This post was originally supposed to recap our experiences at the 2016 International Raging Grannies Uncon(vention) held in Seattle. However, the events unfolding at North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux reservation in response to the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline have taken precedence.
The Standing Rock Sioux have been engaged in a nonviolent protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline is intended to transport oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale basin. If allowed, the pipeline will cross farms, natural areas, and the ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. It will cross under the Missouri River just above the Sioux lands. The Standing Rock Sioux has filed a lawsuit and requested a court-ordered injunction. The lawsuit holds that the pipeline is a violation of the National Historic Preservation Act.
On September 9, 2016, federal judges are set to rule on this lawsuit. The lawsuit requests that the tribe be better consulted before a portion of the pipeline is drilled beneath the Missouri River. Part of the risk is that a leak in the pipeline would affect the tribal water supply.
“In 2014, the proposed route of DAPL went through Bismarck, the capital of North Dakota, with roughly 61,000 residents, 92 percent of them white. After the Corps determined that the pipeline could contaminate drinking water, it was rerouted to pass by Standing Rock. “That’s environmental racism,” said Kandi Mossett, of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation in North Dakota and an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network.” From http://www.outsideonline.com/2111206/whats-happening-standing-rock
What is unprecedented in this situation is that the protest is bringing together a large number of tribes in the interest of protecting the water and the earth. Members of the Black Lives Matter movement have also joined efforts at the camps. This is an historic coming together to address environmental racism.
Kelly Hayes, a Chicago activist, blogger, and contributor to Truthout wrote,
“We need our non-Native allies to continue to lock arms with us. We need everyone. Because we can’t do this alone.”
One of the things we learned at the Uncon was how we, as people of whiteness, can best support the efforts of people of color. We have been told that we can contribute through monetary support, by bearing witness, and by being on the front lines in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of color. To that end, we, the Portland Raging Grannies, have made a donation to the Standing Rock Sioux to help them sustain their protest. Individual members of our gaggle have also contributed. We are also working with other gaggles throughout the United States and Canada to make September 9 a day of solidarity against the exploitation of the earth for the gain of fossil fuel companies. We are hoping that the federal judge will give us cause to celebrate, but we are prepared to dig in for more protests should the ruling go the other way.
In keeping with our mission of supporting peace, social justice, human rights and environmental protection, we, the Portland Raging Grannies, stand with the Native Peoples gathered on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota who are there protecting the Water….the Water that is Life…the Water that sustains us all, the Water that is more important than money. In this instance, it is another pipeline to carry Bakken crude oil beneath and across the Missouri River, which is the immediate threat to not only their lives but to lives of all those millions of people who live downstream. We honor these peaceful warriors and thank them for their protection of the earth and all people.
As plans solidify, we will keep you informed.
In the meantime, there are immediate actions you can take.
Here are some links for more information about the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protests being led by the Standing Rock Sioux.