Following blizzard-like conditions and plummeting temperatures at Standing Rock, Chairman David Archambault released a letter respectfully asking visiting Water Protectors to develop exit strategies and to return home once the current storm passes.
The following is a statement from the Indigenous Environmental Network responding to the Chairman’s request and about what the organization sees as the next steps for Standing Rock:
“We are at a critical moment in this fight against the Dakota Access pipeline. The Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to not grant the final easement to the pipeline company without further review was a tremendous victory, but it is a temporary one. With the pro-pipeline politics of the forthcoming Trump administration, the struggle to protect the Missouri River, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s drinking water and indigenous sovereignty will most certainly need to continue in the coming year and beyond.
In their response to the order to pause construction until further review, Energy Transfer Partners has made it clear that they will pursue completion of the pipeline. During this period of deescalated conflict, we will remain watchful of Energy Transfer Partners and the Army Corps of Engineers’ environmental impact study and fully expect to challenge any action the Trump administration aims to take in approving the final phase of DAPL construction.
This past week, we saw blizzard-like conditions that generated an immense burden upon camp and tribal resources and placed a number of unprepared campers at risk. Because of these challenges, along with the deescalated need for allies to be on the ground at Standing Rock while DAPL construction is paused, we now encourage allies to reevaluate staying or coming to Standing Rock. As such, we have decided to respect the Chairman’s request and begin the process of transitioning out of the Oceti Sakowin camp.
Since the beginning of this movement, thousands have come to Standing Rock to serve as true allies and guests of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the land and local communities. The support we, as visitors, received helped create a solid foundation of prayer and movement in the protection of Mother Earth and her lifeblood: the water. During this pause in action, we remain committed to supporting the grassroots leadership within the camp and will help facilitate the transition out of camp, prioritizing the safety of its individuals and ensuring that the land we’ve been using is left better than it was found.
Moving forward, IEN looks towards growing and furthering the momentum that has begun here at Standing Rock.
We will continue to ask our allies to divest from the financiers of the Dakota Access Pipeline and to take part in the Global Month of #NoDAPL Action . We also encourage Water Protectors to stand with communities across the nation who are resisting pipelines that threaten their water supplies and other Indigenous communities.
Three key dates we encourage the public stay updated on are:
Friday, December 9th, a hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday morning in Washington, D.C., U.S. District Court requested by Energy Transfer Partners to allow them to complete the project.
Sunday, January 1st, when suppliers for the pipeline construction will have an opportunity to re-negotiate their contracts with Energy Transfer Partners or back out.
And finally, the days after January 21st, when the specific challenges will be revealed from the new administration and what we will need to do to protect water and Indigenous rights.
We are not abandoning our relatives here in Standing Rock and this movement is far from over. In fact, it is escalating and the stakes are even higher. We are stronger than ever, filled with even more hope and more prayer, and no matter who is in the White House, we will continue to follow our original instructions as Indigenous Peoples to defend land and to protect water.”