannon in subfreezing temperatures on unarmed praying people, firing rubber bullets and causing injury.  

Reporters were arrested for simply doing their job of reporting and taking pictures, the authorities illegally closed a highway with no right to do so, and in general there was a degree of lawlessness from the police, who described the protesters as rioters. Forgetting, perhaps that in the age of the smart phone, pictures and video demonstrating the falsity of those charges were flying all round the world.

So today came down the word that the administration, and the Army Corps of Engineers, were not granting the easement needed to route the pipeline across the Indian reserved territory.  A new study was ordered, and the participation of the tribal leaders included in it -- this was not the case up to now -- to look for an alternative access route, and for the moment, victory is in the air.

Those of us who have been bombarding the Department of Justice and the White House with demands to look into the police conduct and restore order and proper treatment of legal peaceful demonstration, preserving that right, in the constitution, are happy this evening.  

We did our tiny bit. Nothing like the sheer bravery of the unarmed people facing down water cannon and rubber bullets and threats varying from criminal charges and fines, as well as being blockaded from supplies. At least we did what we could.  Nothing like the bravery of medics who were also hosed down in freezing weather and fired at while administering first aid to injured people in the early stages of hypothermia.  But we did what we could.

Cheers everyone!  good news for once for the native American heroes and the veterans, many of them also native American, whose wave of support this weekend seems to have tipped the scale. And we need to stay alert, to preserve this victory.

And to take the example of the tribal leaders who responded with dignity and decorum, graciously, certainly a model for us all.


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