Standing with Standing Rock

The Dakota Access Pipeline is just one of many pipelines coming out of the oil fields of western North Dakota. There are at least fifteen major pipelines across the Dakotas, so what is all the whoopla about? Why should we care about the standoff? The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has sued to stop the pipeline from crossing through their sacred sites and under the Missouri River. They claim that they were not given proper chance to comment on the route, that the project was fast tracked and corners were cut. A nonprofit, environmental, legal group, called Earthjustice, has accepted the job of pursuing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s interests in federal court.

Dakota Access Pipeline
In the meantime, the shores of the Missouri River and venues across the country and throughout the world are crowding with demonstrators standing with the people of the Standing Rock Reservation. One hundred and eighty-eight Tribes across the United States and Canada have written letters of support. Thousands of individuals and hundreds of businesses - including Wild Idea Buffalo Company, support the protesters (water protectors).

Missouri River Cannonball ND

The company that is building the 1,100 mile long pipeline is really a group of connected companies receiving 10.25 billion in loans and guarantees from 38 banks to continue building this pipeline and others across the country. Like the XL Pipeline that was recently brought to a halt by the Obama administration, the promoters of this pipeline promise thousands of temporary construction jobs and untold economic benefit from the oil that will be allowed to flow freely from the Bakken oil fields to industries and automobiles. What they don’t seem to understand, is that that oil will not only flow to those industries and automobiles, but will eventually flow right on up and into the atmosphere, causing even more havoc as greenhouse gasses. The people who stand to make billions of dollars by pumping oil from the Bakken to refineries in the east don’t seem to care about the atmosphere. They don’t seem to care much about the water in the ground either. They say that there is no chance of the pipeline ever breaking where it goes under the Missouri River. They say it could never contaminate the water supply of the Standing Rock People. But, forever is a very long time to go without a leak and the Standing Rock people have heard those kinds of guarantees before. In the long view, water is much more valuable than oil. It always has been and it always will be, to the Standing Rock People and to us all.

There is a BBC News video of a pretty young woman named Juliana Brown Eyes-Clifford, who lives in a very small town on the Pine Ridge Reservation just to our south side boundary fence. In the video she tells about a dream that she had: Her people were moving across a dry land and they are very thirsty. They see a simple faucet sticking up from the earth, the people struggle to the faucet, but when they turned it on, oil flowed. What a terrible dream to trouble the sleep of young Juliana Brown Eyes.

Juliana Brown Eyes

On the surface, the demonstrations up on Standing Rock and around the world are about protecting sacred burial sites and the Missouri River. But, beneath the surface are other festering wounds inflicted on us all by mindless industry, greed, and arrogance. There are tribes, individuals, and business on the long list of supporters of the demonstrators that know nearly nothing about Standing Rock, their sacred sites, or the chances of oil leaks into their water supply. The industrialists and bankers who are building the Dakota Access Pipeline would say that those tribes, people, and business should stay out of the controversy, that they don’t have a dog in the fight. But that is where they are wrong. We have all seen these little battles before. Perhaps we have closed our eyes to them in the past, but now our eyes are open. These small battles may be little more than local grievances, but they add up to a war that encompasses us all and one that we cannot afford to loose.

So, while the standoff on Standing Rock is very real - vital and dangerous as such demonstrations can be, it is also symbolic of larger passions that are rising up in our country and around the world. We are all the people of Standing Rock, finally awaken to the subhuman, faceless enemy that is trying to stare us down along the banks of the Missouri River. It could bring us all ruin as an unintended consequence of simple greed.

Sitting Bull Image

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  • I believe in climate change and I believe that water is life but I honestly don’t know all that much about the issues at Standing Rock. To better educate myself, I’ve watched videos from many outlets (news and otherwise), I researched a number of articles, and I listened to the comparison by whistleblower John Bolenbaugh between the Kalamazoo, MI oil spill and the potential environmental impact of a spill in Standing Rock. I want to know more but I also want the information to be reputable. Any advice on where to look? Why does the government treat indigenous people as though they don’t matter? Why is the environment thrown to the wayside? Is it all financially driven?

  • Yes, all water is sacred.

  • simply,Yes!

    JoAnn Hajek
  • Dan – a very timely and concise summation, and not a political “foist”, of the situation. It’s true that as a nation we can’t meet our energy needs with alternative means yet, but if we keep opting for the quick and expedient fix rather than taking the long view we’ll never effect real change. What’s the old saying about expecting different results with the same behavior….?! I for one applaud your post; it just reinforces the philosophy and integrity that makes your operation so great.

  • I stand with my Native American brothers and sisters they are correct, do some studying elsewhere about pipelines that were not supposed to break but did and ruined the waters.We do not need the oil but we need our WATER.

  • Yes I DO AGREE they do NOT need their land TAKEN from them for the SECOND TIME !!!! IF they persist in going ahead with this pipeline, then WHY NOT do what Canada did on the Tundra and raise it to not disturb the caribou migrations and keep it ABOVE ground as to NOT disturb the prairie and the Missouri River in the United States particularly the GREAT state of North Dakota ? TRULY the HAVE to be smarter than that, PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!!

    Keith H
  • Bless ALL the people that donated to the Standing Rock Res. This is so important to ALL of us, In New Mexico, in my area…we fought Kender-Morgan a CO2 pipeline Co. that would have run very close to all the rural areas here, which would have effected our water also, after a year….WE WON…..AHO….Everyone keep up the prayers and good work, Blessings AND Thank you Dan for your GREAT Support…..Aho

    mayfield mccloud
  • My dad introduced my brothers and i to fishing on the Missouri River in the mid 70’s. It would really suck to see an oil spill on the river. i am s steel erector and ironically I’m workiing on that reservation

    Bill ochs
  • Thank you Dan for using your gift of writing to spread the word of what is happening at Standing Rock, SD cannot take the risk of an oil spill in the Missouri River.

    Barbara Horton
  • Thank you. Idle No More!

    Jennifer Buckley
  • Thank you Dan and Jill for all you do and for helping to educate the rest of us through your actions and words. You are my (s)heros!

    Gayle Marsh
  • Now if ONLY ALL of America would get behind this and TELL corporate America where to stick their ‘’ Greed ’’

    Thomas S.Redding
  • Thank you all for your comments, supportive or otherwise. This is the point to blog posts such as this – to give thoughtful people the opportunity to voice their opinion for others to consider. We respectfully post all comments, unless vulgar or off topic.

    Jill O'Brien
  • Just a couple of thoughts, 1st,the only way to stop this is to go back to the Horse & Buggy. I just don’t care about planting potatoes with a horse without air conditioning. 2nd thought do any of you people that are protesting & have been living by the river for all this time ever have to go back to work.

    Bill Kingsbury
  • Well put, Dan. I’m reminded of your fictional book “Eminent Domain” wherein private and corporate entities abused the power of eminent domain for profit, not public need/safety. Someday we humans may recognize we are part of the earth and have responsibilities to care and sustain it. Mother Earth will survive, but we won’t if we continue to exploit resources for selfish private gain… aka greed. We certainly can do without more petro pollution. I wholeheartedly support your efforts and caring.


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