As you’ve seen over the course of the past several months through our Dakota Water Wars video series, the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation) has reunited to stop the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL). Our latest chapter, which you’ll find by scrolling down to the topmost video on the series page, takes you inside a recent pipeline strategy meeting at Standing Rock. Produced as always by us in partnership with the Great Plains Tribal Water Alliance and the Standing Rock Nation, the video shows tribal leaders and water protectors gathering to discuss a coordinated offensive, including a lawsuit and public comments campaign to challenge the soon-to-be-released Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for DAPL.
Watch: Standing strong together, tribes are preparing a new legal offensive to stop DAPL.
You likely remember when tens of thousands of people gathered at Standing Rock’s resistance camps in 2016 and ‘17. That indelible moment in time demonstrated the power of standing strong together, capturing worldwide attention and giving rise to a powerful movement for Native and environmental justice. Suddenly, our Indigenous struggle to protect water on the frontlines of the climate crisis became frontpage news.
Now, the tribes are preparing to renew our legal fight to end DAPL. Once again, we must act with unity and purpose. Just last week, Standing Rock held another meeting with Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, and we now know the EIS will become available for online public comment toward the end of June.
Just like the formation of the original camps, this moment will be pivotal. We hope you’ll join us and take action by flooding the Army Corps with demands for a new, valid EIS. As we’ve communicated to you previously, we don’t even need to see the current EIS to know it’ll be deeply flawed. After all, the company hired to prepare it, a member of the American Petroleum Institute, previously argued against Standing Rock at a hearing and recommended expansion of the pipeline’s capacity.
It’ll be up to all of us to pressure the government to make the oil company comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and end this illegal pipeline’s operations. Our battle here in the Dakotas is the same one Indigenous communities face all over the world. We are here to protect our natural surroundings, and it’s no coincidence that Big Extraction targets our lands for exploitation. Centuries of genocide have, at times, left us short of the resources necessary to fight — but this time we’re punching back! United, we must protect our communities and the Earth we share. Please continue to stand strong together with Standing Rock and the Oceti Sakowin.
Wopila tanka — thank you always for standing with us!
Chase Iron Eyes
Co-Director and Lead Counsel
The Lakota People’s Law Project